It would be a crime to miss this week's Book Babes Radio Show, which airs at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, on WMNF-FM 88.5 in Tampa and streams at the same time on the Internet at wmnf.org.(You can also hear a podcast of the show by going to the site.) Throughout the half-hour show, the Book Babes go to the dark side.
BOOK NEWS: Margo starts the program with a thumbs up (which you won't see, of course -- hey, it's radio) for "Wallander," the latest PBS "Masterpiece: Mystery!" series, based on three brooding tales by Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankel. The main character of those novels is Kurt Wallander, a grumpy and moody detective played by Irish actor Kenneth Branagh. He does Swedish melancholy quite well, says Margo. She should know. Wallander works out of a Baltic seaport in the southern Swedish province of Skane, where Margo's maternal grandfather was born. The Book Babes ruminate on the reason for the growing popularity of Swedish crime novels throughout the world. The late Stieg Larsson is currently the most widely read adult novelist in Europe. In the U.S. Knopf publishes his latest, "The Girl Who Played with Fire," in July.
BABES BOOK OF THE MONTH PICKS: For their monthly book picks, Margo recommends any book by Mankel. The PBS series consists of three 90-minute shows based on three books: "Sidetracked," "Firewall" and "One Step Behind," all available stateside from the New Press. Margo also recommends the latest books by two of her favorite Swedish women crime novelists featuring women sleuths: Asa Larsson's "The Black Path" (Delta Trade Paperback Original) and Helene Tursten's "The Torso" (Soho). Ellen's picks are also set abroad. But rather than crime novels, both into the dark side of human nature and the corruption of government institutions: "Secret Son," by Laila Lalami (Algonquin Books), is set in Morocco and could be subtitled "The Making of a Terrorist." "The Vagrants," by Yiyun Li (Random House), portrays Communist China at the end of the Cultural Revolution through the lens of a small town called Muddy River, where officials rely on citizens betraying citizens in order to maintain their power.
Ellen ends the program with an interview with April Henry, a Portland-based mystery writer who recently collaborated on a mystery with FOX-TV legal analyst Lis Wiehl. Henry discusses the art of collaboration and the state of writing and reading today and comes clean about killing off a famous TV commentator in "Face of Betrayal" (Thomas Nelson).