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Excerpt from Death of a Blue Blood (421.4KB)
The complete first chapter of Death of a Blue Blood.
Aloha Excerpt.pdf (357.0KB)
A short except from Aloha Betrayed.
Excerpt from Close-up on Murder (282.8KB)
Here's a short peek into the latest "Murder, She Wrote."
If you're missing a few links that were here before, we've moved them to our My Works page.
PHOTOS FROM THIS YEARS BOUCHERCON CONFERENCE ON THE "EVENTS" PAGE
We're on Facebook! If you are, too, please look for us at Murder, She Wrote Author, and "Like" us.
In honor of the Silver Anniversary of "Murder, She Wrote" in print, we're blogging on the 29th of every month on Killer Characters. Our first one is here. We'll be guest blogging elsewhere and will let you know when we do.
Great interview with both of us by Diana Belchase. And a lovely article on my winning the Seigenthaler Award in the latest Killer Nashville newsletter.
Exciting News: LIGHTS OUT! received a great review from the April 21 edition of Publishers Weekly. Double click on the link at left to read.
BREAKING NEWS! When LIGHTS OUT! was published this spring to rave reviews (scroll down), and reviewers likened it to the writing of Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake, the publisher priced it at a level that I considered too high. The hardcover cost in excess of $25.00. Worse, the Kindle version was priced even higher. Now, for some reason that I can't quite fathom, the hardcover on amazon is $5.90, and the Kindle version $5.60. I'm extremely proud of this novel and hope that those who'd previously avoided it because of its price (and who can blame them?) will go back and take a second look.
A day in the life of Robert "Don't call me Bobby" Brixton from the latest in the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series Undiplomatic Murder is featured on the blog Dru's Musing. Thanks to Dru Ann Love, a writer's best friend. For a picture of us together, see the Events page.
We guest blogged about Death of a Blue Blood at Jungle Red Writers. You can read it here.
Veronica's post-Hollywood years certainly weren't glamorous but they were profoundly human, filled with sadness and occasional joy. Therefore I was pleased when the talented British film producer and screenwriter, Ian Beaumont, flew to New York from London to discuss with me collaborating on a feature-length motion picture based upon her life as both a Hollywood celebrity and as a fallen star who'd ended up waiting tables in a seedy bar.
Ian and I have been working on the screenplay, and after a number of revisions have come up with a script that both captures her Hollywood glamour days, as well as her decline while living in New York. I'm excited about the project. Ian has a sensitivity about Veronica's life that matches mine, and we're looking forward to taking the project to its next step. The film's title: THE LOST BLONDE.
Renée and I were invited to join a chartered boat trip down the Thames to celebrate Phyllis's birthday several years later. And on another trip to London, Baroness James of Holland Park, as she was formally known, gave us a private tour of the British House of Lords where she held a cherished seat. After spirited political debate everyone retired to the bar where spirits were high and friendships cemented despite differing viewpoints. Phyllis introduced us to other members of that august body, including Ruth Rendell and Sir Richard Attenborough. Our American lawmakers could take a lesson from how to form constructive relationships on both sides of an issue.
The last time we were together was a dinner at London's famed Ivy restaurant where we were given a prime table because we were with P.D. James. As we always did when we were together, we spent the evening telling tales and laughing. We've intended for years to get back to England to spend time with Phyllis and Rosemary but, as too often happened, life got in the way. That certainly is our loss. Sleep in peace, Phyllis. And thank you for your friendship.
At this year's Killer Nashville conference I was truly shocked when Clay Stafford, founder of the conference, announced that I was the recipient of the first annual John Seigenthaler Legends Award. John Seigenthaler was the pioneering editor and publisher of The Tennessean, a man revered for championing the First Amendment, and for fighting for the rights of the next generation of writers or those who have been neglected. I couldn't believe that I'd been chosen for this honor, and am grateful to Clay and others who felt I was worthy of it. Clay has written a very flattering article about me receiving the award in the most recent Killer Nashville newsletter. Thanks again, Clay.
We always enjoy receiving calls from our friend and agent, Bob Diforio, especially when he has good news to share. We've received a number of such calls lately and want to share the good news with you.
