May 2024

In this issue of The Blood-Letter from Friends of Mystery: Bloody Thursday guests Elle Marr and Valerie Geary, awards, reading and viewing recommendations, and more.


On May 23, 2024 Friends of Mystery Welcomes Elle Marr & Valerie Geary

In Conversation with Dana Haynes/James Bryne

Elle MarrElle Marr is a #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of six thrillers. Her latest book, The Alone Time, has been called “twisted, with clever plotting” and “a finale that will surprise even the most perceptive readers.” Originally from Sacramento, Elle graduated from UC San Diego before moving to France, where she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She now lives and writes in Oregon with her family.

Photo: Valerie GearyValerie Geary is the author of the Brett Buchanan Mystery Series in addition to Everything We Lost and Crooked River, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, where they enjoy hiking favorite trails and discovering new ones together. She’s an avid reader and loves connecting with other readers on her YouTube channel Valerie Geary’s Book Nook.

James Bryne is the pen name of longtime Oregon novelist Dana Haynes. He lives and writes in one of the coolest cities on Earth, Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Katy King, and their cat, Violet. He also serves as editor-in-chief for the Pamplin Media Group’s locally owned chain of newspapers, including The Portland Tribune.

Under various names, he has published 12 novels in the realm of thrillers and mysteries, including 2023’s Deadlock, the sequel to the 2022 thriller, The Gatekeeper. He won the Spotted Owl Award for his novel Crashers. Find out more about James and his protagonist, Dez Limerick, at

Change of Time & Venue

Please join us at Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon 97219 in person or on Zoom. The program will begin at 7:00 pm. The program will also be streamed on Zoom.

Apologies for Our Zoom Issues Last Time

We are aware of the sound problem Zoom attendees experienced during our last event, and we apologize. We believe we have identified the source of the problem, so for our Zoom attendees this month all should be well. As part of our effort to ensure guests can hear, we will be performing a sound check with those who log in ahead of our 7:00pm program start.

Please watch your email for the Zoom login information, which will go out the morning of the event.

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Marc Cameron Receives Spotted Owl Award

Breakneck by Marc CameronMarc Cameron has been chosen as the recipient of the annual Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award. Cameron is receiving the award for his book, Breakneck, published in April 2023 by Kensington Publishing.

Members of the committee considered 39 novels by authors living in the Pacific Northwest in 2023. Runners-up for the award were:

  1. Dana Stabenow for Not the Ones Dead
  2. Dana Haynes for The Saint of Thieves
  3. Sam Wiebe for Sunset and Jericho
  4. Jon Talton for The Nurse Murders
  5. James Bryne for Deadlock
  6. Haris Orkin for License to Die
  7. Frank Zafiro for Hope Dies Last
  8. (tie) Orlando Davidson for Baseline Road
    J.A. Jance for Collateral Damage

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In Memoriam

C.J. SansomC.J. Sansom 1952-2024

Sansom, the winner of the 2022 Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association, was the author of seven novels featuring hunch-backed 16th century lawyer and investigator Matthew Shardlake.

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Malice Domestic Announces Agatha Awards

Best Contemporary Novel

The Weekend Retreat, by Tara Laskowski

Best Historical Novel

The Mistress of Bhatia House, by Sujata Massey

Best First Novel

Crime and Punishment, by Daphne Silver

Best Non-Fiction

Finders: Justice, Faith and Identity in Irish Crime Fiction, by Anjili Babbar

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Edgar Allan Poe Award Winners Announced

The winners were announced on Wednesday, May 1st.

Best Novel

Flags on the Bayou, by James Lee Burke

Best First Novel by an American Author

The Peacock and the Sparrow, by I.S. Berry

Best Paperback Original

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Best Short Story

“Hallowed Ground,” by Linda Castillo

Best Young Adult

Girl Forgotten by April Henry

Best Juvenile

The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto by Adrianna Cuevas

Best Fact Crime

Crooked: The Roaring ’20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of an American Political Scandal, by Nathan Masters.

