Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Bad Sister by Sam Carrington

Bad Sister by Sam Carrington, December 2017, 368 pages, Avon, ISBN: 0008200211

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

Connie Summers is a psychologist who has recently set-up a private practice after many years working with disturbed prisoners. She is now relishing the chance to work with victims of crime rather than the perpetrators and also has clients who have been relocated under the witness protection programme. One of these clients is Steph, a difficult young woman with a child who has escaped a violent relationship with a drug dealer after giving evidence against him. However as Connie struggles to get her to talk, she realises that Steph is frightened of more than just her ex-boyfriend and his associates. There are other people in her past from whom she is hiding.

When a body is found dumped outside the prison gates, DI Lindsay Wade and DS Charlie Hack find that it is Eric Hargreaves who had absconded from jail. He had been jailed for rape, only to be awarded early parole on the advice of several experts including Connie, only to rape again.

There is a third thread to the story running through the book of a young boy accused of setting fire to a house and causing the death of his father and step-mother. This at times, seems to have no connection with anything else in the story and the reader is left to speculate as to which main character the boy is linked with.

BAD SISTER is a good read, confusing at times as different characters' stories are narrated with the links to each, only being resolved at the end. The story centres on the theme of events in the past affecting the present and how they can never be totally forgotten or escaped. One of the issues for me was that I never really engaged with the characters – they were a bit too unbelievable for me. This is the author's second novel with a third to be published later in 2018.

Susan White, June 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Website Updates: June 2018

I've updated the main files on the Euro Crime website today. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK.*

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

*I've also added the breakdowns for 2019: ie published in the UK in 2019 (ALL, Anthology, First Novel, Historical, Translated) - NB the Anthology one is currently blank.

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 1077 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2610 authors (13113 titles of which 3077 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Lisa Alber, Amer Anwar, Jennifer Ashley, Noel Balen, Noel & Vanessa Barrot, Peter Beck, Leo Benedictus, Lina Bengtsdotter, Roxanne Bouchard, Harry Brett, Steph Broadribb, JL Butler, Graeme Cameron, Ali Carter, Stevyn Colgan, Paul Colize, Aidan Conway, C J Cooke, Pino Corrias, M W Craven, Alex Dahl, Robert Daws, Tracee de Hahn, Will Dean, Emma Dibdin, Ashley Dyer, Rachel Edwards, Lexie Elliott, Melba Escobar, John Fairfax, Rebecca Fleet, Amanda Flower, Nicola Ford, Dianne Freeman, Jorge Galan, Frank Goldammer, Leonard Goldberg, Lisa Hall, Karen Hamilton, Zhou Haohui, Emma Healey, Sophie Henaff, L S Hilton, David Hingley, Susanne Jansson, You-Jeong Jeong, Lisa Jewell, D B John, Philip Gwynne Jones, Olivia Kiernan, Snorri Kristjansson, Phoebe Locke, Sabri Luatah, Rachel Lynch, Niki Mackay, Iain Maitland, Max Manning, Stephanie Marland, Agustin Martinez, Chris McGeorge, Dervla McTiernan, Stephanie Merritt, Elizabeth Mundy, Vicki Newham, Elisabeth Noreback, Clare O'Donohue, Lloyd Otis, B A Paris, Raj Persaud, E M Powell, Alex Reeve, Emma Rowley, Ahmed Saadawi, Michelle Sacks, Robert Scragg, Renata Serelyte, Susan C Shea, Leila Slimani, Catherine Steadman, Jane Steen, Jesper Stein, Soren Sveistrup, Emma Tallon, Geir Tangen, Hildur Sif Thorarensen, Lynne Truss, Elena Varvello, Julie Wassmer, Roz Watkins and Dylan Young. .

