Jane Steele: Reader, I murdered him.

We loves us some Lyndsay Faye here on Mutterings. Her Timothy Wilde trilogy has been one of my favorite worlds to explore in recent years, while the author herself has become one of my favorite people.

Lyndsay now has a new world, publishing next April: a deliciously wicked tale that starts as a riff on Jane Eyre and ends up redefining Victorian England as a whole. And since Lyndsay knows how much I love her books, she sent me two copies of the book, so I could share one.  Lyndsay describes Jane Steele as Jane Eyre meets Darkly Dreaming Dexter. 

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Jane Steele: “Reader, I murdered him.”

Would you like a copy? Post a comment here before Monday midnight, and I’ll draw a winner.

Boucher’s Con

As you probably know, every year the Crime World [Fictional Division] gathers to discuss pretty much everything to do with crime & mystery books: from character development to social media, e-books to Hollywood. The conference is named after the editor/reviewer/writer Anthony Boucher2454

and this was Bouchercon’s 46th year. We met in Raleigh, and the fun began.

Eager audience in the Sherlock Holmes panel.

Eager audience in the Sherlock Holmes panel.

Mutual selfies with Lisa Unger in the "Jumping the Shark" panel.

Mutual selfies with Lisa Unger in the “Jumping the Shark” panel.


The Sisters in Crime breakfast with Margaret Maron (Lifetime Achievement award) and S. J. Rozan (back from Mongolia.)

The Sisters in Crime breakfast with Margaret Maron (Lifetime Achievement award) and S. J. Rozan (back from Mongolia.)

Of course, the funnest part is if you get to win something.

Laurie & Les, Anthony Award for Best Anthology

Laurie & Les, Anthony Award for Best Anthology

Like an Anthony.

Editing a collection: resting on the laurels of other peoples' work.

Editing a collection: resting on the laurels of other peoples’ work.

Next year it’s going to be in New Orleans. That’s right, NEW ORLEANS. And just look at this guest list:

American Guest of Honor: Harlan Coben

International Rising Star Guest of Honor: Craig Robertson

Bouchercon Kids Guest of Honor: R. L. Stone

Local Legend: Julie Smith

Lifetime Achievement: David Morrell

Fan Guests of Honor: Jon & Ruth Jordan

Toastmasters: Harley Jane Kozak & Alex Sokoloff

Sign up now, and get yourself a hotel room, because it’s going to be a blast.

See you there!

MWA cooks

So, this crime writer walks into a kitchen…

Or maybe a bar—it depends on what story you’re after, and what you’re hungry (or thirsty) for.

Whether it’s drinks to curl your hair or a soup to warm your heart, Kinsey Millhone’s peanut butter & pickle sandwich or Valentine Wilde’s chicken fricassee, or maybe a cup of Jack Reacher’s coffee with one of Mrs Hudson’s coffee-sheet cookies, there’s enough here to keep you fed and watered for weeks to come.


Besides that, the book is really gorgeous–


with pictures of scampi & bullets, spaghetti & pistols, and food porn that makes you want to ring up Nero Wolfe and invite him over for a plate of Alafair Burke’s run-soaked Nutella French toast. Check it out, here.

Pardon me, I’m feeling a bit peckish.  Maybe it’s time for me to slip out to the grocery store…91WTIdS-VbL

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook is available today, from your local Indie bookseller, from Barnes & Noble, from Amazon—or until April 3 you can enter to win a copy at Goodreads.

The Mystery Writers Cookbook, by a hundred or more of us murderous sorts: recipes to kill for.mwa_cb_final_300dpi

Serving all your podcastian needs

Podcasts, like audio books, are a great way of double-tasking your way through dull slices of lifeVictorVPhonograph

whether it’s on the freeway or a treadmill.

There’s a lot of podcasts with my voice on them, floating around on the etherwebs, in which I and others talk about writing, or Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, or anything else on our minds. Most recently, when we were down at BoucherCon in Long Beach, Lyndsay Faye interviewed Les Klinger













and me for the Baker Street Babes podcast series, which since we’re all three good friends, was a whole lot of fun. I haven’t been as methodical as I should be in noting my various podcasts over the years, so I’ve probably have lost track of a fair number of these gems (if you know of any good ones that are missing from my page, please send me a link!) but still, there’s a bunch of podcasts collected together, over here.

Laurie King: helping you escape boredom since 1993.

The Les & Laurie Show: Lovecraft edition

I love doing book events with Les Klinger.


Conversations about Sherlock Holmes, from our two very different points of view, are a whole lot of fun.  And now Les has a new book on H.P.Lovecraft,9780871404534

and he’s coming to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park to talk to me about it, and to sign it–plus, there may be early copies of the book he and I edited, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes9781605986586

One of my favorite bookstores, one of my favorite people, next Tuesday at 7:30–details here.

