Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

and especially -
Historic Reading Posters - January, A Year of Good Reading Ahead
Historic Reading Posters - January, A Year of Good Reading Ahead

New Reviews on Euro Crime

Normal service is slowly being resumed starting with a couple of new reviews on the Euro Crime website.

We have another new reviewer for Euro Crime and Terry Halligan's first review is of 'The Last Secret of the Temple' by Paul Sussman. In addition, Karen Chisholm reviews 'Spider Light' by Sarah Rayne.

If you're in the UK and interested in reviewing British and other European crime fiction drop me an email at

Friday, December 29, 2006

Competition - last call...

The contest to win a copy of the new Martyn Waites book will close on Sunday night so do pop over and enter. No geographical restrictions...

Normal blogging and website updates should resume on Sunday.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas!!

and I hope there's also plenty of:

Time for Reading by Judy Gibson
Time for Reading

Looks like this cat's had too much turkey:
Cat Reading by Helga Sermat
Cat Reading

Mike Ripley's Shots column for December...

is now online. One thing he comments on is how the percentage of British crime wrtiting published each year is dropping:
"Five years ago the number of new crime titles by Brits represented 57% of the total titles published in the UK and it stayed around that figure until this year when it dropped to an estimated 52%.

It is just possible that 2007 will see the home-grown share of the market (in titles if not sales) drop below the 50% mark for the first time."

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's the last Christmas Crime (for 2006)

I couldn't leave out Agatha Christie!!

Synopsis from It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man! To mark the 80th anniversary of Hercule Poirot's first appearance, and to celebrate his renewed fortunes as a primetime television star, this title in a collection of facsimile first editions is the perfect way to experience Agatha Christie. Reproducing the original typesetting and format of the first edition from the Christie family's own archive, this book sports the original cover which has been painstakingly restored to its original glory.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dorothy L Sayers home - for sale

Thanks to Hope McIntyre aka Caroline Upcher who mentioned this on DorothyL the other day.
"A truly magnificent and elegant former rectory with splendid views over farmland to the front, standing majestically within gardens and grounds of approximately two acres.

This breathtaking Grade II Listed residence has undergone an intense programme of modernisation, refurbishment and improvement works while in current vendor's ownership. This substantial home now proudly offers many period features along with modern conveniences such as a superb indoor heating swimming pool and gas fired central heating system.

Bluntisham House, formerly Bluntisham Rectory, was the home of the famous author, Dorothy L Sayers and one of the doorways is reputed to have been brought over from Oliver Cromwell's house at Huntingdon."
More Estate Agent details and photos here,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Christmas Crime (7) - Ann Cleeves

I recently listened to this on audio and it was extremely gripping. It opens on New Year's Eve...

Synopsis from "It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance ...The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when police insist on opening out the investigation a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine's neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst."

Read Sunnie Gill's review for Euro Crime here and CrimeFic Reader's analysis, on her It's a Crime blog.

More on 'Waking the Dead'...

Digital Spy reports that Waking the Dead is going interactive.

"BBC One's new series of Waking The Dead, which begins in early January, will be supported by an interactive TV and broadband service, giving viewers a greater understanding of forensic and detection methods included in the show.

Following the second part of the two-part stories viewers can, for the first time, be transported behind the scenes and into the world of the cold case unit by pressing the red button or visiting the show's website.

Viewers will be presented with the CCHQ evidence board and given the opportunity to discover more about the week's story, by moving around the board and clicking on a piece of evidence they'd like to investigate further."

In addition the BBC press release confirms that "Tara FitzGerald (Sirens, Brassed Off, The Virgin Queen) joins the cast of Waking The Dead as Eve Lockhart, the new forensic scientist, when the six-part series returns to investigate more dark, gripping tales of murder mystery."

"In the first two-part story, Boyd and his team, Grace (Sue Johnston), Spence (Wil Johnson), Stella (Felicite du Jeu) and Eve, find themselves investigating pagan and druid rituals, stigmata, Irish travellers and bare knuckle boxing."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Christmas Crime (6) - Gilbert Adair

I mentioned this a couple of months ago and I've got it from the library now. I've read a few pages and it seems worth pursuing and I plan to, once I've finished the other two books I've got on the go. I tend to read serially rather than in parallel, usually. (It's one of those dinky sized hardbacks too, very nice.)

