Category Archives: murder mystery

Margaret Atwood, Prophet of Dystopian Fiction: The Stone Mattress

The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

Tuesday’s Tale of Suspense   August 22, 2017

 

“At the outset, Verna had not intended to kill anyone.”

Do you like small horrors? What about quiet horror?  If you’ve never experienced Margaret Atwood’s fiction (she’s written 40 novels and currently quite popular right now with her The Handmaid’s Tale—a misogyist society where women have no rights and are forced to serve as breeders), here’s a fascinating and suspenseful  story to give you an introduction, The Stone Mattress.

Imagine you are on an Arctic cruise and you come into contact with a man who raped you in high school.  What would you say to this person? Would you seek revenge or forgiveness? Come and meet Verna. She is biting and clever as she is beautiful and courageous.

This is a compelling story and my first experience with Atwood’s fiction. I was blown away by this highly intelligent story of drama and intrigue.

 

 

You’ve likely seen lots of promos for the bestselling and critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale,  a film (1990) and the new series now available on Hulu. Atwood is enormously well read, especially by young writers. She began her career as a poet. Her writing is often in women’s-studies curricula; her stories explore issues of morality. The Handmaid’s Tale was on the American Library Association’s list of the top 100 banned books of the decade. Margaret Atwood is considered  to be the prophet of dystopian fiction.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer, film 1990, staring Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Natasha Richardson, Elizabeth McGovern; Screenplay by Harold Pinter.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale Series Trailer on Hulu:

 

 

The Stone Mattress short story is part of  a collection named The Stone Mattress.

Read Margaret Atwood’s short story The Stone Mattress here at NewYorker.com/Magazine.

 

Do leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, literary horror, murder mystery, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense

Book Review: The History of Murder by Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson’s The History of Murder (nonfiction)

It has been said that man is the most violent creature on earth.

Read this book and you’ll be convinced this thought is true.  Wilson writes a history of homicide, covering a couple thousand years—quite a literary achievement. And he does so in very thoughtful ways. I read this book because I am a writer of mystery fiction; murder, death, ghosts, humanity are all part of my stories and exploration. If you study murder or are curious about the psychology of violence (or like to read about the dark side of life) this is one to add to your list. At over 600 pages and two inches thick, this is like an encyclopedia, but Wilson makes it more personal and sometimes philosophical. He explores why man is a killer. Wilson begins with Ivan the Terrible, Nero, Vlad the Impaler and the spectacular sadist Tamerlane. Lots of details that were a bit disturbing for me, especially Countess Elizabeth Bathory who enjoyed soaking in bathtubs filled with the human blood of young murdered girls. Moving on to Murder Elizabethan Style with a poisoned crucifix, disembowelments, castrations, beheadings, Jack the Ripper, British murders, sex crimes and serial killers. A lot to handle. Best way to read this is in small bites. I like Wilson’s narrative style and will likely read some of his fiction titles. At the end, Wilson says “in spite of three thousand years of cruelty and slaughter, there is still hope for the human race.” Read this book and you’ll know why.

 

 

 

Read all my book reviews on Amazon.com on my Paula Cappa Reviews page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1O7TTTF8K1E1L

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, short story blogs

Greylock in the Berkshires

On  Saturday, June 24, 2017 at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, Berkshire Historical Society, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, I had the privilege to present my supernatural mystery Greylock to local residents and readers.

Arrowhead lies at the foot of Mt. Greylock. Because my novel takes place on Mt. Greylock and is about the supernatural powers of music … of whales … and much more … Arrowhead was an ideal location for this book reading event and signing.

[Courtesy Berkshire County Historical Society.]

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The Russian beluga whales in the novel Greylock are nothing near the size of Melville’s Moby Dick, and Melville didn’t write much about his singing whale, but in Greylock, the songs of the beluga whales are a driving entity for the character Alexei Georg, a classical pianist. Murder, music, mystery on Mt. Greylock is haunted suspense where music itself is a character.

Arrowhead is a place of inspiration. There is such a thing as ‘power of place’ in that Melville sought solitude for his imagination. Arrowhead provided that reach for Melville’s true creative powers to soar. Many thanks to Peter Bergman of the Berkshire Historical Society for his invitation to bring my novel Greylock to  Arrowhead. Arrowhead opens a new exhibit this June. This month marks the 61st anniversary of the 1956 film Moby Dick. The exhibit is movie memorabilia and props used in the film.

