Bestseller Lists - The Missing Clue - June 2019

Want to know what other Whodunit customers are enjoying? Here are our bestselling titles for April and May 2019.

Mass Market

1.       Julia Buckley, Death Waits in the Dark   

2.       Laird Barron, Blood Standard             

3.       Victoria Thompson, Murder on Union Square    

4.       Lee Child, Past Tense                

5.       Bree Baker, No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

6.       Lauren Elliott, Prologue to Murder      

7.       Rita Mae Brown, Probable Claws          

8.       Bree Baker, Live and Let Chai

9.       Ellery Adams, Murder in the Reading Room

10.   Jenn McKinlay, Dying for Devil’s Food

Trade Paper

1.       Anne Perry, Twenty-One Days          

2.       James Runcie, The Road to Grantchester

3.       Peter May, The Runner

4.       Jacqueline Winspear, The American Agent

5.       Donna Leon, The Temptation of Forgiveness

6.       Anna Lee Huber, An Artless Demise

7.       Ngaio Marsh, Money in the Morgue       

8.       Martha Grimes, The Knowledge

9.       Karen Bate, Ice

10.   Peter Tremayne, Bloodmoon

Hardcover

1.       Phillip Kerr, Metropolis                 

2.       Donna Leon, Unto Us a Son is Given      

3.       Thomas Perry, The Burglar

4.       John Sandford, Neon Prey

5.       Anne Perry, Triple Jeopardy

Mystery Reading Club - The Missing Clue - June 2019

Our final meeting will be on Tuesday, June 25th. Book club will reconvene on Tuesday, September 24th. Topic and books to be announced in the August newsletter.

Tuesday, June 25th – The State Counsellor by Boris Akunin

We know that some non-members of the group do read the assigned titles. If you would like to have the questions that Jack writes, please let Wendy know (via email, phone, or in person). New members are always welcome.

What I'm Reading by Laura - The Missing Clue - June 2019

With the school term over, I’ve replaced my assigned readings with mysteries.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dervla McTiernan’s The Scholar, her second in the Cormac Reilly series. Although I had missed the first in the series, there’s enough exposition to understand the backstories of recurring characters. The Scholar follows multiple viewpoints of Detective Reilly, his colleagues, and suspects in the aftermath of a fatal hit and run of a young woman on a Galway university campus. A police procedural with a hint of corporate intrigue and several interpersonal dramas, I found the story engaging and twisty. Although it is a little dark, there is very little outright violence, and I do think I’ll stick with this series.

I happened to read two Sarah Perry novels at the same time. Perry seems adaptable to a variety of settings and time periods, but her prose-y style in both were enjoyable. The Essex Serpent is an entertaining historical fiction which primarily focuses on the widow-turned naturalist Cora Seabourne investigating the return of a mythical Essex Serpent haunting the Essex countryside. Melmoth, on the other hand, haunted me while reading it. Melmoth follows the story of Helen Franklin, who lives an ascetic life in Prague. She finds herself involved in chasing evidence of Melmoth, Perry’s invention of a woman cursed to wander the earth and bear witness to humanity’s failings. The narrative jumps between the accounts of Melmoth that Helen reads, suspecting that she will be visited by Melmoth soon. The novel was at times terribly sad and incredibly spooky (as someone easily startled, I’d advise reading in a well-lit room), but well worth the read.

Most recently, I read Rabindranath Maharaj’s Fatboy Fall Down. It’s a heart-wrenching story of a man who faces failure at every turn of his life, set against the backdrop of an unnamed island nation’s changing society that he finds himself constantly attempting to adjust to. I couldn’t put it down, even though the chain of events that the main character must endure made me want to give up as well. Although it’s not particularly a mystery, it is a beautiful, melancholic story about the pursuit of happiness on one’s own terms.

Wendy's Recent Reads and Bits & Pieces - The Missing Clue - June 2019

Coming to Your Television

Last week I saw a notice on a mystery blog that there was to be a television series based on Peter James’ Roy Grace series, so I decided to do some further investigating. Unfortunately, details proved to be frustratingly vague. The notice I read was based on comments made by the author himself at the UK launch of the fifteenth Roy Grace title, Dead at First Sight, and reported in The Argus, a newspaper published in Brighton. Further research led me to a number of other similar reports in The Argus, going back to 2011. From other sources, including Peter James own YouTube channel, I think that there are definitely plans for a Roy Grace series but when it will appear is not clear. Peter James is on record as saying that he wants a relatively unknown actor to play the role of Roy Grace, so perhaps casting is one of the holdups. Hopefully, all will be resolved and we can all enjoy the stories and views of beautiful Brighton. Dead at First Sight, will be available in Canada on July 2nd, tradepaper $25.99.

