Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood, January 2015, MIRA, ISBN: 1848453566

Death in Paradise is a successful BBC series in which a British police detective inspector has been sent to run the small police department on the Caribbean island of St Marie. Each week there is another baffling murder case to solve and each episode concludes with all the suspects gathered together in true Poirot-style fashion.

I'm a huge fan of this cosy series which will return to the television with a third iteration of the British Inspector, however A MEDITATION ON MURDER returns to the original DI, Richard Poole. Richard is as strait-laced as they come and wears a suit and tie in the oppressive heat and does not enjoy island life at all and especially sharing his beach-side cabin with a lizard, called Harry.

Richard and his team of Camille, Fidel and Dwayne are summoned to The Retreat as the co-owner, the self-styled Spiritual Guru Aslan, has been found dead in the Meditation Space, a Japanese building with thick paper walls. Five of Aslan's students were locked in the building with him and one, Julia, immediately confesses to Aslan's murder.

Richard is unconvinced that Julia is the guilty party and so the team continue to investigate Aslan and the five guests. Information is slowly uncovered about Aslan and some surprising connections to his guests mean that everyone had a motive to kill him.

As with the tv series, there is lots of recapping – going over “what do we know so far” but we do get to know a little more about Richard and he has a couple of escapades which wouldn't make it to the tv screen in the time limit of a one hour show.

I enjoyed this outing and will read the other two books currently available (with a fourth due in May 2018). I should say that the author, Robert Thorogood, is the creator of the show, so who better to write these unseen episodes. If you enjoy traditional mysteries and haven't seen the show or if you are a fan of the show then give this one a try.

Karen Meek, August 2017.

Friday, August 04, 2017

New Releases - August 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in August 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). August and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Anderson, Lin - Follow the Dead #13 Rhona MacLeod, forensic scientist, Glasgow
• Avdic, Asa - The Dying Game
• Black, Helen - Taking Liberties #7 Lilly Valentine, Family care lawyer
• Bonner, Hilary - Deadly Dance #1 DI David Vogel, Bristol
• Booker, Simon - Kill Me Twice #2 Morgan Vine, Journalist
• Bowen, Rhys - On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service #12 Lady Georgiana Rannoch ('Georgie'), 1930s Britain
• Buckler, James - Last Stop Tokyo
• Callaghan, Tom - A Summer Revenge #3 Inspector Akyl Borubaev
• Camilleri, Andrea - A Nest of Vipers #21 Inspector Montalbano, Sicily, Italy
• Cotterill, Colin - The Rat Catchers' Olympics #12 Dr Siri Paiboun, Laos
• Cross, A J - Something Evil Comes #4 Dr Kate Hanson, forensic psychologist, West Midlands
• Curran, Chris - Her Deadly Secret
• Cutts, Lisa - Buried Secrets
• De Cataldo, Giancarlo - Suburra (written with Carlo Bonini)
• Donoghue, Clare - The Night Stalker #4 DI Mike Lockyer, South-east London
• Douglas, Claire - Last Seen Alive (missed off July's list)
• Garnier, Pascal - Low Heights
• Gregory, Susanna - The Habit of Murder #23 Matthew Bartholomew, 14th Century physician, Cambridge
• Hannah, Sophie - Did You See Melody?
• Hardie, Mark - Truly Evil #2 DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell, Essex Police Major Investigation Team
• Hawkswood, Sarah - Marked to Die #3 Bradecote and Catchpoll, Worcestershire, C12
• Hoeg, Peter - The Susan Effect
• Horowitz, Anthony - The Word is Murder #1 Detective Daniel Hawthorne
• Howells, Debbie - The Death of Her
• Kray, Roberta - Dark Places
• Lelic, Simon - The House
• Lindgren, Minna - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Escape from Sunset Grove #2 Twilight Grove Trilogy
• MacNeal, Susan Elia - The Paris Spy #7 Maggie Hope
• McDermid, Val - Insidious Intent #10 Dr Tony Hill, Psychologist and DCI Carol Jordan, Yorkshire
• McGee, James - The Reckoning #6 Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner, Regency London
• McPherson, Catriona - The Weight of Angels
• Mitchell, Dreda Say - Blood Daughter #3 Flesh and Blood Trilogy
• Morton, Mandy - The Michaelmas Murders #5 The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency
• Oldfield, Mark - The Dead #3 Vengeance of Memory trilogy
• Petersen, Christoffer - In the Shadow of the Mountain #2 Konstabel Fenna Brongaard, Greenland
• Raabe, Marc - The Shock
• Ramqvist, Karolina - The White City
• Russell, Norman - An Oxford Scandal #3 Inspector Antrobus
• Sutton, William - Lawless and the House of Electricity #3 Campbell Lawless, Victorian Policeman
• Tope, Rebecca - Peril in the Cotswolds #15 Thea Osborne, House Sitter, Cotswolds
• Vargas, Fred - The Accordionist #3 Three Students Trilogy, France
• Webster, Jason - Fatal Sunset #6 Chief Inspector Max Camara, Valencia
• Weeks, Lee - Cold Revenge #6 DC Ebony Willis, London
• Whitaker, Chris - All The Wicked Girls
• White, Neil - From the Shadows #1 Dan Grant, Lawyer
• Wignall, Kevin A Fragile Thing

