Smokey the Cat
G.M. Malliet

Sixty seconds with G.M. Malliet...

G.M. Malliet’s first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year. She has since been nominated for nearly every major crime-writing award. Her series from Minotaur featuring a former MI5 agent turned vicar of a small English village debuted in the autumn of 2011. Of the fourth book in the series, raved: "[Malliet] may be the best mystery author writing in English at the moment (along with Tana French). She's certainly the most entertaining." She attended graduate school in Cambridge and Oxford. Visit her at, at, and at

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Malliet: Observant. To a fault. I wish I could find the “off” switch in my head.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Malliet: Probably the Eagle's Greatest Hits

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Malliet: I had vague dreams of living a glamorous life in a New York penthouse. Doing what I don't know, how I thought I'd get there I don't know. But that was as far from my reality growing up as it is possible to imagine. In actual fact, New York scares me. I get lost easily.

Jennifer Kincheloe

Sixty seconds with Jennifer Kincheloe...

Leslie Karst

Sixty seconds with Leslie Karst...

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February 10 2018

So the Olympics are on and it's almost Valentine's Day and we can offer neither love nor luge. Just crime and if you happen to live in the frozen North, more snow. But the crime on tap will provide both distraction and engagement.

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a doctorate in international human rights and these are at the centre of her latest, A DANGEROUS CROSSING as they have been of her previous novels. Barbara Fister says that Khan turns human rights into compelling fiction.

James Anderson's debut THE NEVER OPEN DESERT DINER, struck me as original and engaging. His second, LULLABY ROAD, also set in the high Utah desert, is equally so and just as beautifully observant of the natural landscape. Australian Jane Harper's FORCE OF NATURE also makes nature a significant player in the story, says Barbara Fister and Harper's second novel, though different from the first, is also an involving read.

Two very different sorts of books both employ Noel Coward as a character. In Mitch Silver's THE BOOK WORM, he was involved in a ploy to speed Hitler's defeat, one now discovered. Anne Corey says the books will not disappoint as an intriguing "what-if" adventure. Coward also shows up in Ed Ifcovic's MOOD INDIGO, an Edna Ferber mystery set in 1932. Susan Hoover says this is the perfect read for a wet winter day. Also essentially historical is Roberto Arellano's HAVANA LIBRE, which takes place in Cuba during the "Special Period" in the late 90s, when the Cuban people were suffering shortages as the result of the loss of Soviet subsidies. Lourdes Venard says that Arellano brings a unique voice to noir fiction.

But wait, there are more thrillers. Susan Hoover terms Sam Wiebe's CUT YOU DOWN an edge-of-the-seat thriller that is both witty and scary. Cathy Downs was less enthusiastic about Andrew Grant's FALSE WITNESS, which she says is very strong on action, less convincing when it comes to motivation. Sharon Mensing, on the other hand, applauds the characterization of Mark Pryor's DOMINIC, so effective that it had her almost rooting for the psychopathic title character.

There's only one Nordic entry this week, Sara Blaedel's THE UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER, and Caryn St. Clair says it's a bit of an oddity, in that it is set almost exclusively in Wisconsin. Though it was bit thin on crime, Caryn says it is full of interesting funereal detail.

Speaking of funerals, THE GRAVE'S A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE by Alan Bradley, marks Flavia de Luce's ninth appearance. Although it contains all the elements that fans of the series will look for, Flavia is inevitably getting older and I am not sure it altogether suits her. This one is set in the decade after the Second World War, while Frances Brody's DEATH IN THE STARS is set in the decade before it. Meredith Frazier sensed a certain falling-off from earlier entries in the series but felt it still retained considerable appeal. THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL, by Sujata Massey, is set slightly further back and further away, in India in the 1920s. Caryn St. Clair enjoyed it immensely, both for the mystery but even more for the wealth of vividly presented historical detail.

Diana Borse was very pleased with DEROS, the first in John R. Vanek's new series starring Fr. Jake Austin, a Roman Catholic priest and doctor who helps the police in a small Ohio town. It does sound a bit like a mashup of Dr Blake and Sidney Chambers to me, but Diana liked it very much.

Finally, Rebecca Nesvet reviews the next in Vicki Delany's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, THE CAT OF THE BASKERVILLES. She enjoyed both for its take on Sherlockian fandom but also for her convincing substitution of female characters for the original males.

Our guest this week in the Sixty Seconds is G.M. Malliet and you can make her acquaintance over in the box to your left.

You'll find the latest reports on crime fiction across the sea at CRIMEREVIEW, where our friends take a good look at what's going on in crime fiction in Britain.

And that's about it for now. We'll be back in early March with more. With any luck it will have stopped snowing by then. But even if it doesn't we'll trudge through the drifts to share what we've been reading with you. In the meantime, may you have a lovely Valentine's day, full of love and chocolate.

Don't forget to drop us a line if you feel the urge.



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Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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