Saturday, November 30, 2013

TV News: Sherlock Dates

The first episode of series 3 of Sherlock, The Empty Hearse will be shown on 1 January 2014.  Episode 2, The Sign of Three, will be shown on the 5th January and episode 3, His Last Vow, written by Steven Moffat, on the 12th.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah

Monument to Murder by Mari Hannah, November 2013, 400 pages, Macmillan, ISBN: 1447246047

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

MONUMENT TO MURDER is Mari Hannah’s fourth book and it is glorious. London-born, but now living in Northumberland, Hannah is a former probation officer and a film/television scriptwriter. She has published four books in two years and has already either won awards or been shortlisted for them. In short, this is one talented lady and her fabulous book had me focused and fascinated from cover to cover. And I didn’t guess who the murderer was either!

The story follows two separate plots but they are linked, as the people involved in one are friends of the people in the other, so you have to concentrate or you could get confused. One story line follows DCI Kate Daniels – the protagonist in all four of Hannah’s books - who has her work cut out when two unidentified skeletons are uncovered on Bamburgh beach, near Alnwick in Northumberland. The remains turn out to be girls, aged 10 and 15 years, and both are found wearing imitation pearls. As if it isn’t hard enough, it is snowing and the terrible weather conditions make things almost impossible for Kate and her team, as the crime scene is a fair distance away from home. Driving is dangerous, so they have to stay in a local B&B and it is not very comfortable.

Meanwhile, the second story follows Emily McCann, a prison psychologist. Recently widowed, Emily has just returned to work and is struggling to regain some sort of normality in her life. This, however, is not easy, as one of the inmates, sex offender Walter Fearnon, is obsessed with her. He is due for release and takes great pleasure in telling Emily what he would like to do to her. Emily is driven out of her mind with worry and, when her daughter disappears, she can only imagine the worst.

A well-written and interesting read, MONUMENT TO MURDER is far more than just another police procedural. The characters are well developed and attractive, with interesting lives outside of their jobs. None of them have moaning partners, complaining about their hours, and the way both story-lines are intertwined really keeps you on your toes. Hannah is a very welcome addition to the growing group of talented British crime fiction authors and I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings her.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, November 2013.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: The Magus of Hay by Phil Rickman

The Magus of Hay by Phil Rickman, November 2013, 464 pages,Corvus, ISBN: 0857898655

Reviewed by Rich Westwood.
(Read more of Rich's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

THE MAGUS OF HAY is the twelfth book in the Merrily Watkins series that began in 1998. For the uninitiated, Merrily is a single mum with a rebellious daughter, the vicar of the fictional Herefordshire town of Ledwardine. At this point, I usually end up pointing out that these aren't Vicar-of-Dibley-esque cosy mysteries, but rich and sensitive stories with a deep-rooted sense of place.

There are also supernatural overtones, largely stemming from Merrily's role as Deliverance Office for the Diocese (exorcist, in other words), but there are always rational explanations for the crimes, if not the spooky goings-on.

THE MAGUS OF HAY reintroduces Robin and Betty Thorogood, a pagan couple who first appeared in 2001's A CROWN OF LIGHTS. They didn't have much luck in that book, and not much has improved in the interim. Robin is a dreamer and falls in love with the idea of starting a pagan bookshop in the bookselling town of Hay-on-Wye. A new set of troubles is about to begin for the couple as they settle in to the shop.

Meanwhile, an old man called David Hambling is found drowned under the waterfall just over the border in Herefordshire. Merrily's old friend DI Frannie Bliss goes to view the scene, and calls her in as an advisor as soon as he has discovered Hambling's idiosyncratic library.

Merrily is feeling a little lonely - temporarily abandoned by her boyfriend and her daughter - and is additionally being drawn into a potentially embarrassing situation with a bereaved headteacher who believes she is being haunted by her partner (and seems to like it). She welcomes the diversion, especially as it takes her out of her jurisdiction. Her knowledge and contacts soon reveal that Hambling was a formerly influential magical practitioner with a regrettable history of inspiring far-right activists.

DI Bliss also inadvertently inspires an ambitious young policewoman named Tamsin Winterson to conduct her own enquiries on the side. It is her disappearance which brings the two strands of the story together, as Robin soon becomes prime suspect in her murder. Unpleasant secrets get uncovered (literally in some cases) and the investigation brings Robin, Betty and Merrily into real danger.

The story is also about a unique town in danger of losing its hard-won individuality and becoming just another place. The locals are keen for Robin and Betty to rent the shop in order to prevent it becoming a nail bar. Phil Rickman talked to Crime Fiction Lover about Hay's history and declaration of independence,

THE MAGUS OF HAY is another strong entry in this series; well worth catching up with.

Rich Westwood, November 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Reviews: Blackmore, Camilleri, George, Huber, Leonard, Rickman, Rowson, Vichi, Wilkinson

This week's set of reviews, added to Euro Crime today, is a mixture of new reviews and a catch-up of those posted directly on the blog in the last two weeks, so you may have read some of them before if you're a regular :).

Keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Amanda Gillies reviews Alex Blackmore's debut, Lethal Profit, a thriller set in Paris;

I review Andrea Camilleri's latest Montalbano, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, The Treasure Hunt;
Terry Halligan reviews the new Lynley novel from Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act;

Susan White reviews Linda Huber's debut, The Paradise Trees, a psychological thriller;
Laura Root reviews Peter Leonard's Back from the Dead, the sequel to Voices of the Dead;

Lynn Harvey reviews Phil Rickman's The Heresy of Dr Dee, now out in paperback;
Terry also reviews Death Surge by Pauline Rowson, the latest in her DI Andy Horton series set around the Solent;

Completing the set of reviews for Marco Vichi's first four Bordelli novels, is Michelle Peckham's review of Death and the Olive Grove, tr. Stephen Sartarelli, which is the second in the series

and Amanda also reviews Playing with Fire by Kerry Wilkinson, the fifth in the DS Jessica Daniel series set in Manchester.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Death Surge by Pauline Rowson

Death Surge by Pauline Rowson, September 2013, 224 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727883216

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This excellent police procedural is the twelfth mystery by Pauline Rowson. It opens with Detective Inspector Andy Horton enjoying time alone, on a free Saturday, on his yacht off of the Isle of Wight. He is considering the latest developments in his search for what happened to his late mother who disappeared in 1978 and his own efforts to try to trace what may have happened to her, when his thoughts are interrupted by a call on his mobile phone. It is Sergeant Cantelli, a close colleague whom he cannot ignore, who is really upset. It seems that Johnnie Oslow, his twenty-three-year-old nephew, has been missing since Wednesday.

It appears that Johnnie had been involved in criminality seven years before and Horton had helped him redeem himself introducing him to sailing via a charity that rehabilitated wayward boys and girls. Johnnie had grabbed the opportunity with both hands and gone on to get a job as a crew member on a Greek millionaire's personal yacht and also as a team member on one of the same millionaire's many racing yachts. He was supposed to be involved in Cowes Week racing on another yacht but had disappeared before he got to his destination. His mobile phone was not responding.

Horton appreciated the distress Sergeant Cantelli was feeling and said he would return to Cowes and begin looking into it. On the way he telephoned a couple of his men who said they would help look for the young man. So the investigation starts by Horton checking all known associates of the missing young man. He decides to question the young tearaways that he was involved with seven years before when he got into trouble and committed arson. They all individually say that they haven't seen Johnnie for years but the case carries on and a couple of weeks pass. More and more leads are checked until Horton is called to a crime scene and it turns out to be the dead body of one of the young former associates of Johnnie who has been brutally strangled. The story carries on in a very tightly plotted and sometimes very moving way until the very unpredictable and amazing ending.

The author is very skilful in her steering of the plot and the red herrings that she suggests, that indicate various possible outcomes, when later in the story alternative options are outlined that shoot down these original thoughts. I must admit that I had no idea who the killer was until the end and it was a big surprise. This is a very gifted author and I have had the pleasure in reviewing two of her previous stories BLOOD ON THE SAND and FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE and knew of the high standard of her work and had no hesitation when I saw that this book was available for review. Pauline Rowson emphasises the marine aspect in her novels and the quality of her very descriptive writing is superb. with her hero Andy Horton living on a boat and is always going back and forward over the Solent. There is the sailing around Cowes which is a novel aspect to an otherwise modern police procedural. I was gripped until the last page of this very well structured and plotted story. Recommended.

Terry Halligan, November 2013.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Film News: The Family

The Family is out today in the UK. It's based on Tonino Benaquista's Badfellas and is about an American mob family in witness protection in France.

Official blurb: A mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of Agent Stansfield to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni, his wife Maggie and their children Belle and Warren can't help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the "family" way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. Chaos ensues as old scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings.

The reviews haven't been terribly good but don't let that put you off reading the source material, translated into English by Emily Read.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Playing with Fire by Kerry Wilkinson

Playing with Fire by Kerry Wilkinson, July 2013, 300 pages, Pan, ISBN: 1447223411

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

PLAYING WITH FIRE is the fifth book in Wilkinson’s series featuring his detective Jessica Daniel. It is a highly entertaining read and, although it is the first in this series that I have read, I didn’t feel as if I were missing anything. Although, of course, it would be much better to read all five books, as a large part of the interest is Jessica’s life and personality.

The story follows Jessica’s dealings with Martin Chadwick, a man who has recently been released from prison. He has served seven years for burning down a pub and accidentally killing somebody who was asleep inside. Now crushed and remorseful, Martin breaks down in tears in front of Jessica and says he is truly sorry for what he has done. Things do not end there, though. Anthony Thompson, the father of the teenager that Martin has killed, is still out for revenge and an article is printed in the local newspaper full of his venom. Then, when somebody sets fire to Martin’s house and he is nearly killed, the finger is naturally pointed at Anthony. Anthony denies all wrong-doing and Jessica is tasked with finding the guilty party. To make matters worse, Andrew Hunter, a private detective, gets in touch after a teenage girl he has been asked to follow commits suicide. Jessica thinks there could be a link between the fires and the suicide and has to try to keep her emotions under control, all the while planning her own future with her boyfriend and attempting to deal with her insecurities over her impending marriage. Stressful or what?