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jane Adams, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Stefan Ahnhem, Ursula P Archer, Ross Armstrong, Jean-Luc Bannalec, Jo Bannister, Belinda Bauer, Simon Beaufort, Mark Billingham, Cara Black, Tony Black, Sam Blake, Stephen Booth, Rhys Bowen, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Brett, Eric Brown, Alison Bruce, Fiona Buckley, Michel Bussi, Helen Callaghan, Andrea Camilleri, Christoffer Carlsson, Gianrico Carofiglio, James Carol, CJ Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Kimberley Chambers, Jean Chapman, Julia Chapman, Karen Charlton, Lee Child, Alys Clare, Rosie Claverton, Barbara Cleverly, Tammy Cohen, Daniel Cole, Tana Collins, John Connolly, Jane Corry, James Craig, Mason Cross, Charles Cumming, Fiona Cummins, Judith Cutler, Arne Dahl, Kjell Ola Dahl, Nadia Dalbuono, Saul David, Michelle Davies, Oscar de Muriel, Lara Dearman, Victor del Arbol, J P Delaney, A A Dhand, P C/Paul Doherty, Margaret Duffy, Ruth Dugdall, Elizabeth J Duncan, Carola Dunn, Martin Edwards, Jim Eldridge, Kate Ellis, P R Ellis, Marc Elsberg, Caroline Eriksson, Geraldine Evans, Helen Fields, Judith Flanders, Karin Fossum, Christopher Fowler, Tana French, Frank Gardner, Phyllis Gobbell, Ann Granger, Alex Gray, Clio Gray, Isabelle Grey, Elly Griffiths, Jack Grimwood, Johana Gustawsson, Lotte and Soren Hammer, Nell Hampton, Mari Hannah, Sophie Hannah, C S Harris, Tessa Harris, Cora Harrison, E V Harte, John Harvey, Veronica Heley, Mandasue Heller, Mark Hill, Susan Hill, Suzette A Hill, Anthony Horowitz, Jorn Lier Horst, Anna Lee Huber, Cara Hunter, Graham Hurley, Graham Ison, David Jackson, Peter James, Jessica Jarlvi, Matt Johnson, Doug Johnstone, Mons Kallentoft, Robert Karjel, M R C Kasasian, Jessie Keane, Lesley Kelly, Jim Kelly, Christobel Kent, Philip Kerr, Laurie R King, Bill Kitson, Alanna Knight, Volker Kutscher, Peter Laws, John Lawton, Stephen Leather, Leena Lehtolainen, Pierre Lemaitre, Donna Leon, Minna Lindgren, Howard Linskey, M L Longworth, Stuart MacBride, A J MacKenzie, Clare Mackintosh, G M Malliet, Scott Mariani, Ngaio Marsh, Laura Marshall, Edward Marston, Peter May, Anna Mazzola, Val McDermid, Liam McIlvanney, Catriona McPherson, Elmer Mendoza, Derek B Miller, Bernard Minier, Caroline Mitchell, Roger/R N Morris, Rebecca Muddiman, Barbara Nadel, Hakan Nesser, Chris Nickson, Liz Nugent, Carlene O'Connor, Gerard O'Donovan, Kristina Ohlsson, Chris Ould, Nikki Owen, Tony Parsons, Caro Peacock, Andrea Penrose, Anne Perry, Karen Perry, Sarah Pinborough, Oliver Potzsch, Laura Purcell, Melanie Raabe, Khurrum Rahman, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, Jaime Raven, Deanna Raybourn, Dolores Redondo, Amanda Reynolds, Rachel Rhys, Matthew Richardson, Michael Ridpath, Mark Roberts, Craig Robertson, Michael Robotham, Laura Joh Rowland, Leigh Russell, C J Sansom, Ian Sansom, Manda Scott, Holly Seddon, EV Seymour, Gerald Seymour, Jackson Sharp, Zoe Sharp, Paige Shelton, Jeffrey Siger, Lilja Sigurdardottir, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Chris Simms, Anna Smith, Martin Cruz Smith, Gunnar Staalesen, Cath Staincliffe, Katherine Stansfield, Viveca Sten, Jon Stenhugg, Linda Stratmann, Karen Lee Street, Martin Suter, Frank Tallis, Abbie Taylor, Andrew Taylor, C L Taylor, Aline Templeton, David/D B Thorne, Robert Thorogood, Rebecca Tope, M J Trow, Antti Tuomainen, Helene Tursten, Cathi Unsworth, David P Wagner, Martyn Waites, Martin Walker, Sarah Ward, S J Watson, Tim Weaver, Matt Wesolowski, Jeri Westerson, Kerry Wilkinson, Andrew Wilson, Edward Wilson, Inger Wolf, Simon Wood, Christopher J Yates and David Young

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: The Body in the Boat by A J Mackenzie

This will be available in paperback in November 2018.

The Body in the Boat by A J Mackenzie, April 2018, 400 pages, Zaffre, Ebook

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

1796. Across the still, dark English Channel come the smugglers. But tonight they carry an unusual cargo: a coffin. Several miles inland, a respected banker holds a birthday party for his wife. Within days, one of the guests is found shot dead.