A two-part drama series which will be released in the fall is Salisbury. This series is based on the Novichok poisonings of March 2018, when Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were targeted. Unfortunately, there were also unintended victims, a policeman was exposed to the nerve agent during the initial investigation. In June 2018, a British couple Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley became ill and Ms. Sturgess died after being exposed to the perfume bottle which had contained the nerve agent and which had been discarded in a park. Should be interesting viewing.

Used Books

One feature of our used book purchases this Spring has been the number of almost complete series that we have obtained. In the adult section it has included Deborah Crombie, Reginald Hill, Laura Child and Kate Ellis.

Unusually this year we also have quite long runs of juvenile/young adult series, many new titles for our Nancy Drew collection for instance. We also have some series which are new to me. Margaret Sutton’s Judy Bolton series being one. There are in total thirty eight books in the series, the first book The Vanishing Shadow was published in 1932 and the final book The Secret of the Sandcastle was published in 1967. The series is unusual because the character starts as a high school student, ages and gets married and is regarded as being more realistic than Nancy Drew. Many of the novels have a basis in fact, the Austin (Pennsylvania) Dam disaster was the basis for the first Judy Bolton mystery. Family homes, of the author in Odin and Coudersport, PA. appeared in the books as homes of the various characters. The series was published by Grosset and Dunlap, they had only agreed to publish the books on three conditions. The author whose real name was Rachel Irene Beebe, had to change her name to something more marketable and sophisticated, the new girl detective could not be called Melissa so Judy Bolton was born and Judy could not be blonde because Grosset and Dunlap already had a blonde, Nancy Drew! Although published by Grosset and Dunlap, Sutton was not part of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, so she retained the copyright of her own books.  It has been suggested that it was pressure from the Stratemeyers fearing competition for their Nancy Drew books that led to limited promotion of the Judy Bolton series, and its eventual cancellation. 

Hilary Mantel

YES there is an official date and an official title for the final book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy.The Mirror and the Light will be published on March 10th 2020 by Harper Collins Canada. It will be in the trade paper format at $24.99.This novel will follow the last five years of Cromwell’s life starting with the execution of Anne Boleyn in May 1536.Some of our customers have said they are dusting off the two earlier titles in the series, Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012) to be ready for the event.

Recent Events and Updates - The Missing Clue - June 2019

Michael Went a-Touring

...or something like that anyways.  At the end of May, I found myself in the Toronto Arts and Letters Club celebrating the Arthur Ellis Awards with the Crime Writers of Canada.  We have always kept track of the event, and in fact, have nearly all judged in one category or another over the years. However, I had never attended before. The reason for me to visit was, because starting with the 2020 Prizes, I will be the Head of Juries for the event, and am honoured that the CWC, and the past Head, Sleuth of Baker Street's Marian Misters, have provided me with the opportunity. Also congratulations to all of this year’s nominees, and this year’s winners!

BEST CRIME NOVEL Anne Emery, Though the Heavens Fall, ECW Press

BEST FIRST CRIME NOVEL A.J. Devlin, Cobra Clutch, NeWest Press

BEST CRIME NOVELLA The Lou Allin Memorial Award John Lawrence Reynolds, Murder Among the Pines, Orca Book Publishers

BEST CRIME SHORT STORY Linda L. Richards, Terminal City, Vancouver Noir, Akashic Books

BEST CRIME BOOK IN FRENCH Hervé Gagnon, Adolphus - Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Libre Expression

BEST JUVENILE/YOUNG ADULT CRIME BOOK Linwood Barclay, Escape, Puffin Canada

BEST NONFICTION CRIME BOOK Sarah Weinman, The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World, Alfred A. Knopf Canada

BEST UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT (aka The Unhanged Arthur) Liv McFarlane, The Scarlet Cross

The day after the Arthur Ellis found me at the "Bloody Words Mini-Con and the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Awards Dinner", at the lovely High Park Club. After a day of interesting panels and conversations with both established and emerging voices from Canada's Light Mystery (aka Cosy) genre, the award for this year went to Mike Martin for Darkest Before the Dawn the latest in his Sgt Windflower mysteries. Once again, congratulations to all the nominees! 

It was a real thrill to meet with all the authors, editors, publishers and booksellers who were at both events. As the year develops, we hope to have more to announce to you that will come from the Canadian crime-writing scene!

