Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 22

September 15, 2008

Declan Burke is hosting the Carnival yet again at his blog, Crime Always Pays. This one is the Metaphysical Edition, and instead of a multitude of links, he’s focusing all of his carnivalistic skills on exploring one question: where is crime fiction going and what can blogs and websites do to help it get there?

With a few notable exceptions, crime / mystery writing tends to get short shrift in the mainstream press, and as often as not finds itself shoehorned into a review ghetto, wherein five or six titles will be briefly assessed in the same kind of space that would be given over to single, more ‘literary’ title. That very fact, of course, is one of the main reasons for the proliferation of crime / mystery fiction blogs and sites available on-line, and in a perverse way, it should be celebrated for inadvertently creating such a dynamic and vibrate on-line crime / mystery community. . . . [T]he critical work on crime fiction needs to develop of and through its own metier, that the Johnsons of the crime / mystery community require their Boswells, and that I believe heart and soul that crime / mystery fiction needs and deserves the kind of widespread, top-to-bottom critical work that would in turn inspire the writers to strive towards ever-higher standards of work.

And if you aren’t persuaded yet, he lays it out quite bluntly:

But here’s the thing – crime / mystery fiction is the most popular genre on the planet, it is inarguably the most relevant and important fiction out there, and that’s why I believe it deserves more.

He gives a post from Glenn Harper’s International Noir as Exhibit A. I would also submit into evidence a post that Declan has just posted at The Rap Sheet on the rise of Irish crime fiction since Veronica Guerin’s murder in 1996. Fascinating analysis there.

Given that this carnival was started to highlight the Best in Blogging, I’m delighted with the latest edition and the challenge it sets forth.

image courtesy of Wordle


Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 21

September 1, 2008

Nobody can accuse Brian Lindenmuth of letting his cognitive surplus go to waste. He’s too busy finding and commenting on peculiar corners of the universe from his blogging balcony. He has rounded up a number of those unusual features of the world as we know it – and parts of it we never imagined – for the latest Carnival. And what a show it is! From interesting and bizarre images to celebrate the Carnival’s freakshow heritage, to real life stories that you wish you could make up, to stories you wish were fiction but aren’t, to art that imitates crime and watermelons that give nightmares. With a detour for a spot of techno-futures from Cory Doctorow and Clay Shirkey. (Who else but Brian in his balcony can seem at one and the same time to possess the glee of an eight-year-old boy and the intellectualism of a PhD in cultural criticism who’s had a drink or two?)


Write a piece of flash fiction starting with the inspiration of one of eight unusual images he has unearthed from the dark side. Brian will post them and a winner will be declared. He wants to ensure your cognitive surplus is fully employed. (I think Martin Cruz Smith may have already seen that floating woman – I swear she’s Arkady Renko’s mother.)

Be sure to visit his balcony for daily roundups of all that is odd and interesting (collected under clever referential titles worth the price of admission) interspersed with thougthful short essays that could launch the odd dissertaion or two.

Up Next: the Carnival will be returning to Ireland, where Declan Burke has found Crime Always Pays.

photos courtesy of Steve Rhodes and pink fish13

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 20

August 15, 2008

The Carnival has traveled from Damien’s carnival down under to the big sky and corn country of southwestern Minnesota, where Crime Dog One’s Virtual Dive Bar is hosting a special freak show edition.

Proprietor Anthony Neil Smith serves up “a feast of Biker pulp, grind-house, Pentecostals, war comics, Minnesota, ‘transgressive’ fiction, and High School Satanists.” Wait, that’s just the primordial ooze of his next book. But he does offer a rare mix of transgressive zines, biker pulp, pentacostalism, and some of the unusual things you can find his newly-adopted state, home of the film Fargo, if not of the city of Fargo.  So warm up your woodchippers and come on down to the sideshow.

Up next: Come on up to the mezzanine, where Brian Lindenmuth offers his Observations from the Balcony, and if you’re lucky he may even share his popcorn.

Photos courtesy of bitzcelt and leeighia. (We love the Flickr creative commons pool!)

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 19

August 1, 2008

We’re staying in Australia for this edition of the Carnival. Damien, of the Crime Down Under blog, and founder of the Australian Crime Fiction Database, invites one and all to sample the delights of Australian contributions to the genre. (Intriguingly, many of them seem to be set in other places – Thailand, Africa, and the wilds of Boston.) He also gives Daniel Hatadi a pat on the back for the crime fiction social-networking hangout, Crimespace, and to all those who contribute to AustCrimeFiction for their fine work promoting the genre.

While we’re talking about Australia, let’s also take note of the first annual Crime & Justice Festival, held recently in Melbourne and blogged about by Angela Savage, Helen (check out her haul!), Boomer, Sunnie (check out her haul, too!) and Karen. Sounds like a highly successful blend of fact and fiction – and a good excuse to make a trip down under, if you need one.

Next up: we’re heading to the other side of the world to the Minnesota home of Neil Anthony Smith and his Crime Dog One Virtual Dive Bar, where the Carnival will resume it’s previous schedule and reconvene around August 15th. If you would like the Carnival to visit your dive bar, please let the archivist know.

photo of a Melbourne carnival courtesy of Scootie.

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 18

July 1, 2008

We’re taking the O-bahn to paradise for this entry in the Carnival of the Criminal Minds. Kerrie of Adelaide, Australia (also known as “paradise“) has a serious jones for mysteries and covers them in her blog. She also is part of the mob of addicted mystery readers who do much to promote the crime fiction scene down under.