Greylock in the Berkshires!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Supernatural Power of Music

As part of my presentation of  the story and characters in Greylock, I discussed the supernatural power of music. The account of violinist Giuseppe Tartini’s sonata “The Devil’s Trill” is a perfect example. Alexei’s cousin, Josef, knows all about this sonata and explains what powers lie in music.

So, I asked my audience …

“Do You Believe in Music Phantoms?”

 [2-minute video]

If you don’t believe in music phantoms, this is the story that will test your resolve.

 

 

Greylock in the Berkshires!

Here are some quick images of my spectacular weekend in the Berkshires at Arrowhead. We stayed at Hotel On North in Pittsfield. Five-star accommodations. Their restaurant, raw bar, and quality service made the weekend spectacular. Highly recommended if you are visiting the Berkshires.

Cozy lounge for a champagne toast.

 

Naturally, the gift shop at Arrowhead carries Greylock, as well as the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, and, on the summit of Mt. Greylock at the Bascom Lodge. Local area libraries and bookshops too.

The Most Inspiring Mountain in Massachusetts

Mt. Greylock is inspiring for many writers, Thoreau and Hawthorne to name a few. J.K. Rowlings, author of the Harry Potter series, has claimed Mt. Greylock for her fiction too. Her new story (Fantastic Beasts) has Ilvermorny founded by an Irish witch who started a school for wizards at the top of Mount Greylock.

 

 

Here’s something Herman Melville wrote about reading: 

“…the books that prove most agreeable, grateful, and companionable,

are those books we pick up by chance here and there …”

 

 

Greylock has over 60 reviews at AMAZON.COM

“Greylock is a smart, entertaining supernatural thriller. Think Stephen King meets Raymond Chandler with a score by Tchaikovsky. The author’s passion for both the arts and the natural world shines through on every page. Briskly paced and yet lovingly detailed, this novel was a genuine pleasure to read.” —David Corbett, best-selling and award-winning author of The Mercy of the Night.

U.S. Review of Books: “Cappa’s latest is nothing less than a mind-boggling mystery … always keeping an elusive edge to her characters’ personas—a plot replete with all the wonderful trappings of a romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns.”

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Filed under fiction, ghost story blogs, Greylock, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, murder mystery, phantoms, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Philomel Cottage, an Agatha Christie Obscure Murder Mystery

Philomel Cottage  by Agatha Christie (1934 Published in Listerdale Mystery)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 20, 2017

 

This short story by Agatha Christie, the murder mystery master, is one that hasn’t seen much popular light. Raymond Chandler was said to criticize Christie’s literary skills but that didn’t tarnish her fame or book sales.  She remains the queen of crime.  Philomel Cottage is probably one you’ve not read.

The name of this cottage carries a very specific subtext. The title Philomel—also known as Philomela—refers to a Greek goddess who was turned into a bird. In Christie’s story, Philomel represents the nightingale, symbolic of the feminine rejecting the dark silence and her finding voice in that darkness to sing.

This is a romantic twisty tale, set in a cheerful English village of gardens and gossip. The drama is about a newly married couple, Alix and her demanding husband Gerald—how lovely their new home is and how happy the setting. Well, maybe not for long. Murder and the dark psychological powers of dreaming prevail.

The ending is unpredictable and not at all in the neatly tied-up style we are used to in Christie crime mysteries. It’s unusual for Christie to flavor her stories with anything supernatural, but one might interpret this story to be haunting in a Hitchcockian way.  Christie’s compelling narrative suspense, as always, does not disappoint.

Read the short story  here at Celine.Klinghammer.free.fr.

 

This story was adapted for film in 1937 with Ann Harding and Basil Rathbone Love With A Stranger. If you are an old film buff like me, this one is thoroughly enjoyable. Vintage black and white and so fashionable. Women wearing curvy slinky dresses, budding rounded busts with sexy shoulders and pearls. Men with mustaches and tailored in tweed suits with wide lapels and cuffed wide trousers. Absolutely nostalgic!

