Wednesday, June 02, 2021

CrimeFest Awards 2021 - Winners

Here are the winners of the CrimeFest Awards 2021.

From the Press Release:

CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the winners of its annual awards.

Now in its 14th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2020 in the UK.

Trevor Wood receives a £1,000 prize for the CRIMEFEST Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award for The Man in the Street. Trevor Wood served in the Royal Navy for 16 years. The Man on the Street is set in his home city Newcastle, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, dubbed by Lee Child as ‘an instant classic’.

Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, said: “Many congratulations to Trevor who really captured the city of Newcastle wonderfully in his book and let’s hope there’s more to come from this up-and-coming author. We don’t need research to tell us that more people have taken to reading in these last 15 months than ever before – with stories to take them out of their lockdowns and isolation – so we were delighted once again to sponsor this award.”

The £1,000 prize for the CRIMEFEST Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible, and voted for by Audible subscribers goes to Richard Osman and the actress Lesley Manville who read The Thursday Murder Club. Osman has ruled the bestseller lists with his smash-hit debut crime novel.

The CRIMEFEST H.R.F Keating Award for the best biographical or critical book in the genre goes to Martin Edwards, editor of Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, which has also been nominated for the 2021 Edgar Allen Poe Award.

As well as a prolific novelist, Martin Edwards is a renowned editor, reviewer, columnist and versatile writer of non-fiction, and is a leading authority on crime fiction; he received the CWA Diamond Dagger in 2020

The CRIMEFEST Last Laugh Award goes to Carl Hiaasen for Squeeze Me, a novel that captures the Trump era with Hiaasen's inimitable savage humour and eccentric characters.

The CRIMEFEST eDunnit Award for best e-book sees Ian Rankin take the title with A Song for the Dark Times, beating fellow giants of the genre, Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke.

The Publishers Association latest figures show fiction sales soared by 16% in 2020, with audiobook sales climbing by more than a third, as readers locked down escaped into books. The crime genre has led the rise in book sales and reading during the pandemic. Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club is one of the key titles being cited as one of the key drivers.

Laurence Howell, Vice President, Content at Audible, said: “Congratulations to Richard Osman for the Audible Sounds of Crime Award. Audiobooks have been a great comfort to many over the past year, because of their intimate, immersive nature and the crime and mystery genre has been incredibly popular.”

CRIMEFEST Best Crime Novel for Children, aged 8-12, goes to Serena Patel for Anisha, Accidental Detective, which has already garnered plaudits, including the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award for Fiction, and is shortlisted for the British Book Awards Children fiction Book of the Year 2021.

CRIMEFEST Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, aged 12-16, goes to the multi-award-winning author Patrice Lawrence, who won the CRIMEFEST award in 2018 for Indigo Donut. This year her book Eight Pieces of Silva, an addictive tale of a teenager’s hunt for her missing sister, takes the top prize.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “A huge congratulations to all CRIMEFEST award winners this year. We had to cancel the last two physical conventions due to the pandemic, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to continue CRIMEFEST’s annual awards, albeit virtually. We are thankful to both Specsavers and to Audible for their on-going support.”

CRIMEFEST has had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days. Tentative dates for next year's Bristol CRIMEFEST are 12-15 May, 2022.

In light of Covid-19, the 2021 winners were announced online with an awards ceremony, hosted by Agatha Raisin co-star Matt McCooey, who plays Inspector Bill Wong in the hit series. The ceremony is available on the website and via its social media pages, from midnight on Tuesday, 1 June.

All winners receive a Bristol Blue commemorative Glass Award.

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults form the CRIMEFEST judging panels, aside from Audible Sounds, where Audible listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.

