Litquake joie de livre!

San Francisco and books: can’t have one without the other, I’d say.  And the annual SF book festival is about to explode all over the streets of The City.  Including yours truly:


Come and join us at the ever-fabulous Books Inc on Saturday afternoon. And it’s free!  Details are here.


bones-of-paris-coverI’ll be in Portland on Thursday night–or rather, Beaverton, at the great Powell’s branch there. I’ve done a number of fabulous events at this store, including a really memorable Pirate bash two years ago. This time, I can’t promise a squadron of pirates, but one never knows. Flappers?  Skeletons?  People wearing Eiffel Tower costumes?

It’s time for The Bones of Paris in Beaverton, come and join us.  Event info is here.

Letters of Mary

Among the many unexpected joys I have discovered in being a writer has been the extraordinary community that has formed around the Mary Russell stories.  People with little in common geographically or even socially come together online in mutual affection for Russell & Holmes—and, even more amazing, forge lasting friendships when they come together physically at one conference or another.BEEK UK copy

One of the early manifestations of this Russell-based community was Letters of Mary, a Yahoo group currently celebrating its seventh year of e-friendship and mutual admiration.  Over the years, a number of them have become fast friends—of each other, and of mine.  To mark the anniversary, the moderators would like to issue the following invitation:

Have you ever longed to be part of a friendly community of people who love Russell and Holmes as much as you do?   Then The Letters of Mary Yahoo Group is perfect for you.

LOM is a place where you can ask questions, join in discussions, and have access to an amazing archive of fan fiction to satisfy your Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes craving between books. Come join like-minded people and celebrate all things Russellian!

Alice and Merrily


The Letters of Mary Yahoo Group, here.

Yes, today!


What, you were expecting another day of countdown?


Nope, The Bones of Paris: on shelves in your local bookstore, today.  And if you’re within striking distance of San Francisco, join us tonight for our launch with a French accent.


In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the shops to open, take a look at these:

Pinterest Contest winners

It was not easy.  It never is, judging projects that have been put together by so many talented and energetic people, but this one was really very tough.  I judged on 1) the amount of work in the boards, 2) the thought that went into the pins, and 3) the pins’ close ties with the excerpts given from The Bones of Paris.  And that’s what I got, by the dozen.

If you entered and didn’t win a prize, that doesn’t mean you don’t win my thanks for playing.  I am honestly in awe of you people.  But since I have only one grand prize winner to name, and a limited number of runners-up prizes, I am forced to choose.  Here it is.

The Grand Prize, an iPad mini pre-loaded with my books (including The Bones of Paris) goes to:

Louise Chambers.  Just take a look at her board, here.

And look, too, at the boards of the five runners-up, who win signed hardbacks of The Bones of Paris:

Trish FlettSabrina FlynnBrandi Bailey, Sharon of Faith Hope and Cherry Tea, and Stacey L.

But there were two more that I just had to acknowledge, for different reasons.  Kate Finn, for her clever use of color—start at the bottom of her board and scroll up, watching it go from black-and-white through red and violet to the top. And Mary Achor, who wins special appreciation for being, as far as I know, the first to start a Pinterest board about The Bones of Paris, back in May.

Thank you, everyone, for playing the Pinterest game.


And thank you, everyone, for encouraging me with your enthusiasm about The Bones of Paris.  I hope you love it.


Higher Mysteries podcast

My buddy Rick Kleffel has posted his podcasts of the Higher Mysteries panel, in which four top-ranking crime writers talk about using religion and theology in their work, on his web site, The Agony Column:

“You’re all here for Tax Law 101, right?”

—Laurie R. King

For all the seriousness of her premise, Laurie R. King set a light tone for her panel discussion about “Higher Mysteries” with Sharan Newman, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Zoe Ferraris. King is a natural ring-leader, and must have been a rather mischievous student when she was studying theology in college. She makes a great host for three other very smart writers.

I captured the whole one-hour plus conversation, which offers a lot of fun, insight, and most importantly, many reasons to read. It’s hard to listen to such a great talk and not head directly to the library or bookstore to pick up the subjects of conversation.


But wait, there’s more!

He also recorded one-on-one interviews with all four of us who participated in the event, and has those available as well.  Rick, who does a lot of work for NPR, is one of the best interviewers around.  I think you’ll love what he got the four of us to say.

The “Higher Mysteries” event is here.

An abridged version (3:45) is here.

His interview with Zoë Ferraris is here.

The one with Julia Spencer-Fleming is here.

