April 2012

Editor’s Letter—April 2012


The secret of the mystery genre’s popularity is deceptively simple: Regardless of medium, it provides glimpses of good, evil, temptation, redemption—and resolution. In the hands of its masters, mystery is compelling to the point of obsession.

Take The Killing, whose star Mireille Enos graces our cover. Last season’s final episode became an intense, days-long watercooler confab. Did Belko Royce shoot Darren Richmond? Did Richmond murder Rosie Larsen? If he didn’t, then who did? In “Avenging Angel,” by Reed Johnson, Enos—whose sunny disposition is in direct contrast to her character, Sarah Linden—discusses the show and her career. She does not, however, drop any hints about what’s to come in the second season, which begins April 1 on AMC.

Bestselling authors aren’t immune from hero worship. For Michael Connelly, it would be Joseph Wambaugh. In “Rhythm + Blue,” Connelly details the impact the former LAPD detective turned bestselling writer has had on his career and interviews Wambaugh on the latest in his Hollywood Station series, Harbor Nocturne.

Connelly and fellow scribes Robert Crais, Carol O’Connell, Stephen Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Lou Manfredo and T. Jefferson Parker also contributed to “The Way of the Gun,” our photo array of the mystery detective’s tools of the trade. In this month’s Q+LA, Edgar Award winner Megan Abbott interviews Leonard on the ups and downs of seeing his unique vision translated to screens large and small. Hint: He’s a fan of FX’s Justified, the TV expansion of Leonard’s own short story “Fire in the Hole.”

Otto Penzler, the genre’s undisputed dean, contributes the “Ten Most Wanted,” a list of the best mysteries of 2011, as well as what to pick up this year. And this year’s graphic story, “Tails of the City,” is by Sara Gran, one of mystery’s most dedicated doyennes of dark. Don’t let the kitty-cat hero lull you into a false sense of warm and fuzzy—this piece is true to its author’s noir cred.

If there is a current international capital of crime fiction, it would be Lisbeth Salander’s hometown of Stockholm. In “More Than Mystery,” Jonna Dagliden has put together a guide to the Swedish capital that extends far beyond the coffee bars frequented by Mikael Blomkvist.

For accompanying reading material, John-Henri Holmberg, cowriter of the Edgar-nominated Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson & the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time, has culled the best from the current Swedish invasion of mystery writers. Fair warning: You’ll have to learn Swedish for two of them.

Closer to home—albeit deep in the past—is “Give It to Galindo,” Joel Engel’s harrowing true-crime story of mid-’50s L.A., about a falsely accused black ex-cop and the Mexican-American LAPD detective who had to work under the radar to clear his name. You can’t make this stuff up.

Finally, if you can’t get enough of the city’s noir side, don’t miss a chance to view actual evidence and materials from the Black Dahlia case, on view through June at the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, a hidden gem of L.A. lore in Highland Park.

Compelling tales one and all, this month in LA. Enjoy!  —NANCIE CLARE, Editor