Since the death of my friend Margaret Truman, I've written, or am in the process of writing new novels in her Capital Crimes Series. MONUMENT TO MURDER, EXPERIMENT IN MURDER, and UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER have been published to wonderful reviews, and sales have been brisk, especially UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER which was published in July. INTERNSHIP IN MURDER will be out next year. I'm currently writing DEADLY MEDICINE (tentative title), and have one more to write under the current contract. Bob called to announce that audio rights have been sold for all six novels to Brilliance Publishing, a leader in recorded books.
Another call informed us that the "Murder, She Wrote" novel DEATH OF A BLUE BLOOD, which is out now, has been bought by Columbia House and Book-of-the-Month Club. This is the first book in the series that will be a book club selection. Stop by Amazon to read the rave reviews.
Still another call from Bob announced that 12 of the "Murder, She Wrote" novels will be published in large print editions, one a month beginning with CLOSE-UP ON MURDER in April 2015.
We've signed a new contract for three more "Murder, She Wrote" novels.
LIGHTS OUT! which was published earlier this year, has been compared to the work of Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake, two idols of mine. It's currently in the hands of some top-tier Hollywood actors who are considering it as a motion picture vehicle for them. My fingers are crossed.
This year's ThrillerFest was terrific. See a few photos on the "Events" page.
"The Big Thrill,"" the monthly e-magazine from Thriller Fest, features an interview of me by George Ebey, about the July 16 publication of the latest thriller in the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series, UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER. Margaret and I were close friends and worked closely together on the 20-plus novels set in Washington, D.C. Following her death Bob Gleason, my friend and editor at TOR/Forge, asked me to continue writing novels in the series. UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER is the third book that carries my byline, and the interview covers my years working with Margaret, and beyond. The next book in the series, INTERNSHIP IN MURDER, will be published next year. And I have a new two-book contract that will keep me busy delving into Washington and its underbelly.
On July 2, a blog I wrote was published on the excellent website devoted to murder mysteries, Dru's Book Musings. In it I speak in the voice of Carlton Smythe, the protagonist of my novel that was published in June, LIGHTS OUT! The novel has received universal praise from fellow-writers and reviewers, and Carlton Smythe, a regular guy bitten by the love bug which leads him down a ruinous criminal path, is a favorite character of mine.
Close-up on Murder is number 40 in the "Murder, She Wrote" mystery series. Look in the left-hand column for an excerpt from the book.
2014 is shaping up to be a busy year as we make appearances to promote the 25th Anniversary of the "Murder, She Wrote" books. A list of where we'll be appearing can be found on the "Events" page. And look for our interviews and blogs under the bulleted items above.
We picked up our second coveted "Lovey Award" at this year's Love is Murder conference. This second award is for "Best Series." We thank the good folks at Love is Murder for this honor.
Speaking of the Silver Anniversary of the "Murder, She Wrote" novels this year, we thought you should know that the first one, Gin & Daggers, was published in 1989. 25 years later we're writing the 43rd book in the series--43 dead bodies for Jessica to trip over. It's been a gratifying run, and we thank reviewers for crowning Jessica Fletcher "today's Miss Marple."
My latest in the Margaret Truman Capital Crime series, UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER, is out now.
And my novel, LIGHTS OUT! was published in the U.K. in February, and here in the States in the spring. I wrote an article about it for Publishers Weekly. Of the 115-plus books I’ve written, I’d never written one without having a contract in-place before I started. But earlier this year I went back to a novel I’d started in 2003 based upon an event that took place in the United States and Canada in that year. I’d never found the time to finish it, but this year I made the time. It’s a comic caper in the Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block vein, as well as the story of an average man suffering a monumental midlife crisis. The title is LIGHTS OUT! My wonderful agent Bob Diforio of the D4EO Agency has found a good publishing home at Severn House, a leading British publisher with a strong presence in the United States. It's already been published in hardcover in the U.K., with the stateside edition coming out in May. Here are a few advance reviews.
“Donald Bain has a wit and a sense of fiction that I have encountered only in Elmore Leonard’s best stuff. Lights Out! is a wonderful read.”
Michael Palmer, N.Y. Times Bestselling Author of Political Suicide
“Stylish, wry, droll and surprising. We’re irresistibly drawn to turn the pages, wondering as in all good stories where the clever author will fool us.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Multiple Award-Winning Author
“As a psychiatrist I’ve treated many men going through a mid-life crisis but none as entertaining as Carlton Smyth in this delightful misadventure. How he plans to alleviate his unhappiness is not condoned, but you can’t help rooting for him.”
