In this issue of The Blood-Letter from Friends of Mystery: a preview of our November 2020 Bloody Thursday guest Robert Donnelly, awards, new books, and more!

November 2020

Friends of Mystery Goes Online

Friends of MysteryOut of caution and due to limits on public gatherings, Friends of Mystery will be hosting our Bloody Thursday 2020-2021 speaker series online using ZOOM.

Though we regret we won’t have the opportunity to meet and mingle with our speakers and guests in person, going online does have its benefits. In addition to protecting the health of our participants, we will be able to serve attendees from literally around the world. And when possible, we will record the events, which means even if you can’t make it at the scheduled time, you will be able to watch later at your convenience.

Bloody Thursday, November 19, 2020, Friends of Mystery Welcomes Robert C. Donnelly

Author Photo: Robert DonnellyFriends of Mystery is pleased to welcome Robert Donnelly as our November speaker (originally scheduled for our March 2020 meeting.) He is an Associate Professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he has taught U.S. History since 2004. Donnelly earned degrees at Western Oregon University, Portland State University, and Marquette University, and is the author of Dark Rose: Organized Crime and Corruption in Portland (UW Press, 2011). Dr. Donnelly is a native Oregonian who was born in Eugene and raised in Winston, Oregon.

Please join us via Zoom on Thursday evening, November 19th. If we have your email address you will automatically receive an invitation. The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a time to casually chat, and the program will begin at 7:00 pm. We hope you will be able to join us.

FOM Members will receive an email the morning of the event with Zoom login information. You can also register for a free ticket EventBrite.

Bob Dugoni on ZoomMiss Our September Event? Watch It Online!

If you weren’t able to join us for Robert Dugoni’s visit with Friends of Mystery on Zoom, no problem! You can watch it any time online.

Check it out!
Use the passcode: D*39OZpt

Back to Top

Bouchercon 2020 Goes Virtual

Due to the pandemic, Bouchercon was conducted virtually, and the usual awards were presented. The winners, voted on by conference attendees, were:

2020 Anthony Awards

Book Cover: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi RyanBest Mystery Novel

  • The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best First Mystery

  • One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski

Best Paperback Original

  • The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian

Best Critical Non-Fiction

  • The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton

Best Anthology or Collection

  • Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose Rita Owen and Shawn Reilly Simmons

Best Young Adult

  • Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley

2020 Barry Awards

(voted on by readers of Deadly Pleasures)

Book Cover: The Lost Man, by Jane HarperBest Mystery/Crime Novel

  • The Lost Man, by Jane Harper

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel

  • The Chestnut Man, by Soren Sveistrup

Best Paperback Original Mystery/ Crime Novel

  • Missing Daughter, by Rick Mofina

Best Thriller

  • The Chain, by Adrian McKinty

Best Mystery/Crime Novel of the Decade

  • Suspect, by Robert Crais

2020 Macavity Awards

(nominated/voted on by members of Mystery Readers international)

Book Cover: The Chain, by Adrian McKintyBest Mystery Novel

  • The Chain, by Adrian McKinty

Best First Mystery Novel

  • One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski

Best Mystery Nonfiction/Critical

  • Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer

Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award

  • The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott

Back to Top

Crime Writers Association 2020 Dagger Awards

(presented by a specialist authors’ group in the United Kingdom)

Gold Dagger

  • Good Girl, Bad Girl, by Michael Robotham

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

  • November Road, by Lou Berney

John Creasey New Blood Dagger

  • The Man on the Street, by Trevor Wood

Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger

  • The Godmother, by Hannelore Cayre

Non-Fiction Dagger

  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, by Casey Cep

Historical Dagger

  • Death in the East, by Abir Mukherjee

Back to Top

Spotted Owl Committee Hard at Work

Even though we have not been able to meet in person, our committee members have been diligently reading mysteries written by authors living in the Pacific Northwest. Among those being considered are:

  • Stone Cross, by Marc Cameron
  • A Cold Trail, by Robert Dugoni
  • The Last Agent, by Robert Dugoni
  • A Desperate Place, by Jennifer Greer
  • Credible Threat, by J.A. Jance
  • The Last High, by Danie Kalla
  • Derailed, by Mary Keliikoa
  • Shadows of the Dead, by Spencer Kope
  • House Privilege, by Mike Lawson
  • A Reasonable Doubt, by Phil Margolin
  • No Fixed Line, by Dana Stabenow

And just entering the competition is River Blues, a book by FOM member, Doc Macomber.