What links this apparently senseless killing to the smugglers lurking in the mists? Why has the local bank been buying and hoarding gold? And who was in the mysterious coffin?

Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor find themselves drawn into the worlds of high finance and organised crime in this dramatic and dark Georgian mystery. With its unique cast of characters and captivating amateur sleuths, The Body in the Boat is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.


The expertly researched story is told by a Canadian husband and wife writing partnership and follows on from their previous stories in this series which I have read and enjoyed and which began with The BODY ON THE DOORSTEP. We learnt that in the eighteenth century many ordinary people were prodigious drinkers of alcohol and the Reverend Hardcastle was known to get through a huge amount (by modern standards of port and brandy) and fortunately a lot was supplied to him as free gifts from smugglers, keen that he as a magistrate as well as a clergyman should show a blind eye to their nefarious activities.

England is still at war with France, which feeds the atmosphere of fear and paranoia and brings with it fears that invasion is likely and that there are spies lurking every where.

For readers of the two earlier stories, you will be reassured that the Reverend Hardcastle seems, however, to have cut back on the volume of alcohol he gets through which in the first book seemed absolutely astounding. Apparently, now that he is a magistrate he has to set an example and also keep a clear head for when he is asked to act in his official capacity. However, at times of stress he seems to still enjoy a few glasses of port! He also however still seems to be at war with his housekeeper.

I was very impressed by the quality of the research and the historical detail of this well plotted and highly atmospheric story. The characters are all richly drawn and full of period detail. The rich plot kept me guessing until the final page and I look forward to reading further stories by these really very gifted authors. Most strongly recommended.

A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.

Terry Halligan, June 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon

The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon, April 2018, 300 pages, Hardback, William Heinemann, ISBN: 1785151959

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

November, Venice
Commissario Guido Brunetti is taking the vaporetto to a morning appointment with his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, at police headquarters. A wall of fog suddenly envelopes the canal, blocking all sight of other traffic. It disperses as suddenly as it appeared and as they emerge into sunlight Brunetti doubts what he has experienced.

Brunetti is equally amazed to receive Patta’s uncharacteristic apologies for a delay. Returning to his own office, he contemplates the thick file on his desk. It is stuffed with car-related crimes, amongst them the latest scam concerning the illegal acquisition of licenses, test results, etc. It is such an ingenious scam that it earns Brunetti's respect and he is considering the file’s fate when he is called back to the Vice-Questore’s presence. Does Brunetti know anything about a leak to the media concerning a suspect brought in for questioning? Scarpa, Patta’s assistant, was given this information by one of his informants. Brunetti shrugs off the matter and manages to score against the ever unpleasant Scarpa by discounting the informant. As he leaves he finds a member of his own team in Patta’s outer office, staring at a computer screen and deep in discussion with Patta’s secretary, Signorina Elettra. Her computer skills are extensive, almost all pervasive – but the information she acquires is now of such service to Brunetti’s investigations that he discounts any uneasiness he might feel over her methods in favour of admiration for her magical skills.

In his office, a woman – one of his wife’s academic colleagues – is waiting for him. It takes all of Brunetti's time and patience to clarify the reason for her visit. Finally she admits that she thinks her son is using drugs. Is this a crime? Her husband says it is impossible that their son who attends a prestigious private school is using drugs. But surely Brunetti can do something? Arrest whoever is selling the drugs? Brunetti explains the legal process of questioning her children and their schoolfriends and the woman realises the social ramifications of her complaint. Leave it, she weeps. Swayed by her tears, Brunetti promises to try and find out more.

About a week later, he is woken in the night by his colleague Claudia Griffoni. A man has been found unconscious, lying at the base of a bridge. He may have been attacked or he may fallen and hit his head on the railing. There are marks on his wrist, the imprints of fingernails. Whichever it is, it looks bad for him. After visiting the possible crime scene, Brunetti arrives at the hospital. Only then does he realise the identity of the victim. It is the husband of his wife’s colleague, the woman who was worried about her son.

Brunetti and colleague Claudia Griffoni investigate what happened to the unconscious man and as they do so they uncover a new turn to the investigation, one that will require all of the pair’s consummate play-acting to unravel a tissue of motives and deception.