Watch it here on YouTube.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audio: Old Time Radio Suspense of  Philomel Cottage with Orson Wells. This is a real treat!

 

If you are an Agatha Christie fan, you’ll love the Agatha Christie Blog.  

Click here for “How to Make A Miss Marple’s Afternoon Tea.”

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Christie’s first novel , The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written in 1916, published in 1920. Murder on the Orient Express (1934); Death on the Nile (1937) and Appointment with Death (1938).   And many more: 78 mystery novels, 19 plays, and over 100 short stories. Her final novel, Sleeping Murder: Miss Marples Last Case, was published posthumously in October 1976. She is considered the best-selling novelist of all time  (2 billion copies sold and by some estimates nearly 4 billion, her works ranking 3rd behind Shakespeare and the Bible). What a gal!

 

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Check out The Guardian‘s “No One Should Condescend to Agatha Christie—She’s a Genius.” 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 2 00 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, and horror. Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, Greylock, horror blogs, murder mystery, Night Sea Journey, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror, The Dazzling Darkness

Chanticleer Books Reviews Greylock – 5 STARS

 

 

5 STAR review at Chanticleer Book Reviews

Greylock by Paula Cappa – Mystery/Thriller/Paranormal

Rating:
Title: Greylock
Author(s): Paula Cappa
Genre(s): Fiction, Ghosts, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Mystery, Occult, Paranormal Romanticism, Supernatural, Thriller/Suspense, Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Crispin Books (2016)
Please help promote the author by liking the review at:

What’s in the music we create? When we say it lives – when we say it breathes – when, for one fleeting moment it seems to bridge the gap between one soul and another – what kind of existence does it assume? What does it feel? What does it think? What does it want? Such questions may reside in theory for most, but not for piano virtuoso Alexei Georg in Paula Cappa’s Greylock.

Hot off the release of what will surely be his magnum opus, October, Alexei has achieved the level of success found only in his wildest dreams. Hailing from a Russian family steeped in musical artistry, he has transcended all those before him and become something they never could: a legend. And that’s all thanks to October.

There’s only one problem: he didn’t compose it.

And that would have been fine for him, taking credit for pages found in an antique chest belonging to one of his ancestors, if it weren’t for the demons it conjured every time he plays those chords. If it weren’t for the shadowy figure haunting him, punishing him, coming for him. October may have surfaced through the Georg bloodline, but there is something far more sinister and mysterious hidden in each note that is threatening to break free from Alexei’s control.

Alexei wants nothing more than to move on, but the past will not let him. Add to his troubles the threat of fraud exposure from those he’s closest to and a string of grisly murders within the Boston music community that brings the police knocking on his door, he can only come to realize just how much October is at the center of it all. He’ll have to confront three generations worth of Georg family demons to overcome this evil before it claims everything he has and hopes to achieve.

Using music as a central motif and life force to drive the narrative, Paula Cappa defies the limitations of the written word and adds a new dimension in storytelling through the personification of music. The descriptions being so richly layered and animated, one might just imagine these nightmares dwelling in the punctuation, awaiting their chance to come alive themselves.

With just enough integral characters in place to create conflict, Cappa creates a compelling mystery that allows the reader to virtually hear the machinations of the plot grind away before they inevitably crank up to a satisfying crescendo.

By Tim MacAusland
March 2017

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, literary horror, murder mystery, mysteries, paranormal, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short story blogs, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Greylock, Review at Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

‘Greylock’: Thriller With Local Ties

For my Massachusetts fans, in case you missed this in the Berkshire Eagle. I just discovered this review this week. I’m planning a trip to Pittsfield, MA for a book reading and signing in June 2017.  This review by Colin Harrington, The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass.

 

berkshire-eagle

‘Greylock’: Thriller with local ties perfect for Halloween reading

By Colin Harrington, Special to The Eagle, October 2016.

Suspense, romance, classical music, and the supernatural all converge at the summit of Mount Greylock in Paula Cappa’s thrilling new novel of murder and the occult, “Greylock.”

In 2007, Alexei Georg as sonar technician aboard the USS Los Angeles submarine, pinged beluga whales in the White Sea off Russia and was transported in time and space through their whale song from half a world away. Returning to Boston and his life as a concert pianist, he receives a mysterious newspaper clipping about the same whales gathering and singing seven years earlier on the same date, Sept. 9.