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Awards News: CWA Daggers 2017 – Shortlists

My internet wasn't actually fixed last Thursday as BT said it was. It took until Monday to be usable and then I was home 2 hours late yesterday due to the trains being off, so finally here are the Dagger 2017 Shortlists as per the press release:

CWA Daggers – Shortlists Announced

The Crime Writers’ Association announced the shortlists for this year’s Dagger awards for crime writing at an at an evening drinks reception held at Waterstones Piccadilly on Wednesday 26 July.

The CWA Daggers, which are the probably the awards crime authors and publishers alike most wish to win, are awarded every year in 10 categories. The Diamond Dagger in 2017 has already been announced as best-selling author Ann Cleeves, for a career’s outstanding contribution to crime fiction, and the Dagger in the Library winner has been announced as the very popular author Mari Hannah.

The shortlists are proudly sponsored by are kindly sponsored by Hazchem Network Ltd, the UK’s only palletised distribution network for Dangerous Goods, and by CrimeFest, the international crime writing convention, which will be held 17-20 May in Bristol in 2018.

Here are the Dagger shortlists for 2017. For brief descriptions of each book, please visit the website:

The CWA Gold Dagger

The Beautiful Dead (Bantam Press) by Belinda Bauer

Dead Man's Blues (Mantle) by Ray Celestin

The Dry (Little, Brown) by Jane Harper

Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

The Girl in Green (Faber & Faber) by Derek B. Miller

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

You Will Know Me (Picador) by Megan Abbott
The Killing Game (Bookouture) by J S Carol
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire (Myriad Editions) by Jules Grant
Redemption Road (Hodder & Stoughton) by John Hart
Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron
The Constant Soldier (Mantle) by William Ryan

The Pictures (Point Blank) by Guy Bolton

Ragdoll (Trapeze) by Daniel Cole

Distress Signals (Corvus) by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sirens (Doubleday) by Joseph Knox

Good Me, Bad Me (Michael Joseph) by Ali Land

Tall Oaks (Twenty 7) by Chris Whitaker


A Dangerous Place (The History Press) by Simon Farquhar

Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro's Cuba (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Stephen Purvis

The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage (Text Publishing)
by Anja Reich-Osang

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
(Bloomsbury Publishing) by Kate Summerscale

A Passing Fury: Searching for Justice at the End of World War II
(Jonathan Cape) by A. T. Williams

Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber Publishing) by Gary Younge

The CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger

The Devil's Feast (Fig Tree) by M. J. Carter

The Ashes of Berlin (No Exit Press) by Luke McCallin

The Long Drop (Harvill Secker) by Denise Mina

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

By Gaslight (Point Blank) by Steven Price

The City in Darkness (Constable) by Michael Russell

The CWA International Dagger

A Cold Death (4th Estate) by Antonio Manzini, Tr Antony Shugaar

A Fine Line (Bitter Lemon Press) by Gianrico Carofiglio, Tr Howard Curtis

Blood Wedding (MacLehose Press) by Pierre Lemaître, Tr Frank Wynne

Climate of Fear (Harvill Secker) by Fred Vargas, Tr Siân Reynolds

The Dying Detective (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, Tr Neil Smith