Manitoba Book Awards

The Manitoba Book Awards also happened since our last printing and Michael J Clark tied for best first novel for his book Clean Sweep!  Even more exciting, Michael's second novel Mahoney's Camaro released at the end of May.  There were also a number of members of the Whodunit community who were nominated, or who won prizes, and we would like to congratulate them all!

Survey

Thank you to all of you who filled out our survey! There was a lot of really valuable feedback that you provided to us, and we hope to implement as many of the elements of it as we are able. One of the results has already been implemented with our extended hours.  Thursday and Friday evenings were by far the most common responses for people to visit the shop in the evening, and as a result...

OPEN LATE(R)

...we will be open until 8pm on Thursday and Friday evenings, and until 6pm on Saturdays!  We are hoping that many of you will take advantage of the good weather to walk over, or to stop in before you head out to your weekend activities and grab something to keep you entertained!

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day

We were so happy with everyone who came out to visit us on the 27th of April, and congratulations to all of you who won prizes while you were here!

Anne Morton Lecture

Also, thank you to Anne for her informative talk on the 5th of May!  It was great to hear more about your research surrounding Josephine Tey, and The Daughter of Time.

Karen Bate Event

We had a lovely visit on April 14th  from Karen Bate, author of the "Mayfair Mystery" series. Her baking was very appreciated, as was her humour and candidness about her writing process. Thank you, Karen for visiting.

Wendy's Recent Reads - The Missing Clue - April 2019

I was bemoaning the reduced number of mass markets just the other month but we seem to be seeing more in the catalogues for Summer and Fall. There is one new series which I have been enjoying, written by Bree Baker the series is set the summer resort town of Charm. The first book was called Live and Let Chai, and the second title which is a new release is No Good Tea Goes Unpunished. I think this series is well worth a try and we have copies of both titles in stock in mass market at $10.99 (including the newest in used already!).

I must admit I was a little surprised to see Andrew Cartmel’s ‘Vinyl Detective’ series appear in mass market format but it was a pleasant surprise. The plots revolve around a record collector and vinyl connoisseur who has developed a business based on his own passion for vinyl records of seeking out rare or lost recordings for clients. This is a fun and engaging series with a host of well developed supporting characters. The fourth title, Flip Back is about to appear in trade paper, but the first two titles Written in Dead Wax and The Run-Out Groove are available in mass market at $10.99 and we’ve got the third book, Victory Disc, in new and used trade paperback.

Alexander McCall Smith is well known as a very prolific writer, so it is no surprise that he has recently embarked on two new series. With Inspector Varg, McCall Smith is entering the Scandinavian genre. The Department of Sensitive Crimes introduces us to Inspector Ulf Varg who as the title suggests is part of the Department of Sensitive Crimes, which is based in Malmo, Sweden. Varg is also the owner of a hearing impaired dog Marten, who is able to lip read in Swedish. We will see how this series progresses. The first title will be available in hardcover later in April at $29.95.

Also from McCall Smith, My Italian Bulldozer, introduces us to writer Paul Stewart, whose attempted escape to Italy to find peace and quiet to finish his current project is doomed to failure from the moment his plane touches down. The book is available in stock $19.95. The second title The Second Worst Restaurant in France is due to be released in hardcover in July, at $29.95. The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse is a stand alone novel, set in England during WWII. Available in store $19.95. However, fans of the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency should not worry because the 20th title in that series, To the Land of Long Lost Friends, will arrive in hardcover in October. We’ve got the first four books in that series in stock in used trade paperback if you never jumped on that particular train all those years ago now.

After a gap of seven years and literary side trips to Amsterdam and the Faroes among other places David Hewson has returned to Nic Costa and Italy. The Savage Shore sees Nic Costa away from his native Rome on the Calabrian coast to assist the head of the ‘Ndrangheta who wants to become a government informant. Needless to say the task does not run smoothly. Available in trade paper in May $20.95.

What I'm Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - April 2019

My reading goal for 2019 was to read 100 books and I thought based on the fact that I read 99 books in 2018 that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch. Well. I got a promotion at work that included a car so now instead of 2 hours and 40 minutes of reading available to me on the GO train I have…none of that. But I am not deterred!

I re-read Deborah Harkness’ ‘All Souls Trilogy’ every year so I was thrilled when she announced she was extending that universe to a new series beginning with Times Convert (still just available in hardcover). This is mostly the story of Marcus and Phoebe, but Matthew and Diana and the whole gang all make appearances. You really need to read the original trilogy to enjoy this one. Nothing will ever replace the experience of reading A Discovery of Witches for the first time, but I am happy to add this to the re-read pile.