THE TEMPTATION OF FORGIVENESS is Donna Leon’s twenty-seventh Commissario Brunetti crime novel. To me Leon remains fresh and thoughtful in this gargantuan series which has seen Brunetti and his family and colleagues age and change just as the city they call their own – Venice – changes and ages. And this novel, rather than being a tale filled with fast action and chases, thunder and lightning, is as formally composed as a piece of chamber music. The investigation of the puzzle of a man found unconscious beneath a Venetian bridge turns into an intimate study of ethics, a study of scams and nuances. It left me with the satisfaction of a mystery unravelled, the experience of eating a beautifully made cannoli and drinking a pleasant glass of wine together with a close observation of human nature and, as ever with Brunetti, food for thought.

Lynn Harvey, June 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Crime Fiction of the Isles of Scilly


Here's another entry in my (occasional but hoping to become more frequent) crime fiction by county series. Though the Isles of Scilly form part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall they have a separate local authority which has the status of a county council (source:Wikipedia).

I have recently purchased Hell Bay, which looks to be the first in an excellent new series by Kate Rhodes, and I was intrigued to see what else was set in the Isles of Scilly. Not much it seems! I welcome any additions to my short-list.

[Official blurbs are in italics.]


Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes (Jan. 2018) is set on Bryher.

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.



The sequel to Hell Bay, Ruin Beach, is out in hardback in January 2019* and looks to be set on Tresco. (*Amazon are listing the kindle version as available on 14 June 2018.)

DI Ben Kitto has become the Scilly Islands’ Deputy Chief of Police. As the island’s lazy summer takes hold, he finds himself missing the excitement of the murder squad in London. But when a body is found anchored to the rocks of a nearby cave, it appears he’s spoken too soon. The island of Tresco, and the deep and murky waters that surround it, hold a dark secret. One that someone seems desperate to uncover . . .


Robert Goddard's Name to a Face, published in 2007 is partially set on the Isles of Scilly.

A sequence of extraordinary events over the past 300 years. A chain of intrigue, deceit, greed and murder.

The loss of H.M.S. Association with all hands in 1707.

An admiralty clerk's secret mission thirty years after.

A fatal accident during a dive to the wreck in 1996.

An expatriate's reluctant return home ten years later. The simple task he has come to accomplish, shown to be anything but. A woman he recognises but cannot identify.

A conspiracy of circumstances that is about to unravel his life. And with it, the past.



And much, much earlier, the Isles of Scilly get their first fictional murder in Andrew Garve's The Riddle of Samson (1954). Samson, (Wikipedia again), is the largest uninhabited island of the Isles of Scilly.

(Cover shown is a 1978 US paperback edition.)

If a man spends a night on an uninhabited island with another man's beautiful wife, the husband is not apt to be pleased about it. Especially when the husband is notoriously jealous and considerably older than his wife ...



There is a non-fiction book: The Life of a Scilly Sergeant by Colin Taylor (2016) which might also be of interest.


Meet Sergeant Colin Taylor, he has been a valuable member of the police force for over 20 years, 5 of which have been spent policing the ‘quiet’ Isles of Scilly, a group of islands off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula.

Colin has made it his purpose to keep the streets of Scilly free from drunk anchor thieves, Balance Board riders and other culprits, mostly drunken, intent on breaking the law. This book is the first hand account of how he did it.

Coupled with his increasingly popular ‘Isle of Scilly Police Force’ Facebook page, this book charts the day to day trials and tribulations of a small-island police officer, told in a perfectly humorous and affectionate way.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Review: You Were Gone by Tim Weaver

You Were Gone by Tim Weaver, April 2018, 496 pages, Michael Joseph, ISBN: 0718189000

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

David Raker had been visiting his newly discovered daughter Annabel, and her family, in South Devon. The telephone call from Charing Cross police station was made by Detective Sergeant Catherine Field. Raker was told that his wife was at the station and had been badly injured and told them that he had done it.

Raker is devastated, he buried his wife eight years ago. Derryn and he had been married for fourteen years. She died after many courses of chemotherapy for breast cancer. There are some inconsistencies in this woman's story but basically she knows a great deal about their life together and looks very much like his deceased wife. The police contact St. Augustine's hospital at the woman's request and speak to a consultant there – a Dr. Erik McMillan who tells them that Raker is suffering from Capgras delusion, a condition where people believe that a husband, wife or child has been replaced by an exact duplicate.

