Saturday, August 10, 2019

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

I went to Deadly Ink!
Though I've been away from Coffee Light for quite awhile I'm very pleased to be back. I've been doing a lot of reading and a lot of mystery reading and I hope to start doing some writing about mysteries again, too.  
One of my big inspirations to get going again was the Deadly Ink conference in New Jersey last weekend. I had the great good fortune to meet at least a dozen mystery writers. There were writers of cozy mysteries, writers about crime and urban grit and writers of mysteries set in historic eras or with science fiction themes far into the future. I enjoyed the panels, the presentations and most of all, an entire weekend devoted to writing and mystery novels. It's a small conference, so there was a great opportunity to talk to many of the participants. I was anxious attending without knowing anyone there, but by the second day I felt very much at home. 
Right now I'm finishing The Lost Man by Jane Harper, set in the Australian Outback. It will be the next book featured here. After that it's a fun, cozy read with Murder, She Knit, by Peggy Ehrhart. I met Peggy at Deadly Ink and intrigued by her Knit and Nibble Mystery series. It's not noir, but it looks like a lot of fun. 
What have you been reading over the summer? Hope there is a mystery or two on your list.
Thanks for visiting and happy reading!   

Monday, September 3, 2018

And the Winner Is...

The winner of this advance copy of The Big Empty is Lavender Dreams. 
I wish I had four copies to share and I appreciate every entry and every visitor.  
It's been a beautiful day in New York City and I spent time with my college roommate, went to the gym and took a long and lovely walk. Now it's reading time. There's a post later in the week featuring the Mystery of the Week and I've still got a few chapters to finish. 
Best wishes and happy reading!  

Monday, August 27, 2018

This Week's Mystery is No Mystery

It's the first giveaway for Coffee Light readers,
a copy of The Big Empty
A few weeks ago I featured The Big Empty as the first Mystery of the Week for Coffee Light. I enjoyed it a lot and thought our band of mystery readers would like the opportunity to read it, too. One Coffee Light reader will receive an advance reader copy, thanks to my buddies at Soho Press.

It's an easy entry. Please be a follower of Coffee Light and leave a comment with your favorite mystery novel. To receive an extra entry, dear blogger buddies, a shout out on your blog would be great. If you're not a blogger, you can earn an extra entry by Facebook/Instagram/Google+ mention. Just let me know in a comment if you posted for an extra entry. The giveaway will be open until Sunday, September 2 and on Monday, September 3 I will do a blog post with the winner's name.

In the interim I'm getting ready for next week's Mystery of the Week and finishing Elly Griffiths' The Chalk Pit. It's a favorite series and I'm enjoying it very much.

I feel that the last days of August are the last days of summer, though I do know that summer doesn't technically end for a few more weeks. But school started for years on the Wednesday after Labor Day and the last week of August was the last week of summer. Old habits still linger and I'm savoring shorts, no socks, t-shirts and of course, iced coffee light. What are you savoring this week?

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mystery of the Week: The Zig Zag Girl

Anyone can tell by the scarcity of posts that I went through a long reading block earlier in the year. I read a few books -- and lots of magazines, newspapers and blogs -- but if I read a dozen books, it was a lot. It was definitely not my normal reading. But that turned around on July 1. I was at JFK airport waiting to board my flight to London and my habitual fear of not having enough to read on the plane came over me. I did have a number of unread books on my iPad, but what if nothing quite suited me?

I logged into the New York Public Library website and looked for Elly Griffiths, one of my favorite mystery writers. I downloaded an unread title in her Dr. Ruth Galloway series and noticed a few titles I wasn't familiar with. So I also downloaded a sample of today's Mystery of the Week, The Zig Zag Girl. I was so engaged in the sample that I also downloaded the entire book and the next book in the series, Smoke and Mirrors. I read both books when I was in England and they were the kick start to get me reading again.