2021 CRIMEFEST Awards: Shortlists in full (winners in bold)


Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir for The Creak on the Stairs (Orenda Books)

Marion Brunet for Summer of Reckoning (Bitter Lemon Press)

Robin Morgan-Bentley for The Wreckage (Trapeze)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)

Mara Timon for City of Spies (Zaffre)

Trevor Wood for The Man on the Street (Quercus)



Lee and Andrew Child for The Sentinel, read by Jeff Harding (Transworld)

Lucy Foley for The Guest List read by Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Chloe Massey, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble and Jot Davies (HarperFiction)

Robert Galbraith for Troubled Blood read by Robert Glenister (Little, Brown Book Group)

Anthony Horowitz for Moonflower Murders read by Lesley Manville and Allan Corduner (Penguin Random House Audio)

Peter James for Find Them Dead read by Daniel Weyman (Pan)

Lisa Jewell for The Invisible Girl read by Rebekah Staton (Penguin Random House Audio)

Lynda La Plante for Buried read by Alex Hassell and Annie Aldington (Zaffre)

TM Logan for The Catch read by Philip Stevens (Zaffre)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club read by Lesley Manville (Viking)

Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times read by James Macpherson (Orion)


Mark Aldridge for Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World (HarperCollins)

Martin Edwards (editor) for Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club (Collins Crime Club)

Colin Larkin for Cover Me: The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965 (Telos Publishing)

Andrew Lycett for Conan Doyle’s Wide World (Tauris Parke)

Heather Martin for The Reacher Guy (Little, Brown Book Group)

Sheila Mitchell for HRF Keating: A Life of Crime (Level Best Books)

Craig Sisterson for Southern Cross Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of Australia and New Zealand (Oldcastle Books)

Peter Temple for The Red Hand: Stories, reflections and the last appearance of Jack Irish (riverrun)



Ben Aaronovitch for False Value (Gollancz)

Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May - Oranges and Lemons (Doubleday)

Elly Griffiths for The Postscript Murders (Quercus)

Carl Hiaasen for Squeeze Me (Little, Brown Book Group)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)

Malcolm Pryce for The Corpse in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Khurrum Rahman for Ride or Die (HQ)

Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace (Contraband)


Gabriel Bergmoser for The Hunted (Faber)

Sharon  Bolton for The Split (Trapeze) 

J. P. Carter for Little Boy Lost (Avon, HarperCollins)

Steve Cavanagh for Fifty-Fifty (Orion Fiction)

Michael Connelly for Fair Warning (Orion Fiction)

James Lee Burke for A Private Cathedral (Orion Fiction)

Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times (Orion Fiction)

Holly Watt for The Dead Line (Raven Books)



Sophie Deen for Mission Shark Bytes (Walker Books)

Elly Griffiths for A Girl Called Justice - The Smugglers' Secret (Quercus Children's Books)

Anthony Horowitz for Nightshade (Walker Books)

Jack Noel for My Headteacher is an Evil Genius (Walker Books)

Serena Patel for Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne Publishing)

Serena Patel for School's Cancelled (Usborne Publishing)

Onjali Q. Rauf for The Night Bus Hero (Orion Children's Books)

Dave Shelton for The Pencil Case (David Fickling Books)



William Hussey for Hideous Beauty (Usborne Publishing)

Lauren James for The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker (Walker Books)

Matt Killeen for Devil Darling Spy (Usborne Publishing)

Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Imprint - Hodder Children's Books)

Simon Lelic for Deadfall (Imprint - Hodder Children's Books)

Robert Muchamore for Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows (Hot Key Books)

Patrick Ness for Burn (Walker Books)

Nancy Springer for The Case of the Missing Marquess (Hot Key Books)


Tuesday, June 01, 2021

New Releases - June 2021

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2021 (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.