Kerry Wilkinson has a degree in journalism and works for the media. He self-published his first Jessica Daniel book and, after its success as a Kindle e-book, has gone from strength to strength. His work is engaging and absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable. I was particularly moved by his vivid description of the thoughts and actions of one of his characters, who wakes up to discover their house on fire. It is so life-like you feel as if you are trapped there with them. Superb. If you like a fairly dark read but also enjoy getting to know your main characters as if they are friends of yours, then you are going to love this book and, presumably, the earlier books in the series as well.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, November 2013.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TV News: The Doctor Blake Mysteries on BBC One

I'm very much enjoying Australian series The Miss Fisher Mysteries on Alibi (based on Kerry Greenwood's books) and now BBC One are to show The Doctor Blake Mysteries featuring Craig McLachlan as Doctor Lucien Blake, and set in 1959 Ballarat. There are ten episodes and they will be on daily Monday to Friday at 2.15pm. The first episode, Still Waters, is on Monday 25th November:
A body found in the lake turns out to be a girl from the local reform school. Lawson immediately suspects a gang of local hoodlums who have connections to the girl and gets Constable Parks to make an arrest. Lawson's ready to charge him, but Blake isn't convinced and together he and district nurse Mattie O'Brien to find out more about the reform school and the girl.
The official series website is here and a second series is being filmed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli

The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli, September 2013, 224 pages, Mantle, ISBN: 1447228782

THE TREASURE HUNT is the latest in the Inspector Montalbano series and opens with a dramatic set piece which sees Salvo shinning up a fireman's ladder to break into a apartment to prevent an elderly pair of devout siblings from shooting people. The apartment is quite disturbing with a roomful of crucifixes and a much repaired blow-up doll in the brother's room.

Matters then calm down in Vigata, - with the exception of a mysterious second blow-up doll being found - there is very little crime, a reason for which is suggested by Catarella and reported to Montalbano by Fazio:

He says that the robbers, the local ones, who rob the homes of working poor or snatch women's purses, are ashamed.”

Of what?”

Of their big-time colleagues. The CEOs who drive their companies to bankruptcy after making off with people's savings, the banks who are always finding a way to screw their customers, the big companies that steal public funds. Whereas they, the petty thieves who have to do with ten euros or a broken TV or a computer that doesn't work...they feel ashamed and don't feel like stealing anymore.”

But then Salvo receives an anonymous note pushed under his door, a riddle, a “treasure hunt”. More notes follow and Salvo solves them and visits nearby places. In addition Salvo's long-time friend Ingrid sends a student Salvo's way as the boy wants to see how Salvo's mind works when he solves a case, so Salvo gives him the notes. The treasure hunt keeps Salvo busy until a proper crime occurs: a young woman is kidnapped.

The tone of THE TREASURE HUNT is quite light for about two-thirds of the book. It had me chuckling away - lots of banter between Mimi and Salvo - but then after the kidnapping it gets serious and indeed there is a very unpleasant scene described. As usual there is much to like about this latest Montalbano book it's funny, there's political commentary and an intriguing adversary however the ending was marred for me by its darkness, which not only jars with the tone of the rest of the book, but is probably the nastiest in the whole series to date.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Website Updates - November 2013

I've refreshed the Euro Crime website and have added over 300 titles and nearly 90 new authors since September. From the New Releases page you can now also see what's coming out in the UK in 2014 by category.

Just a couple of quick clarifications regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author refers to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category' is specific to the UK eg Emily Brightwell's series which was published in the US in the 1990s (and on) is only now being published in the UK and so her books are appearing in the 2014 Historical list.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am listing it for when the print edition comes out.

