In this issue of the Blood-Letter: a preview of upcoming Bloody Thursday guests Phillip Margolin and Ami Margolin Rome, Pete Scott discusses James Sallis, we get some member news, and see nominations for the Edgar and Dilys Awards!

March 2012


Writing Mysteries As a Father-Daughter Team

Phillip Margolin and Ami Margolin Rome

Phillip Margolin is no stranger to Friends of Mystery – he has been honored for his contributions to our organization, and is a past winner of The Spotted Owl Award for Executive Privilege.  With his latest book, Vanishing Acts: A Madison Kincaid Mystery, he is achieving two firsts – his first book for young readers and his first book writing with his daughter, Ami Margolin Rome.

Mr. Margolin grew up in New York.  He graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C., followed by volunteering in the Peace Corps from 1965-1967.  In 1970 he graduated from New York University School of Law, and came to Oregon to clerk with Herbert M. Schwab, the Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals.  From 1972 until 1996 he was in private practice in Portland, Oregon, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels.  As an appellate attorney he has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals.  As a trial attorney, he handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court and he has represented approximately 30 people charged with homicide, including several who have faced the death penalty.

Since 1996, Margolin has been writing full-time.  His books have been New York Times bestsellers and selections or main selections of the major book clubs.

Ami Margolin Rome serves as the Executive Director of the North Clackamas Education Foundation (NCEF), and has worked in the education field her entire career.

Prior to joining NCEF, Mrs. Rome was a Policy Analyst for an education policy consulting firm, Education First Consulting, specializing in strategic planning, research, policy analysis, and advocacy for large foundations, state education agencies, school districts and non-profit organizations.

From 2001-2003, Mrs. Rome served as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with teachers in three school districts in the Dominican Republic.

In her spare time, Mrs. Rome enjoys writing, and her first novel, co-written with her father, was published in October 2011.

We hope you will be able to join us for their presentation.  The program will begin at 7:30 pm and will be held at Terwilliger Plaza in the White Auditorium. Directional signs will be posted in the building. The meeting is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Terwilliger Plaza employee parking lots across 6th Avenue from the lower level entrance, and on Sheridan Street. Handicapped parking is available at the upper level entrance. Tri-met bus #8, Jackson Park, stops just in front of the lower level entrance. Click here for directions to Terwilliger Plaza, including a map which shows parking in the area.

Date: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:00pm

Location: Terwilliger Plaza, 2545 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR

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Edgar Award Nominees 2012

Announced by the Mystery Writers of America for works published or produced in 2011, the Edgar Awards will be presented on April 26, 2012.


  • The Ranger, by Ace Atkins
  • Gone, by Mo Hayder
  • The Devotion of Suspect X, by Keigo Higashino
  • 1222, by Anne Holt
  • Field Gray, by Philip Kerr


  • Red on Red, by Edward Conlon
  • Last to Fold, by David Duffy
  • All Cry Chaos, by Leonard Rosen
  • Bent Road, by Lori Roy
  • Purgatory Chasm, by Steve Ulfelder


  • The Company Man, by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Faces of Angels, by Lucretia Grindle
  • The Dog Sox, by Russell Hill
  • Death of the Mantis, by Michael Stanley
  • Vienna Twilight, by Frank Tallis


  • The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars, by Paul Collins
  • The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge, by T.J. English
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard
  • Girl Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender, by Steve Miller
  • The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter, by Mark Seal


  • The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time, by Dan Burstein, Aarne de Keijzer & John-Henri Holmberg
  • Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making, by John Curran
  • On Conan Doyle: Or, the Whole Art of Storytelling, by Michael Dirda
  • Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film, by Philippa Gates
  • Scripting Hitchcock: Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie, by Walter Raubicheck and Walter Srebnick.

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Whose Books Do You Look Forward to Reading?

I asked that question at the end of the January newsletter, and a reply was forthcoming:

My list changes as some leave us and new voices emerge.  Two Michaels, and both former journalists, head my list:  Michael Robotham, whose latest must-read is The Wreckage with dual settings (London and Baghdad), and Michael Connelly, a long-time favorite, especially LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.  I was overjoyed with all the Scandinavian writers, but for prose and thought-provoking writing, Norwegian Karin Fossum goes on my list ahead of many others.  When I read his first book, Child 44, then his second, The Secret Speech, Tom Rob Smith became a standout for this list.  His historical mingling with intelligent, imaginative storytelling make his books outstanding.  I’m waiting patiently for Agent 6.  My most recent find, and I’m gobbling up her books as I find them, are those by Denise Mina.  She may not be everyone’s cuppa, but her character-driven stories set in Glasgow far exceed even Edgar winners I’ve read.

—Harriet Stay, Port Townsend, WA

Please consider sending your favorite authors to share with us!

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Member News

Sharon Appleman is pleased to announce her novel, Coyote Willows, made it through the first round of the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest.  Coyote Willows is a mystery within a modern-day ecological thriller which takes readers on a dizzying journey across the high desert of the Pacific Northwest, where murder, mercenaries, and mysticism collide, revealing a threat more deadly than Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi.

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James Sallis

By Pete Scott

Driven by James Sallis

DRIVEN, the sequel to DRIVE, comes out in April 2012

The recent release of the movie “Drive” starring Ryan Gosling and the publication of the new crime novel, The Killer is Dying, reminds one of what an impressive writer James Sallis is.  He has been publishing and teaching creative writing since the early seventies and goes from strength to strength.  The new article about his career in Mystery Scenemagazine describes him as a “man of letters.”  He is a crime fiction writer, short story writer, screenwriter, poet, and a critically acclaimed biographer.  I first became aware of him when I picked up a well-worn paperback crime novel from his Lew Griffin series.  What great stories set in New Orleans, about an African-American part-time college professor of the French novel.  Who just happens to get involved in all sorts of doings.

An entirely different situation is found in the Salt River trilogy.  Here we have a former Memphis cop who is convicted and, after release, moves to rural Tennessee where he eventually finds himself becoming a deputy sheriff.

In summary, you can pick anything by Mr. Sallis and find it worth your while.

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The 2012 Dilys Award Nominations

The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) has announced the nominees for the Dilys Winn award, given annually to the mystery which the members most enjoyed selling.  The award will be presented at Left Coast Crime in March.


  • When Elves Attack, by Tim Dorsey
  • Wicked Autumn, by G.M. Malliet
  • Tag Man, by Archer Mayor
  • A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny
  • Ghost Hero, by S.J. Rozan

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Upcoming Events in the 2011-2012 Bloody Thursday Season

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Submissions Needed

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

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