Synopsis from "It is Boxing Day circa 1935. The place is a snowed-in manor on the very edge of Dartmoor. It is a Christmas house-party. And overhead, in the attic, the dead body of Raymond Gentry, gossip columnist and blackmailer, shot through the heart. But the attic door is locked from the inside, its sole window is traversed by thick iron bars and, naturally, there is no sign of a murderer or a murder weapon. Fortunately (though, for the murderer, unfortunately), one of the guests is the formidable Evadne Mount, the bestselling author of countless classic whodunits. In fact, were she not its presiding sleuth, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" is exactly the type of whodunit she herself might have written."

It's Christmas Crime (5) - Jill McGown

Here's one I've mentioned before, which I read earlier in the year. I didn't write a review but I do strongly recommend it, especially to lovers of unbreakable alibis. The UK title for 'Murder at the Old Vicarage' is 'Redemption' and the library edition of it has Christmas tree baubles on the front but the cover's not on amazon.

Brief synopsis from "Snow began to isolate the village and by the time the body in the vicarage was discovered, Byford was cut off altogether. A domestic murder - Chief Inspector Lloyd thought it would be an open and shut case but it turned out to be much more complicated."

This is the second of the Lloyd and Hill series and fans are eagerly awaiting the fourteenth, hopefully in 2007,

On Jill McGown's website she answers questions about the title change and the connection to Agatha Christie.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Last minute Christmas present suggestion...

I spotted this on a comprehensive page of links to the crime and mystery world, under their category of 'games'. Released today in the UK (but more easily available in the US I imagine) you can now help Poirot to solve 'The Murder on the Orient Express'.

From the manufacturers website: "Climb aboard the luxurious train and become part of the famous murder mystery as you play the video game adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Famed game designer Lee Sheldon and AWE Games have teamed up once again to bring mystery adventure fans the second game in the Agatha Christie series.

Staying true to the novel, players will step on to the lavish, richly appointed train that departs Istanbul hurtling toward Paris. The train is filled with passengers, one of whom is the high profile Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A passenger recognizes him, asks for protection, but is turned down. The next day that individual is found dead.

Players take on the role of Antoinette Marceau, a new character, who works alongside Poirot to investigate the savage murder. With a train filled of suspects, Antoinette will need every tip that she can garner from Poirot in order to pinpoint the killer."

David Suchet is Poirot (thankfully) though it doesn't look much like him and there is a surprise ending....

Or there's 'And Then There Were None', released earlier in the year.

Manufacturer's description: "Based on the best selling mystery novel of the same name, And Then There Were None allows players to immerse themselves in the rich world of Agatha Christie.

10 people, strangers to each other are invited to a lavish estate on a remote island. Through a recording their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer.

Prepare to play the 11th character where only your detective wits can save you now."

On the website you can see a list of characters, scenes and links to a trailer for both games.

It's Christmas Crime (4) - Georgette Heyer

'Envious Casca' was first published in 1941 and is the second in the Inspector Hemingway series. As well as her many regency novels, Heyer wrote 12 detective novels, including four featuring Inspector Hemingway and four with Superintendent Hannasyde.

Synopsis from "It is no ordinary Christmas at Lexham Manor. Six holiday guests find themselves the suspects of a murder enquiry when the old Scrooge, Nathaniel Herriad, who owns the substantial estate, is found stabbed in the back. Whilst the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered the locked room to commit this foul deed. For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, 'tis the season to find whodunit."

A fan based website for Georgette Heyer is here. Isn't the cover delightful?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This week's updates to the Euro Crime website

Just a reminder that there's still time to enter the competition to win one of six copies of Martyn Waites' 'Bone Machine' (*no* geographical restrictions apply.)
This week's updates on Euro Crime are:

1. The 'Reviews' page has been updated with reviews of :
'Raven Black' by Ann Cleeves , reviewed by Sunnie Gill and
'Looking Good Dead' by Peter James, reviewed by Maxine Clarke aka Petrona.

