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MWA Announces 2016 Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Award Recipients

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Author Walter Mosley has been chosen as the 2016 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and will receive the award at the 70th annual Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City on April 28, 2016. At the same time, two Raven Awards will be presented, to “mentor, teacher, scholar and editor” Margaret Kinsman and to Sisters in Crime, the group of women mystery writers initially convened by Sara Paretsky in 1986, and the Ellery Queen Award will be given to Janet A. Rudolph, director of Mystery Readers International, editor of the Mystery Readers Journal and teacher of mystery fiction.

(via MysteryWriters.org)

Walter Mosley reads from latest Leonid McGill novel, a complicated tale

And Sometimes I Wonder About YouWalter Mosley has been called “America’s Blackest Jewish Writer.” His father was black and mother Jewish and even though he self-identifies as black, he speaks often about his Jewish heritage.

So, it’s fitting he will be at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center to talk about his new crime novel featuring ex-boxer and P.I. Leonid McGill, as well as being Jewish and why he identifies with Isaac Bashevis Singer.

McGill, a short, black man who still works out at the gym, is leading a messy life in his fifth outing. He meets a beautiful woman who has stolen a valuable ring from a mobster and embarks on a torrid affair with her even though his wife is hospitalized after trying to commit suicide. Also, he’s in love with Aura, who manages his apartment building, but they’re taking a break and he misses her.

When McGill turns away a homeless man who wants him to track down a woman with a secret, and the man is later found dead, McGill takes on his case out of guilt for the way he treated the guy.

A third thread in this complicated plot — or plots — is the involvement of McGill’s son, Twill, with a dangerous, Fagan-like figure who is running hundreds of young people in various scams and killings.

McGill is an interesting mix of integrity when it comes to his cases but less morality when it comes to his love life — or maybe sex life would be a better word. But he’s likable and cares for Twill and his other adult kids.

“And Sometimes I Wonder About You” has a lot of moving parts and readers have to pay attention to the characters and what’s going on.

IF YOU GO

What: Walter Mosley reads from “And Sometimes I Wonder About You” in Twin Cities Jewish Book Series.

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday, St. Paul Jewish Community Center, 1375 St. Paul Ave., St. Paul

Admission: $25

Information: 651-698-0751

Publisher, price: Doubleday, $26.95

(via Pioneer Press)

‘The Fall of Heaven’ at Trinity Episcopal Church’s Fellowship Hall in Bethlehem

William Alexander Jr. (left) plays Tempest Landry and Roy Shuler plays Joshua Angel in the Crowded Kitchen Players produciton of 'The Fall of Heaven' at Trinity Episcopal Church's Fellowship Hall in Bethlehem. The show opens Nov. 6. (EMILY PAINE / THE MORNING CALL)Crowded Kitchen Players’ production of Walter Mosley’s dark comedy “The Fall of Heaven,” which premieres in the Lehigh Valley Friday, will kick off the company’s series of plays designed to provide a forum on racial discrimination.

“The Fall of Heaven” is the first play in “Voices of Conscience: Toward Racial Understanding,” a joint effort by Crowded Kitchen, Selkie Theatre, Allentown Public Theatre, the Basement Poets and other arts organizations.

Crowded Kitchen’s production is only the second of the morality play written by the well-known mystery author. It will be presented in Trinity Episcopal Church’s fellowship hall, 44 E. Market St. Bethlehem.

“The Fall of Heaven,” written in 2011, was Mosley’s first play. Mosley has written more than 40 books, and wrote “The Fall of Heaven,” his first play in 2011, based on his 2008 book “Tempest Tales.”

In the story, based on Mosley’s 2008 book “Tempest Tales,” Tempest Landry (William Alexander Jr.) is a street-wise young black man living in Harlem, who is “accidentally” shot 17 times by police and finds himself at the pearly gates facing St. Peter (David “Oz” Oswald). When St. Peter tells him he is to go to hell, the quick-witted Tempest refuses to go and through a technical loophole is able to go back to earth, with a new identity and body. He also is accompanied by the accounting angel Joshua (Roy Shuler).

In life, Tempest was no angel, but he was far from evil. Joshua is out to prove goodness prevails and the resulting battle of wills takes an intriguing look at good versus evil and what it means to be human.

Mosley’s book was inspired by Jesse B. Semple, the memorable character created by Langston Hughes in his “Simple Stories.”

Director Ara Barlieb calls the play a “comedy of the human condition” and says it is very timely.

Mosley is the author of the acclaimed “Easy Rawlins” series of mysteries, the “Fearless Jones” series and the collection of short stories featuring “Socrates Fortlow,” “Always Outnumbered” and “Always Outgunned,” for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award.

The cast also features Erica Baxter and Felicia White. The play is being stage managed by Brian McDermott.

•”The Fall of Heaven” 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Nov. 13, 14; 3 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 15. Trinity Episcopal Church, 44. E. Market St., Bethlehem. Tickets: $18; $14, seniors; $10, students. Info: www.ckplayers.com, 610-395-7176.

(via @mcall.com)