Who's asking: A caller to The Mystery Bookstore yesterday
Today's pre-Festival of Books party at The Mystery Bookstore starts at 5:00, when Denise Hamilton, Jim Pascoe, Christopher Rice and possibly a couple of other folks sign Los Angeles Noir, their new collection of short fiction. It'll go until 9:00 p.m., until the food and drink run out, and/or until we kick everyone out.
I'm feeling generous, so here are a couple more questions I fielded yesterday:
Q: Will there be any celebrities at this party?
A: Depends on what you consider a celebrity. Mary Higgins Clark said she'd stop in, we're hoping to see brand-new Edgar winner Naomi Hirahara, and we should have a few other Edgar winners and nominees on hand as well. The whole list is here.
Q: How much wine should we buy?
A: A lot. I'm not going to say exactly how much, but we bought a lot. Also beer, water, soft drinks, and food.
Q: Can you recommend a contemporary mystery set in India?
A: Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games is supposed to be great, but I have not read it yet because it's 928 pages long.
Those of you in Los Angeles should come out to The Mystery Bookstore tonight. If you're in the Washington, DC area, go see The Good Doctor at St. John's College this weekend, directed by the brilliant and hilarious Christopher Bea.
What I Read This Week
Carol Higgins Clark, Laced. Regan and Jack Reilly, married at last, go on honeymoon to Galway and discover that a notorious pair of jewel thieves have arrived just ahead of them. Much lighter reading than my usual, but charming, and a nice break.
Stuart Woods, Fresh Disasters. Midway through this book, the main character sleeps with three different women on consecutive days -- and takes one of them on a date to the scene of another's brutal murder. Strangely, he's supposed to be the hero. I used to defend this series as Walter Mitty fantasies, but I'm done now.
Kat Richardson, Greywalker. A debut novel introducing Seattle PI Harper Blaine, who can see the Grey -- the zone between living and dead -- after a near-death experience. A missing persons case leaves her working for a vampire and fighting to save the community from a dangerous revenant. Interesting, but I think Christopher Moore may have wrecked my ability to take the vampire genre seriously.
Mike Freeman, Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero. Someone needs to write a definitive cultural biography of football legend/actor/activist/alleged abuser Jim Brown, but this isn't it. It's a good introduction for a generation that has already (shockingly) forgotten him, but the subtitle gives Freeman's perspective away: he admires Brown too much to give us a truly comprehensive perspective. And it's hard to write a biography of someone who's still alive.
Louise Penny, A Fatal Grace. Somehow I missed Penny's Dilys-winning debut, Still Life; I'm going to have to go back for it now, because this sequel is wonderful. A cold, much-disliked Martha Stewart wannabe is electrocuted at a Christmas curling match. As Inspector Gamache investigates, he finds that almost everyone in the small southern Quebec town of Three Pines had a motive to kill her. A Fatal Grace reminded me -- if I needed reminding -- that "traditional" mysteries can be every bit as emotionally honest and complex as the darker stuff. It's out next week, but already available in Canada as Dead Cold.