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Sharon Tucker

by Sharon Tucker


Our most food-oriented holiday season approaches, and I am not alone in wanting new twists on the traditional foods we serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Luckily, we can research some of the techniques that make French cuisine a sensuous delight just by reading the mysteries Alexander Campion has written that feature Capucine Le Tellier, a Police Judiciare officer in Paris as well as her husband Alexandre Huguelet, a major food critic for Le Monde.

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by Sharon Tucker


Don’t look for much grit in Laura Resnick’s Urban Fantasies despite the fact that they have New York City as the backdrop. Oh, it isn’t that the streets aren’t mean and that the characters lack the infamous New Yorker’s brusqueness, rather it’s the fact that the stories are told in first person by heroine/actress/waitress/elf Esther Diamond who is nothing if not upbeat to the point of Micawberism. Even when she’s strung out over her never-quite-boyfriend Detective Connor Lopez or freaked about being unemployed, there is a strong positive undercurrent that tells readers she will triumph. Of course alliance with a 350-year-old Mage, Dr. Maximillian Zadok makes getting out of the scrapes Esther gets into much easier.

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by Sharon Tucker


Employing a psychologist or a psychiatrist as a part of an investigative team makes perfect sense. It has worked well for Val McDermid and her Dr. Tony Hill. Even Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter, though insane, had professional insights that helped Clarice Starling find “Buffalo Bill” after all. Enter Daniel Rinaldi, Dennis Palumbo’s clinical psychologist based in Pittsburgh.

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by Sharon Tucker


As we know, translation from the page to the stage is problematic. We readers are notorious for our loyalty to the ‘mise en scene’ in our heads, not to mention ideas about everything else from the characters’ appearances to following the books’ plots to the letter. Some novels are an easier go-to script because they are written with the object of production in mind and read almost like a screenplay already. However, this was not the case with the Shetland novels of Ann Cleeves.

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Three Clerical Mysteries

IN THE July 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker


Police procedurals dazzle us on the page and screen with their systematic use of investigative and forensic tools while their detectives wrestle with case files and clearance rates. Private investigators struggle with their own set of similar issues but more often have the time to devote themselves exclusively to one case at a time without, however, the safety net of police authority and resources.

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by Sharon Tucker


Barry Lancet’s Japantown (2016) introduced readers to Asian art dealer/Japanese detective agency owner Jim Brodie and both his divergent firms—one in San Francisco, the other in Tokyo—readily making available a cornucopia of possible plots that could occur in the US or Japan, or both, and by no means restricted to either locale. Lancet followed this intriguing debut with Tokyo Kill (2015), in which a veteran Japanese soldier comes to Brodie in Tokyo, certain that his friends and former unit are systematically being murdered, putting a WWII twist to the plot and making readers wonder to what degree Japanese culture still labors under the weight of that particular history.

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by Sharon Tucker


Faye Kellerman has written twenty-four novels starring Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Decker as of this year, and I must insist that I am revealing no surprise elements of the plot by letting readers in on the fact that they marry each other early into the series. Please. From their first encounter in The Ritual Bath (1986), onward through the most recent novel, The Bone Box (2017), it is clear that they are bashert (soul mates) bringing out the best in each other to become who each was meant to be.

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by Sharon Tucker


It’s just after World War I (1914-1918) in Yorkshire, and former volunteer nurse Kate Shackleton has discovered that she has skills. Her husband has been missing in action since the last year of the war, 1918, and although her efforts to find him have been unsuccessful so far, she has helped other families locate missing husbands and fathers by having “a police officer father, a poke-your-beak-in persistence, and an eye for detail.”

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by Sharon Tucker


St. Patrick’s Day approaches on March 17 and those of us of Irish descent can justifiably dance a little, drink Guinness, Jameson, or Bushmills, and dance some more. Happily too, this year I discovered the Sister Fidelma novels of Peter Tremayne (a.k.a. Peter Bradford Ellis) so will enjoy reading all the series and probably Tremayne’s Irish history works as well.

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by Sharon Tucker


Of course, it doesn’t hurt that author Barry Lancet had years of publishing experience behind him, as well as years of living in Japan before he began writing his Jim Brodie thrillers. He had an insider’s advantage navigating the choppy waters of approach letters, choosing a literary agent, and a clear knowledge of what worked on the page. This and his deep appreciation of Japanese arts and culture must have presented an irresistible formula for writing novels to anyone so inclined.

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by Sharon Tucker


Had a little trouble letting go of this past Christmas season? Me too. One of the ways I’ve eased myself on into this uncertain New Year is by reading C.C. Benison (aka Doug Whiteway), the Canadian author of Twelve Drummers Drumming (2011), Eleven Pipers Piping (2012) and Ten Lords A-Leaping (2013). They didn’t make my wish to hang on to the Christmas season come true, since none in the series so far have been set during Christmas, but Benison’s Fr. Tom Christmas is such a gentle, intelligent soul that I felt I would be safe with him newly settled in the small town of Thornford Regis in England’s West Country as he heals himself and his daughter by becoming a part of the life of the village. Ironic really since Fr.

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by Sharon Tucker


My university has a ten day to two week holiday between Christmas and New Year’s which gives us all a chance to unwind from the previous semester and ‘gird up our loins’ for the next. Although it is lovely to have time to relax, I find that I get a bit restless and anxious between the two holidays to get back to tasks I know are piling up—not to mention all the emails—and to hear about how we all spent the holidays. Everyone has at least one lurid anecdote to delight us all.

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by Sharon Tucker


Spending time in Provence was a favorite part of the European vacation I took a few years ago. This beautiful southernmost portion of France has had so much written about it and has been the setting of so many films, many of us feel like we have not only toured Provence, but even lived there. I know I felt like a long time resident after reading and seeing Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence and certainly so after reading all five of M. L. Longworth’s Verlaque and Bonnet mysteries.

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by Sharon Tucker


The most pleasing element in reading Agatha Christie is spending time in her world. It’s an orderly place full of rather complacent, pleasant people suddenly faced with the inexplicable: murders are discovered, friends go missing, or incongruities mushroom in either their village or whatever closed community her detectives happen to be in or called to at the time. Her best loved characters, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, are essentially likable, despite one’s occasional flightiness and a touch of narcissism in the other.

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