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1007 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2049 authors (10244 titles of which 2692 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Cesar Aira, Raja Alem, Sam Alexander, Tasha Alexander, Akira Arai, Taku Ashibe, Rafael Bernal, Frei Betto, Marcelo Birmajer, Sergio Bizzio, Therese Bohman, Britta Bolt, Jorgen Brekke, Adam Brookes, Alexa Camouro, Casares & Ocampo, Emma Chapman, Adam Chase, Ben Cheetham, Shunshin Chin, Anne Cleeland, Mason Cross, Dominick Donald, Rampo Edogawa, Jan Ekstrom, P R Ellis, Jim Ford, Frederick Forsyth, Carlos Gamerro, Alastair Gunn, Mavis Doriel Hay, Natalie Haynes, Mel Healy, Kati Hiekkapelto, Yumeaki Hirayama, Antonia Hodgson, Phil Hogan, Kotaro Isaka, Tomotake Ishikawa, A J Kazinski, Kenzo Kitakata, Kazuhiro Kiuchi, Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Janice Law, Jung-myung Lee, Catherine Lloyd, Sarah Lotz, Sophie Loubiere, Marco Malvaldi, Jeanne Matthews, Luke McCallin, K T Medina, Paul Mendelson, Tsutomu Mizukami, Matias Nespolo, Linda Newbery, Kyotaro Nishimura, Nisioisin, Andreas Norman, Kido Okamoto, Go Osaka, Arimasa Osawa, Otsuichi, Kate Parker, Tony Parons, Marc Pastor, Ricardo Piglia, Dolores Redondo, Eduardo Sacheri, Saskia Sarginson, Joh Sasaki, Soji Shimada, Stefan Spjut, Susan Stairs, Erik Axl Sund, Katsuhiko Takahashi, Tetsuo Takashima, David Thorne, Masako Togawa, Stelian Turlea, Yasuo Uchida, Bob Van Laerhoven, Juan Gabriel Vasquez, Tom Vater, Nicola White, D K Wilson, Misa Yamamura, Seishi Yokomizo and Joakim Zander.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for:  Rennie Airth, Colin Bateman, M C Beaton, James Becker, C C Benison, Tom Benn, Mark Billingham, Harry Bingham, Stephen Booth, Sam Bourne, Rhys Bowen, Alan Bradley, Andrew Britton, Fiona Buckley, Declan Burke, Andrea Camilleri, Dorothy Cannell, Carol K Carr, Donato Carrisi, Maureen Carter, Will Carver, C S Challinor, Agatha Christie, Alys Clare, Ann Cleeves, Rory Clements, John Connolly, Sheila Connolly, Lesley Cookman, James Craig, Dean Crawford, Julia Crouch, Judith Cutler, Didier Daeninckx, Arne Dahl, Lindsey Davis, Maurizio De Giovanni, Hannah Dennison, David Dickinson, P C/Paul Doherty, Mark Douglas-Home, Ruth (R S) Downie, Margaret Duffy, Carola Dunn, Sabine Durrant, Sam Eastland, Marjorie Eccles, Elsebeth Egholm, Kate Ellis, Chris Ewan, Gordon Ferris, Paul Finch, Karin Fossum, Robert Goddard, Juan Gomez-Jurado, Jason Goodwin, Ann Granger, Alex Gray, Susanna Gregory, J M Gregson, Wolf Haas, Simon Hall, Mari Hannah, Sophie Hannah, Tessa Harris, Cora Harrison, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, John Harvey, Mo Hayder, Elizabeth Haynes, Veronica Heley, Mandasue Heller, Casey Hill, Matt Hilton, Jonathan Holt, Jorn Lier Horst, Anna Lee Huber, Graham Ison, Peter James, Bill James, Roderic Jeffries, Doug Johnstone, Morag Joss, Christian Jungersen, Erin Kelly, Lars Kepler, Simon Kernick, Roberta Kray, Hans Olav Lahlum, Deryn Lake, Charles Lambert, Paul Lawrence, Tobsha/T S Learner, Stephen Leather, Peter Lovesey, Stuart/Stuart B MacBride, Malcolm Mackay, Adrian Magson, Michael J Malone, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Henning Mankell, Dominique Manotti, Scott Mariani, Liza Marklund, Edward Marston, Faith Martin, Seicho Matsumoto, Peter May, Andy McDermott, Claire McGowan, M J McGrath, Matt McGuire, Pat McIntosh, Adrian McKinty, Catriona McPherson, Danny Miller, D A Mishani, Thomas Mogford, Keith Moray, Roger/R N Morris, Steve Mosby, Amy Myers, Barbara Nadel, Jo Nesbo, Hakan Nesser, Nele Neuhaus, Stuart Neville, Asa Nonami, Nick Oldham, R S Pateman, Seth Patrick, Chris Pavone, Sarah Pinborough, Danielle Ramsay, Kate Rhodes, Michael Ridpath, Stella Rimington, Mark Roberts, Craig Robertson, Jean Rowden, Rosemary Rowe, Pauline Rowson, Priscilla Royal, Kevin Sampson, Mark Sanderson, Manda Scott, Chris Simms, John Gordon Sinclair, Nicola Slade, Tom Rob Smith, Sally Spencer, Cath Staincliffe, Andrew Swanston, Andrew Taylor, D J Taylor, James Thompson, Kerry Tombs, Antti Tuomainen, Helene Tursten, L C Tyler, Cathi Unsworth, Marco Vichi, Jason Webster, Lee Weeks, Neil White, Charlotte Williams, Edward Wilson, Robert Wilton, Simon Wood, Tom Wood and Juli Zeh.

UK Kindle Bargains

I'm currently refreshing the bibliography pages of the website which will take up to a couple of hours to load. Details of the changes will follow when it's complete. In the meantime here a a few kindle bargains I've spotted or have been told about.

Gordon Ferris reports that the latest book in his Brodie series, Gallowglass, will be the last in that series. He also points out that all five of his books are currently 65p each on UK kindle.

The Quercus UK Kindle sale continues.

Alison Bruce's The Calling is 35p on UK Kindle.

A D Garrett's Everyone Lies is 41p on UK Kindle.

James Craig's The Circus is 35p on UK Kindle.

Helen Black's Dark Spaces is 35p on UK Kindle.

Several of Tasha Alexander's historical Lady Emily series are 35p on UK Kindle (bibliography being uploaded as we speak).