Crime Writing: the quirky nugget at the core

Crime and Thriller Writing: one part autobiography (half mine, half that of Michelle Spring), one part nuts-and-bolts writing manual, and one part guest speakers imparting a whole lot of wisdom.Crime-and-Thriller-WritingCrime-and-Thriller-Writing9781472523938_p0_v1_s300x

The middle of the book is a series of essays, on topics of their own choosing, from twenty-six other world-rank crime & thriller writers.  Like Val McDermid: do I need to say anything about Val McDermid? Val-McDermid-007

Every novel starts with an idea. Sometimes it’s a quirky nugget of information that suggests possibilities. Sometimes it’s an anecdote told over a dinner table. Sometimes it’s a throwaway line on the radio. But always, it’s something that sets me thinking, ‘What if …?’ It can take years to learn all the possible answers to that question, but quite early on in the process, it will be clear to me whether the shape and the subject of the story that’s emerging fits existing series characters.

Crime and Thriller Writing, by Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King, in paperback (signed, if you like, from Bookshop Santa Cruz) or from Barnes & Noble/Nook, or from Amazon/Kindle.

Twenty-eight experts for the price of one.

Crime Writers

Crime and Thriller Writing, co-authored by me and my friend Michelle Spring, has three sections to it.  The first is our reflections on our writing life; the third is the nuts-and-bolts how-to section.  But the middle section is a little of everything–and everyone.Crime-and-Thriller-WritingCrime-and-Thriller-Writing9781472523938_p0_v1_s300x

Part two is a series of essays by twenty-six other fantastic crime & thriller writers, on topics ranging from Alafair Burke’s “Watching the World with Empathy” to Charles Todd on settings. One of our aims was to draw from both sides of the Atlantic, so we included a number of writers more at home in the UK than in the US.  One of those is the excellent and subtle Sophie Hannah, poet, children’s writer, and writer of psychological thrillers that will have you sleeping with the lights on.


The reason I’ve always loved mystery stories, and probably the reason, also, that I became a crime writer, is because, in my real life, I’ve always been obsessed with the need to know, a need that so often goes unquenched. There are so many unknowns in our day-to-day existence, so many unfathomable mysteries – not associated with murders usually, but fascinating none the less. When everything is known, life is, let’s face it, boring. But when you yearn for information that is either deliberately withheld from you or for some other reason not available, you can’t bear the thought that this burning question might never be resolved. The comfort of crime fiction is that, except for in the most experimental of mystery novels, the puzzle always is resolved.

Crime and Thriller Writing, by Michelle Spring and Laurie R. King, in paperback (signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz) or from Barnes & Noble/Nook, or from Amazon/Kindle.

Twenty-eight expert, passionate tutors for the price of one.

In love with Station Eleven

I try not to take advantage of my middle-sized-fish-in-small-pond status and assert myself at events, but in June when I was one of the speakers at the American Library Association tea, and read up on the other speakers, there was one book I made a leap for, elbowing aside all the librarians who were there ahead of me.  I mean: a postapocalyptic novel featuring a traveling Shakespeare company.  I had to have it.StationElevenHCUS2

And to my huge pleasure, it lived up to my expectations. Witty, human, clever, and utterly original: Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is a book for the ages.  And although you may not be able to get one from the ALA convention, this week it can be yours, and you can find a new writer to adore.


TBT: Intro to LRK

This Throwback Thursday brought to you by Bantam Books.  Bantam (now a division of Penguin Random House, aka the Randy Penguin) showed me the love from the very beginning, with the mass market paperback for A Grave Talent forming one third of a summer special in 1995, along with Mary Willis Walker and John Straley. They did T-shirts, bookmarks, a dump (one of those tall display units for bookstores), and a whole packet of things for bookstores.  But best of all was the illustration they commissioned from Edward Gorey:

Relax reads

Ah, good days.


Writes of Passage

Sometimes, you’re looking for a how-to book. Other times, what you need is a how-I book. This is one of those.


Writers face turning points every day, dozens of times. Even the most minor scene has repercussions: everything is a write of passage.

It’s also, as jobs go, remarkably lonesome, since few of us have colleagues in the next cubicle. A book like this helps. It gets to the heart of who we as writers are, how we see our lives, what we do about the next phase (whether the Work in Progress is a story, or a life.) It’s about community, about finding a family—which is what I wrote my essay about:

We tend to forget, caught up as we are in the hurly-burly of daily life, the extraordinary nature of our times. To a very real degree, we have taken a step not so much outside our physical identities, but in addition to “real life”. We grow families that are linked not by genetic material, but by the connections themselves.

This is a lovely book, both in appearance and in essence. Appropriately, proceeds go to support the community that gave it birth, under the guidance of Hank Phillipi Ryan, last year’s president: Sisters in Crime.

Writes of Passage is available from Barnes & NobleAmazon, and the excellent Henery Press (although judging by Google’s page,  a person would swear that Laurie King wrote the whole thing.  Sorry, Hank!)  And now from Indiebound!