Tag Archive: Elizabeth C. Bunce


Regular borg readers know about novelist Elizabeth C. Bunce′s reviews here at borg.  Last year her novel Premeditated Myrtle won the Edgar Award at the 75th annual honors (awarded by the Mystery Writers of America and named for mystery writing pioneer Edgar Allan Poe).  She was also a finalist for both the Agatha Award (honoring mystery author Agatha Christie), and Anthony Award (honoring mystery author Anthony Boucher).  As we shared previously, Elizabeth was a 2022 finalist–her second consecutive year–for the Edgar Award and the Agatha Award this time for the latest novel in her Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, Cold-Blooded Myrtle.  This year’s finalist list has been released for the 2022 Anthony Awards, and Elizabeth has been nominated yet again, making her one of only three novelists in the history of the awards to be a finalist twice for all three honors, and the second novelist to be so honored with the mystery writing trifecta in back-to-back years.

The Anthony Award is an annual recognition for mystery authors, named to honor mystery writer and Mystery Writers of America co-founder Anthony Boucher (shown above, with cat friend).  Past novelists recognized by the Anthony Awards include J.K. Rowling, Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Stephen King, Lilian Jackson Braun, Robert B. Parker, Max Allan Collins, Jill Thompson, Louise Penny, Lawrence Block, Laura Lippman, Nancy Pickard, Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Donald E. Westlake, Rick Riordan, Lee Child–and Elizabeth (shown above with Sophie, the inspiration for Peony the Cat in her series).

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Netflix’s new series The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is… weird.  The title makes it obvious that it’s meant as a parody of films like The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and The Woman in the Window, and its star, an all-grown-up Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) will pull viewers in.  But it’s not quite funny enough, often enough, to be a comedy, and the plotline (and the casting, and the set design, and the costumes…) is drawn beat-by-beat from The Woman in the Window—so if you’ve seen that, you’ll know exactly what happens.  But it’s still better in almost every way than its inspirations, so if you’re dithering about what ludicrous suburban crime drama to watch, this is the one.

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As we mentioned earlier this month, 2021 Edgar Award-winning author and borg contributor Elizabeth C. Bunce was nominated for her second Edgar Award, for the second year in a row.  This weekend she added another accolade for her novel Cold-Blooded Myrtle, as she was nominated for the Agatha Award, Elizabeth’s second year nominated for the award, which commemorates traditional mystery works typified by the novels of mystery author Agatha Christie (pictured above, left).  Past nominees have included John Grisham, Anne Perry, Max Allan Collins, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Ann Cleeves, Rhys Bowen, Charlotte MacLeod–and Elizabeth.  Nominees are announced early each year and winners awarded at the mystery convention Malice Domestic.

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Congratulations to Elizabeth for her nomination for Cold-Blooded Myrtle

From Elizabeth’s publisher:

Cold-Blooded Myrtle opens moments before the grand reveal of the annual Christmas shop display at Leighton’s Mercantile.  As Myrtle and the townsfolk of Swinburne gather for the yearly tradition, it becomes clear something isn’t right.  The proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead and the display tampered with.  But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant?  Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist involving the disappearance of a local college student.  When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the Christmas display to foretell the crime, Myrtle, Miss Judson, and Peony the cat set out to unravel a twisted tale of secret societies, cryptic messages, long-buried secrets, and a killer bent on revenge.  The case becomes even more personal when clues connect Myrtle’s own deceased mother to the sinister happenings.

“A holiday mystery is a crime fiction tradition, and many of our modern holiday customs have their origins in the Victorian era,” explains Elizabeth.  “I knew from the start one of the books would have to take place during an Exceptionally Victorian Christmas.”  Elizabeth goes on to say, “I hope that young readers see Myrtle’s determination and curiosity as an invitation to be bold and curious in their own lives.  Myrtle is a heroine who doggedly pursues her own path, despite outside pressures trying to define her.  I want kids to see that it’s ok to embrace their own passions and interests too, whatever they might be.”

