In this issue of The Blood-Letter from Friends of Mystery: Bloody Thursday guest Daniel Nieh, a recap of Bouchercon, awards, and more.

November 2023

On November 16, 2023, Friends of Mystery Welcomes Daniel Nieh

Daniel NiehFriends of Mystery is pleased to host writer and translator Daniel Nieh, in conversation with Kelly Garrett.

Nieh grew up in Portland, Oregon, and has also lived in China, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. He studied Chinese Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Daniel’s translation clients include publishers, universities, nonprofits, and museums around the world. He served as an interpreter at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also works as a contract linguist for the US Department of State. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Esquire. He is the author of Beijing Payback (2020) and Take No Names (2022) thrillers featuring his protagonist, Victor Li.

Please join us at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon 97215, in person or via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public. A social time with refreshments begins at 7:00 pm, with the program beginning at 7:30 pm. Free parking is available in the block across from the entrance. Bus line #15 will drop you off right at the door.

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Bouchercon 2023

Murder at the Marina
August 30 – September 3

By Jeannette Voss

After missing Bouchercon for several years I was able to attend once again, with my partners in crime, Carrie and Sheila. San Diego was a relatively short plane ride away, and we arrived to sunny and warm weather. Unlike previous years, they had panels starting on Wednesday.

The guests of honor this year were David Baldacci, Ann Cleves, C.J. Box, Jacqueline Winspear, Kate Carlisle and Dru Ann Love. The toastmaster was Naomi Hirahara. Each of these authors was interviewed separately during the conference, and they were all on a panel together at the close of the conference.

There was a full schedule of panels each day, as well as a book room, where you could buy the panelists’ books and get them autographed after their panels.

I enjoyed all the panels that I was able to observe, but several were already overflowing by the time I got there. One of my favorites was “Villains: Giving Them Their Due”. The moderator was James Bryne, and the panelists were Alexa Donne, Allen Eskens, Mir Bahmanyar, R.J. Jacobs and Lou Berney. James Bryne turned out to be the pen name of previous Spotted Owl winner Dana Haynes.

The winners of the Barry, Macavity and Anthony Awards were announced:

Anthony Awards

Best Hardcover

Like a Sister, by Kellye Garrett

Best First Novel

The Maid, by Nita Prose

Best Humorous

Scot in a Trap, by Catriona McPherson

Best Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

The Quarry Girls, by Jess Lourey

Barry Awards

Best Mystery Novel

Desert Star, by Michael Connelly

Best First Mystery

The Maid, by Nita Prose

Best Thriller

Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn

Macavity Awards

Best Mystery Novel

A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny

Best First Mystery

The Maid, by Nita Prose

Best Mystery Critical/Biographical

The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery

Lavender House, by Lev AC Rosen

We had a great time and are already signed up for next year, where it will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, from August 28 – September 1st. The guests of honor will be Brad Thor, J.T. Ellison, Heather Graham, Harlan Coben, Rachel Howzell Hall, Anthony Horowitz, V.M. Burns, Mick Herron, Kelli Stanley and Clay Stafford.

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2023 Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year Nominees

  • The Lock-Up, by John Banville
  • The Close, by Jane Casey
  • Kill for Me, Kill for You, by Steve Cavanagh
  • Strange Sally Diamond, by Liz Nugent
  • The Trap, by Catherine Ryan Howard

(All are available in the U.S.)

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Re-Reading a Series

By Jeannette Voss

The Close by Jane CaseyHow often do you go back and read a series that you enjoy? I did that for the first time this summer. In June, the tenth book in the Maeve Kerrigan Mystery series by Jane Casey was published, and I read it. When I’m “into” a series I can hardly wait until the next book comes out, and in this book, something happened that followers of the series had been waiting for. The series began in 2012 with The Burning, followed by nine other books, with an occasional standalone, and I had read them as they came out. I decided I would read them all again, and I did it in about two weeks – I couldn’t put them down. It was like reading them for the first time as I had vague memories of the plots, but I was surprised to find out how much I had forgotten. It was fun, and I encourage you to give it a try if you have a favorite series that you enjoy.

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For Your Viewing Pleasure…

By Jeannette Voss

May I suggest a couple of series that I liked:


Season 5 (PBS/Masterpiece)

A body is found stuffed in a chimney of a West London house. DI Sunny Khan is still grieving the tragic death of his partner, DCI Cassie Stuart, and is finding it hard to adjust to her replacement, DCI Jess James, who resists taking on this death for the team. 6 Episodes

The Chelsea DetectiveThe Chelsea Detective

Season 2 (ACORN)

DI Max Arnold is back solving crimes in London’s richest borough, and he has a new partner, Layla Walsh. An atmospheric series giving you a glimpse of Chelsea and the houseboat that Max lives on. 4 Episodes.