And the first three Lovejoy books by Jonathan Gash are 35p each on UK Kindle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: The Heresy of Dr Dee by Phil Rickman

The Heresy of Dr Dee by Phil Rickman, September 2013, 464 pages, Atlantic Books, ISBN: 0857897705

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Elias's hands were lifted and, for a brief moment, it was as though the candleglow shone from the hollows of his palms.
Below them, the true source of it, a small planet of light.

It was no bigger than a cider apple.
Beryl, I guessed, a gemstone which comes in several colours and the shewstone possessed all of them.....

September, 1560, Mortlake.
A cold, sunless summer and talk is of portents and the End-time. Queen Elizabeth, two years into her reign, is already doubted by the people and natural philosopher and scientist John Dee has been consulted by the Queen only once since the spring. Dee now needs some kind of financial security, some kind of secure position. He is sitting with his neighbour as a scryer prepares to consult a shewstone. This consultation is seemingly on the neighbour's behalf but it is Dee who is anxious to see a scryer work a shewstone, just as he is anxious to possess such a stone. He has already implied to the Queen, who has a strong interest in the occult, that he has such a thing.

In Mortlake Dee is far from the London scandal surrounding his friend Robert Dudley whose young wife Amy, banished from court by Elizabeth alongside all the other “wives”, has died as a result of a fall from a flight of steps at the home of friends. London is alive with the gossip of the Queen's relationship with Dudley and that he has had his young wife killed so that he may marry the Queen. After what prove to be dramatic events during the scrying, the scryer tells Dee that there are rumours of a perfect shewstone owned by the one-time Abbot of Wigmore in the Welsh borderlands, the birthplace of Dee's father. Later Dee receives a letter from a cousin at court, a confidante of the Queen, summoning him to a riverside meeting next day. But as Dee arrives for the meeting he is escorted onto a barge by two men who say that the plan has changed. When their barge passes that of his cousin's, Dee stands up to call out but he is firmly advised not to do so – or they will slice his tongue from its root....

Phil Rickman's THE HERESY OF DR DEE is the second in his historical series centred upon the real-life character of John Dee, mathematician, astrologer and student of the occult. In this story Dee's drive to acquire a “shewstone” or “crystal” and Dudley's need to be away from London take them both on a journey to the Welsh borders. They travel with the entourage of a judge who has been sent to try a notorious Welsh bandit in an area steeped in the legends and brutalities surrounding the battle of Brynglas where Owain Glyndwr, the last Welsh-born Prince of Wales, triumphed over the English. They travel into a landscape shrouded in ancient folklore and magic and into company that is riddled with political and religious intrigue.

Lancashire-born Rickman worked as a journalist before becoming the author of a successful present-day series featuring Merrily Watkins, also set in the Welsh borders where Rickman has spent most of his adult life. His well-researched picture of John Dee is not one as full of occult menace as has been painted by other authors. Rickman has said “I like blokes who go through life slightly fearfully...” This is indeed true of the John Dee of this book. Rickman presents him as a trusting man who has a genuine belief in the “other worldly” as a provable reality and who devoutly wishes to experience at first hand a true communication with it in order to scientifically measure the methods of that communication.

Not a historical crime mystery as such, THE HERESY OF DR DEE is certainly a story of barbarities and mysteries. I did find a sense of disjointedness now and then, perhaps this is in the nature of its written language. But the book's undoubted strength is in atmosphere: the fear, mud, blood, bones and legends of the Borderlands.

Read another review of THE HERESY OF DR DEE.

Lynn Harvey, November 2013.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

John Harvey - Resnick news

It seems a number of series are finishing up at the moment, including John Harvey's Charlie Resnick series (though Cold in Hand broke my heart). From The Bookseller:
William Heinemann has signed a final book featuring Charlie Resnick from crime writer John Harvey. Cornerstone m.d. Susan Sandon aquired UK and Commonwealth rights.

The novel, Darkness, Darkness, is set in Nottingham, and sees Resnick revisiting a cold case focused around the 1984 miner's strike.

Sandon said: "John lived and worked in Nottingham during the strike and witnessed the strife first hand.  His depiction of the violence and anger which not only divided a community but set brothers, husbands , wives and entire families against one another is both wholly authentic and riveting. I’m extremely sad to know that this is Resnick’s last appearance."

Darkness, Darkness will be published in hardback in May 2014 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of  the strike. It will be published as a paperback in autumn 2014 by Arrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Reviews: Fossum, Henry, James, Johnstone, Lawton, Rendell, Roberts, Vichi, Wilson

This week's set of reviews, added to Euro Crime today, is a mixture of new reviews and a catch-up of those posted directly on the blog in the last two weeks, so you may have read some of them before if you're a regular :).

News you may have missed in the last few days:

1. Margot Kinberg's has edited, contributed to and published an e-anthology of short stories, the proceeds from which are going to Maxine Clarke's (Petrona) preferred charity, the Princess Alice Hospice.
2. Borgen is back on BBC4 next weekend.
3. A "new" Hercule Poirot novella is available as an ebook.