The perfect holiday book for young readers and grown-up mystery fans alike, this fantastic third installment of the award-winning Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery Series promises scandal and drama, Victorian rule-breaking, early forensics, code cracking, and a packed cast of delightful and eccentric friends and foes.

In addition to the 2022 Edgar Award and Agatha Award nominations, Cold-Blooded Myrtle has been named a Kirkus 2021 Top 10 Best Book of the Year and a Wall Street Journal holiday guide recommendation.  It’s available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook here at Amazon.

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The Mystery Writers of America announces its annual recognition of the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue genres each January.  The annual list commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe (213 years this year!), and last year borg writer Elizabeth C. Bunce won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for her book, Premeditated Myrtle.  This year’s list of 2022 Edgar Award nominees was posted today, and Elizabeth was nominated for a second year in a row, for Cold-Blooded Myrtle, the third novel in her Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series!

The 76th Annual Edgar Awards are honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television published or produced in 2021, and will be celebrated on April 28, 2022, although the past two years have been virtual ceremonies.  You might recall (as we posted here last year) Elizabeth’s partner in crime joined her in the announcement of her award:

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Reviewed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is having the worst day at work.  Newly back on the job as Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Virginia, she’s juggling a potential serial killing, a winter storm, uncooperative colleagues, intrusive reporters, family drama, a missing cat—and, oh, yes, a poisoning attempt.  And that’s just the first 50 pages of Patricia Cornwell’s latest mystery, Autopsy. It stars her tough, street-smart, and experienced forensics expert—the 25th in the long-running Scarpetta series, which began in 1990.  It will satisfy longtime series fans, maybe even woo over a few new readers, and it will have you ready for the forthcoming TV series, slated to star Jamie Lee Curtis as Scarpetta.

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Along with A Visit from St. Nicholas, there is no more famous Christmas story than Charles DickensA Christmas Carol Since it debuted in 1843 it’s been reprinted hundreds of times, made into more than 100 films, and its ghostly lesson trope has been incorporated into dozens of TV series.   For England, A Christmas Carol meant the revival of universal celebration of the holiday of Christmas that would spread across the planet, as well as cementing traditions that continue 178 Christmases later.  I want to share an idea for your own cold winter read in the tradition of a very Victorian Christmas in England:  borg writer Elizabeth C. Bunce’s latest novel, Cold-Blooded Myrtle, the third book in her Edgar Award-winning mystery series.  As reviewed in the Wall Street Journal this month, “Younger [Sherlock] Holmes fans (and older ones too) should be charmed by Bunce’s Cold-Blooded Myrtle, the latest entry in her series featuring 12-year-old amateur sleuth Myrtle Hardcastle.  In 1893, Myrtle receives a double Christmastime shock: the death, in The Final Problem, of her fictional idol Holmes, and the apparent murder of the proprietor of her town’s mercantile store.  Tidings of discomfort, indeed.”  It’s chock full of Myrtle’s notations on Christmas traditions, including some little-known oddities from Christmases past.

After a year that saw her helping the constabulary discover the murderer of her neighbor and surviving a botched vacation at seaside where she foiled more than one criminal’s efforts, young Myrtle hopes to have an ordinary Christmas.  Her current pursuit is simply finding an appropriate present for her unflappable governess–and frequent partner in solving crime–Miss Ada Judson.  But when does anything ever go as planned at Christmas?

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Our borg Best of 2021 list continues today with the Best Books of 2021.  If you missed them, check out our reviews of the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2021 here, the Best Movies of 2021 here, and the Best in TV 2021 here.  And we wrap-up the year with our additions to the borg Hall of Fame tomorrow.  We reviewed more than 100 books that we recommended to our readers this year, and some even made it onto our favorites shelf.  We don’t publish reviews of books that we read and don’t recommend, so this shortlist reflects only this year’s cream of the crop.  So let’s get going!  