Best Critical/Biographical

Love Me Fierce in Danger: The Life of James Ellroy, by Steven Powell

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award

Play the Fool, by Lina Chern

The G.P. Putnam’s Son Sue Grafton Memorial Award

An Evil Heart, by Linda Castillo

The Lillian Jackson Braun Memorial Award

Glory Be, by Danielle Arceneaux

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Crime Writers’ Association Announces Their Longlist For The 2024 Dagger Awards

The shortlists will be announced on May 10th, with the awards being announced July 4, 2024.

Gold Dagger

  • Evans, Maz. Over My Dead Body
  • Hammer, Chris. Dead Man’s Creek
  • Hawkins, Alis. A Bitter Remedy
  • Heaberlin, Julia. Night Will Find You
  • Herron, Mick. The Secret Hours
  • Kelly, J.G. The White Lie
  • Khan, Vaseem. Death of a Lesser God
  • LeHane, Dennis. Small Mercies
  • Mannion, Una. Tell Me What I Am
  • Morton, Kate. Homecoming
  • Roy, Nilanjana. Black River
  • Sutanto, Jesse. Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murders

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

  • Baldacci, David. Simply Lies
  • Barclay, Linwood. The Lie Maker
  • Cosby, S.A. All the Sinners Bleed
  • Cranor, Eli. Ozark Dogs
  • Ewan, C.M. The House Hunt
  • Harper, Jordan. Everybody Knows
  • Isaka, Kotaro. The Mantis
  • Kayode, Femi. Gaslight
  • Marshall, D.L. 77 North
  • Newman, T.J. Drowning
  • Slaughter, Karin. After That Night
  • Wolff, James. The Man in the Corduroy Suit

The ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

  • Black, Katherine. A Most Unusual Demise
  • Callaghan, Jo. In the Blink of an Eye
  • Chua, Amy. The Golden Gate
  • Douaihy, Margot. Scorched Grace
  • Erichsen, Helen. Murder by Natural Causes
  • Foster, Kate. The Maiden
  • Maxwell, Jessa. The Golden Spoon
  • McDorman, Dann. West Heart Kill
  • North, Liza. Obsessed
  • Teahan, Michelle. Go Seek
  • Vassill, Charlotte. The Other Half
  • Walsh, Bridget. The Tumbling Girl

The CWA Historical Dagger

  • Ashe, Lucy. Clara & Olivia
  • Banville, John. The Lock-Up
  • Burke, James. Lee. Flags on the Bayou
  • Davison, Anita. Murder in the Bookshop
  • Hare, Louise. Harlem After Midnight
  • Hawkins, Alis. A Bitter Remedy
  • Lamar, Jake. Viper’s Dream
  • MacLean, S.G. The Winter List
  • Mead, Tom. The Murder Wheel
  • Nattrass, Leonora. Scarlet Town
  • Parry, Ambrose. Voices of the Dead
  • Schuler, Isabelle. Lady MacBethad

The CWA Dagger In The Library

  • Louise Candlish
  • M.W. Craven
  • Lucy Foley
  • Cara Hunter
  • Anthony Horowitz
  • Vaseem Khan
  • Angela Marsons
  • Kate Rhodes
  • L.J. Ross
  • Diane Saxon

Longlist for Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2024

The longlist was voted for by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers and members of the Theakston Old Peculiar Writing Festival Programming Committee.

  • Billingham, Mark. The Last Dance
  • Brookmyre, Chris. The Cliff House
  • Callaghan, Jo. In the Blink of an Eye
  • Casey, Jane. The Close
  • Cleeves, Ann. The Raging Storm
  • Craven, M.W. Fearless
  • Griffiths, Elly. The Last Remains
  • Herron, Mick. The Secret Hours
  • Hussey, William. Killing Jericho
  • Jewel, Lisa. None of This Is True
  • Jordan, Jack. Conviction
  • Macintosh, Clare. A Game of Lies
  • Mason, Simon. The Broken Afternoon
  • McDermid, Val. Past Lying
  • Nugent, Liz. Strange Sally Diamond
  • Shepherd-Robinson, Laura. The Square of Sevens
  • Weaver, Tim. The Last Goodbye
  • Wood Trevor. You Can Run

The Award is presented by Harrogate International Festivals and sponsored by T & R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and Daily Express, and is open to full-length crime novels published in paperback between May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024. The public are invited to vote to help create a shortlist of six titles from 8 am on Thursday, April 25 at

Voting closes on Thursday, May 16, with the shortlist announced on Thursday, June 13th. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, Thursday, July 18, receiving 3,000 pounds and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

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For Your Viewing Pleasure…

Mr Bates vs the Post Office
Mr. Bates vs The Post Office

(Masterpiece and PBS , 4 episodes). Not a mystery, but certainly a real-life crime, this docu-drama tells the story of how the UK Post Office blamed sub-postmasters and prosecuted them for shortfalls that were in fact caused by faulty post office systems. This miscarriage of justice is still being fought after more than twenty years. There is a fifth episode that tells “the real story” after you’ve watched the first four episodes.

