CyberGumshoe's Mumblings in January/February 2021

Margaret Maron Dies

Margaret Maron died of stroke complications on February 23 in North Carolina. When the North Carolina-born lived in Brooklyn, New York with her family, she attended a fiction wrting class at Brooklyn College and started writing and contributing mystery short stories. Her first sold story was "The Death of Me," printed in the January 1968 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magaine written as by Margaret E. Brown (her maiden name). The Maron family moved to Johnston County, North Carolina in 1972, where she wrote all of her books and most of her short stories. Her first published novel was ONE COFFIE WITH (Raven, 1981) , introducing Lt. Sigrid Harald, a police detective of New York Police Dept. and she continued writing Harald novels almost annually while contributing short stories. One of these short stories was "Deborah's Judgment," (included in A WOMAN'S EYE, an anthology edited by Sara Paretsky; 1991) introducing Deborah Knott, an attorney (later a judge) in Colleton County, North Carolina, which won the 1992 Agatha Award in the short story category). The next year, the first Deborah Knott novel, BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER (Mysterious Press, 1992) won the 1993 Edgar, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards in the best novel category. She won four more Agatha novel awards for UP JUMPS THE DEVIL (Mysterious, 1996), STORM TRACK (Mysterious, 2000), TREE-DAY TOWN (Grand Central, 2011; with Sigrid Harald appearing) and LONG UPON THE LAND (Grand Central, 2015; 20th and last Debora Knott novel). The last Harald novel was TAKE OUT (Grand Central, 2017). Maron served as president of the Mytery Writers of America in 2005 and received the MWA Grand Master Award in 2013. She was 82. (February 27, 2021)

Martina Cole to Receive Diamond Dagger

The Crime Writers' Association of Britain (CWA) has announced that Martina Cole is the recipient of the 2021 CWA Diamond Dagger for her sustained excellence in crime-writing and significant contribution to crime-fiction writing. Her "books are the most requested in Her Majesty's prison libraries, and the most stolen from bookshops." She will receive the award at this year's Dagger Awards event to be held in October in London. (February 24, 2021)

Sarah Weinman Becomes New Crime Fiction Columnist for NYTBR

Sarah Weinman has become the new crime fiction columnist for The New York Times Book Review as Marilyn Stasio has retired from her twice-monthly column. Sarah was the author of THE REAL LOLITA (Ecco, 2018; Arthur Ellis Award winner in the non-fiction crime book category from the Crime Writers of Canada), and the editor of the anthologies: UNSPEAKABLE ACTS (Ecco, 2020); WOMEN CRIME WRITERS (Library of America, 2015); and TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES (Peng;uin, 2013). She has also written articles for Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and other publications as well as contributed mystery stories for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magagine and several anthologies. Her first column appeared online on Feburary 12 and in Feb. 14 issue. I wish her good luck and good fun. (February 13, 2021)

Larry King Dies

Larry King died of sepsis as a complication after having recovered from Covid-19 on January 23 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The famous television talk show host conducted over 50,000 interviews with many people, famous and infamous, including mystery writers such as Michael Connelly (King's favorite), Dennis Lehane, and James Patterson. He penned a number of books including MR. KING, YOU'RE HAVING A HEART ATTCK (Delacorte, 1989; with B.D. Colen) and DADDY DAY, DAUGHTER DAY (a children's book, Dove Kids,1997; with his daughter Chaia King). He also co-wrote one mystery novel, MOON OVER MANHATTAN (New Millenium [sic], 2003) with Edgar-winning author Thomas H. Cook. He was 87. (February 06, 2021)

Michael Bowen Dies

Michael Bowen died from complications of pulmonary hypertension on January 19 in Wisconsin. The Harvard Law School graduate began to write fiction while working as a litigation attorney at the Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His first novel was CAN'T MISS (HarperCollins, 1987) about the first woman who plays major league baseball. His first mystery novel was BADGER GAME (St. Martin's, 1089), introducing Thomas Curry, an ex-lawyer in a law firm in 1960's New York City. Another series character Richard Michaelson is a retired Foreign Service Office diplomat in Washington, DC who first appeared in WASHINGTON DECEASED (St. Martin's, 1990), while Rep Pennyworth, a copyright lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana, made his first appearance in SCREENSCAM (Poisoned Pen Press, 2001). His newest series character is Josie Kendall, a fundraiser in Washington, DC, featured in DAMAGE CONTROL (Poisoned Pen Press, 2016). Bowen also wrote BUT REMEMBER THEIR NAMES (PPP, 2011; introducing Cynthia Jakubek, a Pittsburgh lawyer) and JAIL COACH (PPP, 2012; with loss prevention specialist Jay Davidovich) under the Hillary Bell Locke pseudonym. His last novel was the second Kendall book, FALSE FLAG IN AUTUMN (PPP, 2019). He was 69. (January 28, 2021)

