In this issue of the Blood-Letter: a preview of our Bloody Thursday panel for May, mysteries around the world, and more!

May 2018

Bloody Thursday, May 24, 2018, We Welcome a Trio of Mystery Men

Baron R. Birtcher, Grant Bywaters, and Warren Easley

Following our successful March meeting which featured three women of mystery, Friends of Mystery now welcomes three men of mystery.

Photo: Baron R. BirtcherBARON R. BIRTCHER is the author of the bestselling Mike Travis series, and the stand-alones Rain Dogs and South California Purples. Randy Wayne White refers to Mike Travis as “a character who is both likeable and flawed – a credible Travis McGee gone South Pacific native.” Don Winslow says, “You want to read Birtcher’s books, then you want to live in them,” and Publisher’s Weekly has referred to Baron’s writing as “The Real Deal.”

Birtcher has received starred reviews and critical raves from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, and has been nominated for a number of awards including the Lefty, the Nero, the Claymore, Foreword Reviews’ Best of 2017, and is a three-time recipient of the Silver Falchion. He can be reached on the web at


Photo: Grant BywatersGRANT BYWATERS has worked as a licensed private investigator and his debut novel, The Red Storm, was the winner of the Minotaur Books/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition, and a 2015 Shamus Nominee for Best First Novel. Bywaters lives outside of Portland, Oregon, and holds a B.S. in psychology from Portland State University.


Photo: Warren EasleyFormerly a research scientists and international business executive, WARREN EASLEY lives outside Portland with his wife and wonder dog, Theo. When he’s not writing the Cal Claxton Oregon Mysteries for Poisoned Pen Press, he’s usually fly fishing, skiing, hiking, or tutoring GED students. The fifth book in the Claxton series, Blood for Wine, is set in the Oregon Wine country. Always the assiduous researcher, he found it necessary to taste copious amounts of vintage pinot noir in order to write with authenticity. He received a Kay Snow Award for fiction in 2012 and was named the Northwest Up and Coming Author in 2017, both honors bestowed by Willamette Writers.

We hope you will be able to join us at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont St., Portland, Oregon 97215. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available in the block across from the entrance. Bus line #15 will drop you off right by the door.

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The Spotted Owl Award…and the winner is…

Duplicity, by Ingrid Thoft

The other finalists were:

  • Robert Dugoni, Close to Home
  • Matthew Sullivan, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
  • Mike Lawson, K Street
  • G.M. Ford, Family Values
  • Rene Denfeld, The Child Finder
  • Martin Limon, The Nine-Tailed Fox
  • Michael Niemann, Illicit Trade
  • Lisa Alber, Path into Darkness
  • Warren Easley, Blood for Wine
  • Stephen Holgate, Tangier

Congratulations to the winner and finalists, and a big “thank you” to the Spotted Owl Committee readers: Janet Bechtold, Kris Field-Eaton, Carrie Richards, Sheila Sweet, and Judith Wyss.

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Breaking News: The Edgar Awards Announced

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke Best Novel
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke

Best First Novel by an American Author
She Rides Shotgun, by Jordan Harper

Best Paperback Original
The Unseeing, by Anna Mazzola

Best Fact Crime
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann

Best Critical/Biographical
Chester B. Himes: A Biography, by Lawrence P. Jackson

Mary Higgins Clark Award
The Widow’s House, by Carol Goodman

The 2017 Agatha Award Winners

The 2017 Agatha Awards were presented Saturday, April 28, 2018 during the Malice Domestic conference.

Glass Houses by Louisa PennyBest Contemporary Novel
Glass Houses: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

Best Historical Novel
In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (Lake Union Publishing)

Best First Novel
Hollywood Homicide: A Detective by Day Mystery by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)

Best Nonfiction
From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women who Created an Icon by Mattias Boström (Mysterious Press)

Best Short Story
“The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn” by Gigi Pandian (Henery Press)

Best Children’s/Young Adult
Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ‘Em Dead by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin)

The 2018 Lefty Award Winners

The 2017 Left Awards were presented Saturday, March 24, 2018 during the Left Coast Crime conference.

