What’s on Pepper’s bookshelf in Killing Thyme?

IMGP3441In ASSAULT AND PEPPER, the first Spice Shop mystery, Pepper discovers the joys of the Brother Cadfael mysteries by the late, great Ellis Peters. In later books, she dives into the Dame Frevisse mysteries by Margaret Frazer—one of my very favorites—and the Sister Fidelma mysteries by Peter Tremaine.

In KILLING THYME, just released on October 4, 2016, Pepper’s mother, Lena, visits and introduces her to several newer historical mysteries series. As Lena says, “Now you know why I love historicals. Life could be harsh, and people haven’t changed a whole lot. But reality is easier to take when it’s dressed in period clothing.”

KillingThyme_FC.inddOf course, Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop carries a wide range of cookbooks and food fiction. Readers have asked me for a list of the books Pepper mentions. Here’s Part One. 

And here’s what’s on Pepper’s bookshelf in KILLING THYME:

Rhys Bowen, the Molly Murphy Mysteries, including Murphy’s Law and Death of Riley

Victoria Thompson, the Gaslight Mysteries, including Murder on Amsterdam Avenue and Murder in Morningside Heights

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames, the Cheese Shop Mysteries and the Cookbook Nook Mysteries

World Spice at Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes by World Spice Merchants owner Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne

Essays by the late novelist and food writer Laurie Colwin and the late food writer MFK Fisher

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War, by Annia Ciezadlo, a tour of Middle Eastern food during the wars in Iraq and Lebanon

Laura Childs, the Teashop Mysteries, Gunpowder Green

Krista Davis, the Domestic Diva Mysteries, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme

Happy reading and eating!


The Saturday Writing Quote — on imagination

IMGP2188 “I think that the job of imagining how it feels to be other than oneself is a useful vocation. By trying to understand and narrate the lives of others, artists hope to bring about the small leaps of empathy that allow societies to bridge divides of heritage.”

— Chris Cleave, author of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

(hat tip to reader PJ Coldren

The Saturday Writing Quote — Angelou on language

maya on creativity

“Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”

—Maya Angelou (1928-2014), American novelist, poet, essayist, and all-around amazing woman

Saturday Writing Quote

Today, two smart quotes from a novel I enjoyed years back and came across again recently, City of Thieves, by David Benioff (2008), an improbable combination of buddy road trip and historical novel set during the siege of Leningrad. The narrator’s deceased father had been a poet.

“[T]ruth might be stranger than fiction, but it needs a better editor.”

“It was very odd to speak openly about my father and his work. The words themselves seemed unsafe, as if I were confessing a crime and the authorities might hear. … Still, it was good to talk about him. It made me happy that poems are referred to in the present tense even when the poet is the past tense.”

— David Benioff, in City of Thieves

Admissibility of past convictions #lawandfiction

medium_5938168933I spotted this blog post on the NW Sidebar, a publication of the Washington State Bar, titled Witness Backgrounds: What’s Admissible in Washington vs. Oregon, and thought it raises some interesting possibilities for fiction writers. (I’ll wait while you read it.)

In short, every state sets its own standards for what criminal history can be brought out when a witness testifies in court. But these are good examples of two general approaches — one more flexible, one more stringent, though in each state, statutory limits are the starting point.

How can you use this in your story? Is a witness afraid to report a crime, or to speak honestly to police, or to testify in court because of her history? How will your fictional prosecutor deal with an eye witness who has a lengthy criminal history, even though it may have nothing to do with what the witness saw? Even bad guys can innocently, by coincidence or bad luck, witness other bad guys in the act. How will your fictional defense lawyer deal with the same situation? What emotions does the fear of testifying trigger in your witness? She and her new husband were beaten and robbed; if they testify against the thug, will the ten-year-old arrest for forgery that she’s never told him about be used against her in court? What will she do to prevent that—lie? Insist he testify? Develop laryngitis or an excuse to be out of state visiting her supposedly ill sister? Will a jury really hold a minor criminal history against a witness or victim in evaluating credibility?

Note that we are talking about witnesses here, not defendants. We’ll talk about the admissibility of a defendant’s criminal history another time.

Saturday Writing Post — on imagination

IMGP2011“In general, I think the human imagination has a compulsive or obsessive aspect to it, and the consequences of obsession can be negative in the extreme. … But of course I also believe that imagination is what in large part separates us from the chipmunks. We can envision a future for ourselves. We can envision a better and more decent world. We can envision ourselves as better and more decent human beings. And now and then we can take a bold, glorious stride into that which we’ve imagined.”
– Tim O’Brien, American novelist (b. 1946) quoted in The Writer, July 2010

(photo by Leslie)

The Saturday Writing Quote — a collection of quotes from indigenous writers

SinCSisters in Crime recently published our annual Publishing Summit report, looking this year at the issues surrounding diversity: Report for Change: the 2016 Publishing Summit Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Mystery Community.

And so, I loved this collection of a few quotes from some our best-known and most important writers of Native American or indigenous ancestry, called A Door to Memory. I hope you’ll find them inspiring, too.

“Life is a chance, a story is a chance. That I am here is a chance.”

— Gerald Vizenor, Some Other Frequency: Interviews with Innovative American Authors, 1996

(Hat tip to PJ Coldren)