• Adams, Jane - Bright Young Things #7 Detective Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone, 1928
• Arlidge, M J - Truth or Dare #10 Helen Grace, Southampton Police
• Austin, Stephanie - The Dartmoor Murders #4 Juno Browne
• Bannister, Jo - China Roses #5 Detective Constable Hazel Best & Gabriel Ash
• Boyd, Damien - Dying Inside #11 DI Nick Dixon
• Brown, Eric - Murder At Standing Stone Manor #8 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Bussi, Michel - The Other Mother (apa The Double Mother)
• Clarke, Karen - And Then She Ran
• Corry, Jane - The Lies We Tell
• Costello, Liza - The Estate
• Cowan-Erskine, Beth - Loch Down Abbey
• Craven, M W - Dead Ground #4 Washington Poe
• Dean, Jason - Tracer #1 Korso
• Dhand, A A - The Blood Divide
• Dunford, Caroline - A Death on Stage #16 Euphemia Martins
• Edwards, Rachel - Lucky
• Eldridge, Jim - Murder at Madame Tussauds #6 Former Detective Inspector Daniel Wilson
• Erskine, Fiona - Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects
• Evans, Kate - A Wake of Crows #1 DCI Donna Morris, Scarborough
• Gerhardsen, Carin - Black Ice
• Goldberg, Leonard - The Abduction of Pretty Penny #5 Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series
• Harrison, Cora - Murder in an Orchard Cemetery #8 Reverend Mother Aquinas, Cork, 1920s
• Hausmann, Romy - Sleepless
• Hilary, Sarah - Fragile
• Hughes, Kim - Operation Black Key #2 Staff Sergeant Dom Riley
• Isaac, Jane - One Good Lie
• Johnson, Kate - Death on the Aisle #3 Molly Higgins
• Jonasson, Ragnar - The Girl Who Died
• Jones, Nick - The Shadows of London #2 Joseph Bridgeman
• King, Laurie R - Castle Shade #17 Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes
• Knox, Joseph - True Crime Story
• Le Corre, Herve - In the Shadow of the Fire
• Mackay, Niki - The Girls Inside (as NJ Mackay)
• Mackintosh, Clare - Hostage
• MacLeod, Torquil - Mammon in Malmo #8 Inspector Anita Sundstrom
• Mahmood, Imran - I Know What I Saw
• Marques, Patricia - The Colours of Death #1 Inspector Isabel Reis, Lisbon
• Massey, Sujata - The Bombay Prince #3 Perveen Mistry, India's only female lawyer, 1920s
• McEwan, Lynne - In Dark Water #1 DI Shona Oliver, Dumfries
• McKenna, Clara - Murder at Keyhaven Castle #3 Stella and Lyndy, 1905
• Meyrick, Denzil - For Any Other Truth #9 DCI Daley
• Michaelides, Alex - The Maidens
• Moore, Syd - Strange Tricks #6 Rosie Strange
• Nickson, Chris - Brass Lives #9 Detective Inspector Tom Harper, Leeds Police, 1890s
• Padura, Leonardo - The Transparency of Time #8 Lt Mario Conde, Cuba
• Pearse, Lesley - Suspects
• Phifer, Helen - The Hiding Place #3 Detective Morgan Brookes
• Redondo, Dolores - The North Face of the Heart
• Robotham, Michael - When You Are Mine
• Roslund, Anders - Knock Knock #9 Ewert Grens
• Seeber, Claire - The Street Party
• Silver, Abi - The Midas Game #5 Burton and Lamb
• Steadman, Catherine - The Disappearing Act
• Thomas, Joe - Brazilian Psycho #4 The São Paulo Quartet
• Thomson, Rupert - Barcelona Dreaming
• Tucker, Nancy - The First Day of Spring
• Waugh, Daisy - Phone for the Fish Knives #2 Tode family
• Wilkes, Elena - The Man I Married
• Willberg, T A - Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder
• Wood, Trevor - One Way Street #2 Jimmy Mullen, Newcastle
• Wyer, Carol - A Cut for a Cut #2 DI Kate Young, Staffordshire
• Yahagi, Toshihiko - The Wrong Goodbye #3 Eiji Futamura

Thursday, May 20, 2021

CWA Dagger Awards 2021 - Shortlists

Please find below, the press release detailing the shortlists for this year's CWA Dagger Awards. I have highlighted the authors' in translation and details of the Awards ceremony.

