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What could possibly go wrong when Raf—who happens to suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder—the world of pirate radio and the drug-infused world of dance raves in South London find themselves caught in the crossfire between an unscrupulous mining company and a cadre of Burmese revolutionaries? In Glow, lots.




Ned thoughtfully provided an FAQ to answer such questions as “how did you get the idea for the book,” “why did you decide on writing a thriller after ‘willfully confounding postmodern black comedies’” and “why did you decide to set Glow in the modern day?” You can find the answers to those three questions, as well as others, at Ned Beauman’s blog. As well as a Spotify playlist of “semi-recent music that helped to inspire [Glow].”

Photo of Ned Beauman ©Michael Lionstar


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The hunt for the identity of the skeleton of the title of The Skeleton Road, Val McDermid’s newest stand-alone novel, takes readers through both time and geography: from the ruins of a Victorian building in Edinburgh and Radcliffe Camera in Oxford to Zagreb, Croatia; from a contemporary United Kingdom to the bloody Balkan war of the 1990s


Val McDermid c Mimsy MøllerTHE SKELETON ROAD

Photo of Val McDermid ©Mimsy Møller


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In The Convert’s Song, Sebastian Rotella picks up the story of Valentín Pescatore, first introduced in Triple Crossing


Rotella author photo newest_Carmen MendezeditROTELLA-convertssong


With his time patrolling The Line, as the border between San Diego and Tijuana is known, now in the past,’s award-winning investigative journalist Sebastian Rotella’s Pescatore has relocated to Buenos Aires and joined forces with Facundo as a private investigator. Until the past, in the form of his boyhood friend Raymond, comes back into Valentín’s life in a too-timely-to-be-coincidental way.

Photo of Sebastian Rotella ©Carmen Mendezedit


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Scottish crime writer Robertson takes a break from the mean streets of Glasgow—the site of his series—for The Last Refuge, his stand alone mystery that takes place in the Faroe Islands




Although Scotland has no shortage of remote islands battered by lashing seas, Craig Robertson sets his latest in the Faroes, hundreds of miles north of Scotland and east of Iceland—literally, the ends of the earth. It’s here, in this protectorate of Denmark, which has the lowest murder rate in the world, that Craig’s central character John Callum finds himself accused of killing a Faronese citizen.


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Just what was that perfume—described as a combination of fresh mown hay, musk and lavender—Selene Bourgani wore that so captured Christopher Marlowe Cobb when he met her on the Lusitania? We asked Denise Hamilton, award-winning mystery writer and perfumista


This is how Robert Olen Butler describes the scent that so intrigued Kit Cobb, “Nothing of flowers. This was the smell of the green things in the world, the unadorned things of a field, of a forest, hay newly mown, and beneath this smell a musky scent, but something faintly sweet as well, lavender perhaps.” To us, this is a classic perfume mystery and the best detective we can think of to put on the case is Denise Hamilton so it was to her we took the query.

In a reply to an email, Denise wrote:

“Lavender has always been a very common ingredient in men’s colognes. What you describe might be a classic fougere such as Fougere Royale by Houbigant, which is considered one of the first perfumes (dates to 1872) and from which springs the genre of perfumes/colognes for men known as ‘fougeres‘ from the French word fern.





Fougeres can be very refined or they can have what some of us call ‘the dreaded barbershop accord’ which smells cheap and somewhat overpowering and cloying. But they are characterized by a kind of loamy, ferny note undergirded with lavender, (which can turn soapy) and musk and spices. Others on the perfume board[s] decided it must be Jicky. Though Jicky has a decided vanilla note, so not sure I agree. But that’s in the drydown. The initial blast would be more lavender and herbs.”


Speaking of Mysteries will be talking to Denise soon about her short story “The Thinking Machine,” in In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, her own mysteries and, of course, perfume.


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When it comes to writers of mysteries and thrillers, Bouchercon is an embarrassment of riches


This week Speaking of Mysteries is stepping back from the microphone and traveling 35 miles or so south to Long Beach, CA to join fellow fans of the genre at Bouchercon 2014: Murder at the Beach. Which means that there won’t be a new episode next Monday. One of the things I’m really looking forward to is the launch of SoM co-creator Les Klinger and Laurie R. King’s In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, an anthology of Holmes-and-Watson-inspired stories by contemporary authors.

We’ll be back November 24. Upcoming guests include Steph Cha, whose second Juniper Song mystery, Beware, Beware, was released earlier this fall; and Scottish mystery writer Craig Robertson, whose Last Refuge takes readers to the ends of the earth (quite literally) for a really satisfying tale of revenge and redemption.