I’d like to take credit for bringing Stella Rimington’s excellent ‘Liz Carlyle’ series to the store all those years ago, but I could be misremembering. At any rate, it’s not often a series has one of it’s best iterations at book #10, but she’s done it with The Moscow Sleepers. I would best characterize this series as ‘Gentle Spy Thriller’. It’s not to say there isn’t excitement and even violence, but the matter of fact way Rimington writes is so easy to read and her knowledge of the current espionage climate is second to none. Also still just available in hardcover, I would still recommend this to anyone who has an interest in spy thrillers or the current political climate. No need to have read the previous nine, although we have a handful in store.

Speaking of transformative reading experiences, Gail Carriger’s Soulless,the first in her ‘Parasol Protectorate’ series, just enthralled me (we have a single copy in used if you haven’t had the pleasure). I devoured all five books in that series. Less so her YA ‘Finishing School’ series. By the time Prudence, book #1 in the ‘Custard Protocol’ series, came around, Soulless seemed like a distant memory. It’s hard to imagine Alexia and Lord Maccon as crotchety older folk with their daughter Prudence as the heroine. Still, I finally got around to reading Competence, the third in this series, and the same Carriger magic is there. Indeed, I was delighted to see there was a fourth book, Reticence, coming in hardcover in August. I am also inspired to go back and reread Soulless.

Really, all I want to do these days is re-read old favorites and that got me back to Sarah Caudwell’s ‘Hilary Tamar’ series. I have re-read these four books probably 10 times each. I didn’t even realize until a few years ago that we actually never discover whether Hilary Tamar is a man or a woman. At any rate, we’ve got all four in store and I could not think of a more delightful series to dig into on a rainy Spring afternoon. You needn’t read them in order, they are all equally wonderful, although the technical order is as follows: Thus Was Adonis Murdered, The Shortest Way to Hades, The Sirens Sang of Murder, and The Sibyl in Her Grave.

Book Review: The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah - reviewed by Dakota

(Dakota is our co-op student from The Met School and agreed to tell us about his most recent read.)

This month I have read The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah. This book is about Kim Tribbeck a stand up comedian that gets caught up in an investigation into the “Billy Dead Mates” murders into which they are killing pairs of best friends. Before “Billy” kills their victims he sends them a small white book. Kim had gotten a book at a show she put on the year before.

I thought the book had a good plot idea and I really enjoyed reading it. There were some things about the book that I thought were really hard to follow like, the changes of characters perspectives between pages even though there was no chapter title break. I also didn’t like how when they changed the characters perspectives she had them all doing different things at the same time that correlated. I would give this book a 7/10.

Mystery Reading Club - The Missing Clue - April 2019

As a result of pushing back January’s Book Club meeting, we will be finishing our African American theme in April before moving on to our new spring theme, ‘Death in Government’.

Tuesday, February 26th – Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Tuesday, April 30th – Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Tuesday, May 28th – The Division Bell Mystery by Ellen Wilkinson
Tuesday, June 25th – The State Counsellor by Boris Akunin

We know that some non-members of the group do read the assigned titles. If you would like to have the questions that Jack writes, please let Wendy know (via email, phone, or in person). New members are always welcome.

Bestseller Lists - February and March 2019 - The Missing Clue - April 2019

Want to know what other Whodunit customers are enjoying? Here are our bestselling titles for February and March 2019.

Mass Market

  1. Fluke, Joanne, Raspberry Danish Murder

  2. Beaton, MC, Death of an Honest Man

  3. Ryan, Sofie, No Escape Claws

  4. Fredericks, Mariah, Death of No Importance

  5. Jonasson, Ragnar, Snowblind

  6. Baker, Bree, No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

  7. Henry, Julia, Pruning the Dead

  8. Morgan, Alexis, Death by Committee

  9. Collins Dictionaries, Scots Dictionary

  10. Albert, Susan Wittig, Queen Anne’s Lace

Trade Paper and Hardcover

  1. Bradley, Alan, Golden Tresses of the Dead

  2. Winspear, Jacqueline, American Agent

  3. Camilleri, Andreas, Overnight Kidnapper

  4. Brightwell, Emily, Mrs. Jeffries Delivers the Goods

  5. Leon, Donna, Unto Us a Son is Given

  6. Harper, Jane, The Lost Man

  7. Walters, Minette, Turn of Midnight

  8. Kent, Surena, Death in Provence

  9. Kerr, Philip, Greeks Bearing Gifts

  10. Jonasson, Ragnar, Rupture

Bestseller Lists for January 2019 - The Missing Clue - February 2019

Want to know what other Whodunit customers are enjoying? Here are our bestselling titles for January 2019.