2021 Edgar Award Nominees Announced

The Mystery Writers of America (MWA) has announced the nominees for the 2021 Edgar Awards. The nominees in the best book category are as follows:

DJINN PATROL ON THE PURPLE LINE, by Deepa Anappara (Random House)
BEFORE SHE WAS HALEN, by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)
THURSDAY MURDER CLUB, by Richard Osman (Peguin/Pamela Dorman Books)
THESE WOMEN, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)
THE MISSING AMERICAN, by Kwei Quartey (Soho Crime)
THE DISTANT DEAD, by Heather Young (William Morrow)

To see the nominees in all the categories, click here. The winners will be announced on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (January 26, 2021)

Addendum -- "Fearless," by Walter Mosley (California Schemin', edited by Art Taylor; Wildside Press) was nominated in the short story category. However, Mosley himself notified the MWA that his story was ineligible, and the story was removed from the list. Is it the same story as the one that was included in the 1995 black mystery fiction anthology, SPOOKS, SPIES, AND PRIVATE EYES, edited by Paula L. Woods? (January 27, 2021)

Sharon Kay Penman Dies

Sharon Kay Penman died of pneumonia on January 22 in New Jersey. The former tax lawyer's first novel, THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR (Holt, 1982), was a historical one set in the 12th Century England, featuring King Richard III. Only one copy of the first draft of it was stolen from her car when she was moving to her new apartment in 1972, and she was unable to write it again for six years. Then she finally began to rewrite and finished it. Marian Wood at Henry Holt advised her to revise it and published the revised version in 1982. (This episode reminds me of Sue Grafton, whose first Kinsey Millhone novel, A IS FOR ALIBI, was published by Holt in 1982, with Wood as her editor.) After Penman wrote the Welsh Princes trilogy (HERE BE DRAGONS; Holt, 1985) and the first of the Plantagenet series, WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT (Holt, 1995), she felt burned out, and started to write THE QUEEN'S MAN (Holt, 1996), the first of the medieval mystery series featuring Justin de Quincy (a bastard son of a prominet bishop), who works for Eleanor of Aquitaine. THE QUEEN'S MAN was nominated for the Edgar award in the first novel category. The third de Quincy novel, DRAGON'S LAIR, was published by Putnam in 2003, because her editor Wood moved from Holt to Putnam, and Penman and Grafton also moved with Wood. PRINCE OF DARKNESS (Putnam, 2005) was the fourth and last de Quincy novel. Penman's last novel was THE LAND BEYOND THE SEA (Macmillan, 2020), a stand-alone. Her books were published in the United Kingdom as Sharon Penman. She was 75. (January 27, 2021)

2021 Lefty Award Nominees Announced

Left Coast Crime has announced the nominees for the 2021 Lefty Awards. The nominees in the best Mystery Novel category are as follows:

WHAT YOU DON'T SEE, by Tracy Clark (Kensington books)
BLACKTOP WASTELAND, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
BLIND VIGIL, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
AND NOW SHE'S GONE, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

To see the nominees in the other three categories click here. "Because of the pandemic, the April 2021 Left Coast Crime convention was reschefuled for 2022," but Lefty Coast Crime will be presenting four Lefty Awards in 2021 online on April 10, 2021. (January 19, 2021)

John Lutz Dies

John Lutz died from complications of Lewy body dementia and coronavirus on Janurary 09 at a nursing facility in Chesterfield, Missouri. He worked as a theater usher, a forklift operqator, construction worker and a truck driver while sending mystery short stories to mystery magazines before he wrote full-time in 1975. The prolific writer sold his first story was "Thieves' Honor" printed in the December 1966 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine [AHMM]. His first novel was THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER (Pocket Books, 1971). He published more than 40 novels and 200 short stories. He was most famous as the writer of SWF SEEKS SAME (St. Martin's, 1990), which was turned into the 1992 movie, "Single White Female," starring Bridget Fond. He created several series characters. The Alo Nudger series features an extra nervous private eye in St. Louis, starting with BUYER BEWARE (Putnam, 1976) and ending with OPPS! (St. Martin's, 1998). Fred Carver is an ex-cop-turned-private eye ion Del Moray, Florida, introduced in TROPICAL HEAT (HOLT, 1986). Frank Quinn, is a former New York cop, who first appears in DARKER THAN NIGHT (Pinnacle, 2004). The newest one is Thomas Laker, an National Security Agency agent for the secret Gray Outfit in Washington DC. He won one Edgar Award for "Ride the Lightning" (AHMM, November 1982), featuring Nudger, in the short story category from the Mystery Writers of America, and two Shamus Awards for "The Right to Sing the Blues" (AHMM, May 1983) in the short story category and for KISS (Holt, 1988) featuring Carver, in the novel category, as well as received the 1995 Eye Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America. I had known him since the late 70's and met him at several mystery gatherings, and he was very nice to me as well as to everyone. He was 81. (January 13, 2021; revised, Janurary 14)