   

Best Sci-Fi, Best Tie-In Novel – Moments Asunder by Dayton Ward (Gallery Books).  An engaging read and fun-filled start to a new trilogy, full of great throwbacks to all the Star Trek series, with several surprise characters and incorporated events, and a great update to Wesley Crusher.  Runner-up: Star Trek: Picard–Rogue Elements (Gallery Books), by John Jackson Miller, provided a great story for a newer character, pulling into the mix the future of some familiar characters including the classic villain Kivas Fajo.    

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

An “inverted mystery” is a story that follows a criminal through the planning and commission of a crime–usually murder–from initial conception through the culprit’s ultimate downfall and apprehension (think Law & Order: Criminal Intent).  The focus is on the criminal’s mindset and how his dark scheme unravels.  Tim Major’s The New Adventure of Sherlock Holmes novel The Back-to-Front Murder is a twist on this subgenre… sort of.  Beginning with the classic Sherlockian setup—a client with a curious conundrum—Major’s novel unravels the puzzling murder of a London widower whom it seems no one would have any reason to want dead, least of all Holmes’s new client.  The trouble is, the client did plan the murder, down to the very last detail.

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Sensational cover

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Kim Todd pulls no punches in her new book Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters.”  Opening with an expose on the illicit abortion trade in 1880s Chicago, Todd sets the stage for her analysis of more than a century of “writing while female.”  Todd’s unflinching portrayal of pioneering female journalists offers a new—and far more complete—view of the history of American journalism.  From the moment when Elizabeth Cochrane, aka “Nellie Bly,” burst on the scene with her undercover profile of New York’s public mental hospital, through the Yellow Journalism era of the late 1890s and well into the twentieth century, Todd tracks the evolution of journalism as a profession, and with it the rise and fall of women reporters.  The social issues that sparked the enormous popularity of stories written by women, and what caused “respectable” publications to pull away from their superstar reporters–and historians to whitewash their contributions–form the meat of Todd’s extensively-researched volume.

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A Curse Dark as Gold cover Elizabeth C Bunce

Halloween is less than two weeks away and if you’re still looking for a ghost story to get you into the mood of the season, check out Edgar Award winner and borg writer Elizabeth C. Bunce’s novel A Curse Dark as Gold, available in hardcover, paperback, and E-book editions from Amazon and other booksellers, first reviewed here back in 2011.  The audio book as read by British actress Charlotte Parry, known for her roles in Tony Award winning Broadway plays and TV work, is a great way to immerse yourself in this ghost story.  A Curse Dark as Gold is set in the Gold Valley in that far away land where fairy tales reside.  Charlotte Miller is a girl in her late teens whose father dies and leaves her the town of Shearing’s woolen mill, which serves as workplace for most of her community, along with the care of Charlotte’s younger sister Rosie.  Unwanted responsibilities fall into the lap of this young woman from page one.  At its foundation A Curse Dark as Gold at first is a spin on Rumpelstiltskin-type “helper” tales of the past, but this story takes on a life of its own.  Shearing is at once lovely and pastoral, yet dark and creepy doings begin to emanate from every corner.  A mysterious uncle arrives and begins to interject himself into the girls’ lives, pecking away at their sanity.  As if sick itself, the mill begins to respond to the death of Charlotte’s father, with boards crashing down, textile machines failing, and the very fabric of the town seeming to unravel.

A Curse Dark as Gold audio Elizabeth C Bunce told by Charlotte Parry

The story is set at the dawn of an Industrial Revolution in a world not unlike our own.  Water wheels are about to be replaced with steam power and the smoke-filled cities that come along with that new technology.  Charlotte has inherited her father’s acumen as a savvy businessperson, yet pressures including competition from big city wool firms and unfair attempts to squeeze Shearing’s mill out of the marketplace cause the mill to lose its workers.  The economic issues are only the beginning of Charlotte’s problems.  A strange neighbor lady is a follower of Old World ways, superstitions and magic, and she tries to help.  Charlotte is steadfast and stubborn, relying only upon her own intuition as she turns away from everyone near her, including sister Rosie and her new husband.

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