Spies, Detectives and Cops ~ Show August 15 and 16


“The English Spy” by Daniel Silva
“Die Again” by Tess Gerritsen
“Thin Air” by Ann Cleeves
“Devil’s Bridge” by Linda Fairstein
“Nemesis” by Catherine Coulter
“Palace of Treason” by Jason Matthews
“Code of Conduct” by Brad Thor

Tess Gerritsen, Author

As summer winds down, publishers offer up a super selection of one of our favorite beach-worthy genres: spies, detectives and cops. Tess Gerritsen stops by to chat about two subjects she’s passionate about: her Alzheimer’s Research support initiative and her new Rizzoli and Isles adventure.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows


Ruth Rendell Dies At Age 85

Ruth Rendell, one of Britain’s best-loved authors, who delighted fans for decades with her dark, intricately plotted crime novels, passed away on May 2. Baroness Rendell of Babergh, the creator of Inspector Wexford and author of more than 60 novels, had been admitted to hospital after a serious stroke in January and died in London.

The crime writer Val McDermid voiced the sorrow of many Rendell fans when she heard the news. “Ruth Rendell was unique. No one can equal her range or her accomplishment; no one has earned more respect from her fellow practitioners. Current British crime writing owes much to a writer who over a 50-year career consistently demonstrated that the genre can continually reinvent itself, moving in new directions, assuming new concerns and exploring new ways of telling stories.”

Baroness Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House UK, said: “Ruth was much admired by the whole publishing industry for her brilliant body of
work. An insightful and elegant observer of society, many of her award-winning thrillers and psychological murder mysteries highlighted the causes she cared so deeply about. She was a great writer, a campaigner for social justice, a proud mother and grandmother, a generous and loyal friend and probably the best read person I have ever met. Her many close friends in publishing and the House of Lords will greatly miss her wonderful company and her truly unique contribution to our lives.”

Rendell’s novels included the Inspector Wexford crime series and the psychological thrillers she wrote as Barbara Vine. Her debut, “From Doon with Death,” introduced Wexford in 1964. “He sort of is me, although not entirely,” the author told the Observer in 2013 when the inspector made his 24th outing, in “No Man’s Nightingale.” “Wexford holds my views pretty well on most things, so I find putting him on the page fairly easy.”

Rendell landed her £75 publishing deal after a decade of life as a mother and housewife. She had been a journalist on the Chigwell Times, but resigned after it emerged that her report of a local tennis club dinner had been written without attending the event, meaning she missed the death of the after-dinner speaker during his speech.

Ian Rankin said he’d viewed Rendell as “probably the greatest living crime writer” and added that “if crime fiction is currently in rude good health, its practitioners striving to better the craft and keep it fresh, vibrant and relevant, this is in no small part thanks to Ruth Rendell”.

Rendell’s death closely follows that of fellow crime writer PD James, her good friend and political opponent in the House of Lords. A tribute by the broadcaster and writer Mark Lawson this weekend called them “the George Eliot and Jane Austen of the homicidal novel: different minds and style but equal talent”. He credited them with saving British detective fiction from the disdain of serious literary critics.

Rendell won prizes including the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for “sustained excellence in crime writing”, and, as a Labour life peer, helped pass a law preventing girls being sent abroad for female genital mutilation.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Mystery Writers Cooking Up New Recipes


In two new books, mystery writers have come together to provide recipes from their lives, and the lives of their characters.

The first book, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For was released in March. Edited by Kate White, author of the “Bailey Weggins” series of mystery books, the work brings together recipes from Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Louise Penny and Scott Turow, among others.

White, a member of Mystery Writers of America, was approached by the organization to see if she would be open to editing a cookbook featuring recipes from other members. Because of her editing chops — (White is the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine) — the group figured she would know how to pull a collection together. “But what amused me is that one of the committee members had read my “Bailey Weggins” mysteries and pointed out that I had a lot of food mentions in the series and thus was probably a foodie,” added White. “I don’t think I realized until then how much Bailey ate!”

The book includes Mary Higgins Clark’s recipe for Celebratory Game Night Chili, a dish she and her family eat while watching the Giants. And Sandra Brown’s “Mystery Crackers” are from a recipe given to her by Mary Lynn Baxter, an indie bookstore owner in Texas, who read her first manuscript years ago and sent it to an editor who bought it. Other recipes are for dishes mentioned in actual mysteries—Sara Paretsky’s “Chicken Gabriella” is cherished by her detective V.I. Warshawski (whose mother’s name is Gabriella).

But one of White’s favorite recipes is Nelson DeMille’s Male Chauvinist Pigs in the Blanket. “It’s not from a book, but it’s hilarious and you get such a sense of Nelson from just reading it,” said White. “It makes you want to go out and buy all his books.”