Raker who has built a reputation on finding what happened to missing people, is facing his worst nightmare and begins to believe he is losing his mind. He still maintains that the woman is not his wife but because it's Christmas time, he can't prove it. He can't even find the death certificate he last remembers was in the loft of his house. Then when the woman goes to spend the night at a hostel the police located for her, she vanishes and of course suspicion falls on Raker.

This is the ninth book by the author in this series. I have read four of them and they are always exciting mysteries and this one is no exception. It keeps you gripped and guessing up to the explosive finish. Recommended.

Geoff Jones, May 2018

Friday, June 01, 2018

New Releases - June 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). June and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Ani, Friedrich - The Nameless Day #1 Jakob Franck
• Billingham, Mark - The Killing Habit #15 DI Tom Thorne, London
• Black, Cara - Murder on the Left Bank #18 Aimee Leduc, Paris
• Bonnier, Jonas - The Helicopter Heist
• Butler, JL - Mine
• Cavanagh, Steve - Thirteen #4 Eddie Flynn, USA
• Clare, Alys - The Angel in the Glass #2 Gabriel Taverner, Former ship's surgeon, C17 Devon
• Corry, Jane - The Dead Ex
• Craven, M W - The Puppet Show #1 Washington Poe
• Cumming, Charles - The Man Between
• Dhand, A A - City of Sinners #3 Detective Harry Virdee, Bradford
• Doherty, P C - Dark Queen Rising #1 Margaret Beaufort
• Duffy, Margaret - Stone Cold, Stone Dead #21 Major Patrick Gillard, MI5 & Ingrid Langley, author (ex MI5)
• Durrant, Sabine - Take Me In
• Ford, Nicola - The Hidden Bones #1 Hills & Barbrook
• Freeman, Dianne - A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder #1 Countess of Harleigh, Victorian England
• Galan, Jorge - November
• Goldberg, Leonard - A Study in Treason #2 Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series
• Haohui, Zhou - Death Notice
• Heley, Veronica - Murder by Suggestion #19 Ellie Quicke, widow, London suburbs
• Hurley, Graham - Estocada #3 Wars Within
• King, Laurie R - Island of the Mad #15 Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes
• Koutsakis, Pol - Baby Blue #2 Stratos Gazis
• Lindgren, Minna - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: The End of Sunset Grove #3 Twilight Grove Trilogy
• Linskey, Howard - The Chosen Ones #4 DC Ian Bradshaw
• Locke, Phoebe - The Tall Man
• MacBride, Stuart - The Blood Road #11 DS Logan McRae, Aberdeen
• Marshall, Laura - Three Little Lies
• Marston, Edward - Fugitive from the Grave #4 Bow Street Rivals
• McCrum, Mark - Cruising to Murder #2 Francis Meadowes
• McIlvanney, Liam - The Quaker #1 Duncan McCormac, Glasgow
• Mukherjee, Abir - Smoke and Ashes #3 Captain Sam Wyndham, Calcutta, 1919
• Nadel, Barbara - Incorruptible #20 Cetin Ikmen, Policeman, Istanbul
• O'Donohue, Clare - Beyond the Pale
• Ohlsson, Kristina - The Lies We Tell #2 Martin Benner
• Perry, Karen - Your Closest Friend
• Porter, Henry - Firefly
• Ramsay, Caro - The Sideman #10 DCI McAlpine, DS Anderson and DS Costello, Glasgow
• Robotham, Michael - The Other Wife #9 Joseph O'Loughlin, Psychologist & Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz
• Sacks, Michelle - You Were Made for This
• Schepp, Emelie - Slowly We Die #3 Jana Berzelius, Public Prosecutor
• Seddon, Holly - Love Will Tear Us Apart
• Sharp, Zoe - Dancing On The Grave
• Shea, Susan C - Dressed for Death in Burgundy #2 Katherine Goff
• Simms, Chris - Loose Tongues #1 DC Sean Blake, Manchester
• Staalesen, Gunnar - Big Sister #20 Varg Veum, PI in Bergen, Norway
• Taylor, Abbie - The Dilemma
• Truss, Lynne - A Shot in the Dark #1 Constable Twitten, Brighton, 1950s
• Varesi, Valerio - The Lizard Strategy #12 Commissario Soneri, Italy
• Waites, Martyn - The Old Religion
• Walker, Martin - A Taste for Vengeance #11 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Wassmer, Julie - Disappearance at Oare #5 Pearl Nolan, Whitstable
• Watson, S J - Double Take