It has been four years since her blockbuster debut, The Historian, but Elizabeth Kostova is rising again on January 21 with a second act, The Swan Thieves. Instead of literature, this time Kostova's subject is painting—and painters who struggle to balance love and art. The novel goes from 1870s France to the modern day as a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist tries to discover why one of his patients attacked painting in the National Gallery.
She told Powell's she began work on The Swan Thieves before The Historian was even published. "I felt it was important for me to get back to writing right away — to draw that magic, private circle again."
After the jump, a video of Kostova discussing the novel.
Readers are buzzing about the mystery debut from Attica Locke, Black Water Rising. The L.A. Times calls Locke "a writer wise beyond her years," Sarah Weinman is a fan, and the novel garnered positive pre-pub reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus. [via]
Come July, they can add praise from BookPage to that chorus. Whodunit? columnist Bruce Tierney chose Black Water Rising as one of his four favorite mystery debuts of the summer, calling the mystery "an excellent book by any measure, but as a debut, it is nothing short of astonishing."
Can't wait two weeks? Want to discover Bruce's other favorites before the L.A. Times does? Click here for a sneak peek.
Having read about Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander books in Bruce Tierney’s Whodunit? column—Mankell has even won the “coveted” BookPage Tip of the Ice Pick Award—and being a longtime fan of PBS' Masterpiece Mystery! series, I’m pretty excited about the premiere of Wallander this Sunday, with two more episodes airing May 17 and 31. Read on for a mini review—and a chance to win three of the Wallander books.
I started watching the first, “Sidetracked,” last night and, so far, I’m really enjoying it. With a couple of days’ stubble, a bit of paunch and a generally disheveled appearance, Kenneth Branagh fits the description of the somewhat obsessive, sleep-deprived and often impatient police detective.
Wallander is stylish and modern and moves at a restrained pace—peppered with bursts of action and some really incredible edits—mirroring the title character’s methodical progress. OK, so you might have a hard time determining that you’re watching something set in Sweden (as opposed to somewhere in the British Isles), but the occasional splash of Swedish on a newspaper, a reference to the assassinated prime minister, shots of vodka bottles, and lots clean Scandinavian design help remind you.
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you how Wallander the series compares to the books, because though I love relaxing with a good mystery, I prefer watching mysteries to reading them (hey, I read all day; my eyes deserve a break in the evening). But I did enjoy watching “Sidetracked”—for the story, the suspense, and the familiar faces.
Anyway, I’ll leave comparisons to you. For a chance to win copies of Sidetracked, Firewall and One Step Beyond (the three books behind the three episodes), leave a comment by May 13 mentioning your favorite fictional sleuth/detective who’s been adapted for the big or small screen or who’d you’d like to see adapted.
Well, you never know what you’re going to find in the mail here at BookPage.
Yesterday I came across A Trace of Smoke (Forge), whose jacket photograph of a rainy nighttime street scene with German-language signage and an U-bahn entrance drew me in at first glance.
In this debut novel by Rebecca Cantrell, crime reporter Hannah Vogel tries to solve the mystery of her brother’s death, hold onto her job and maybe fall in love—all while keeping a low profile. It’s Berlin, 1931, and you know what that means. To makes things even trickier, Hannah has loaned her identity papers to a Jewish friend trying to emigrate to the U.S.
Too bad I didn’t have this book this past (very rainy) weekend; I would have curled up with it, neglecting my other reading duties.
Ah, time for full disclosure: Becky Cantrell—sorry, that’s Rebecca Cantrell—was my roommate for a year at Carnegie Mellon University. She doesn’t know that I later won a fellowship to Germany, spent a year in Berlin and became fairly proficient in German (uh, don't test me on that, I'm rather rusty).
Becky went to high school in Berlin, and also studied there in college. She captures the essence of that fascinating city in her new book, while also creating a well-written period piece set in the last days of the Weimar Republic.
A Trace of Smoke pubs May 12.
The morning after her big Edgar win, Meg Gardiner (The China Lake), describes herself as "dazed and excited and sleep-deprived." Check out her blog posts and photos from the ceremony here. Who knew the Edgar statuette was so adorable?
The Mystery Writers of America were celebrating in New York City last night! In addition to hosting their annual gala to honor the winners of the Edgar Allan Poe Awards (more simply known as “The Edgars”), the WMA were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of their awards’ namesake—Edgar Allan Poe.
Here are some highlights from the 2009 awards for best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2008. For a complete list of results, and more information on The Edgars, click here.
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
Read a BookPage interview with C.J. Box here.
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
The Foreigner by Francie Lin (Picador)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
China Lake by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries)
Check out BookPage’s review of another Gardiner book.
BEST FACT CRIME
American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum (Crown Publishers)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)
See our review of Paper Towns here.
BEST MOTION PICTURE SCREENPLAY
In Bruges, screenplay by Martin McDonagh (Focus Features)
Have you read any of the winning books? Who do you think was overlooked? Any predictions for the 2010 Edgar Awards?