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April 16, 2014

Jewish Mysteries

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All this week it’s Passover, the holiday that celebrates the Jews’ release from slavery in ancient Egypt – and, by extension (and literary license) from all bonds that restrain, restrict, and tie us down. Modern interpretations of the story often focus on what might be called internal bonds – the bondage of addiction, for example, or of destructive habits of thought – and the struggle to break free of them. But there’s precious little discussion about what happens after freedom comes calling. It’s as though freedom – slavery, begone! – is something like the equivalent of marriage in old-fashioned novels: The point at which the story and struggle are over and an amorphous pink happiness begins.

The truth, of course, is that every story is different, and the happy truth is that some Jews have put their freedom to good use by becoming mystery writers. (more…)

April 14, 2014

Felony of the Week: Unorthodox Practices, by Marissa Piesman

Unorthodox Practices, by Marissa Piesman

Why is this week different from all other weeks? Because this week we eat the bread of affliction, otherwise known as Matzo. AND because this week we’re running not one but two Felonies of the Week: In honor of Reginald Hill we’re continuing our sale on all the books of his that we publish – nine of the early books in the “Dalziel and Pascoe” series, and four of his stunning non-series novels. And in honor of Passover, we’re offering a sale on Unorthodox Practices, the first in Marissa Piesman’s laugh-out-loud series about the ultimate Nice Jewish Girl.

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April 10, 2014

Thursday Quiz: Fictional Coppers

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If I were truly loyal to the memory of Reginald Hill, this quiz would focus on Yorkshire. But I’m a pathetically soft southerner, and a Yank at that, so this week’s quiz is instead focused on coppers. How well do you know your fictional constabulary?

    1. In Martha Grimes’ “pub” series, Richard Jury reports to Chief Supt. Racer, whose life is made miserable A) by Jury, and B) by a cat. What’s the cat’s name?
    2. Inspector Morse has a number of grand passions, including opera, real ale, and crossword puzzles. He’s also keen on cars, and drives a Jaguar…but didn’t always. What car did he drive in the series’ early novels?
    3. Morse may love opera, but for Nottingham cop Charlie Resnick, it’s jazz all the way. Plus a snack. So what does Resnick most like to eat?
    4. Laurie R. King is perhaps best known as the author of the “Beekeeper’s Apprentice” novels, featuring a woman who apprentices herself to an aging but once famous detective. However, King also writes the “Kate Martinelli” series, about a gay police officer…in what city?
    5. The Dead Sit Round in a Ring (published by Your Favorite Small Press), features London detective Stella Mooney, who has “a vicious little vodka habit,” and is generally “messy, conflicted, angry, aging, and extraordinarily interesting.” She’s a splendid character in her own right, but also tips a hat to perhaps the greatest female copper in fiction, who could be similarly described. She was created by Lynda La Plante. What’s her name?

Last week’s quiz, now with an answer! And the previous two quizzes as well.