The main characters are Max Mephisto, a vaudeville magician and Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens of  Brighton, England and the setting is Brighton in the years after World War II. The characters are quirky, engaging and the setting is a fascinating glimpse into the last years of vaudeville. There are murders -- this is a mystery series -- and there is magic and the unlikely duo, who served together in World War II, more than held my interest. I'm now so wrapped up in the series that I've got the next two ready to read. In case you are worried that these are light and cozy, no fear, they are not. While they are lighter than the darkest of Scandinavian mysteries, and there is fun in the show business settings, there are still times spent in the dark corners of post-war Brighton.

What's your Mystery of the Week? Always enjoy knowing what the Coffee Light readers are enjoying.

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Mystery of the Week: The Big Empty

You will have to wait until December for The Big Empty, but it's worth the wait.
Greetings, mystery readers and friends! I know there are people who didn't think Coffee Light would be back in this decade -- and at times I was one of them -- but I've gotten my mystery writing inspiration back. I've also gotten my mystery reading inspiration going and I've finished four mysteries in the last month. I realized they're too good not to share and here's the first of what I hope will be a weekly recommendation for your mystery reading, The Big Empty by Stan Jones and Patricia Watts. 
I had the good fortune to attend BookExpo2018 and spend time with the gracious and erudite staff at Soho Press. They shared a number of titles with me and the Big Empty is the first of those that I've read. The detective is Nathan Active, police chief of Chukchi, Alaska. Chukchi is set in the world of bush planes and mountains, the Big Empty of Alaska. The story is well put together, the characters are detailed and interesting and the setting was a new world to me. The book will be published in December, but I had the good fortune to have an advanced copy. Don't despair at the time waiting for publication. The next few months are a great time to catch up on the first four books in the series.
Next week we're going back in time and to a different continent. Please be on the lookout for the next Mystery of the Week.
Happy reading!
Please note: I received a copy of the Big Empty in return for my thoughts. The opinions are all mine.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Alphabet Now Ends at Y

I'm so sad to share sad news at what is considered a festive time of year, but Coffee Light and mystery fans throughout the world are mourning tonight. Our beloved Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mystery series died in California yesterday.

I've read every book in the series, excepting the latest one, Y is for Yesterday and I was hoping to begin it in the next week. I started with A is for Alibi, published in 1982 and thirty-five years later I was still reading. Over the decades Kinsey, a private investigator in the mythical southern California town of Santa Theresa, came to be a trusted acquaintance. When I came upon a new volume in the series I could trust I would find one of my favorite investigators embarking on a complex and interesting mystery adventure. This consistency of plot and character is what kept me and millions of other readers enthralled with Sue Grafton's writing.

 Sue Grafton never wanted a ghost writer for her work and now there will be no "Z." As her daughter, Jamie Clark wrote, "the alphabet now ends at Y."  Farewell, Kinsey and farewell, Sue Grafton. The world is a sadder place tonight.   

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Never Thought I'd Fall in Love Again...

But I'm in love and I'm not hiding it.
At 67 I believed that my falling in love days were over and done. But after finishing Rather Be the Devil, Ian Rankin's latest mystery novel, I realized that I was in love and had been in love for years. Of all the men and detectives, I'd fallen for John Rebus, the very human hero of these novels.
Yes, Rebus is "seeing someone," may start smoking again at any second, lives 3,000 miles away in Scotland and perhaps the biggest impediment to our relationship, is a fictional character. But in this latest novel, dark and brooding as ever, he is very real to me, and his intelligence and sense of fairness drew me to him in this book, as in every past novel. In Rather Be the Devil Rebus has just retired from the Edinburgh police force, but not surprisingly is drawn back into an unsolved murder case from the 1970s.
In an era where corruption and power are part of every day discussion Rather Be the Devil looks at these issues through the lens of a mystery novel. As someone who has crossed over to retirement, I enjoyed seeing these issues through Rebus' cynical and experienced lens and the twists of the plot and the characters kept me reading.   
My dear Rebus, I'm glad your retirement was brief. I bet I'm not the only reader who waits eagerly for your next adventure when you'll once again be a part of my life.