It becomes the perfect, even destined theme for writing a symphony, a whale symphony. His career had already risen to notice when he performed his October sonata, a piece he claimed to have written, when in fact he had discovered it, albeit unsigned, in the sea chest of his Russian father, Aleksandr Georg.

The story had always been hazy but the music of the October sonata was sensational and he was frequently asked to perform it at major venues. Encouraged by his mentor, Dr. Leed Mensah of Wheatley College, Alexei becomes a candidate for a prestigious and lucrative Essex Institute Endowment award to write his whale symphony at the Greylock Music Hall at the top of Mount Greylock. Alexei manages to get back to the White Sea by Sept. 9, 2014, to commune again with his whales from aboard the Belyy Ved’ma with the shadowy but intuitive captain Gleb and the powerful shaman/translator Shemiossa. Alexei has his most intense telepathic encounter with the Beluga whales this time and is more determined than ever to write his symphony on Greylock. Trouble brews however, when his wife, Carole Ann, whom he has just left because she does not support his composing dreams, is murdered, and he becomes the prime suspect for her murder and three other related “slasher” murders. He soon realizes too that the October sonata is cursed and he finds that he cannot rid himself of the Russian river demon, Varlok, who demands a terrible payment for ownership of the music.

Pursued relentlessly by Boston Homicide’s Detective Violet Rufft, Alexei is by turns supported and betrayed by his friends and his cousin, Josef, with whom he grew up in Plymouth, and with whom he has a bitter rivalry in the concert hall.

Strengthened by his love for TV meteorologist Lia Marrs, and wizened to the soul-shattering seductions of great music, Alexei confronts Varlok in mortal combat on Mount Greylock after a visitation from Shemiossa on the trails that lead him to musical triumph. When he believes he is freed of evil, Alexei composes the greatest music of his life, by his own talent.

This novel is terrific and a perfect book to curl up with on Halloween.

Colin Harrington is the Events Manager at The Bookstore* and Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox, Mass. 

 

Read the review at the Berkshire Eagle News, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

 

Greylock_thumbnail3PaulaCappa

 

Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015

 
 “I’ve not seen anything like it since Hitchcock and duMaurier

gave us The Birds. Greylock is a stunning masterpiece.”

Five Stars from Veteran Book Reviewer Don Sloan.

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Print editions available at the following:

Bascom Lodge, Summit of Mt. Greylock, Lanesboro, MA

The Bookstore,* Lenox, MA

Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Stockbridge, MA

The BookLoft, Great Barrington, MA

Ebook and trade paperback:  Amazon.com    Barnes&Noble.com  itunes.apple.com

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Filed under Book Reviews, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, horror blogs, Mt. Greylock, murder mystery, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Greylock is Featured November Read at Goodreads

Greylock is the featured November read at Goodreads, Writers and Readers Group. Join in!

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/37092-writers-and-readers

Greylock is a Chanticleer Book Award Winner, 2015.

U.S. Review of Books: “Cappa’s latest is nothing less than a mind-boggling mystery … always keeping an elusive edge to her characters’ personas—a plot replete with all the wonderful trappings of a romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns.”

Murder, lies, romance, betrayal. When pianist Alexei Georg plays an old Russian sonata, a dark musical power invades his life, haunting him from Boston’s music society to Russia to the summit of Mt. Greylock, where he must find a way to halt the dark force within his music or become prisoner to its phantasmagoric power. From Boston’s music society to the White Sea in Russia to Mt. Greylock. Murder. Music. Mystery.

Greylock_thumbnail3PaulaCappa

 

On Amazon: US http://amzn.to/1OxPF9B UK: http://amzn.to/1Wp3Flr

Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards

 “A dark masterpiece. Rare and beautiful piece of writing by an author with an unpredictable and exceptional command of language and mood.” John J. Staughton, Amazon TOP Reviewer, FIVE stars.

“Echoing notes of Phantom of the Opera, mixed with Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe, and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, Greylock is a thrilling musical tragedy steeped in lore, mythology, and the madness of composition, leading to a crescendo of epic proportions. Paula Cappa is a gifted author, and this book will have you swooning in the aisles.” —Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration.

 

Have you met Alexei and Lia?

 

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