Robert T. London, M.D.
“Lights Out! is a page-turner with a clever premise. The tightly written cinematic plot has an extraordinarily well-drawn cast of interesting and actable characters.”
Joe Stockdale, Author of Taking Tennessee to Hart and Stages
And there's another Truman Washington-based novel, INTERNSHIP IN MURDER, that I recently completed and is being edited at the publisher.
Time for a vacation!
So it’s no surprise that Laurie used her love of the game, and the family history in which she’s immersed herself, to write a wonderful young person’s novel with the neat title, Catcher in the Sky. It’s the story of a 12-year old boy who plays baseball, and in the process learns a lot about the value of friendship, why bullying is wrong, and the things that really matter in life—with a little help, of course, from his great-great grandfather, Con Daily, who passes along advice about playing the game—and living—from his perch in heaven. It’s a charming, highly readable book that every young man will enjoy (although many adults have been captivated by it, too.) Catcher in the Sky is available as a printed book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as an e-book on Kindle and Nook.
Fans of "Murder, She Wrote" will love Peter S. Fischer's recently published memoir,
Me and Murder, She Wrote. Peter, along with Richard Levinson and William Link, was the creative force behind the TV show that brought Jessica Fletcher into millions of homes every Sunday night, and his memoir takes us behind the scenes of this iconic TV series. The subtitle gives you a hint of the wry, anecdotal approach this extremely talented man takes in writing the book: "An Unauthorized Autobiography."
Everyone in America knows Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. But there's another Tom Sawyer who has touched as many of us as the Twain character has. He's Thomas B. Sawyer, and if you faithfully watched "Murder, She Wrote" every Sunday night this Tom Sawyer's fertile mind and writing chops came through loud and clear through our TV sets. He produced 79 episodes of that favorite show starring Angela Lansbury, wrote 24 of the episodes. This Tom Sawyer, has turned his deft writing hand to thriller novels. His first, The Sixteenth Man, delves into the conspiracy behind the JFK assassination. His newest, No Place to Run, looks behind the scenes of 9/11. We now have the same agent, Bob Diforio, and I know that Bob is as excited about representing Tom as I am reading him.
There's a good reason why Lawrence Block is revered by those of us who make a living writing mystery and suspense fiction (or crime novels if you're a Brit). It's because he's so damn good. I've just finished reading Larry's latest, THE BURGLAR WHO COUNTED THE SPOONS, which features one of the most engaging characters ever to end up between the covers of a book, Bernie Rhodenbarr. It's the 11th in the Rhodenbarr series. You can purchase his books in a variety of editions, including autographed ones. Here's how: His ebooks can be found here; signed books may be ordered here; and signed and numbered hardcovers may be ordered here.
We had fun weaving Hawaii's rich culture into ALOHA BETRAYED, the MSW novel that will be published in April. We researched the book on Maui, where murders simply don't exist. But with Jessica on the scene you can be sure that at least one body shows up.
We're delighted that our Hyphenates Books publication of a memoir by my former theater professor at Purdue University, Joe Stockdale, is now available through amazon.com. Its title is Stages. Joe (Dr. Joserph Stockdale) and his wife Robin are remarkable people, and I'm proud of the friendship we've enjoyed for so many years. Stages is a thick book, which you would expect considering Joe's long and distinguished career in theater education. He's launched the careers of countless young men and women in theater, film, and television, and his passion for his chosen career comes off every page. Anyone who shares that passion for the performing arts will gain a great deal of insider understanding of how successful productions are planned and mounted. A Kindle version is now available for $9.99.
City Book Review gave EXPERIMENT IN MURDER, the 26th novel in Margaret Truman's Capital Crime Series, a rave review. This excellent review service syndicates reviews to various city magazines and newspapers. The novel, published under my name in hardcover last November, has upset a few people, especially because of its ending, but the ending reflects reality. It takes the reader into the world of hypnosis, a powerful medical tool that can be used for good—or for evil as happens in the novel. Being compared to "The Manchurian Candidate" is praise unto itself. Readers can come to their own conclusions after reading it. It has also generated controversy because the science behind the story might well have relevance to Sirhan Sirhan's assassination of RFK. It's available on Kindle and Nook, and is now in paperback.
The preceding book in the series, Monument to Murder, which was published in 2011, is widely available in all formats.