2. The 'Authors' (490 sites) page has been updated.

3. The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

4.a) In 'Books' there are now bibliographies for 980 authors (5465 titles
with links to 851 reviews) - I've added bibliographies for the following:
Gilbert Adair, Rankin Davis, Brian McGilloway, Georges Perec, Matt Benyon
Rees, Luis Miguel Rocha, Philip Sington, William Sutton and Elizabeth

4.b) In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for:
Boris Akunin, Jo Bannister, Rhys Bowen, Kate Charles, Ake Edwardson, Roger Jon Ellory, Penelope Evans, Susan Hill, Lee/L M Jackson, Michael Jecks, Alison Joseph, Adrian McKinty, The Medieval Murderers, Denise Mina, Dreda Say Mitchell, Sarah Rayne, Rob/Robert Ryan, Chris Simms, Alexander McCall Smith and Martyn Waites.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's Christmas Crime (3) - Carola Dunn

'Mistletoe and Murder' by Carola Dunn is the eleventh in the Daisy Dalrymple series, which currently numbers fifteen.

Synopsis from "In December 1923, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher yields to the demands of her mother and the needs of her writing career and brings her family to an old Cornish estate for Christmas. The estate, occupied by the poor relations of the ancestral lord, has a rich history of lore, ghost stories, and festering resentments - some or all of which leaves them all trapped in a house with a corpse and a murderer."

You can read two short stories featuring Daisy here and here.

It's Christmas Crime (2) - Ngaio Marsh

'Tied Up in Tinsel' was Ngaio Marsh's 27th Inspector Roderick Alleyn story and was first published in 1972.

Synopsis from "Christmas time in an isolated country house and, following a flaming row in the kitchen, there's murder inside. When a much disliked visiting servant disappears without trace after playing Santa Claus, foul play is at once suspected -- and foul play it proves to be. Only suspicion falls not on the staff but on the guests, all so unimpeachably respectable that the very thought of murder in connection with any of them seems almost heresy. When Superintendent Roderick Alleyn returns unexpectedly from a trip to Australia, it is to find his beloved wife in the thick of an intriguing mystery..."

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Christmas Crime (1) - Anne Perry

Over the next few days I'll be listing a few books set over the Christmas-New Year period. First off is the latest Christmas book from Anne Perry, 'A Christmas Secret'.

Synopsis from "Dominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on a three-week Christmas holiday. Glad to escape his dreary London flat and a less-than-satisfying job as church curate, Dominic and his beloved wife, Clarice, set off for what they hope will be a lovely winter getaway.

Upon arrival, in the midst of a frigid, exceptionally snowy season, Dominic and Clarice are welcomed by warm, hospitable neighbors and enchanted by the cozy, inviting vicarage. Everything seems almost too perfect. Dominic’s only concern is how he will be received by the congregation, who hold the Reverend Wynter in such high regard. But as Clarice soon discovers, she and Dominic have much more dire matters to worry about. It turns out that the Reverend Wynter isn’t on holiday at all–and that something very sinister has transpired.

As a blizzard leaves Cottisham treacherously snowbound and the isolated village swirls with unsavory secrets, Dominic and Clarice suddenly find themselves in deadly danger."

You can read an excerpt on the Random House webage. The other Christmas novellas are: 'A Christmas Journey', 'A Christmas Visitor' and 'A Christmas Guest'.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another competition (not mine this time)

As well as Euro Crime's own competition which ends at the end of the year, so does author James Twining's competition. What you can win:
Star in the next Tom Kirk adventure

Always wanted to be a master thief, a deadly assasin or femme fatale?? Well here's your chance!

All you need to do to make your guest appearance between the pages of the next Tom Kirk adventure, is sign up to the newsletter (click button below) to be entered into the Prize Draw on 31 December 2006.

The lucky winner will be selected at random and will then have the opportunity to have one of the characters in the book named after him or her, as well as have sight of early drafts of the manuscript.

You just need to sign up for his newsletter and the full rules and a link are here on his website.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Design me a cover - must be mostly blue and have a tree on it...

M (Mick) Herron's third Zoe Boehm offering came out on 24 August 2006 from Constable & Robinson.
Lesley Horton's book, which I've mentioned recently, came out on 1 Dec from Orion.

Is it just me or is there a certain similarity to the covers?

Synopsis from of 'Why We Die':"When Tim Whitby checks into a hotel, he's not intending to check out again - but then he meets Katrina Blake, a woman in need of rescue. When Arkle, Baxter and Trent inherit the family business, they're not planning on making a go of it - there are quicker ways of getting rich, if you're not squeamish about the violence involved. And when Zoe Boehm agrees to track down the masked men who robbed Harold Sweeney's jewellery shop, she's hoping to pay off the taxes she's avoided. She's not expecting to wind up in a coffin. But Arkle has a crossbow; Tim has a life that's run out of purpose, and even battered Katrina has her secrets. And death, like taxes, can't be avoided forever."