Mass Market

1.      Paige Shelton, Lost Books and Old Bones

2.      Steve Berry, The Bishop’s Pawn

3.      J.C. Eaton, Botched 4 Murder

4.      Anne Hillerman, Cave Of Bones

5.      Sue Grafton, Y is for Yesterday

6.      Ellie Alexander, Live and Let Pie

7.      Stephanie Blackmoore, Gown with Wind

8.      Joanne Fluke, Raspberry Danish Murder

9.      Robert Crais, The Wanted

10.    Margaret Truman, Allied in Danger

Trade Paper

1.      Quintin Jardine, Cold Case

2.      Alan Bradley, The Grave’s a Fine & Private Place

3.      Charles Finch, The Woman in the Water

4.      Jonas Ragnasson, Rupture

5.      Ellen Wilkinson, The Division Bell Mystery

6.      Peter May, Snakehead

7.      Bernard Cornwell, War of the Wolf

8.      Khurrum Rahman, Homegrown Hero

9.      Charles Todd, The Gate Keeper

10.   Jim Kelly, The Great Darkness

Hard Cover

1.      Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Headlong

2.      James Lee Burke, New Iberia Blues

3.      Megan Cox Gurdon, The Enchanted Hour

4.      Val McDermid, Broken Ground

5.      Michael Connelly, Dark Sacred Night

Mystery Reading Club - The Missing Clue - February 2019

While we were sorry to have to delay January's meeting, the good news is that there will still be lots of opportunity for people to join us for the Winter Sessions!

Tuesday, February 26th – Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Tuesday, March 26th – New England White by Stephen L. Carter

Tuesday, April 30th – Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

By the February meeting we will have the books for May & June in stock.

We know that some non-members of the group do read the assigned titles. If you would like to have the questions that Jack writes, please let Wendy know (via email, phone, or in person). New members are always welcome.



What Penelope’s Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - February 2019

The tyranny of life with a toddler is reading the same book over and over again, and I’m not above hiding a book I’m tired of reading (or having thrown at me and board books are HEAVY).

I struggle a bit with books without a narrative, but Penny really enjoys Numbers by John J. Reiss. It’s very colourfully illustrated and is an attractive counting book.

Robert Munsch obviously played a huge role in my childhood so I was thrilled that many of his books are now available in board book format. We started with The Paper Bag Princess and Penny is a huge fan, plus I love the messaging that you don’t have to change yourself for a handsome prince, even if he does have good hair.

Although we predominantly read board books, we don’t generally restrict Penny access to paper books and that does mean they do get a bit of (mostly unintentional) abuse. I had kept back Nicky Mehta’s Away But Never Gone on account of the fact that it is such a lovely package, but Penny dug it out and we’ve been reading it. I think the messaging is lost on her so far but I’m happy for it to become familiar to her should we need to have any conversations about grief in the future.

We have some friends who have slightly older kids and they have gifted us a lot of the books that have become Penny’s favorites. Despite the fact that it is not a board book, The Philharmonic Gets Dressed is always at the top of her To Read pile. This is a book from 1986 that was featured on ‘Reading Rainbow’ (remember that?) and it does just what it says on the tin: describes how the New York Philharmonic gets dressed for a concert. The first line, “It is almost Friday night. Outside, the dark is getting darker and the cold is getting colder,” feels very appropriate for winter reading.

What I’m Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - February 2019

I must first start with my now bi-monthly confession that I haven’t been reading as much as I ought, particularly mysteries. I have a two word explanation: daycare germs. The good news is though that my ‘To Read’ pile is particularly juicy and there is a lot that is coming in the next few months that I am looking forward to.

Anna Lee Huber joined the trend of female wartime spies with her new ‘Verity Kent’ series, set in London after WWII. Treacherous is the Night is the second book in that series. It’s hard to say too much without giving away the plot twist of the first book, This Side of Murder, but this new book features Verity struggling to find her place after losing her wartime assignment (like many women of the period). It also introduced me to the concept of battlefield tourism, where families visited the sites of their loved ones deaths. We’ve got Treacherous is the Night in new (and used, at time of printing) in trade paperback. I’m also excited for book #7 in Huber’s ‘Lady Darby Mystery’ series An Artless Demise, coming in trade paperback in April.