Prescription for Murder was published last April, and a signed copy of the book went to Becky Lasson of Connecticut for coming up with the title. The book, which will soon be out in paperback, is set in Tampa, Florida, and involves intrigue within the Cuban-American community, as well as inserting Jessica and her friend, Dr. Seth Hazlitt, into the high-pressure world of medical research. Fans of the series will find it interesting that Seth, who is often critical of Jessica for "snooping," becomes quite a snoop himself into a murder that takes place, as he becomes Sherlock with Jessica as his trusted aide Dr. Watson.
Close-Up on Murder, published last fall, finds Jessica and Seth back home in Cabot Cove, and contending with the shenanigans of a motion picture company taking over the town. Mort is not happy, but his irritability quotient goes even higher when a body is discovered on the movie set.
Last fall saw the hardcover debut of Domestic Malice which finds a Cabot Cove family wrestling with the issue of domestic violence. It's a difficult subject matter, but an important one that needs attention. We hope you agree.
When the abuser is murdered, suspicion points to the family, but how many others in the community had bones to pick with the victim? Fans of mystery conferences will recognize that the working title is a play on one of our favorites, Malice Domestic, which takes place annually in the Washington, D.C.-area.
For those who like armchair travel, The Fine Art of Murder is available everywhere. (Look for an excerpt in the lefthand column.) This one is an exciting tale of big-time art theft and forgery that takes Jessica to Italy where she almost loses her life, only to be drawn into a murder in Chicago when she returns home.
The Queen's Jewels takes Jessica to London in preparation for a trans-Atlantic crossing back to the United States on the magnificent Queen Mary 2. After spending time with Scotland Yard Inspector George Sutherland (too little time as far as they're concerned), she sets sail. Little does she know that individuals connected with the theft of a huge diamond from its London owner are also onboard, and Jessica soon finds herself in the middle of a plot by international jewel thieves to fund terrorist organizations.
If you're a figure skating fan, and even if you're not, there's a lot to enjoy in Skating on Thin Ice, now available in paperback. It takes place in the exciting world of competitive figure skating, a wonderful sport that has millions of devotées, including us. Renée is an avid fan and continues to take skating lessons at our local rink.
Every book in the "Murder, She Wrote" series is still in print.
We're still hoping that Hollywood interest leads to a movie version. Learn more about the novel, the author, and how to buy the book by clicking on "Hyphenates Books" on the navigation bar at the top of this page. There's also a special note there for "Murder, She Wrote" fans.
Murder HE Wrote
The "Murder, She Wrote" series, the Veronica Lake autobiography, Veronica, Charlie and the Shawneetown Dame, and Coffee, Tea or Me? are among the more than 100 books I've written over a long career (the actual number as of Winter 2013 is 118). The story behind these books and all the others, is contained in the new e-book mentioned above, and in the previously published trade paperback edition of my autobiography, Murder HE Wrote: A Successful Writer's Life, still available from Purdue University Press. For reviews and endorsements from top publishing figures and fellow-writers, please click on the book's title, Murder HE Wrote to your right. Perfect gift for the writer in your family.
Charlie and the Shawneetown Dame
The Purdue University Press reissue of this book that I wrote more than 30 years ago continues to create a buzz in Hollywood. It's a dramatization of a true story from the Prohibition era, involving one of the more bizarre gang wars in the annals of crime in America, replete with tank wars, bombing from an aircraft, and chronicling the life of Charlie Birger, a flamboyant, slightly mad Al Capone wannabe. I've completed a screenplay based upon the book, and of the many books I've written, this has always been a particular favorite. Click on the title at the right for reviews, and an excerpt from the book.
The CIA's Control of Candy Jones
Often called a "cult classic," the reissue of this highly controversial book is difficult to find in stores, but used versions are available on amazon.com and at barnesandnoble.com. Twentieth-Century Fox bought the film rights many years ago as a vehicle for Jane Fonda but has never made the movie. I've tried to buy back the rights, as have a dozen Hollywood producers. For some reason, Fox won't let go. That's a shame because it would make a wonderful motion picture. Besides, the American public should know about the perverse CIA experiments that took place during the "Cold War."
Penguin Books' reissue of Coffee, Tea, Or Me? includes a new foreword by me, and all the original Bill Wenzel illustrations.
Stop back again soon.