CWA Dagger Awards Shortlists Announced

A debut novel is up against one of Britain’s biggest and most celebrated authors for the crime novel of the year.

The 2021 shortlists for the prestigious CWA Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime writing genre, have been announced.

The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre, and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

Past winners of the CWA Gold Dagger, which is awarded for the crime novel of the year, include John le Carré, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell.

This year’s shortlist sees City of Ghosts by Ben Creed, praised as a ‘brilliantly orchestrated and totally engrossing’ debut thriller by the CWA judges, up against Robert Galbraith’s Troubled Blood, hailed as a ‘magnificent multi-layered epic’.

Galbraith, the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, is also in contention for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is supported by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the Fleming family-owned company that looks after the James Bond literary brand. The award celebrates the best thriller.

Heating up the shortlist is Chris Whitaker, who took home the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2017 with his debut, Tall Oaks. His latest novel, We Begin at The End is not only up for the Ian Fleming Steel but also the Gold Dagger. Praised as ‘truly memorable’ by the CWA judges, We Begin at The End has been a Waterstones Thriller of the Month and sold in 17 territories, with screen rights snapped up by Disney.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The Dagger shortlists again highlight the wealth of great books and diversity within the crime genre. With terrific new titles from authors both familiar and new, including some books impressively nominated in more than a single category, the presence on the Publisher Dagger shortlist of long-standing traditional publishing houses and smaller independents and even, on the Dagger in the Library (voted on by librarians throughout the country), a first, with a self-published writer rubbing shoulders with established veterans. The Daggers are assuredly the best and most prestigious reflection of what's happening on the crime and mystery writing front.”

Set against the bleakness, terror and depravity of Stalin’s 1950s Leningrad, City of Ghosts by Ben Creed returns for the much-anticipated CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, awarded to the best debut novel. Ben Creed is the pseudonym for an author duo who met on a writing course, Barney Thompson a classically trained musician and fluent Russian speaker, and Chris Rickaby, formerly an advertising copywriter.

Booker prize winner John Banville is the heavyweight contender on the Sapere Books Historical Dagger shortlist. The prizewinning novelist and literary polymath, considered Ireland’s greatest living novelist, is in the running for Snow, his first murder mystery published under his real name rather than his nom de plume, Benjamin Black. The shortlist also includes Vaseem Khan who swapped his contemporary light-hearted Baby Ganesh Agency series with a historical crime novel Midnight at Malabar House, set in 1950s Bombay.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction sees the forensic pathologist Sue Black’s reflections, Written in Bone on the shortlist, praised by the CWA judges as a ‘humane, wise book’. She’s up against Andrew Harding’s These Are Not Gentle People, a beautifully written investigation into dark and murderous events in a rural South African community, dubbed by Alexander McCall Smith as a masterpiece.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger shortlist features the Swedish writer Mikael Niemi with his sumptuous blend of historical fact with fictional intrigue, To Cook a Bear, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner. From one of Israel’s most beloved writers is Three by D A Mishani, translated by Jessica Cohen, and from South Korea is Yun Ko-eun’s original and inventive thriller The Disaster Tourist translated by Lizzie Buehler.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. The shortlist features the Sunday Times bestseller, Clare Mackintosh, and the founding member of the North East Noir crime writers’ group, Robert Scragg.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees C L Taylor, Peter May, Lisa Jewell, James Oswald, Denise Mina and L J Ross on the shortlist.

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing. Among the shortlist, the esteemed Faber & Faber vies against the independent publisher, No Exit Press. 

The winners will be announced at Daggers Live!, the online CWA Dagger awards ceremony on 1 July at 7.30pm. Barry Forshaw will be Master of Ceremonies and Abir Mukherjee is the guest speaker.

The 2021 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the highest honour in British crime writing, has already been announced, awarded to Martina Cole. She will also feature in the Daggers Live! event.