The Legacy of the Bones (HarperCollins) by Delores Redondo, Tr Nick Casiter & Lorenza Garcia

The CWA Short Story Dagger

The Assassination by Leye Adenle in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books)
Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

Murder and its Motives by Martin Edwards in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

The Super Recogniser of Vik by Michael Ridpath in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards

What You Were Fighting For by James Sallis in The Highway Kind (Mulholland Books) Edited by Patrick Millikin

The Trials of Margaret by LC Tyler in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

Snakeskin by Ovidia Yu in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books) Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

sponsored by Orion Publishing Group
For the opening of a crime novel from a writer with no publishing contract.

Strange Fire Sherry Rankin

The Reincarnation of Himmat Gupte Neeraj Shah

Lost Boys Spike Dawkins

Red Haven Mette McLeod

Broken Victoria Slotover

The winners of all the above CWA Daggers will be announced at the glittering Dagger Awards Gala Dinner to be held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 26 October. Ann Cleeves will be awarded the Diamond Dagger at the same occasion and Mari Hannah will be presented with the Dagger in the Library award. The after-dinner speaker will be Robert Thorogood, creator and writer of Death in Paradise, and master of ceremonies will be Barry Forshaw, the acclaimed crime fiction expert. Everyone is welcome to attend. For details and a booking form, please visit or email

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Internet Problems

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been away for a few days and returned to no phone or broadband. It's back now, just in time for me to go back to work!

With the the limited wifi service I could access sporadically, I managed to put a few links on the Facebook page.

I'll be posting the CWA Dagger shortlists,  as soon as I can. Lots to catch up on!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins

Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins, February 2017, 278 pages, Bloodhound Books, ISBN: 0995692696

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This nail-biting debut by Tana Collins introduces her detective, DCI Jim Carruthers, and heralds the arrival of another top-notch author of Scottish crime fiction. Set in a small town, called Castletown - that is roughly based on St. Andrews but still has an operational RAF base close by, the novel is a treasure trove of interesting locations that will hook in readers who are past and present residents of this unique university town and keep their attention right to the very last page.

The story starts with a particularly gruesome murder in the town, in a back alley. You are drip fed the fact that the victim is a young Welshman, a member of the RAF and knows his assailant, and also find out about the creepy person watching events unfold. That is all you find out. Even the police don't know much more but very soon this killing is upstaged by a car bomb and what looks like attempted murder. Theories abound but all centre on the fact that somebody doesn't like the intended victim’s opinions of the Welsh, particularly Welsh terrorist groups and those who are fighting for freedom. Carruthers, newly arrived in town, is thought to be out of depth on this case and outside help is drafted in, in the form of terror expert McGhee, who once tried to seduce Carruthers’ now ex-wife. There is no love lost between the men and tensions rise as his eyes fall on Andrea Fletcher; Carruthers’ extremely efficient and capable DS.

In their hunt for the intended victim, who has simply vanished, the would-be murderer, and a motive for this crime, as well as still trying to sort out first murder, Carruthers and Fletcher find themselves face-to-face with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday and have to join the dots to find out how everything is connected. They must hurry if they are to be successful as they are not the only ones looking for answers and, indeed, justice.

I loved this book! The story is captivating, well-written and has an ending that you can't see coming. Jim Carruthers is an extremely likeable cop, with enough personal trauma to make him interesting as well as good at his job. The prospect of more books about him and DS Fletcher, in their fight against crime in not-so-sleepy Castletown, is very exciting. In ROBBING THE DEAD Tana Collins has shown, extremely effectively, that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Extremely highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, July 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cover Theme - Flowers

A few recent(ish) covers with flowers on the front:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

BBC Radio 4 Drama: Foreign Bodies: Keeping the Wolf Out

I think this is a repeat but I missed it first time around. Listen now or download via the BBC Radio iPlayer app - a three parter called Keeping the Wolf Out. Available for the next 20 days, each episode is 45 minutes long.

Episode One - Behind the Wall

Special Investigator Bertalan Lázár returns in Philip Palmer's crime drama set in communist Hungary in 1963. Fighting the criminals is hard enough but there are other more sinister battles raging in higher places.

Parts two and three are Waiting by the River and Heroes.