Edgar Award nominees for 2009 – concluding with a sublime musical offering

January 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm (books, Music, Mystery fiction)

Here’s the list, courtesy of Sarah Weinman’s indispensable blog. I’ve read  C. J. Box’s Blue Heaven and think it well deserving of a place among the contenders for Best Novel.  Having read Half  Broken Things and Puccini’s Ghosts, I greatly admire Morag Joss and look forward to reading The Night Following.

broken puccini


Morag Joss

Morag Joss

(In the post entitled “Best of 2006 – Part Two,” I wrote the following about Puccini’s Ghosts:

“Joss is yet another writer being favorably compared to Ruth Rendell. In her case, this is no exaggeration. Puccini’s Ghosts is a highly original novel of psychological suspense in which a group of rank amateurs from a Scottish backwater decide to mount a production of Puccini’s most singular, exotic opera. Read the novel yourself and find out how the “Burnhead Association for Singing Turandot” came into being – and why the good people of Burnhead wish to God it had not!)

missing With regard to Karin Alvtegen’s Missing: I was so impressed by reviews I read of this book some months ago that I bought it. I’m only now reading it, though, and the jury is still out. The problem may be my irksome tendency to read several books simultaneously. Well, we’ll see; I’ll give it a bit longer. Having made the purchase, one does so hate to throw in the towel.

The titles up for best fact crime – my chief guilty reading and TV viewing pleasure  ( e.g. Forensic Files, The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science, and the newly revived Unsolved Mysteries) – all look interesting. I have read and reviewed The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, and although it is a slow read, it is a very worthwhile one.

In the Critical/Biographical category, Leonard Cassuto’s Hard-Boiled Sentimentality is highly recommended by Sarah Weinman. Scene of the Crime by David Geherin is among the many tomes resting on my nightstand (actually, one nightstand plus one splendid device called a “clutter column!) awaiting my perusal. Geherin’s book is subtitled, “The Importance of Place in Crime and Mystery Fiction,” and in it, he discusses fifteen authors who are closely associated with their chosen settings. Among them are Donna Leon (Venice), Tony Hillerman (the American Southwest), James Lee Burke (Southern Louisiana), Walter Mosley (South Central Los Angeles),  Georges Simenon (Paris), Sara Paretsky (Chicago), and Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana).

sentimentality geherin


Revisiting the annotation for Puccini’s Ghosts got me wondering if there might be a Youtube video of Pavarotti singing the famous tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot. Reader, I found it. The year is 1980; the occasion is the “Live from Lincoln Center” 30th anniversary special. The conductor is Zubin Mehta. The performance is – well,  just hear and see for yourself:

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