Dagger Shortlists 2021


S A Cosby: Blacktop Wasteland (Headline, Headline Publishing Group)

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck Fiction, Welbeck Publishing Group)

Nicci French: House of Correction (Simon & Schuster)

Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Elly Griffiths: The Postscript Murders (Quercus)

Thomas Mullen: Midnight Atlanta (Little, Brown, Little, Brown Book Group)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre, Bonnier)



Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Michael Robotham: When She Was Good (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Catherine Ryan Howard: The Nothing Man (Atlantic Books)

Stuart Turton: The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven Books, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Ruth Ware: One by One (Vintage, Harvill Secker)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre, Bonnier Books UK) 



Eva Björg Ægisdóttir: The Creak on the Stairs (Orenda), Translator: Victoria Cribb

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck Publishing)   

Egan Hughes: The One That Got Away (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

S W Kane: The Bone Jar (Thomas & Mercer, Amazon Publishing)  

Stephen Spotswood: Fortune Favours the Dead (Wildfire, Headline)

John Vercher: Three-Fifths (Pushkin Press)           



John Banville: Snow (Faber)

Vaseem Khan: Midnight at Malabar House (Hodder & Stoughton)

Chris Lloyd: The Unwanted Dead (Orion Fiction, The Orion Publishing Group)

Michael Russell: The City Under Siege (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)

David Stafford: Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons (Allison & Busby)

Ovidia Yu: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)



Sue Black: Written in Bone (Doubleday, Penguin)

Becky Cooper:  We Keep the Dead Close (William Heinemann, Penguin)

Andrew Harding: These Are Not Gentle People (MacLehose Press, Quercus)

Debora Harding: Dancing with the Octopus (Profile Books Limited)

Nick Hayes: The Book of Trespass (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Ben MacIntyre: Agent Sonya (Viking, Penguin)



Fredrik Backman: Anxious People, translated by Neil Smith (Michael Joseph, Penguin)

Roxanne Bouchard: The Coral Bride, translated by David Warriner (Orenda Books)

Yun Ko-eun: The Disaster Tourist, translated by Lizzie Buehler (Serpent's Tail)

D A Mishani: Three, translated by Jessica Cohen (Riverrun, Hachette Book Group)

Mikael Niemi: To Cook a Bear, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (MacLehose Press, Quercus)

Agnes Ravatn:  The Seven Doors, translated by Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books)



Robert Scragg: ‘A Dog Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas’ in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds Group)

Elle Croft: ‘Deathbed’ in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)

Dominic Nolan: ‘Daddy Dearest’ in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)

Victoria Selman: ‘Hunted’ in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds Group)

Clare Mackintosh: ‘Monsters’ in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books (The Dome Press)

James Delargy: ‘Planting Nan in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)



Faber & Faber

Head of Zeus

Michael Joseph

No Exit Press





(Competition for an unpublished novel)

Ashley Harrison – The Looking Glass Spy

Fiona McPhillips – Underwater

Biba Pearce – Rough Justice        

Hannah Redding – Deception

Edward Regenye – Lightfoot

Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh – Mandatory Reporting



C L Taylor

Peter May

Lisa Jewell

James Oswald

Denise Mina

LJ Ross

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year - Longlist

The longlist for the 2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has been announced and you can cast your vote on the website.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

New Releases - May 2021

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in May 2021 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). May 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.