The publishing deadline is December 31, 2020, so if you know an author who has a book qualifying to be considered, please let me know at:

–Jeannette Voss

Back to Top

Portland’s Dark Past Book Cover: Dark Rose by Robert Donnelly

If you want more background related to our speaker, you may want to check out his book.

Dark Rose: Organized Crime and Corruption in Portland, by Robert Donnelly

Dark Rose reveals the fascinating and sordid details of an important period in the history of what by the end of the century had become a great American city. It is a story of Portland’s repeated and often failed efforts to flush out organized crime and municipal corruption – a familiar story for many mid-twentieth-century American cities that were attempting to clean up their police departments and municipal governments. Dark Rose also helps explain the heritage of Portland reform politics and the creation of what is today one of the country’s most progressive cities.

(Summary provided by the publisher.)

Back to Top

A Look Backwards . . .

When one reads a lot of mysteries it can be hard to remember which books you have read and why you liked them. I am picking a book to share that I read shortly after it came out in 2000 and am getting ready to read again. If you have a similar book you would like to share in a future newsletter, please contact me.

–Jeannette Voss

A Place of Execution, by Val McDermid

Book Cover: A Place of Execution, by Val McDermidOn a freezing day in December 1963, Alison Carter vanishes from her rural village, an insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case—a suspected murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he’d have found in the anonymity of the inner city, and an outcome that reverberates through the years.

Decades later Bennett finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote, but just when the book is poised for publication, he unaccountably tries to pull the plug. He has new information that he refuses to divulge, new information that threatens the very foundations of his existence. Catherine is forced to reinvestigate the past, with results that turn the world upside down.

A Greek tragedy in modern England, A Place of Execution is a taut psychological thriller that explores, exposes, and explodes the border between reality and illusion in a multilayered narrative that turns expectations on their heads and reminds us that what we know is what we do not know.

(Summary provided by the publisher.)

Back to Top

Looking Forward . . .

Coming this spring is a new stand-alone book by Elly Griffiths, winner of an Edgar for The Stranger Diaries.

The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths

Book Cover: The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths‘PS: Thanks for the murders.’

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalk’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her . . .

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure . . .

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

‘PS: Trust no one.’

(Summary provided by the author.)

On December 1st, Cat Kinsella returns for her third outing in the acclaimed series from Caz Frear.

Shed No Tears, by Caz Frear

Book Cover: Shed No Tears, by Caz FrearFour victims. Killer caught. Case closed . . . or is it?

Growing up in a London family with ties to organized crime, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella knows the criminal world better than most cops do. As a member of the city’s Metropolitan Police, she’s made efforts to distinguish herself from her relatives. But leading an upstanding life isn’t always easy, and Cat has come close to crossing the line, a fact she keeps well hidden from her superiors.

Working their latest case, Cat and her partner Luigi Parnell discover a connection to a notorious criminal: serial killer Christopher Masters, who abducted and killed several women in 2012. Though the cops eventually apprehended him, his final victim, Holly Kemp, was never found and he never confessed to her murder, despite the solid eyewitness testimony against him. Now, six years later, the discovery of Holly’s remains near Cambridge seems to be the definitive proof needed to close the case.

Still, a few key items of evidence don’t quite line up. As Cat and Parnell look closer, they find discrepancies that raise troubling questions. But someone will do anything to keep past secrets hidden—and as they inch closer to the truth, they may be putting themselves in jeopardy . . .

(Summary provided by the publisher.)

Back to Top

For Your Viewing Pleasure . . . A Noir Crime Thriller

Mystery RoadIf you have Amazon Prime Video, or Acorn, may I suggest taking a look at Mystery Road, a six episode series (with two bonus episodes) set in the outback of Australia, and starring Judy Davis and Aaron Pedersen. Local sheriff Emma James (Judy Davis) asks for assistance in solving the disappearance of two boys from a remote cattle station, and help arrives in the form of Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), an Indigenous detective. While there is some tension between them because of their differing styles, as they work toward a solution they uncover other crimes.

This series was based on two movies, Mystery Road and Goldstone. The time period explored in the series falls between the two movies. This is season one, with season two being released on DVD in 2021, with both series featuring Aaron Pedersen.

–Jeannette Voss

Back to Top

Share Your 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.

Back to Top

Membership Renewal

It’s never too late to consider renewing your membership to Friends of Mystery! Dues are $20.00 annually. FOM is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Dues and additional donations are deductible to the full extent of the law. Please mail your check, made out to Friends of Mystery, to PO Box 8251, Portland, Oregon 97207. Your newsletter will be sent electronically unless otherwise requested.

Back to Top

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:

Back to Top