So this summer . . . er, winter, sorry . . . we’re spending time there, getting to know the many talented writers from that paradise that has a criminal past. For the main events, she offers some of her own antipodean reading, a grand parade of Ned Kelly winners, and an introduction to a few Australian criminal rings (of the Internet variety). Come on, come all, come down under for the paradisaical carnival!

creepy carnival koalas

Up next: don’t leave yet, mate. We’re heading to Damien’s Crime Down Under next – see you there around August 1st.

photo of bizarre and mysterious carnival Koalas taken in Adelaide by SpacePotato

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 17

June 3, 2008

Author Martin Edwards hosts the latest carnival at the intriguingly-titled blog, “Do You Write Under Your Own Name?” As the author of a series set in Liverpool (and another in the Lake District) Edwards starts with a lyrical trip down memory lane recalling his close escape as a tiny lad from being trampled by screaming teenaged girls when the Beatles (yes, those Beatles) opened the Northwich Carnival. He also provides some lovely photos from a more recent festival in Wales, where they decided in honor of the event to have a sunny day, unlike every day I ever spent in Wales.

(Photo from the Liverpool Brouhaha Carnvial courtesy of Haversack, who wins the title prize for calling his photo “does my bum look big in this?”)

Along with some of the must-read pantheon, like The Rap Sheet and Eurocrime, Petrona and It’s a Crime, Edwards points out some new-to-me blogs that touch on operas, artwork and other things. Musings from a Muddy Island has some photos of pencils that make me sigh with envy. And who can resist a blog with a title like Books to the Ceiling?

Next up: We’re on our way to Paradise, where Kerrie is one of the remarkable mob of crime fiction fans down under who will keep your winter parlor stocked with, well, books to the ceiling, should you live in the southern hemisphere – or will fill your tote with just the perfect books to take to the beach if your location is more northerly.

Apologies from the archivist for being late with this archival posting for No. 17. She was on a book tour, which she foolishly thought was an effort to buy as many books as will fit in the trunk of your car. D’oh! As soon as she unpacks she will no doubt have books to the ceiling.

And an announcement: in order to have sufficient time to book the acts, set up the tents, and see if the remaining Beatles might be talked into an appearance, the Carnival is shifting to a monthly schedule for the next couple of months.

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 16

May 17, 2008


Our traveling show (or should I say “travelling”?) has set up its tents at the always-intriguing blog of Canadian writer, Sandra Ruttan, and since one of the pleasures of a carnival is the delightfully unhealthy food, we’re serving a Canadian treat for this event. I have a feeling that poutine is not routinely eaten in Sandra’s western province, but the Carnival is nothing if not multicultural.

Ruttan has taken up Bernd’s elegant gauntlet and found some blog posts that belong in the Museum of Memorable Mystery Mutterings. These include a fantastic mystery/crime fiction primer from Brian Lindenmuth’s Mystery Bookspot. (Fair warning – once you enter the maze, you may never come out , there are so many tempting reading possibilities here.) And Anne Frasier’s much-commented-upon post, “Are Writers Broken?” She closed her blog for a time, but recently seems to have reopened it, using the downtime to finish a manuscript – a well-deserved blogging break.

Ruttan also reads widely and connects the dots creatively, so offers a Freakonomics post that might spark some writer’s imagination, as well as rides on the Ferris wheel of her favorite blogs, a food court where mystery readers may safely graze, and an assortment of the weirdly wonderful.

Up next: we’ll be travel(l)ing to the UK again, where host Martin Edwards blogs at Do You Write Under Your Own Name?

yummy photograph courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik.

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 15

May 1, 2008

Krimileser, aka Bernd Kochanowski, is hosting the carnival this Mayday in Germany at Internationale Krimis. His post embraces the classic style of a blog carnival, which is intended to point out interesting, controversial, and/or high quality blog posts. Carnival of the Criminal Minds › Edit — WordPressIn his case, he’s traveled back into the past to created a “museum” of though-provoking blog posts. What a wonderful idea! Instead of looking for the next new thing, the hot topic, the flash in the pan, he gently turns us around to look back, highlighting some extraordinary reviews, some industry analysis, insightful essays, and posts that grew an interesting tail of commentary. And then, to bring us back to the present, he also reviews crime fiction blogs in Germany and Austria. It’s a veritable wunderkammer of crime fiction.

Next up: The Carnival will be hosted by Canadian blogger Sandra Ruttan whose life and other inconveniences have recently relocated to the US.

photo courtesy of Ennor.

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 14

April 15, 2008

The carnival has come to your humble archivist’s blog today. The focus this time around is on ways to figure out what to read next – highlighting the many blogs that can help you feed your addiction expand your horizons and discover books you might enjoy. Though most carnival followers probably have mountainous piles of books waiting to be read, there’s always room for more, isn’t there? We’re aiming for the Himalayan range, here. So come on, come all – come find the next several thousand mysteries that you just have to read.

minnesota state fair

Up next: We’ll be packing for Germany as we travel to Internationale Krimis!

photo courtesy of smcgee

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 13

April 1, 2008

bigtex1.jpgThe lucky thirteenth installment of the Carnival is pulling your leg at Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine. Setting up the rides and freak shows on April Fool’s Day should not reflect on Mr. Crider’s dignified self. No indeed. In fact, if he ever had any pretense of dignity, posting items about large gator sightings, crocodile thefts, and the progressive nature of his home state should have disabused everyone of that idea some time ago.

Come along for the rides as Mr. Crider shows us around his personal list of the blogs every crime fiction aficionado should read.

Up next: the carnival is traveling to my backyard – to Barbara Fister’s Place.  Obviously, I was not feeling terribly clever the day I named that particular corner of the internets.

photo courtesy of  StevenM-61