• Bannalec, Jean-Luc - The Granite Coast Murders #6 Commissioner Dupin
• Billingham, Billy - Call to Kill #1 Matt Mason
• Bolton, Sharon - The Pact
• Bradby, Tom - Triple Cross #3 Kate Henderson
• Brittany, Amanda - The Perfect Nanny (with Karen Clarke)
• Candlish, Louise - The Skylight (Quick Reads Novella)
• Casey, Jane - The Killing Kind
• Castle, A M - The Invitation
• Chowdhury, Ajay - The Waiter
• Corrigan, J A - The Nurse
• Croft, Adam - In Cold Blood #3 Rutland crime series
• Dahl, Kjell Ola - The Assistant
• Dawson, Jeff - Hell Gate #3 Ingo Finch
• del Arbol, Victor - Above the Rain
• DeLuca, Marjorie - The Savage Instinct
• Dolan, Eva - One Half Truth #6 DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, Peterborough
• Downing, David - Wedding Station #7 John Russell
• Fitzek, Sebastian - Seat 7a
• Gardner, Frank - Outbreak #3 Luke Carlton, Ex-Special Boat Service commando
• Giordano, Mario - Auntie Poldi and the Lost Madonna #4 Auntie Poldi, Sicily
• Goldberg, Leonard - The Art of Deception #4 Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series
• Grimwood, Jack - Island Reich
• Hall, Traci - Murder in a Scottish Garden #2 Paislee Shaw, Nairn, Scotland
• Hayes, Terry - The Year of the Locust
• Hilton, Matt - Blood Kin #8 Grey and Villere, Louisiana
• Hollingdrake, Malcolm - Syn #2 Merseyside Crime Series
• Hughes, Egan - Leave the Lights On
• Hunter, Alice - The Serial Killer's Wife
• Hunter, M A - Discarded #4 The Missing Children Case Files
• Hurley, Graham - Intermission #5 Enora Andresson
• James, Peter - Left You Dead #17 Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, Brighton
• James, Peter - Wish You Were Dead (Quick Reads Novella)
• Kent, Christobel - The Widower
• Knight, Alanna - Murder at the World's Edge #4 Tam Eildor
• Kyazze, A B - Into the Mouth of the Lion
• Linskey, Howard - Don't Let Him In
• Mackay, Niki - Loaded
• Manning, Nina - The Bridesmaid
• Mariani, Scott - The Pandemic Plot #23 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• Marshall, D L - Anthrax Island #1 John Tyler
• Masters, Priscilla - The Subsequent Wife
• McDermid, Val - Resistance (Graphic Novel)
• Middleton, Lia - When They Find Her
• Mohamed, Nadifa - The Fortune Men
• Nadel, Barbara - Forfeit #23 Cetin Ikmen, Policeman, Istanbul
• Naspini, Sacha - Oxygen
• Northedge, Charlotte - The House Guest
• O'Keeffe, Bernard - The Final Round #1 DI Garibaldi, Barnes, London
• Oldham, Nick - Scarred #26 DCI Christie
• O'Sullivan, Darren - The Players
• Pálsdóttir, Sólveig - Silenced
• Parks, Adele - Both of You
• Pattison, C L - The Guest Book
• Russell, S L - The Thorn of Truth
• Ryan, Chris - Manhunter #1 Joe Bowman
• Scarr, Louisa - Last Place You Look #1 DS Butler & DC West
• Shaw, William - The Trawlerman #4 DS Alexandra Cupidi
• Sinclair, Rob - The Bonds of Blood #5 DI Dani Stephens
• Smith, Alexander McCall - The Man with the Silver Saab #3 Detective Varg, Malmo
• Southward, Adam - The Stranger Next Door
• Spain, Jo - The Perfect Lie
• Speechley, Ruby - A Mother Like You
• Stirling, Joss - Grey Stones #4 Jess Bridges
• Thomson, Lesley - The Distant Dead #8 Stella Darnell
• Trow, M J - The Knight's Tale #1 Geoffrey Chaucer
• Truhen, Aidan - Seven Demons
• Wagner, David P - To Die in Tuscany #7 Rick Montoya Italian Mysteries
• Walker, Martin - The Coldest Case #14 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Weaver, Ashley - A Peculiar Combination #1 Electra McDonnell
• Wood, Michael - Time Is Running Out #7 DCI Matilda Darke
• Wood, Tom A Quiet Man #9 Victor, Assassin

Thursday, April 29, 2021

US Cozy Review: Two from Amanda Flower

Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.