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New and Noteworthy

(Summaries provided by the publishers)

The Second Murderer by Denise MinaThe Second Murderer, by Denise Mina

It’s early fall when a heat wave descends on Los Angeles. Private Detective Philip Marlowe is called to the Montgomery estate, an almost mythic place sitting high on top of Beverly Hills. Wealthy socialite Chrissie Montgomery is missing. Young, naïve, and set to inherit an enormous fortune, she’s a walking target, ripe for someone to get their claws into. Her dying father and his sultry bottle-blond girlfriend want her found before that happens. To make sure, they’ve got Anne Riordan—now head of her own all-female detective agency—on the case, too.

The search for Chrissie takes the two investigators from the Montgomery mansion to the roughest neighborhoods of LA, through dive bars and boarding-houses and out to Ski Row. And that’s all before they find a body at the Brody Hotel. Who will get to Chrissie first? And what happens when a woman doesn’t want to be found?

How Can I Help You by Laura SimsHow Can I Help You, by Laura Sims

No one knows Margo’s real name. Her colleagues and patrons at a small-town public library know only her middle-aged normalcy, congeniality, and charm. They have no reason to suspect that she is, in fact, a former nurse with a trail of premature deaths in her wake. She has turned a new page, so to speak, and the library is her sanctuary, a place to quell old urges.

That is, at least, until Patricia, a recent graduate and failed novelist, joins the library staff. Patricia quickly notices Margo’s subtly sinister edge and watches her carefully. When a tragic incident in the library bathroom gives her a hint of Margo’s mysterious past, Patricia can’t resist digging deeper—even as her new fixation becomes all-consuming and sends both women hurtling toward disaster.

City Under One Roof by Iris YamashitaCity Under One Roof, by Iris Yamashita

A stranded detective tries to solve a murder in a tiny Alaskan town where everyone lives in a single high-rise building, in this gripping debut by an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.

When a local teenager discovers a severed hand and foot washed up on the shore of the small town of Point Mettier, Alaska, Cara Kennedy is on the case. A detective from Anchorage, she has her own motives for investigating the possible murder in this isolated place, which can be accessed only by a tunnel. After a blizzard causes the tunnel to close indefinitely, Cara is stuck among the odd and suspicious residents of the town—all 205 of whom live in the same high-rise building and are as icy as the weather. Cara teams up with Point Mettier police officer Joe Barkowski, but before long the investigation is upended by fearsome gang members from a nearby native village.

Haunted by her past, Cara soon discovers that everyone in this town has something to hide. Will she be able to unravel their secrets before she unravels?

Deadlock by James ByrneDeadlock, by James Byrne

Desmond Aloysius Limerick (“Dez” to his friends and close personal enemies) is a man with a shadowy past, certain useful hard-won skills, and, if one digs deep enough, a reputation as a good man to have at your back. Now retired from his previous life, Dez is just a bloke with a winning smile, a bass guitar, and bullet wounds that paint a road map of past lives.

Jaleh Swann, a business journalist hot on the trail of an auditor who was mugged and killed, lands in the hospital just one day after her Portland apartment is ransacked. When Jaleh’s sister, Raziah, reaches out to an old friend for help, Dez has no choice but to answer. The Swann sisters have been pulled into a dizzying web of cover-ups and danger. At the center lies an insidious Oregon-based tech corporation, Clockjack, which has enough money and hired guns to silence just about anyone—including this rag-tag trio. Luckily, Dez’s speciality is not just to open doors, but keep them open—and protect those working to expose Clockjack’s secrets.

More stands in the way of the truth than just one corporation. When hired thugs come to the finish the job and attack the Swann sisters at the hospital, Dez does what he does best. Now, the two captured men (and the corpse Dez left behind) attract the attention of not just Clockjack, but of the Portland police, the D.E.A, and the U.S. Marshalls. Dez and the Swann sisters are on the run from powers beyond their control and means. Outnumbered, under resourced and outgunned, Dez must use all his skills to keep his friends safe and stand up to corporate conniving. After all, the one thing Clockjack didn’t count on? A good man with a simple job to do.

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Buy Books by Friends of Mystery Speakers Online at Annie Bloom’s Books

If you want to order any of our speaker’s books, you can find them at our special Friends of Mystery page at Annie Bloom’s Books!

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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.
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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.

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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:

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