In this issue of the Blood-Letter: a preview of our May speaker Sophie Littlefield, awards news, and more!

May 2013

May 22, 2014: Sophie Littlefield

On May 22, we welcome author Sophie Littiefield to Portland for Bloody Thursday.

With 16 novels and four series under her belt, Sophie Littlefield has established herself as a diversely talented, dynamic author. She debuted in 2008 with her critically-acclaimed mystery series featuring Stella Hardesty, A Bad Day For Sorry. Spotted Owl Award-winner Bill Cameron described Stella Hardesty as combining “all the best of a hard-boiled shamus and your favorite aunt, as comfortable with a handgun as she is hand-stitching.” All the Bad Day mysteries are raw and honest, with a dash of wry humor and a thread of potent redemption.

Over the years, Littlefield has continued to create compelling and empowered female characters. Though she writes everything from mystery to historical and young adult fiction, all of her books have one common feature: strong women. As a single mother of two, Sophie is drawn to writing about strong women who stand up for others while overcoming adversity. Her books are not only loved by readers and critics, but have received multiple awards and awards nominations. She’s won the Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity, and Goodreads Choice Awards.

In addition to writing, Littlefield speaks and teaches on a variety of topics Her knowledge and experience, wit and charm promise to make this a memorable Bloody Thursday event.

We hope you will be able to join us for her presentation. The program will begin at 7:30 pm at Terwilliger Plaza. 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 6

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Spotted Owl Committee Chooses Winners

For the second year in a row Mike Lawson has been chosen as the recipient of the nineteenth annual Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for his book, House Odds. The book was published in June 2013 by Atlantic Monthly Press. Ingrid Thoft was chosen as the recipient of the Debut Author award for her book, Loyalty, published by Putnam in June 2013.

The Spotted Owl award was established in 1995 and is given to the best mystery novel of the year by an author who lives in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Canada, Idaho, Oregon or Washington.) The Debut Author award is given when the committee feels that a first-time author’s book is of exceptional merit.

Members of the committee considered 68 novels in 2013. Runners up for The Spotted Owl Award were:

#2 – Roger Hobbs for Ghostman
#3 – (tie) Elizabeth George for Just One Evil Act
Urban Waite for The Carrion Birds
#5 – Phillip Margolin for Sleight of Hand
#6 – Dana Haynes for Ice Cold Kill
#7 – Jon Talton for The Night Detective
#8 – (tie) Michael Gruber for The Return
J.A. Jance for Second Watch
#9 – (tie) Chelsea Cain for Let Me Go
Dana Stabenow for Bad Blood

Members of the committee were Marlyne Stucky, Pete Scott, Carrie Richards, Sheila Sweet, and Kris Field-Eaton.

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Edgar Awards Announced

The recipients of the Edgar Awards were announced on Thursday evening, May 1st.

Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews

The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, by Daniel Stashowe

America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture, by Erik Dussere

“The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository” – Bibliomysteries, by John Connolly

One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake

Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher

Cover of Snow, by Jenny Milchman

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Left Coast Crime

By Jeannette Voss

When I read that Louise Penny was going to be the International Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime, and that it was being held in Monterey, California, I was ready to sign up. I was able to talk two of my friends (and Spotted Owl Committee readers) to be my partners in crime, so we all registered and eagerly awaited our date of departure.

Sharing the driving duties, we drove down in one day, arriving at the host hotel shortly after 8:30 pm. We checked into our room, excited about picking up our registration materials the next morning.

We were not disappointed when our bags contained free mystery books, the latest Mystery Scene magazine, and other mystery publications. We studied our booklets telling us the schedule of panels/panelists from which we were able to choose the ones that looked most interesting to us.

Scoping out the book room was a treat, where booksellers had mysteries galore that we could purchase, and they featured books written by the authors at the conference.

For three days we barely left the hotel, going to panels and the book room, and checking out the “exchange” table, where you could take/leave books (and where I scored an ARC copy of the new Johnny Shaw book, Plaster City.)

After each panel there was time to get your books signed by the panel participants, and Friday evening we had the opportunity to watch the first episode of a new BBC series based on Ann Cleeves books set in the Shetland Islands.

Saturday evening there was a banquet, and we had signed up to sit at a table with Bruce DeSilva, a favorite author of mine. Brad Parks was the toastmaster, and a good time was had by all. The following awards were announced:

THE LEFTY: Best humorous mystery novel
Brad Parks, The Good Cop

THE BRUCE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL HISTORICAL MYSTERY AWARD: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960
Catronia McPherson, Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses

THE SQUID: Best mystery set within the United States
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace

THE CALAMARI: Best mystery set anywhere else in the world
Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In

The DILYS Award was also presented. It is given annually (since 1993) by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association to the mystery titles of the year which the member booksellers have most enjoyed hand selling. The winner was:

William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace

On Sunday we drove home, excited about Left Coast Crime 2015, which will be held in our own Portland, Oregon.

March 12-15, 2015

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Upcoming Conferences for Mystery Lovers

Those of us who live in the Portland area are lucky that many mystery authors come through to do readings/signings at local bookstores. Another way to see a lot of your favorite authors is to go to a conference that showcases the mystery genre. Here are some upcoming conferences that you should check out.


May 15-18, 2014: Crimefest. Bristol, UK.

July 8-12, 2014: Thrillerfest IX. New York, NY. Spotlight Guests: Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, John Sandford, Linwood Barclay, Linda Fairstein. ThrillerMaster: Scott Turow.

July 17-20, 2014: Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, UK. Special Guests: Gillian Flynn, Sophie Hannah, S.J. Watson.

October 24-25, 2014: Magna Cum Murder XX. The Columbia Club, Indianapolis, IN.

November 13-16, 2014: Bouchercon 2014. Long Beach, California. Guests of Honor: J.A. Jance, Edward Marston; Lifetime: Jeffery Deaver.


March 12-15, 2015: Left Coast Crime: Crimelandia, Portland, Oregon.

October 8-11, 2015: Bouchercon 2015. Raleigh, North Carolina. Guests of Honor: Kathy Reichs, Tom Franklin. International Guest of Honor: Zoe Sharp, Allan Guthrie.

As you can see, you can plan to attend one close to home or make a real vacation of it and travel across the pond.

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Member News

Friends of Mystery is happy to publish news and press releases from our members in our Member News section, with the following considerations:

  • The news must be related to mystery or true crime writing, films, and television, as well as non-fiction examinations of the mystery genre.
  • Friends of Mystery will not be able to edit announcements, and will publish them as provided.
  • Friends of Mystery will include one image with each announcement, if provided.
  • Friends of Mystery is not responsible for the content of news announcements, and we reserve the right to not publish any announcements which we feel will reflect poorly on the organization and do not advance the organization’s mission.

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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. If you have suggestions of mysteries worth sharing, please contact the editor at: