Steven Saylor To Speak At The May 22nd Bloody Thursday
Steve Saylor

One of the best writers of historical mysteries and longtime FOM supporter, Steven Saylor will be our guest speaker at the May 22nd Bloody Thursday meeting. He is author of 15 works of fiction, 12 of them in his ROMA SUB ROSA series set in ancient Rome during the time of Cicero and Caesar, and featuring his protagonist Gordianus the Finder. Steven will be in Portland with us to celebrate the publication of the latest in the series, The Triumph of Caesar.

In this mystery, political turmoil surrounds Caesar who has been appointed leader by the Roman senate. His wife Calpurnia hires Hieronymus to discover the sources of threats. When Hieronymus is murdered, Calpurnia enlists Gordianus to take on the investigation.

Steven’s interest in ancient Rome bloomed during his childhood in rural Texas in the 1960s when Hollywood, spurred by the success of Ben Hur (1959) churned out a large number of spectaculars set in ancient Greece and Rome. He studied history and Classics at the University of Texas in Austin. Several years after graduating, he visited Rome where, as he tells us, “The experience was electrifying…My imagination was set afire. When I returned to San Francisco, I almost immediately set about writing Roman Blood, as a way to remain in Rome through my imagination.” Shortly after its publication in 1992, he made his first appearance as our Bloody Thursday guest.

Steven’s ROMA SUB ROSA series (“the secret history of Rome”; literally, Rome “under the rose”), has won many awards, including the Hammett Award from the International Association of Crime Writers for Catilina’s Riddle (1993) and the Herodotus Award from the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society for Rubicon (1999). He has also published two novels set in Texas, A Twist at the End (2000) and Have You Seen Dawn? (2003), and Roma (2007), a thousand-year saga of the ancient city. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He divides his time between Berkeley, California and Austin, Texas.

Please plan to spend an enjoyable Bloody Thursday evening with this very special Friend of Mystery. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of Good Samaritan Medical Center, 1040 NW 22nd Avenue (corner of NW 22nd and Marshall.) The event will begin with a reception and used book sale at 7:00 pm with the presentation at 7:30 pm. The meeting is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the parking structure adjacent to the auditorium. The Portland Streetcar and Tri-Met run on nearby routes

Back to Top


Friends of Mystery will have its annual book sale prior to the May 22nd meeting. There will be an assortment of newer and used paperbacks and hardback books, plus audio books and mystery videos, and posters. Most paperback books will sell for 25 cents and hardbacks at 50 cents. Some first editions will be priced at $2 to $3. A complete set of Hetty Wainthrop mysteries was donated and is priced at $50.

If you have any books to donate for the sale, call Elinore Rogers at 503-244-5271 for pick up or bring them to the meeting.

Back to Top

The 2008-2009 Bloody Thursday Season

Save these dates for the 2008-2009 Bloody Thursday lecture series:

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Membership dues for the 2008-2009 are due September 1, 2008. Check your address label for your membership expiration date.

Back to Top

Come For Mystery And Stay For Shakespeare: Ashland Mystery 2008

The Friends of the Ashland Public Library, Bookwagon New and Used Books, Standing Stone Brewing Company and the Ashland Mystery Reader Group are hosting a series of author events in the coming months. Skye Moody and GM Ford will be guests on May 9, John Straley will appear on June 20. Gary Phillips is scheduled for July 11, Cornelia Read will be there on August 8, Camille Minichino on September 12 and David Corbett on October 10. All the events are at Bookwagon Books on Ashland Street at 6:00 pm. They are free and open to all who love great mystery. For more information, go to or call 541-552-0743

Back to Top

Friends Of Mystery Spotted Owl Committee Names The 2008 Winner

A Wrongful Death by Kate Wilhelm

Kate Wilhelm, multi-award winning mystery and science fiction author, is the winner of the 2008 Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl award for her novel, A Wrongful Death featuring attorney Barbara Holloway. This is the tenth in the series. Kate has written several other series in both the mystery and science fiction genre plus many stand-alones and numerous short stories. This is Kate Wilhelm’s second Spotted Owl award, the first in 2002 for a previous Barbara Holloway mystery, Desperate Measures. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. We plan to present her award at a Bloody Thursday meeting in the fall.