Keep up to date with stories like these (and more) by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

I review Karin Fossum's I Can See in the Dark, tr. James Anderson, a non-Sejer standalone;

Terry Halligan reviews James Henry's Morning Frost, the third in this well-received prequel series based on R D Wingfield's characters;
Michelle Peckham reviews Peter James's Dead Man's Time, the ninth in the Roy Grace series, which is now out in paperback;

Rich Westwood reviews Doug Johnstone's Gone Again, also just out in paperback;

Susan White reviews the re-released Second Violin by John Lawton, set during WWII;

Terry also reviews the new "Wexford" novel from Ruth Rendell - No Man's Nightingale - no rest for the retired chief inspector;
Another recent paperback release is Mark Roberts's The Sixth Soul reviewed here by Amanda Gillies;

Lynn Harvey reviews Marco Vichi's Death in Florence, tr. Stephen Sartarelli the fourth in the Inspector Bordelli series set in 1960s Italy
and Lynn also reviews Laura Wilson's The Riot the fifth in the DI Stratton series set in post WWII London.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Publishing Deal - Antti Tuomainen

A press release in today's Booktrade reveals that Harvill Secker have bought a second book from Finnish crime writer Antti Tuomainen, called Dark as My Heart:
Alison Hennessey, Senior Crime Editor at Harvill Secker, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to Finnish crime writer Antti Tuomainen's Dark as My Heart. The Healer, Tuomainen's first novel to be published in English, was published by Harvill Secker in 2013 to glowing reviews. Dark as My Heart will be published in 2015.

Alison Hennessey said: 'I am delighted to have acquired Antti's new book. He is a huge favourite of everyone here at Harvill and, as anyone who has read The Healer will know, a wonderful writer. Dark As My Heart has all the elements of a fantastic psychological thriller which will appeal to fans of Patricia Highsmith and Harvill's own Karin Fossum.'

About Dark as My Heart:

In the vein of Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock, comes a brilliantly atmospheric psychological thriller from an outstanding voice in international crime fiction. Antti Tuomainen's Dark As My Heart is narrated by Aleksi, whose mother disappeared when he was a boy, never to be found. Now in his early thirties, Aleksi has never got over his mother's disappearance but when he sees an interview with his mother's former employer it triggers some disturbing memories and, determined to find out more, he applies for a job as caretaker of the man's isolated seaside estate. Dark as My Heart has spent nine weeks in the Finnish bestseller list and rights have been sold throughout Europe.
The whole press release is here.

My review of The Healer.

Review: Gone Again by Doug Johnstone

Gone Again by Doug Johnstone, November 2013, 256 pages, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 0571296610

Reviewed by Rich Westwood.
(Read more of Rich's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

GONE AGAIN is a stand-alone suspense novel by the author of last year's HIT & RUN.

It opens with Mark Douglas, a photographer for the Edinburgh Evening Standard, standing on Portobello Beach in a gale, trying to capture the perfect picture of a pod of whales swimming dangerously close to the shore.

Rough grey swells were chopping up the firth, where a coastguard speedboat was zipping and turning, trying to guide the whales towards open water. Black fins darted and dipped, too many to count properly, but at least forty.

Mark is interrupted by a call from his son's primary school. His wife Lauren hasn't arrived to collect Nathan - could he come to get him?

This isn't the first time Lauren has gone AWOL - the last time was during a bout of postnatal depression - and Mark is instantly concerned that her disappearance is related to the fact that she is expecting another baby. As the minutes turn into hours, it becomes obvious to Mark that she is in real danger. The police, as always, cannot act until a longer period of time has passed.

Johnstone is good on the vacuum left by a missing person. What should Mark tell his son? Who will do the school run? Who will look after Nathan when Mark is speaking with the police? It is these minutiae which make GONE AGAIN a realistic and satisfying read.

Mark is under incredible stress from the moment Lauren disappears. His anxiety expresses itself in very 2013 ways - checking Lauren's Facebook and Twitter accounts once an hour rather than going to friends and family. Mark and Lauren have few connections outside of work and are remote from their friends. Mark's only adult ally is his mother-in-law Ruth, but their relationship is far from uncomplicated.

As with all good suspense novels, we are never quite sure where we stand. Mark seems like a nice guy, but he has some ugly sides to his character which are drawn out by the stress of Lauren's disappearance. As he pursues his own suspicions it's not clear how much he is driven by paranoia and jealousy. The plot is cleverly set up, and appeared to me to be building inevitably towards one of two conclusions before taking a surprising left turn.

Dads in particular will find that Mark's relationship with his son Nathan is touchingly drawn, their closeness mainly expressed through Star Wars cartoons and the Nintendo DS. Mark is constantly questioning how much to tell Nathan or whether it is kinder to leave him in ignorance.

Mark said she was away working for a few days [...] Nathan wanted to know why she hadn't called though. Maybe her phone needed charging up, another familiar scenario, she was always forgetting. With each little lie, he felt the universe closing in on him, the wind outside trying to make him pay for what he said by pushing the windows in.

Read another review of GONE AGAIN.