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New And Noteworthy…

(Summaries provided by the publishers)

Home Fires by Claire BoothHome Fires, by Claire Booth

Branson Sheriff Hank Worth is one of the first on the scene of a mass casualty incident – a local fireworks warehouse has exploded, killing everyone inside. As over a dozen victims are pulled from the smoldering ruins, the painstaking identification process begins.

Chief Deputy Sheila Turley returns early from medical leave to assist in the office, while Hank delves deeper into the increasingly complicated situation at the morgue. He discovers that the previous forensic pathologist was hasty at best and negligent at worst. What starts as an offhand request to look into the errors turns into a discovery that shakes Hank’s world off its axis…

With Hank secretly investigating his discovery at the morgue, his shorthanded team is stretched to the brink as it investigates the cause of the explosion. Then a shocking revelation leaves Sheila and her fellow deputies scrambling for answers to an unexpected crime. Just what happened in the warehouse in the moments before the blast? Can they unravel the mysteries in time to save Branson from yet more heartbreak? And can Hank, adrift and alone, figure out what happened before it destroys everything he holds dear?

A Fondness for Truth by Kim HaysA Fondness for Truth, by Kim Hays

Andi Eberhart is riding her bicycle home on an icey winter night when she is killed in a hit-and-run. Her devastated partner, Nisha, is convinced the death was no accident. Andi had been receiving homophobic hate mail for several years, and the letters grew uglier after the couple’s baby was born.

Bern homicide Detective Giuliana Linder is assigned to the investigation. As she pieces together the details of Andi and Nisha’s lives, her assistant Renzo Donatelli looks into Andi’s job advising young men drafted into Switzerland’s civilian service. Working closely together, Giuliana and Renzo are again tempted to become more than just friendly colleagues.

As the detectives dig into Andi’s life, it becomes clear that although her friends and family loved her for her honesty, her integrity threatened other – perhaps enough to get rid of her.

Hope to Die by Cara HunterHope to Die, by Cara Hunter

Midnight. A call-out to an isolated farm on the outskirts of Oxford. A body shot a point-blank range in the kitchen.

It looks like a burglary gone wrong, but DI Adam Fawley suspects there’s something more to it.

When the police discover a connection to a high-profile case from years ago, involving a child’s murder and an alleged miscarriage of justice, the press go wild.

Suddenly Fawley’s team are under more scrutiny than ever before. And when you dig up the past, you’re sure to find a few skeletons…

How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen PerrinHow to Solve Your Own Murder, by Kristen Perrin

It’s 1965 and teenage Frances Adams is at an English country fair with her two best friends. But Frances’s life takes a hairpin turn when a fortune-teller makes a bone-chilling prediction: One day, Frances will be murdered. Frances spends a lifetime trying to solve a crime that hasn’t happened yet, compiling dirt on every person who crosses her path in an effort to prevent her own demise. For decades, no one takes Frances seriously. Until, that is, nearly sixty years later, when Frances is found murdered.

In the present day, Annie Adams has been summoned to a meeting at the sprawling country estate of her wealthy and reclusive great aunt Frances. But by the time Annie arrives in the quaint English village of Castle Knoll, Frances is already dead. Annie is determined to catch the killer, but thanks to Frances’s lifelong habit of digging up secrets, it seems every endearing and eccentric villager might jus have a motive for her murder.

Can Annie safely unravel the dark mystery at the heart of Castle Knoll, or will dredging up the past throw her into the path of a killer? As Annie gets closer to the truth, and closer to the danger, she starts to fear she might inherit her great aunt’s fate instead of her fortune.

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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.

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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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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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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:

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