Donna Moore 'On the Bubble' with Elaine Flinn

Unfortunately I missed this when it first came out so a belated link to Elaine Flinn's, 'on the bubble' gruelling interview of debut author Donna Moore.

Synopsis from "On her latest case, wisecracking Private Investigator, Helena Handbasket, is faced with a lot of tough questions. Did Robin Banks have a hand in the theft of Evan Stubezzi's jewels? And if so, was the hand one of those packed in ice in the freezer box that was delivered to his brother, Owen? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or are all those handless corpses with scarlet fish sewn into their chest cavities purely coincidental? What shoes should you wear for a meeting with a killer? Why does her next-door neighbour smell of cheese? Which of her true loves is her real true love? And, more importantly, is there anything in the fridge for dinner? Can our man-loving, cocktail-loving, food-loving, not-so-very-intrepid heroine answer these questions-any of them-without leaving a cliché unturned?"

'Go to..' is published by Point Blank and you can read the Prologue aka (Why The Hell Isn't This Called Chapter One?) here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A couple more UK tv crime snippets...

'Waking the Dead' has a new recruit, as Tara Fitzgerald is joining the cast. As there's no picture of 'Felix' (the coroner/forensic guru) on the front page of the offical BBC website can one assume she's taking that role?

I do enjoy WtD even if the plots are usually incomprehensible and ultimately deliver less than they promise and Trevor Eve's character, Boyd, is terribly annoying.

No announcement yet for when the 2007 episodes will be shown.

The BBC produces another press release for Ruby in the Smoke, which will be on BBC1 on 27 December at 8.30pm. The follow up, The Shadow of the North, will be shown later in 2007.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Competition and New Reviews on Euro Crime

During December, Euro Crime blog and website visitors can enter a
competition to win one of six copies of Martyn Waites' new Joe Donovan book, 'Bone Machine', out in the UK in January. (There are no geographical restrictions and the closing date is 31 Dec 2006.)
Enter here: Competition

The 'Reviews' page has been updated with reviews of :

'The Main Chance' by Colin Forbes - his and Tweed's penultimate novel. Reviewed by Karen Chisholm.

'Lawless' by Alexander McGregor - the first fiction outing for a Scottish
journalist who had a best seller writing about Dundee's true crime.

The 'New Releases' pages have also been updated.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Win a copy of 'A Bitter Chill' on Jane Finnis' website

Jane posted to DorothyL yesterday that she's running a competition to give away two signed copies of 'A Bitter Chill'.
Synopsis of 'A Bitter Chill' from her website: "In late December 95 AD, Roman settlers in Britannia are preparing to celebrate Saturnalia, a midwinter festival of eating, drinking, and fun-and-games. Innkeeper Aurelia Marcella's plans for a peaceful holiday are shattered when her brother brings bad news. An enemy in Rome is trying to destroy her family by spreading rumours that they are plotting against Caesar. To add to her troubles, the mansio is menaced by a gang of native criminals operating a protection racket, and a party of rich, demanding travelers arrive to stay. Their quarrels and violence spill over into Aurelia's household, and the Saturnalia banquet, highlight of the festival, culminates in tragic death. Aurelia's sister Albia is one of the chief suspects.
This second book in the series takes Aurelia from the quiet countryside to the busy new garrison town of Eburacum (York,) where she must contend with conspirators and crooks, and face personal danger to protect her sister and help her brother. If she fails, her family will lose not just their mansio, but their lives."
The competition is here. The deadline is GMT Sunday 17th December and I don't think there are any geographical restrictions.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Euro Crime website - 'News' page updated

I've added some more links to recent reviews in papers, home and abroad, to the 'News' page of the Euro Crime website.

Also, there'll be a new competition announced in the next few days, open to all ...

The Hollow Core - extract available

'The Hollow Core' is the 4th in Horton's Bradford based police procedural series. Out on 1 Dec, you can read an extract on the Orion website.