White approached some of the biggest authors directly, but all Mystery Writers of America members were asked to submit recipes. She then worked with the editors to make the final selections. “We wanted to be sure we had a great cross section,” added White.

“Food can play a big role in mysteries,” said White. “In certain instances, like in the classic story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, food is an actual murder weapon.” Food, according to White, also works to “brilliantly define” character. “For instance, we can’t think of Miss Marple without her scones and tea—she reportedly drank 143 cups of tea over the course of all those novels and short stories,” said White. “And where would Lee Child’s Jack Reacher be without his coffee?”

In The Cozy Cookbook: More than 100 Recipes from Today’s Bestselling Mystery Authors, editors at Berkley Prime Crime culled together dishes featured in the imprint’s many culinary-series, like Avery James’s “Cheese Shop” mysteries, Laura Childs “Tea Shop” mysteries, and Victoria Hamilton’s “Vintage Kitchen” mysteries.

“So many of our Prime Crime mysteries contain fun extras like crafting tips or recipes,” said Berkley editor Michelle Vega. “It seemed like a natural fit for our audience and also seemed like something that would potentially engage food lovers who may not be familiar with our books.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

We’re Up For An International Crime Spree ~ Show March 14 and 15


“On A Fine Summer’s Day” by Charles Todd
“Burned” by Valerie Plame
“Why Kings Confess” by C S Harris
“Runaway” by Peter May
“A Conspiracy of Faith” by Jussi Adler-Olsen
“The Forgotten Girls” by Sara Blaedel
“The Final Silence” by Stuart Neville

Valerie Plame, Author

It’s the Ides of March… and with a nefarious nod toward Caesar, we’ve got murder on our minds. We’re up for an international crime spree, highlighted by my guest today, Valerie Plame, a former CIA operative.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

A Show That Proves That Crime Does Pay ~ Oct 18th and 19th

“The Long Way Home” by Louise Penny
“Mean Streak” by Sandra Brown
“The Marco Effect: Department Q, Book 5” by Jussi Adler-Olsen
“The Stone Wife” by Peter Lovesey
“Deadline” by John Sandford
“The Perfect Witness” by Iris Johansen
“A Thin Dark Line” by Tami Hoag

Sandra Brown, Author

A show that proves that crime does pay…when you’re looking for a book to keep you turning those pages. Elaine speaks with bestselling author Sandra Brown about her newest thriller, “Mean Streak.”

Summer Thrillers ~ Show August 16 and 17


“The Director” by David Ignatius
“Let the Devil Sleep” by John Verdon
“The Heist” by Daniel Silva
“Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting” by John Shiffman
“Midnight in Europe” by Alan Furst
“Zodiac Station” by Tom Harper
“Paw and Order” by Spencer Quinn

Daniel Silva, Author

Cops and undercover agents are at the top of their game in this summer’s thrillers. Elaine discusses “The Heist” with Daniel Silva, a book that finds Gabriel Allon going up against a criminal network of art thieves and international terrorists.

Crime Bestsellers From International Writers ~ Show May 31 and June 1

“No Man’s Nightingale” by Ruth Rendell
“Blessed Are The Dead” by Malla Nunn
“Saints of the Shadow Bible” by Ian Rankin
“The Son” by Jo Nesbo
“The Telling Error” by Sophie Hannah
“The Blackhouse” by Peter May
“Silent Kill” by Peter Corris
Guest Malla Nunn, born in Swaziland, South Africa, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a filmmaker with three award-winning films to her credit.
A spotlight on crime…but not the usual suspects. Elaine investigates crime bestsellers from popular English, Scottish, Norwegian, South African and Australian writers.

CRIME DRAMAS ~ Show May 3rd and 4th

“The Auschwitz Escape” by Joel Rosenberg
“Missing You” by Harlan Coben
“Stone Cold” by C J Box
“Destroyer Angel” by Nevada Barr
“A Circle of Wives” by Alice LaPlante
“The Cairo Affair” by Olen Steinhauer
“Death on Blackheath” by Anne Perry
C J Box, Bestselling Author
An investigation into why we – law-abiding citizens – are so fascinated with crime dramas. Elaine prowls the bestseller lists for new titles worth your time.


Alaric Hunt, a jailed convicted murderer wrote a serial killer thriller… inspired by watching Law and Order.. and crime novels. He then submitted it to a writing contest… and won the $10,000 award, AND a publishing contract.

Hunt and his brother pleaded guilty in 1988 to murder and arson, after they set off fires during their burglary of a jewelry store. A student died of smoke inhalation.

Contest Sponsor Minotaur Publishing was not put off to learn of Hunt’s incarceration. The publisher commented, “he’s allowed to write, to submit, and to publish. He’s not writing a memoir of his crimes and trying to make money off that.”

For more on killer new titles, tune into my show The Book Report.