The talk with Sharan Newman is here.

Rick’s interview with me is here.


The Mystery of a Good Event

What makes for a good event?  Well, it helps when a moderator is working with three wicked smart women with lightning-fast tongues and a great sense of humor.SONY DSC

And it also helps when the crowd is equally quick on their feet and genuinely interested in the subject. (This shows about half those who eventually crowded in.)SONY DSC

(A moderator who has read the books and thought about the questions helps, too…)SONY DSC

It helps keep the energy high, in all directions.SONY DSC

And lays the groundwork for another in the King Lecture series, next year.SONY DSC

Cartloads of thanks to (left to right above) Sharan Newman, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Zoë Ferraris for their willingness to come and talk God and crime (writing).  And to The Planners (you know who you are), but especially to the Santa Cruz librarians, for inviting us to take over their building and for helping us spread the word, and to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Library, for handling the book sales and providing a noble variety of food and drink.  You ladies made the evening perfect.

Those of you who came out, thank you, and I hope you had even half as much fun as we did.  And for those of you who missed it, we’ll have podcasts and a video as soon as the hard-working volunteers manage to process them for you—when they’re up, I’ll post here and let you know.

There are days, and nights, when I love my job.  Last night was one of those.


Higher Mysteries, Santa Cruz style

Tuesday night finds me in rapt conversation with three other Ladies of Mystery, talking about how we use religion and theology in our crime fiction, and why.  The panel will be podcast, and possibly videotaped (yes yes, I know they don’t use tape any more…) but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, come and join us for a night of library splendor.

The local paper has an article about it, here, and the details (with a printable flyer) are here.



I write from the fabulous Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD, where readers devoted to the “traditional mystery”gather to share joys, appreciations, newly discovered passions, and glasses of various beverages. Malice
Domestic chose me as their 2013 Guest of Honor, the Silver Anniversary (25 years!) and an honor it is indeed.
I arrived yesterday by that most civilized form of transport, the train, and was delivered into the arms of friends. After drinks in the bar, dinner was a blast, combining fellow honorees Laura Lippman (she actually has to work–as toastmaster), Aaron Elkins, and Peter Robinson, plus Felix Francis (here both to celebrate his father and in his own right) and a baker’s dozen of the hearts, minds, and strong arms who organize this annual party.
Breakfast this morning with Friends of Laurie Alice, Merrily, Bill, and Meredith was just the beginning. And to show you what you’re missing in a more tangible sense, my excellent publishers donated book bags:


And now if you will pardon me, it’s time to get myself together for an event, this one when I try to come up with sensible replies to the questions of a professional questioner and good friend, Hank Ryan.

Beekeeper on the Beeb

One of the Lost Treasures of the LRKing universe is a radio adaptation the BBC did years and years ago ofcover-beekeeper

(under a previous cover, of course) which they broadcast, sold for a time in the shops, and then it sort of faded into the storied mists.  Even I never got a copy of the thing.  However, Rumour Reaches Me that the Beeb is dusting it off and giving it another airing.  As I remember, it was rather fun, despite some minor flaws with the adaptation.  The link is here, let me know if it doesn’t work for you.

And if you listen on Friday, let me know what you think of it.

Libraries! Yes!

In case you didn’t open your newsletter (you are signed up for the News, aren’t you?) you may not have seen two Events With Deadlines, both celebrating next week’s National Library Week.

Event the First: A contest.5_books

There’s a complete set of five Martinelli hardbacks with your name on it–or rather, with my name on it, for you–if you interest me the most with your words or images or whatever about libraries.  Yes, write, draw, photograph, video something on the theme:

If a Martian asked me what a library was, here’s what I would tell him.

Send me your piece before midnight, April 19, to

Event the Second: A rarity.

A one-of-a-kind, literally, book is up for auction on eBay, again until April 19:


A first edition, first state  copy of A Grave Talent, once held in the hands, read by the eyes, and housed on the shelf of the fabulous Margaret Maron,mmpublicity2011

that she gave back to me to use for some Good Work.  And here it is, a fundraiser for the California Center for the Book, whose entire purpose is to get people to read.  I wrote it, she loved it, and it can not only be yours, it can benefit the world of books and libraries.  Please, please up the bid: this is a beautiful book, signed by me and, if you like, Margaret.  It is an even more beautiful cause, and I would love to raise a lot of money for the Center.  The eBay page is here, I’d be so happy if you spread the word to anyone who might possibly be interested in any of the above.