DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Aug 20 2012

Mysteries and small towns

by Amanda L

This summer I discovered a great new television series, Longmire. The series takes place in Wyoming and the main character is a sheriff who always seems to have a dead body on his hands.  I was pleasantly surprised after reading the credits of the show that it was based on a series of books which was written by Craig Johnson. Being the library person I am, I proceeded to look at the DCPL catalog to discover that we had three of the books in the series. 

A few weeks later, I went back to the catalog to order the first in the series which the library had but was disappointed that there was a small waiting list. I placed my name on the list but I really had a hankering for a good mystery that takes place in the western United States. I decided to see if the resource NoveList might produce a list that would be similar to the Longmire series. Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series had already crossed my mind while I was watching the show. (I have seen the movies based on the books starring Tom Selleck.) NoveList can be found on the Reference Database page under the book section. Below is a sampling of books that NoveList suggested I try if I liked Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Want to read the entire Longmire series? Although the Library does not have all of the books in the series, you can always use the interlibrary loan service to read most of the others in the series.


Jun 29 2012

ShareReads: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

by ShareReads

ShareReads intro

I am not normally drawn to realistic murder mysteries. I prefer my murders nice and tidy, light on details, heavy on wit and atmosphere. If the crime took place a century ago and on another continent, then so much the better. Every once in a while, however, a more realistic mystery is recommended to me over and over again. It shows up on “Best of …” lists and I feel compelled to see what all the fuss is about. That is how I discovered Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.

Set in the small town of Chabot, Mississippi, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is the story of two men, one black and one white. They shared a brief but meaningful friendship when they were teenagers. This friendship ends, however, when a girl disappears and one of them is suspected of the crime. Twenty five years later, the men become reacquainted when another young girl disappears. While working to solve this new mystery, they discover secrets from their past that will either drive them apart or bring them together again.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable for a number of reasons. The characters were colorful and wonderfully flawed. The mysteries, past and present, unfolded slowly. And the mood of the location pervaded every scene. What I appreciated most about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, however, was the beautifully subtle way in which the author dealt with relationships between races, between family members and between friends. In this book, as in life, things are rarely black or white. Usually, the most important things lie somewhere in between.


May 13 2009

Sherlock Holmes

by Nancy M


This month will mark the 150th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author of everyone’s favorite English detective, Sherlock Holmes.
While Doyle may have ended his own writings of Sherlock Holmes over 90 years ago, his character still lives on in an increasing amount of children’s books. He can be found in a variety of roles- as an ingenious teenager, a haughty older brother to his burgeoning sleuth sister, a boss to a group of case-cracking street children, and more. No matter what his role, many of these books offer the same intriguing plots, fast paced storytelling, and well-developed crime-solving characters that Doyle cleverly created so many years ago.

Here a few recommended titles:


The Case of the Missing Marquess: an Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer

Pursued by her much older brother, famed detective Sherlock Holmes, fourteen-year-old Enola, disguised and using false names, attempts to solve the kidnapping of a baronet’s sixteen-year-old daughter in nineteenth-century London.

eyeofthecrowEye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case by Shane Peacock

A woman is found stabbed to death in London. A young boy is drawn to the scene to investigate the murder and becomes a suspect himself.

The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas: Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars by Tracy Mack

The ragamuffin boys known as the Baker Street Irregulars help Sherlock Holmes solve the mysterious deaths of a family of circus tightrope walkers.

Ask your librarian for more titles!

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Mystery writer Clea Simon wowed readers and critics alike with her 2005 debut novel, Mew is for Murder, which Publishers Weekly called “a strong start to what one hopes will be a long series.” It was the first of three (so far) mysteries featuring journalist Theda Krakow, and two passions that author and character share: rock music, especially of the independent kind, and cats. In addition to her mysteries, Clea is also the author of three non-fiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.

In this interview exclusively for DCPLive readers, Clea gives us the scoop on mysteries, why she loves libraries, and the timeless allure of the cat:

Why do you think so many readers love mysteries, and why did you want to write them?

They are so much fun, what’s not to like! I’ve always read mysteries, from Encyclopedia Brown on up to the present, so writing them should have come naturally, but it didn’t exactly. I’d been a journalist for close to 20 years and had my third nonfiction book out when I ran into Kate Mattes, a co-founder of Sisters in Crime and a bookstore owner up here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called Kate’s Mystery Books. Kate knew me because I was always in the store as a customer. But the book I had just written, The Feline Mystique, was nonfiction, not a mystery. Still, she knew me and she asked me to be one of the authors signing at her annual holiday party. I said, “But, Kate, it’s not a mystery.”

She replied, “Clea, believe it or not, there’s a big overlap between women who love cats and people who read mysteries.”

And so I came to her party and she stocked my book and I signed and I met a lot of authors and had a great time. And at the end of the night, she turned to me and said, “You should write a mystery.”

The next morning, I started Mew is for Murder.

Your Theda Krakow books are sometimes described as cozy mysteries, and like many others in that genre, they appeal to animal lovers. Yet in some ways, you don’t write the typical cozy. How would you explain your mysteries to a prospective reader?

[read the rest of this post…]