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Monday, June 20th 2005

8:33 AM





Lesa Holstine has just joined Christine’s Book List as a contributor.  With the addition of her and several other new contributors you will find more reviews, reviews of historical mysteries and news on conferences and awards.  Lesa is just back from the Poisoned Pen Bookstore’s mystery conference held at Caleo Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ.  On Saturday, June 18 nine mystery authors addressed the audience of about 200.


Poisoned Pen Mystery Conference June 18 Scottsdale Arizona

Lesa Holstine

John Maddox Roberts was the first speaker.  He's probably better known in Europe than in the United States.  His SPQR books are bestsellers in Germany, where he's published the twelfth in the series.  In this country, his most recent book is SPQR IX: The Princess and the Pirates.  His mysteries featuring
Deciuis Caecilius Metellus are set in ancient Rome, during the years of the late Republic.

From Rome we moved to the Middle Ages for the next two authors.  Sharon Kay Penman was known for her historic novels before she started writing mysteries.  Her mysteries are set in the 12th century, when "people did not live happily ever after or die peacefully in bed."  The Prince of Darkness, her latest Justin de
Quincy book pits Eleanor of Aquitaine's safety against the demands of her younger son, Prince John.  As the Queen's Man, Justin de Quincy will have to do some fancy footwork.

Priscilla Royal is not as well known as Penman, but she also writes a series of medieval mysteries.  Set in the 1270s, they feature a young prioress named Eleanor who juggles governance of the priory with detection.  Royal's first book is in paperback, Wine of Violence.  Her latest book is Tyrant of the Mind.

If you ever get a chance to hear Francine Mathews speak, grab it.  She's smart and funny.  As Mathews she writes contemporary espionage thrillers.  Blown is her latest one.  Mathews herself was an analyst with the CIA, and her experiences influence her books.  But she fell in love with Jane Austen's books as an adolescent, so she writes the Jane Austen books under the name of Stephanie Barron.  Jane and His Lordship's Legacy is the most recent in that series.

Our luncheon speaker was Laurie King, author of two mystery series, and some standalones.  Locked Rooms is the latest in her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Russell and Holmes head to San Francisco, where he
gets caught up in an investigation of the death of Mary's parents.  King has four books in her series featuring a cop, Kate Martinelli.

Douglas Preston was a terrific speaker, with great stories and great humor.  He writes most of his books with Lincoln Child (who doesn't fly).  In many of them, Preston uses his knowledge from eight years working at the Museum of Natural History.  In the recent release, Dance of Death, FBI Agent Pendergast
returns to battle his lifelong enemy, his brother, Diogenes.

Bill Fitzhugh sets his mysteries in a world he knows, radio stations in Mississippi.  As a former disk jockey, Fitzhugh created veteran disk jockey Rick Shannon for his detective.  Highway 61 Resurfaced is the second in the series, following Radio Activity.

Setting is important in the stories of Julia Spencer-Fleming.  She sets her mysteries featuring Episcopalian priest, the Rev. Clare Ferguson, and police Chief Russ Van Alstyne, in a small town in the Adirondack MountainsTo Darkness and to Death is the latest book to bring the people and setting of Millers
Kill, New York, to life.

Will Thomas was a librarian discussing Victorian mysteries when he realized the majority were written by women, featuring women.  He wanted to write Victorian mysteries that featured "buckets of blood" that men might read.  Till Kingdom Come is the second book to feature private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and
his apprentice Thomas Llewellyn.

If you get the chance to hear an author at a conference or local bookstore, grab it.  You might hear interesting stories, discover a new author, or get the chance to show your appreciation for an old favorite.

Lesa Holstine- 

Lesa has even more on the confrence at her own blog check it out at:




Check out the books Lesa mentioned at



or find historical mysteries at




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