Genevieve Cogman’s ‘Invisible Library’ series is a great example of a crossover between mystery and fantasy. Book #5, The Mortal Word, is set in a version of 1890s Paris and features a clash between Librarians, Dragons, and the Fae and our fearless librarian Irene trying to negotiate peace. I will confess that this is a series that one should start from the beginning, but it is well worth it. Think of it like a more serious ‘Thursday Next’.

I will admit that I get nervous when a book starts alternating chapters from the ‘present’ to the ‘past’, but I should have known that Tasha Alexander could pull it off. Uneasy Lies the Crown is book #13 in her excellent ‘Lady Emily’ series. This is a point in a series where things can get boring or jump the shark, but I think Alexander continues to produce page-turning adventures for Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves. This book features the death of Queen Victoria and a possible threat to the new King. It is still in hardcover, but the trade paperback is coming in July and a new hardcover is planned for the fall. This is a series you could dip your toe into at any point without much trouble, as the back story is not a huge feature, although certainly worth going back for.

As to what I’m looking forward to adding to my pile (but hopefully for not too long), the trade paperback of Why Kill the Innocent?, also book #13 in C.S. Harris’ excellent ‘Sebastian St. Cyr’ series is coming at the end of February with the new hardcover, Who Slays the Wicked?, will be released at the beginning of April. I can’t say enough good things about this series that features two compelling characters in Sebastian and his headstrong wife Hero, as well as their immediate circle of imperfect associates. This is maybe a tough series to jump into mid-series, but a number of books are available in mass market (we have some in used, even), so it’s a worthwhile project to undertake.

I still miss Deanna Raybourn’s ‘Lady Julia Grey’ series, but her new-ish ‘Veronica Speedwell’ series is also excellent and certainly more fun. Book #3, A Treacherous Curse, will be released in trade paperback n mid-February and book #4, A Dangerous Collaboration, will be available in hardcover in March. There is something of a ‘will they or won’t they’ romantic sub-plot that I am beginning to find tedious, but I’m still buying this one on release.

And finally, two long awaited releases. As longtime newsletter readers know, I am a huge fan of Jasper Fforde and I have liked everything he has written, no matter how different it was from my beloved ‘Thursday Next’ series. But it’s been five years since The Eye of Zoltar (book #3 in his YA series ‘The Chronicles of Kazam’) and I despaired of anything coming down the pipe. But now there is a stand alone novel called Early Riser coming out in hardcover later this month. It sounds weird. It is categorized as ‘Fantasy - Contemporary / Dystopian / Thrillers’. But like I said, I have loved everything that Jasper Fforde has ever written, so I am willing to give it a try.

I loved Zen Cho’s The Sorcerer to the Crown when it came out four years ago. It was such a unique combination of fantasy and regency romance and gender/race issues. But as sometimes happens with sparkling debuts, book #2 took awhile (this is why agents will tell you to write book #2 while you query book #1). Finally though, book #2 is announced and The True Queen will be released in trade paperback in March. I’ll admit, this is one where I’m going to have to go back and read book #1 before I read the new title.

Finally, I really enjoy Brittany Cavallaro’s ‘Charlotte Holmes’ series, although I will include a bit of a content warning here as teenage Charlotte has the same penchant for drug-related vice as her storied ancestor. Book #3, The Case for Jamie, was just released in trade paperback (at a very reasonable $12.50). The next book, A Question of Holmes, will be released in hardcover in March. You’ll want to read the backlist on this one to catch up, as it might be a bit disorienting to jump later into the series (the Holmes, Watson, and Moriarty families get up to A LOT of shenanigans).

Wendy’s Recent Reads - The Missing Clue - February 2019

The type of mystery that I enjoy most is the police procedural.  January was a good month for me as two of my favourite authors had new titles, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ 21st Bill Slider mystery, Headlong, and Quintin Jardine’s Cold Case, the 30th Bob Skinner mystery.  These came hard on the heels of Susan Hill’s long awaited 9th Simon Serailler title, The Comforts of Home. I thought this might be a good time to introduce some of the newer writers of this genre.

Robert Bryndza, has a series which revolves around Det. Erika Forrester. Forrester has just been transferred back to London following a case which went disastrously wrong and resulted in the death of her husband who was also a member of the police force. The Girl in the Ice, is the first title in the series, the body of a young socialite has been discovered frozen in a pond in a park.  This is a challenging case exacerbated by the pressures of the well connected family of the victim.

M.J. Arlidge writes about Detective Inspector Helen Grace.  We are first introduced to the character in Eeny Meeny. The series is a little on the dark side for me but it has been a very well received.