Rich Westwood, November 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Rennie Airth - DI John Madden news

After a five year gap, the fourth book in Rennie Airth's John Madden series, The Reckoning, is currently scheduled for release in June 2014 by Mantle.

No cover yet but here's the blurb:
The Second World War has ended, leaving a bruised and fragile peace. But this tranquillity is threatened when a shocking murder takes place in the Sussex countryside. Before long, police experts discover a link to another, earlier, killing hundreds of miles away . . . While Scotland Yard detective Billy Styles struggles to find a link between these two murders, a strange twist of fate brings former Detective Inspector John Madden into the investigations. As the victim count rises it becomes clear that to catch this serial killer Madden, Styles and young policewoman Detective-Constable Lily Poole must act quickly. But Madden remains haunted by the mysteries at the heart of the case. Why was his name in a letter the second target had been penning, just before he died? Could the real clue to these perplexing murders lie within the victims' pasts? And within his own? With this stunning, atmospheric crime novel teeming with twists and moving between the 1950s, the First and Second World Wars, Rennie Airth, the author of River of Darkness, The Blood-Dimmed Tide and The Dead of Winter presents his greatest and most compelling novel yet.
I really enjoyed and recommend the first book in the series, The River of Darkness which came out way back in 1999.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Review: Second Violin by John Lawton

Second Violin by John Lawton, September 2013, 432 pages, Grove Press, ISBN: 1611855861

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

The story starts on the day Hitler is welcomed back to Vienna in triumph and ends after the internment of "aliens" living in Britain and the start of the bombing campaign. Frederick Troy, the son of a wealthy newspaper magnate has shocked his family by deciding to become a policeman. After spending a few years on the beat, he has risen to be a Detective Sergeant in the prestigious Murder Squad. Well thought of by his boss, DS Onions and most of his colleagues, Troy is dismayed to be allocated the task of using his specialist knowledge in helping the Special Branch with the round up of aliens living in London and sending them to internment camps. He finds he recognises many of the names on the list from his old days as a constable.

Fred's brother, Rod is a journalist and has been covering events from Vienna and Berlin. He was in Vienna for the Kristallnacht, when many Jews realised that they had to leave if they were to have any chance of saving their lives and then he is forced to leave as an undesirable. But Rod is not British, he is Austrian. Born on the continent, and although his parents, Russian Jews, are naturalised British and his siblings are British, somehow, Rod never got around to the paperwork, and he is also now on the list of “aliens”.

Frederick is called to the scene of a suspicious death of a Rabbi and realises that it is the latest in a series of sudden deaths of Rabbis in the capital. He wonders whether they are being murdered, but accidents and sudden death are a daily event as London's lights are turned out as the country prepares for conflict. Troy's personal life is complicated by his relationship with two totally different women. The charismatic, danger loving, Zette, a mathematician, and Kitty, a cockney police sergeant, who happens to be the daughter of Troy's colleague in the round up task - Inspector Stilton. Troy's professional life is also complicated by the fact that he now reports to Chief Inspector Steerforth, a man in a hurry, who make it clear from the outset that he feels Troy's privileged beginnings have influenced Troy's advancement. The deaths of the Rabbis runs through the novel, linking people and events until the inevitable end amongst the rubble of a bombing raid.

The terror and brutality of life, whether in Vienna or London, during this period is brought vividly to life. The resilience of people to rebuild after they have lost, or have had everything taken away from them whether by personal tragedy, by war or by being displaced to a foreign land, is accurately depicted. An interesting story, building on well documented facts and helping history to come alive with the aid of the stories of individuals' lives and experiences is very believable. Recommended as a good read.

Susan White, November 2013

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Remembering Petrona: In a Word: Murder

One of several ways in which Maxine Clarke aka Petrona is being remembered is through Margot Kinberg's fabulous idea to put together an anthology with all proceeds going to the Princess Alice Hospice.

She's announced today that the anthology, In a Word: Murder is now available to buy.

Contributors are: Martin Edwards (Author), Pamela Griffiths (Author), Paula K. Randall (Author), Jane Risdon (Author), Elizabeth S. Craig (Author), Sarah Ward (Author), Margot Kinberg (Editor).

Read more about it at Margot's blog.

Buy from:

TV News: Inspector Montalbano and a Ray of Light

The fourth and final episode in the latest series of Inspector Montalbano is A Ray of Light on Saturday 9nd November at 9pm on BBC Four:
A woman is attacked and robbed on her way home late at night, but the case leaves Montalbano wondering whether there isn't more to the story than he's being told. An abandoned cattle shed in the countryside has been boarded up by unknowns and used for mysterious purposes.
A Ray of Light is based on Andrea Camilleri's nineteenth Montalbano novel, Una lama di luce, which has not yet been translated into English. It was published in Italy in 2012.

The following Saturday sees the Return of Borgen.

Monday, November 04, 2013

TV News: The Return of Borgen to BBC4

The third and final series of Borgen will begin on BBC4 on Saturday 16th November at 9pm with A Child of Denmark:
It's two and a half years since Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg called a general election, and she has left the political arena to become a well-paid speaker in business circles.

