The Southern Illinoisan profiles Laura Benedict, debut author of ISABELLA MOON.

Patrick Anderson is very impressed with Caro Ramsay’s debut crime thriller ABSOLUTION.

Janet Maslin, however, has problems with Jason Goodwin’s THE SNAKE STONE.

Jane Jakeman makes me want to read Jakob Arjouni, something I should have done years ago. Also in the Independent, Mark Timlin goes wild for James Lee Burke’s THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN.

The CBC’s books blog has a short Q&A with Peter Robinson.

For those seeking a refresher on the mystery surrounding Edgar Allan Poe’s demise, the student newspaper at University of Maryland, Baltimore County has a decent overview.

Smithsonian Magazine has an extended interview with book designer extraordinaire Chip Kidd.

For some reason I never got around to commenting at length about the whole PFD mess – which ranks as one of the craziest, most fascinating publishing stories of the year – but the mere idea that CSS Stellar can “fire” agents already on the verge of leaving to start their own agency is pretty ironic and rather silly.

Much congratulations to Jason Pinter, about to make the jump to full-time writing and the ten-second commute.

Oooh, US publication of Conrad Black’s weighty Nixon tome. Oh wait, no one cares? Oops.

Were the Hardy Boys gay? Um, oookay…..

And finally, it would be fantastic, fantastic news if she were to be identified – one of the many Jane Does who have haunted me throughout my adult life.