The Deaths of December, is the first in D.C. Becky Greene series by Susi Holliday.  The plot revolves around an Advent Calendar which is dropped off at the police station. No one takes any notice of this until Becky takes a closer look at the calendar and realises that it is connected to a murder that has occurred and that also it may be a portent of murders to come.

Elly Griffiths has a new book coming out in March called the Stranger Diaries. While described by the publisher as a contemporary Gothic thriller it is also a police procedural.  The lead female detective is a strong and interesting character who struggles with balancing her professional life and her life as a daughter who lives with her more traditional East Indian parents.  I think that this is the most interesting character that I have read about in the last few months.

Upcoming (and Recent) Events - The Missing Clue - February 2019

Harry Potter Book Night

We are still overwhelmed by the level of interest that we have had in the Bloomsbury Publications "Harry Potter Book Night" that we will be hosting on Thursday, February 7th. Not only did we have to split it into two events, but the tickets for both of them were snapped up in just over an hour.

Stay tuned both in store, as well as on our social medias for some of the results of this event, and for others like it. In 2019, we are hoping that this will be just the first of a bumper of evening events that we can present to give all of you the chance to experience our new space in new ways!

Used Book Sale

Although there have been a number of changes at Whodunit? of late, in some cases, the more things change, the more they will stay the same. February, for example, will still feature our Used Book Sale, from Tuesday, February 19th to Sunday, February 24th. ALL our Used Books will be half price. So for those who have been waiting to come out of hibernation, and especially those of you who haven't come to visit us yet please be sure to come take advantage of this event!

Children’s Book Sale

Many of you have already noted our expanded children's section and have taken advantage of our new capability to stock classics like The Snowman (not to be confused with the Jo Nesbo title…) and new 'classics' like I Need a New Butt.  But in keeping with our desire to link to our own past, we will be carrying through a new tradition from 165 will be the return of our Children's Book Sale, offering 15% off all children's books from Friday, March 29th to Sunday, March 31st.  

We have no word yet whether we will be having any guest salespeople as we did last year, but we do know that we will be aiming to share our great new holdings for younger readers with people of all ages!

Terry O’Reilly

Part of the transition into our new space has been the opportunity to leave it.  Now that technology allows us to take card payments away from the shop without the need for carbon paper, we have been happy to do a number of off-site events.  Most recently, we were honoured to be asked to be the bookseller for CBC's Terry O'Reilly (Under the Influence) while he was speaking at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on January 25th.  Not only we were thrilled to hear Terry's talks on marketing and podcasting (and take a few hints home for ourselves), we are pleased to be able to meet with many of his fans, and let the larger Winnipeg world know about us, as we provided them with copies of both Mr. O'Reilly's works!  Thank you again to Terry, and to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for having us!

Death (or not) of the Cosy Mass Market by Wendy - The Missing Clue - December 2018

Recently, there has been a definite reduction in the amount of mass market titles, particularly cosies available. There are a variety of reasons for this. A number of long time writers have finished off their series, for example Margaret Maron. Some authors like Joyce and Jim Lavene have died. As many authors like the Lavene’s have more than one series and write under a number of different names this has left a large gap. A number of authors, e.g. Nancy Atherton and Emily Brightwell no longer have mass market editions, they only appear in hard cover and trade paper editions. From what we hear Kensington, one of the biggest publishers of the cosy mass markets is making a concerted effort to find and publish new cosy writers. We have seen some evidence of this, for example, murder by the Lauren Elliott’s Murder By the Book (MM $8.99). We will continue to look for and stock new cosy writers. We do have a new British series by Julie Wassmer, which is set in Whitstable in the South East of England. As the series has been out for some time in the UK we have the first four titles in stock. Pearl Nolan owns a café which specializes in oysters. In the first book, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, the death of one of her friends brings Pearl into contact with Chief Inspector Mike McGuire and so it goes on in true cosy fashion. These books are published in the smaller trade paper size at $15.99.

Recommended by Jack and Wendy - The Missing Clue - December 2018

It is always nice at Christmas to buy a book just for one’s self. Here are some books that Jack and Wendy have enjoyed in the last little while. Jack could not put Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder (TP $24.99). He is really pleased that there is going to be a second title with Detective Daniel Hawthorne in the spring. Jack also liked Peter James’ Absolute Proof (TP $26.99). This is not part of the Superintendent Grace series but is a standalone. Will the late night phone call that investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer change not only his life but also the course of society?