A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen ByronLefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
Ellen Byron, A Cajun Christmas Killing (Crooked Lane Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial, covering events before 1960)
Rhys Bowen, In Farleigh Field (Lake Union Publishing)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
William Kent Krueger, Sulfur Springs (Atria Books)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Homicide (Midnight Ink)

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In Memoriam

Photo: Kate WilhelmKate Wilhelm, author of 30 mysteries and 50 science fiction novels died at the age of 89 years old on March 8th in Eugene, Oregon. Her short stories and novellas won several Nebula Awards from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and she was a two-time Spotted Owl Award winner.


Photo: Philip KerrPhilip Kerr, the 62-year-old Scottish-born writer, died of bladder cancer on March 24th in London. His popular novels featured Bernie Gunther, a Nazi-era detective. He didn’t want to be type-cast as an author – after the first three Gunther novels he wrote other novels for 15 years before returning back to Gunther in 2006. He also wrote fantasy novels for children. His most recent novel, Greeks Bearing Gifts, the 13th in the Bernie Gunther series was published in early April. He left behind one more manuscript for a Gunther novel entitled Metropolis. This book is expected to be published later this year or next year.

Both are a loss to the mystery community.


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Armchair Travel To…

A Thousand Cuts by Thomas MogfordGibralter

A Thousand Cuts, by Thomas Mogford

Gibraltar, 1940. A bomb explodes, killing two British soldiers patrolling the dockyards. A Spaniard is executed for the crime, yet protests his innocence to the very last.

Present day, and Spike Sanguinetti finds himself defending the violent and alcoholic Massetti in a harassment case brought against him by the wealthy and respected Dr. Eloise Capurro. Yet the case isn’t as cut and dried as it first seems and Massetti walks free. Only days later, Dr. Capurro leaps to her death from a blazing house fire before Sanguinetti’s very eyes. Sanguinetti spots someone else watching, someone hiding in the shadows. Massetti.

The further Sanguinetti investigates, the more secrets buried deep in Gibraltar’s past he uncovers, and they lead him to the doors of some of the most powerful people in town. People dangerously close to his own life – and his fragile happiness.


The Cleaner, by Elisabeth HerrmannGermany

The Cleaner, by Elisabeth Herrmann

Pools of blood, scenes of carnage, signs of agonizing death – who deals with the aftermath of violence once the bodies have been taken away?

Judith Kepler has seen it all. She is a crime scene specialist. She turns crime scenes back into habitable spaces. She is a cleaner. But when she is called to the home of a woman who has been brutally murdered, she is suddenly confronted with her own past.

As Judith begins to ask questions, she comes to the attention of former members of the Stasi, and becomes the target of some powerful enemies. Will she be able to get to the truth whilst keeping the secret she’s held all these years?


The Lake, by Lotte and Soren HammerDenmark

The Lake, by Lotte and Soren Hammer

The remains of a young woman are discovered in a lake north of Copenhagen. Her identity is a mystery and no one, it appears, has reported her missing. After months of fruitless investigation by the local police, the case is handed over to Konrad Simonsen.

It soon becomes clear to Simonsen and his team that this unknown woman is the key to a world of trafficking, prostitution, and violence. A world where everyone comes with a price, no mistake goes unpunished, and everyone knows how to keep a secret.


This is How it Ends, by Eva DolanEngland

This is How it Ends, by Eva Dolan

Amidst the landscape of gentrifying London, Ella Riordan is an activist, made famous for being beaten by a policeman during a social protest. She is fighting to hang on to her home in the shabby building known as Castle Rise, awaiting destruction. Despite death threats, Ella and her fellow activists are determined to defend their place in the community. However, she soon discovers an even greater problem when a dead body is found in the building, and she looks anything but innocent.

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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.

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: