Sunday Smatterings, with Extra Ash

This damn volcano. Scrapping flights, stranding travelers, giving John Cleese a hell of a story to incorporate into his comedic act, scuppering research trips, canceling tours, and if this drags on and on, messing with the GDP and oh yeah, cooling the globe.

Despite global crises, I’m in a pretty good mood, in large part the result of the excellent time I had yesterday at Murder 203, which continues today at the Westport Public Library. Kudos to the organizers – especially Jane Murphy, Lisa Forman and Rosemary Harris – for the smoothly run conference and the mix of writers and readers who attended.

One of the articles I cited during one of the panels I moderated for Murder 203 was this absolutely dead-on piece by Christopher Rice on the biggest cliches male crime writers resort to when writing female characters.

Oline Cogdill reviews Ace Atkins’ new historical thriller, INFAMOUS, for the Sun-Sentinel, ranking the book among her top mysteries of the year.

Margaret Cannon rounds up new crime fiction in the G&M by Quintin Jardine, Harlan Coben, M.R. Hall, Laurie King, Cara Black, Jonathan Kellerman and Vicki Delany.

The Guardian’s John O’Connell looks at thrillers by Ronald Frame, Michael Harvey, Harlan Coben and Thomas Mullen.

In the LA Times, Irish noir seriously gets its due as Richard Rayner reviews Benjamin Black’s ELEGY FOR APRIL and Tim Rutten has his say on Declan Hughes’ CITY OF LOST GIRLS.

Julia Keller sings the praises of Simon Tolkien – grandson of J.R.R. – in the Chicago Tribune.

Library Journal has posted its annual mystery feature, this time focusing on international crime fiction (especially Russia) and how mystery backlists are going digital.

David Mitchell shares a slice of banoffee pie with the Sunday Times and talks of creating new worlds in his new novel, THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET.

How did Cemetery Dance get to publish an original short story by Stephen King? The Baltimore Sun finds out, and David Ulin reviews the story for the LAT.

Also in the Sun, there’s an excellent piece on hometown author William Lindsay Gresham, author of the classic and stupendous NIGHTMARE ALLEY, just reissued by NYRB Classics.

Should Walter Mosley be considered as part of the Jewish American canon of writers? Harold Heft makes the case for Tablet Magazine.

The Seattle Mystery Bookshop has long had a sign around the corner directing potential customers to the store. Since they were forced to take it down, foot traffic has dropped off considerably and the store owners are not very happy about this at all.

And finally, that is one costly spell check fail.