Wendy was pleased that there was, at last, a new Susan Hill novel in her ‘Simon Serailler’ series. The Comforts of Home is the ninth in the series and well worth the wait (TP, $25.00). For some reason Christmas titles have been being released earlier and earlier in the year. One very enjoyable book, which we hope will be the basis of a new series was Susi Holliday’s The Deaths of December, (tp $15.99). A British police procedural, the plot revolves around an advent calendar and Christmas craft fairs.

Picture Books: Not just For Children Anymore - The Missing Clue - December 2018

One of the things that has changed the most in the last year in Whodunit? is the volume of children and young adult books that we have been able to stock, especially since our move into the new space. As a result, we have started to be made aware of a growing number of picture books that, while mostly acceptable for children, are really directed at the adult who is probably reading it. These are not to be mistaken for the illustrated editions of novels like the ‘Harry Potter’ series, or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, nor are they the graphic novels like the critically acclaimed Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal or the posthumous release of Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts. Instead these are well designed, and often beautifully illustrated short texts for nearly everyone, but really directed at adults.

For many of you, the most familiar of these will be ones that have been written by the staff of American late night hosts. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo made waves in the summer when ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ launched it to compete with the Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President by Charlotte and Karen Pence, and was followed this autumn by Whose Boat is This Boat? released by Stephen Colbert's Late Show, and ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah's’ Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library.

However, while these have all taken advantage of the "laugh because it hurts" mentality brought on by 45, others take advantage of our nostalgia for the past. Die Hard Christmas, for example, is a re-writing of the Night Before Christmas poem that adds credence to the argument that the Bruce Willis film is, in fact, a Christmas movie. With a much more Canadian flavour is the The Log Driver's Waltz, beautifully illustrated version of the iconic Canadian cartoon, with illustrator Jennifer Phelan creating new images that still evoke the original National Film Board animation.

Finally, although they have not been released this year, we have taken advantage of the season to stock the absolutely gorgeous (albeit sizeable) Historium and Animalium. These fictional museum and zoo books collect together artefacts and animals that would otherwise be impossible to keep in one place, and carefully render and detail their origins, importance, and geographical home. While the publisher has also produced activity books that allow children to pursue the same lines of enquiry and lessons that they would get in a brick and mortar museum, the originals themselves make for wonderful adult reading, and coffee table conversation. (That is, if you coffee table is large enough).

With fresher examples appearing regularly, if none of these fit the needs of someone on your gift list, there are more that we can offer. These books are perfect for the readers and "non-readers" in your life alike, or as Secret Santa gifts.

October/November Bestsellers - The Missing Clue - December 2018

The following is a list of the twenty five books we have sold most copies of since October 1st. As I am writing this on November 26th, it does not include a title that will have undoubtedly rocketed up the list by the time you are reading this newsletter, the new Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind, hardcover $35.99.  I hope it might give you some ideas either for your own wish list or a gift for someone else.

 

1.                   C.C. Benison, Paul is Dead, TP $19.95

2.                   Ian Rankin, In A House of Lies, HC $34.99

3.                   Peter Robinson, Careless Love, HC $29.95

4.                   Craig Smith, The Wonky Donkey, $9.99

5.                   Anne Cleaves, Wild Fire, TP $25.99

6.                   Robert Galbraith, Lethal White, HC $38

7.                   Vicki Delany, The Cat of the Baskervilles, TP $23.95

8.                   Peter Robinson, Sleeping in the Ground, TP $21

9.                   Rhys Bowen, The Ghost of Christmas Past, TP $22.50

10.               Kate Carlisle, A Wrench in the Works, MM $10.99

11.               C.J. Sansom, Tombland, HC $39.95

12.               Anne Perry, A Christmas Revelation, HC $27

13.               Susanna Gregory, The Habit of Murder, TP $15.99

14.               Felix Francis, Crisis, TP $22

15.               Kate Ellis, The Mechanical Devil, TP $15.99

16.               Reed Farrel Coleman, Robert B Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet, MM $12.99

17.               John Sandford, Holy Ghost, HC $39

18.                H.B. Lyle, The Irregular, SPY $20.49

19.                Graham Reed, The Chairman’s Toys, TP $22.95

20.                Sophie Hannah, Mystery of the Three Quarters, TP

21.               Kate Atkinson, Transcription, HC $32.95

22.               Emily Brightwell, Mrs. Jefferies and the Three Wise Women, TP $22

23.               Janet Evanovich, Hardcore Twenty Four, MM $12.99

24.               Cleo Coyle, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, MM $10.99

25.               Sherry Thomas, The Hollow of Fear, TP $20