In Memoriam 2020

Better late than never. I am very sorry that I did not have time to write several obits in late December. Now I am belatedly writing them as follows:

Alanna Knight died after a stroke on December 02, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was 97. The former office secretary began writing in her 40's as therapy to aide her recover from a severe nervous disorder. Her first novel was LEGEND OF THE LOCH (HURST, 1969), a gothic mystery. She wrote several historical mysteries featuring Inspector Jeremy Faro, a detective in Victorian Edinburgh (starting with ENTER SECOND MURDERER [Macmillan, 1988] , and ending with THE DOWERE HOUSE MYSTERY [Allison & Busby, 2019), Rose McQuinn (Faro's daughter, returning from American Wild West to Edinburgh, starting with THE INSPECTOR'S DAUGHTER; Constable, 2000), and Tam Eildor, mystery-solving time-traveller (starting with THE DAGGER IN THE CROWN; Macmillan, 2001). Her forthcoming novel will be MURDER AT THE WORLD'S EDGE (Allison & Busby, May 2021), an Eildor novel. She was also an authority on Robert Louis Stevenson, and a menter for new writers. She was 97.

Terry Kay died of liver cancer on December 12, 2020 in Georgia. The former journalist was most famous as the author of TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG (Peachtree Publishing, 1990), his fourth novel, which was turned into the 1993 TV movie starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, and again into the 2016 Japanese movie starring Tatsuya Nakadai. Two more of his novels were made into TV movies: THE RUNAWAY (Morrow, 1997; satrring Dean Cain and Maya Angelou); and THE VALLEY OF LIGHT (Atria, 2003; starring Chris Klein). He penned 18 novels mainly set in Georgia including some crime ones including AFTER ELI (Houghton Mifflin, 1981), DARK THIRTY (Poseidon, 1984), and THE KIDNAPPING OF AARON GREENE (Morrow, 1999). His last novel was THE FOREVER WISH OF MIDDY SWEET (Merdcer University Press, 2020). He was 82.

John M. Daniel died on December 13, 2020 at his home in McKinleyville, California after a long illness. The former bookseller was co-publisher (with his wife Susan) of Daniel & Daniel, Publishers. He wrote several mystery novels, PLAY MELANCHOLLY BABY (Perseverance Press, 1987) and three Guy Mallon novels starting with THE POET'S FUNERAL (Poisoned Pen Press, 2005) and ending with BEHIND THE REDWOOD DOOR (Dark Oak Mysteries, 2011). Mallon is a bookstore owner and publisher in California, just like its author. Another one of his novels, HOOPERMAN (Dark Oak Mysteries, 2013), features Hooperman Johnson, a bookstore cop (security guy) in Palo Alto, California in the 1970's. Perseverance Press is an imprint of Daniel & Daniel, which has published mystery novels by Janet Dawson, and Wendy Hornsby among others. He was 79.

(January 05, 2021)

William Link Dies

William Link died of congestive heart failure on December 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Link and his late constant collabrator Richard Levinson (1934 - 1987) first met at junior high school and began writing together. They co-wrote radio scripts at high school and short stories at the University of Pennsylvania. Their sold first short story, Whistle While You Work," to be published in the November 1954 issue of Ellery Queen's Msytery Magazine. One of a number of their stories published in 1959 was "The Joan Club" (November 1959 issue of Playboy), another one, "Memory Game," was in the the September 1959 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine as by Ted Leighton, their joint pseudonym. Their first break in the movie-television industry was "Chain of Command," a teleplay for "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" in 1959, and they co-wrote many teleplays for "The Rebel," "Richard Diamond," "Honey West," "Banacek," and others. They co-create several TV series including "Columbo," "Murder, She Wrote," "Ellery Queen," "Mannix," They won two Emmys for "My Sweet Charlie, and "Columbo: Death Lends a Hand," as well as four Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America (MWA): "Columbo" and "Ellery Queen" TV series (1979); "Murder by Natural Causes" (1980); "Rehearsal for Murder" (1983); and "Guilty Conscience" (1986). They also received the 1989 Ellery Queen Award as the outstanding writing teams (Levinson posthumously). LInk solely received the 2001 Marlowe Award from MWA/Southern California Chapter, the 2010 Poirot Award from Malice Domestic, and the 2018 MWA Grand Master Award. He was 87. (January 03, 2021)