Here are my reviews of Assaulted Caramel and Lethal Licorice the first two in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series by Amanda Flower.
I have to say I enjoyed these two so much, not only have I bought the rest of the series, but also the first book in the spin-off series, the Amish Matchmaker Mysteries, and the first book in the author's new series, published by Hallmark, Dead-End Detective

If you are in the UK you might find Lethal Licorice is available via your library's ebook service, Libby. It certainly is, in Birmingham Libraries.

ASSAULTED CARAMEL by Amanda Flower is the first book in the Amish Candy Shop series which features Bailey King, a New York-based chocolatier to the stars. 

On the eve of an important job announcement which may affect Bailey’s future, she is summoned to her grandparents’ home in the Amish village of Harvest, Ohio as her grandfather is very ill. When she arrives, she finds her grandfather arguing with a property developer who is snapping up all the Amish shops on the main street. Her grandfather will not sell his candy shop and collapses as a result of the argument, combined with his severe heart disease.

Bailey’s first night back in Harvest does not end well. Retrieving her mobile phone from the kitchen -the only place there is electric - she stumbles over the body of the loathsome property developer, killed with her grandfather’s favourite chocolate-slicing knife. A knife she had used the previous day.

Her grandfather and then herself soon become the prime suspects and she is even suspected (though not really) by the dishy Deputy Aiden.

Bailey has to clear her name but more importantly her ill grandfather’s name and soon so she can return to New York for the job announcement due a couple of days later.

I really enjoyed ASSAULTED CARAMEL. I liked the setting, meeting various quirky residents – including Aiden’s mother Juliet who has a small pet pig, as well as learning about the Amish culture and customs. Bailey is a likeable and funny character and I loved when her city-girl best friend Cass came to visit. I didn’t guess whodunnit and I was pleased that Bailey, with help from her new and clever ginger cat, saved herself from the killer. Indeed, I enjoyed this book so much I went straight onto book two, LETHAL LICORICE.

LETHAL LICORICE is the second book in the Amish Candy Shop series by Amanda Flower. After the events in the series debut, ASSAULTED CARAMEL, Bailey King has now left her New York job and friends to help run her grandparents’ Amish candy shop in Harvest, Ohio.

Not being Amish herself, Bailey is struggling slightly to fit in. Various people think she and the Sheriff’s Deputy Aiden belong together, but Bailey’s heart is still sore from her last relationship. In the meantime, she is entering the Amish Confectionery Competition (ACC) on behalf of her grandparents’ shop. The ACC is a huge deal for whoever wins, bringing tourism and income to both the shop and the town it resides in. One of the competitors, Josephine Weaver, is not happy with Bailey entering as she is not Amish, however she is using Amish methodology and has a special dispensation from the organisers.

As well as being shouted at by Josephine, Bailey’s friend Juliet, mother of Aiden, has lost her pet pig and is in a bad way. Bailey and Juliet look around the nearby church and discover a young Amish woman, Charlotte, playing the organ. The organ sounds out of tune and when Charlotte looks inside, she finds the body of Josephine.

Bailey is again a possible murder suspect, this time in the death of Josephine, especially when the cause of death is an allergy to liquorice – which was the very first sweet to be made in the competition. More of a suspect though is Charlotte as she is at odds with her family and district over her wanting to play the organ and them wanting to ban her.

Again Bailey feels she had to clear her own name and also Charlotte’s.

This second book in the series starts almost where most first books in series do - with the protagonist moving somewhere new or back home to start over. So new readers could easily jump in with book two. I have been deliberately quite vague about the events of book one so as to avoid spoilers.

As with book one, ASSAULTED CARAMEL, I enjoyed this very much. It’s a light read with most chapters ending on a cliff-hanger so you want to read just one more. New characters are introduced and the Amish universe is expanded to include neighbouring districts with differing rules. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

In fact, these books, much like sweets, are hard to resist.