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Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. If you love mysteries — explore Mysteryrat’s Maze — and check out our sister site on Blogger for bonus articles.


Sharon Tucker

Spider’s Trap By Jennifer Estep

IN THE July 25 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andFantasy & Fangs,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker



Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series is quite a ride. If you have been with Gin Blanco on the whole trip detailed in the previous 12 novels in the series, then you have seen her begin as a lone assassin in Spider’s Bite and watched as events in it and her succeeding adventures have brought her to the point where Spider’s Trap, number 13, begins.

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by Sharon Tucker


Perhaps your summer reading, like mine, involves pulling the venetian blinds mostly closed against the afternoon sun, getting the AC just right and then settling back with a good book, a glass of iced tea and finally settling in to read, going where your author takes you.

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Remembering Ruth Rendell

IN THE June 13 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSharon Tucker
SECTIONS

by Sharon Tucker


On May 2, 2015, Ruth Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, died at the age of 85, leaving behind a legacy of more than 60 best-selling novels. She had been a Labor Party member of the House of Lords, and sponsor to various charities for housing, children with heart disease, assisted suicide, and the rights of African women.

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by Sharon Tucker


Earth day (April 22) always makes me long to be a flower child again. I want to wear Birkenstocks, put on a patchwork granny dress and to have flowers in my hair—all of which I did daily a number of years ago—except maybe the flowers. I want to spend the day outdoors in a sylvan setting, far away from the city where cars vibrate with rap music, and I want to be in a place where the internet is just a line of code on the breeze.

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by Sharon Tucker


If you read and enjoy thrillers, you are probably familiar with those written about and during the Cold War (roughly between 1947 and 1991). The spy literature this era spawned is still classic and includes authors Ian Fleming, John LeCarre, Len Deighton, Alistair McLean, Frederick Forsythe, and Robert Ludlum, among many others.

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by Sharon Tucker


As this official holiday for lovers (and anti-holiday for singletons) now approaches, are you planning a sumptuous dinner with champagne followed by a molten chocolate extravaganza for dessert? If so, good for you! Celebration of this holiday is highly individual, perhaps never more so than by authors’ writing murder mysteries centered on or around it. So pick up one or more of these Valentine-themed mysteries by Rendell, Meier and McLeish and relax, sit back and enjoy.

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by Sharon Tucker


On November 27 of this past year, Baroness Phyllis Dorothy James of Holland Park passed away at her home in Oxford, England. Although I have not read her at all since she published, Death Comes to Pemberley and for some time before that neglected to read her last few Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, I unexpectedly felt a strong pang of loss. As a result, I have started reading Cover Her Face once more and I now plan carry on reading her books I have missed.

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by Sharon Tucker


If you choose to see the New Year in with amateur sleuths Lord Peter Wimsey, Christine Bennett or professional Edward X. Delaney, count on a body turning up for the holiday. Whether our investigators’ services are requested or they just happen to be in the neighborhood where a body is discovered, each is relentless in pursuit of the truth in his or own fashion. As he tells Harriet Vane when they meet in prison, Lord Peter simply enjoys “investigating things.”

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by Sharon Tucker


Detective novels set in California—particularly San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara (or Santa Teresa) are particularly attractive to us in the rest of the country. What makes them seem out of the ordinary involves both the paradise syndrome of the California that exists only in our imaginations, as well as the schadenfreude we experience as the underside of the great Hollywood dream factory is lovingly detailed in fiction —especially detective fiction.

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by Sharon Tucker



Halloween will be here soon. Even if you haven’t gone trick-or-treating for some time, remember the deliciousness that you felt at this time of year as a child? The beginning of cooler weather in late October takes me back to remembering classrooms festooned with pumpkins, scarecrows and witches, all cunningly cut from construction paper.

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by Sharon Tucker


Inigo Montoya insisted on going “back to the beginning” in The Princess Bride and we get to do just that in Jeri Westerson’s most recent novel, Cup of Blood. Can we be at the seventh volume in the Crispin Guest series already? I began reading the books a little over a year ago, intrigued by the notion of “medieval noir,” and curious as to how the author would make noir traditions work in the time of Richard II. In addition, I hadn’t read a book set in the 14th century since Anya Seton’s Katherine.

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by Sharon Tucker


May 9, 2014 marked the passing of novelist Mary Stewart at the age of 97. I hadn’t read her in quite a few years, but her death saddened me because somehow I felt as if I were saying goodbye to my youth again.

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by Sharon Tucker


Have you ever heard of, much less read, a pastiche that pleased all readers? I have not. As we know, even the original classics have their detractors. Some readers are over-the-moon to get a chance to re-enter the world of a beloved author and are generous in their assessments of those who attempt to carry on in the tradition of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte or Dorothy L. Sayers. Other readers will urge pastiche readers to get themselves back to the original authors, to eschew all imitations and to be satisfied with whatever canon as penned.

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by Sharon Tucker


I read The Cold Dish a few years back and thanks to Craig Johnson’s talents as a born storyteller, felt immediately connected to the modern West of his Walt Longmire. Even a reader like me with great appreciation for but little connection to the American West, who has no experience of guns, and who is vastly ignorant of Indian culture and law enforcement techniques finds she is suddenly comfortable and even mildly conversant about all of the former. (Ask me about Sharps rifles sometime.) Longmire’s Absaroka County in Wyoming is so well crafted that readers can just walk into life in the environs of Durant, Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountains bordering the small town.

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by Sharon Tucker


The convention of taking The Grand Tour of Europe was a tradition of the upper class from the 17th to mid-19th centuries. It was intended to educate a youth in terms of cultural history, the arts and society. A few years ago when I visited Europe on my version of The Tour, I was enchanted. I became acquainted with people from everywhere and loved spending too much time in museums, palaces and galleries.

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by Sharon Tucker


What’s not to love about herbs? Cooking channels program us to always have herbs on hand (fresh ones at that), so many of us spend a fortune at Kroger, or plant seeds to grow our own. I always cross my fingers after planting, not only hoping my seeds will sprout, but that our neighborhood squirrels don’t harvest them before I can get a share. To encourage the would-be gardener in you, the not-so-cozy world of Susan Wittig Albert’s herbalist, China Bayles, guarantees a good read for any time of year, but in the spring her world is especially attractive.

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by Sharon Tucker


Nosing through the mystery collection at my local public library branch, I recently picked up The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers, the second of his six novels featuring the redoubtable Chinese detective, Charlie Chan. After a few moments’ reading the first pages, the atmosphere and dialogue of the novel made me feel as if I’d transported in time back to San Francisco, California of the 1920s.

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by Sharon Tucker


If for you, Valentine’s Day is not a merely a commercial construct, but rather is a holiday that provides a chance to express, even if only superficially, affection and a desire for romance, then have I got three mysteries for you! All involve protagonists who are romance-conflicted, possibly even romance -impaired.

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