In this issue of the Blood-Letter: a preview of September 2010 Bloody Thursday guest Ann Littlewood, a note from Alan Bradley, a look at new mystery authors from Britain and Ireland, and more!

September 2010

Ann Littlewood to Begin the 2010-2011 Bloody Thursday Season – September 23rd

Ann Littlewood

Local author Ann Littlewood has just come out with the second of her zoo mysteries, Did Not Survive. The first, Night Kill, introduced her protagonist, zookeeper Iris Oakley, whose husband was found dead in the lion exhibit. After Iris experiences a series of accidents herself, she becomes certain that her husband’s death was murder. The book received many positive reviews for her plotting, character development and excellent dialog.

Did Not Survive starts off where Night Kill ended, but in this one, Iris Oakley is pregnant and working with the elephants when she discovers her boss, who appears to have been attacked by one of them. As animals go missing, Iris enlists her co-workers to find out why this is happening. This story also includes some environmental issues concerning animals in captivity.

Night Kill

Ann Littlewood draws on her 12 years as a zookeeper at the Oregon Zoo to give authenticity to the sights and smells of her stories. She has worked with Primates, Felines, and many other animals. She worked primarily in the zoo nursery, where she cared for lion and tiger cubs, wild-born cougars, an orphaned black bear as well as infant monkeys. Ann has many interesting stories to relate about her zoo experience, which she followed by working as a technical writer and business analyst.

We are looking forward to Ann’s presentation on Thursday, September 23, at the Terwilliger Plaza White Auditorium. The address is 2545 SW Terwilliger Blvd. There will be a reception at 7:00 pm and the program will start at 7:30 pm. The meeting is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the employee lots across 6th Avenue and off Sheridan Street. There is a lower level entrance just behind the bus shelter. Handicapped parking is located up the ramp to the front of the building. The Tri-Met #8 bus stops just in front of the lower entrance.

Date: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 7:00pm
Location: Terwilliger Plaza, 2545 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR

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2010 Spotted Owl Winner Sends His Thanks

Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin

The Friends of Mystery usually invite the winner of the Spotted Owl award to be a speaker at one of the Bloody Thursday events. However, Alan Bradley, author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie will not be able to be here as he has moved to Malta since its publication. We did receive the following very appreciative note from him via email.

First of all, let me thank you and the Friends of Mystery for choosing “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” as the winner of the Spotted Owl Award.

I am honoured indeed, and particularly so since the award represents the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where my wife and I spent so many happy years, and where, in fact, “Sweetness” was written.

I’d love to have an opportunity to chat with your “Bloody Thursday” meeting. Perhaps on some future North American visit we might arrange it.

For the moment, we’re living in Malta, enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle, to say nothing of the many fine and ancient libraries that are simply begging to be explored.

I’ll look forward to hearing more about the Spotted Owl.

Thanks for writing, and again, for the award. I’m absolutely thrilled!

Best regards,

Not only did Sweetness win the Spotted Owl award, but was also selected as the winner of the Crime Writer’s of Canada Association Arthur Ellis Debut Dagger Award for the Best First Novel. The Independent Booksellers Association gave Sweetness its Dilys Award as the book they enjoyed selling the most. It is also nominated for an Anthony award and the Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for a first novel.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is set in England in the 1950’s and features 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, a student of chemistry, especially poisons. When she finds a missing piece of pie and a dead body, she sets out to find the solution to the crime. The story is often referred to as charming, and a truly great read.

Alan Bradley has just published the next Flavia de Luce mystery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. The reviews call it another great mystery.

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The 2010 – 2011 Bloody Thursday Season

We are celebrating the 25th year of our Bloody Thursday lectures series, and have scheduled speakers that will be presenting a variety of topics that we believe will be of interest to our members.

Did Not Survive

Starting off on September 23 will be Ann Littlewood, author of a zoo mystery series. Her second book, Did Not Survive, was recently published and is receiving great reviews.

The November 18 speaker will be Dr. Loren Pankratz, who was a professor of psychiatry and medical psychology at Oregon Health Sciences University. His professional career has focused on understanding patients who deceive health-care professionals.

On January 27 we will have Michael Brown, a Deputy District Attorney for Multnomah County who will discuss the legal processes in the prosecution of those accused of crimes.

Murder In Passy

Cara Black, best-selling author, will be our speaker for the March 24th meeting. Her mystery novels set in France have a large following. The latest, Murder In Passy, will be released just prior to our meeting.

We will announce the winner of our 2011 Spotted Owl award and hope to have the author as our May 26th speaker. We will also have our annual book sale prior to the meeting.

These events are held at Terwilliger Plaza, 2545 SW Terwilliger Blvd. All but the November meeting are in the White Auditorium. The November meeting will be held in the Conference Room.

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New Mystery Writers From Britain and Ireland

By Pete Scott

I suspect you’re getting a little tired of CIA plots, serial killers and women in peril novels as am I. How about some intelligent writing with great characters that you might care about, set in interesting locations? Historical aspects and unusual back stories would be an added treat.

Raven Black

Three newer authors from across the Atlantic are Ann Cleeves, Jim Kelly and Brian McGilloway. Ann Cleeves, whose first book is titled Raven Black, writes about crime in the Shetland Islands with Detective Jimmy Perez. He comes from the outer islands and his background, plus that of his family, the landscape and history of the islands all play a role in the stories.

The Water Clock

Jim Kelly moves us south to the lonely Fens of Cambridgeshire, England with his first book, The Water Clock. His detective, Phillip Dryden, is the senior reporter for the local newspaper. His back story figures prominently in his stories as well as local history. The Fens are a really fascinating bit of geography to explore through Kelly’s books.


Brian McGilloway takes us over to Ireland in his debut novel, Borderlands, to meet Detective Inspector Devlin, who works for the Irish Republic along the borderlands with Northern Ireland. Part of the fun of the stories is Devlin’s interactions with his colleagues from the North. Old history from the ‘troubles” also figures in the stories.

All three are great reads, and I suggest that you start with the first novels since the stories progress chronologically.

Submissions Needed

Members and readers are encouraged to submit book or film reviews, comments on authors, recommendations for books to read, or questions about mysteries, crime fiction and fact. You can mail these to our PO Box 8251, Portland, OR 97207 or send to our email address at

Mystery Conventions

Mystery conventions are a great place to meet and hear your favorite authors and to be in the company of mystery fans from all over the world. If you get a chance to attend one, you will want to be at another.

    October 14 – 17, 2010
    Hyatt Regency
    San Francisco Honorees: Lee Child, Denise Mina, Laurie R. King
  • Left Coast Crime 2011
    March 24 – 27, 2011
    Santa Fe, New Mexico

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