However, Nyborg has become disillusioned with the compromises the Moderate Party are making with the new government - and is compelled to act.

Review: Death in Florence by Marco Vichi tr. Stephen Sartarelli

Death in Florence by Marco Vichi translated by Stephen Sartarelli, November 2013, 400 pages, Hodder Paperbacks, ISBN: 1444712306

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Florence, October 1966
Bordelli's first thought as he wakes up is of the woman who has left him; his second is of the thirteen year old boy who has been missing for five days. Before dawn Bordelli is roused out of bed by Botta who has come to take him on a mushroom hunt in the hills above Florence. Walking these wooded hills takes Bordelli back to his time as a partisan in the war but part of him wishes he could just enjoy the beauty of the place as it is now. Back in the city and on his way into police headquarters, Inspector Bordelli reviews the case of the missing boy: an afternoon of heavy rain, the boy's mother unable to start her car to collect him from school and his barrister father caught up in the traffic and arriving late. By then the boy had gone, last seen running through the streets with his satchel shielding his head from the downpour. No one has seen him since. Bordelli's boss is beside himself with the lack of progress. There is hostile press coverage and pressure from influential friends of the boy's father. They must find the boy soon. But Bordelli and his young colleague Piras share the grim intuition that the boy is already dead. The only resolution of the case will be to find his body and then his killer. And next morning a hunter does indeed find the body of the boy, buried in a shallow grave in the wooded hills of La Panca, those very same hills that Bordelli had walked with Botta. Bordelli returns to the grave site and starts his own search for clues. He spirals deeper into the woods from the grave, reminiscing, imagining loving a woman and retiring to these hills to dig vegetables and raise chickens. His imaginings and search are interrupted by the mewing of a kitten, a tiny survivor of four, staggering amongst the bushes. Bordelli takes pity on it. He picks it up and notices a piece of paper close by. It is a telephone bill for a Florence butcher's shop...

DEATH IN FLORENCE is the fourth in Marco Vichi's Inspector Bordelli series and a prizewinning novel in his native Italy. Against the backdrop of Bordelli's beloved Florence and its surrounding wooded hills, a schoolboy goes missing. His body is later found in a wooded shallow grave, bearing the marks of multiple rape and strangulation. The hunt for the killers proves difficult and exhausting for Bordelli and his young colleague Piras who are forced to work with paper-thin evidence, intuition and obstinacy. In the midst of all of this, the River Arno rises and its appalling 1966 flood sweeps through the city, an event which Vichi describes in vivid detail. As the waters recede and the city's losses and ravaged buildings are revealed, so too are the killers' identities. But can Bordelli find the proof that he needs to bring justice for the dead boy?

Vichi's characters are vivid. He conjures up the fifty-six-year-old detective and his surrounding broad circle of friends which ranges from scientists to ex-prostitutes and thieves (the phenomenon that is Botta) with a rounded truth. In this book, perhaps exhausted by his years of policework, Bordelli seems more obsessed than usual with looking for a beautiful woman to share his life as he heads towards retirement. As always, his memories are of Italy's fascist and wartime past and his own part in it, but he also has a keen and accepting eye for life in 1960s Florence. For readers who enjoy a good slice of social history in their crime fiction, Vichi's books are a must. (They come complete with occasional footnotes to explain popular and historical references.) There is no flinching from brutalities but the pages are filled with life. With an atmospheric translation by Stephen Sartarelli, who also translates Andrea Camilleri's “Inspector Montalbano” books – not forgetting the loving description of the food on Bordelli's plate which would rival that on Montalbano's – fans of the Camilleri series may do well to visit Vichi's world of 1960s Florence.

Lynn Harvey, November 2013.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Agatha Christie news - "new" Hercule Poirot story

Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly is available as an ebook at the moment with the print version being released next year. It is £1.99 for both kindle and epub (eg Waterstones, Kobo) and my lovely spy Margot tells me it's a similar price in the US.

Official blurb: In 1954, Agatha Christie wrote this novella with the intention of donating the proceeds to a fund set up to buy stained glass windows for her local church at Churston Ferrers, and she filled the story with references to local places, including her own home of Greenway. But having completed it, she decided instead to expand the story into a full-length novel, Dead Man's Folly, which was published two years later, and donated a Miss Marple story (Greenshaw's Folly) to the church fund instead.

Unseen for sixty years, Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly is finally published in this eBook exclusive edition, with a new cover by Agatha Christie's most famous cover artist, Tom Adams.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Karin Fossum - Inspector Sejer news

I'm currently wading through a certain online bookshop emporium looking for new titles to add to the Euro Crime bibliographies. When I've finished I will refresh the pages on the website (may be a few days yet though). However I have discovered that next year's Karin Fossum (in English translation) will be the elusive seventh book in the Inspector Sejer series, The Murder of Harriet Krohn, published 3 July 2014 by Harvill Secker. I hope this is where we discover what happened to his psychologist girlfriend.

I've also discovered that an eleventh book in the series was published in Norway this year - Carmen Zita and Death - which I hope will be 2015's book in translation.