The Spotted Owl is awarded annually to the best mystery novel by a Pacific Northwest writer living in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Washington or Oregon. The 2008 award marks the 13th year of Spotted Owl winners and is the third time an author has won a second Spotted Owl award. Two other mystery authors have won a second Spotted Owl award, Kris (Nelscott) Rusch and Lowen Clausen. Other previous winners were Earl Emerson, John Straley, Tom Mitcheltree, L.L. Thrasher, Marcia Simpson, G.M. Ford and Kevin O’Brien.

Runners up for the 2008 Spotted Owl award are:

  • J.A. Jance for Justice Denied
  • Mike Doogan for Capitol Offense
  • Bill Cameron for Lost Dog
  • Robert Dugoni for Damage Control
  • Chelsea Cain for Heartsick
  • Martin Limon for The Wandering Ghost
  • Daniel Kalla for Blood Lies
  • Elizabeth Lowell for Innocent As Sin
  • Dana Stabenow for A Deeper Sleep

The Spotted Owl committee members are Marilyn Katz, Marlyne Stucky, Carrie Richards, Jeannette Voss and Pete Scott. They evaluated 82 books

Back to Top

“Murder On The Rocks: Left Coast Crime 2008”

by Bill Cameron

This year, Left Coast Crime made its way inland to Denver. I joined several hundred mystery authors and fans for “Murder on the rocks” in the Mile High City the first weekend in March to celebrate murder and mayhem, and if that isn’t a recipe for a good time, I don’t know what is.

Marcus Sakey, Michelle Gagnon & Jason Starr prepare for some counter-surveillance.

Marcus Sakey, Michelle Gagnon & Jason Starr prepare for some counter-surveillance.

A conference can be many things to many people, and this LCC succeeded in more ways than one. The panel line-up was diverse and engaging, with everything from tried-and-true topics like “Sex and Violence: Is Too Much Ever Enough?” and the always informative Forensics track to a unique surveillance panel called “You Cougar, Me Rabbit.” After a lively briefing on surveillance/counter-surveillance by R.T. Lawton, participants took to the streets of Denver for a little hide-and-seek with authors Marcus Sakey, Reed Farrell Coleman, Margaret Coel, Jason Starr, Donna Andrews, Michelle Gagnon and Twist Phelan. A marvelous write-up of the event by Simon Wood can be found at Murderati.

But the real life of any conference is in the hotel corridors and the bar, and LCC didn’t disappoint. As a reader and a fan, I love the chance to sit and gab with the writers I admire, and as a writer I’m humbled and thrilled by the chance to get to know readers. LCC provided more than the usual opportunities by hosting a series of “Endless Conversations” in which authors and fans chatted in informal sessions about anything and everything. The generosity and warmth of the mystery community was on display all weekend, and made this an event to remember.

Next year, Left Coast Crime makes its way to the Big Island of Hawaii. Rhys Bowen and Barry Eisler are the guests of honor and Lee Goldberg the Toast Master for “Say Aloha to Murder,” March 7-12, 2009. To learn more, visit the Left Coast Crime website at

Back to Top

My Favorite Mystery

What’s your favorite cozy, favorite thriller, favorite hardboiled mystery that came out in 2007-2008? Who’s for your favorite author, and if you had to pick one, what’s your all-time favorite mystery?

Tell us your favorites with our My Favorite Mystery online form, or mail your favorites to FOM, P.O. Box 8251, Portland, Oregon 97207.

Deadline is August 1, 2007. We’ll announce the results in our September 2008 Blood-Letter.

Back to Top