Synopsis from
"Behind closed doors, every family has its secrets. The Ingleby family must look to theirs when Diane Ingleby is shot after a family outing. DI John Handsford and DS Kahlid Ali are called in to investigate and it soon emerges that Diane's husband, Maurice, is widely suspected to be the money behind the local branch of the BNP. He's been on the receiving end of threats before, and it seems his wife might have been caught in the middle. It's a sensitive case, and Handsford and Ali are joined by trainee DC Parvez Miah - son of an influential local Muslim community leader. But when Aisha, Miah's wife, is found badly beaten, it seems that the Inglebys may not be the only family with skeletons in the cupboard. Tension mounts as accusations fly from all sides with the approach of the local elections - but everyone is silent where it matters most. Is it shame, honour, or old-fashioned fear that's keeping everyone quiet? Handsford and Ali must find out before another woman is silenced - permanently."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blue is the Cover...

An article in The Guardian at the weekend bemoans the drab covers of modern books. However two books I've recently come across have very different but equally stunning (I believe) blue covers:

'Carte Blanche' by Carlo Lucarelli (Europa Editions) has a lighter blue cover than shown and is not only striking but the cover is a stiff cardboard with flaps. (I don't know the technical term I'm afraid!)

Synopsis from Europa Editions website:
"April, 1945. The last days of the Salò Republic. A brutal murder on the “good side of town” lands Commissioner De Luca in the middle of a hornet’s nest where the rich and powerful mix drugs, sex, money and murder."

'A Most Dangerous Woman' by Lee Jackson, writing as L M Jackson.

Synopsis from

"'It was said that she had the good manners of a respectable upper servant but was far too young to have been pensioned; that she spoke as if she had received an education, but knew the coasters' slang as if she were born-and-bred to it; and that she not only had no husband - which was a commonplace on Leather Lane - but seemed never to have possessed one.' When the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens her Dining and Coffee Rooms upon the corner of Leather Lane and Liquor pond Street, her arrival amongst the poor market-traders is a nine-days' wonder. Few doubt that she has a 'past'; but no-one can possibly predict how it will return to haunt her. When an old friend is brutally murdered by the unlikeliest of assailants, Sarah Tanner is the only witness. Unable to turn to the police, she reluctantly finds herself drawn back into the dark underworld of the Victorian metropolis. Assisted by unlikely friends, dogged by the criminal machinations of 'the greatest gamester, felon, villain, swindler, and scoundrel in London', she must unravel a web of treachery and deceit, that takes her from the gaming hells of Regent Street to the suburban heights of Upper Holloway; from the slums of St. Giles to the fast-flowing waters of the Thames. Relying on her wits, trading on her past, Sarah Tanner risks gambling her own life upon a desperate quest for justice and vengeance."

'Carte Blanche' is already available but we'll have to wait until April for 'A Most Dangerous Woman'.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Famous Five to be cartoonised

Today's Telegraph reports that:
"Enid Blyton's Famous Five adventures are being turned into a Disney cartoon series.

A British company, Chorion, is working with a French animation firm to make the series which will première in the UK in 2008.

A spokesman said the series was still popular around the world and every generation of children "deserved" to be entertained by the Famous Five.

The Famous Five children (and dog) are, aside from Noddy, perhaps the most famous of Blyton's characters.

Julian, Dick, Anne and George, with their dog Timmy, typically used their school holidays to chance upon a mystery which led to a chase and adventure.

It might mean scrambling through caves and smugglers' tunnels or exploring a remote island to unmask criminals in their work.

Whatever the obstacles, the team always found time to stop for a picnic which would typically include ginger beer.

Indeed, if the term "lashings of ginger beer" has become a catch-phrase for mocking Blyton's characters, they have delighted generations with their courage and sense of fair play.

A spokesman for Chorion told the Daily Telegraph the cartoon characters would not use old-fashioned terminology, but the adventures would remain true."
Full article here.

Let's hope the figures look better than those on the recent covers of the Secret Seven series:

A few links...

Europa Editions post their thoughts on the blogger vs 'professional' reviewer brouhaha of recent days here.

Crime Scraps reviews Massimo Carlotto's 'The Master of Knots',

International Noir Fiction reviews 'The Dead Hour' by Denise Mina.

Material Witness reviews Peter Robinson's 'Strange Affair' and comments on why the language feels slightly off at times.

Reading matters reviews 'Don't Look Back' by Karin Fossum.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tartan Cozy (buyer beware)

Orion have recently republished the first six full length Jemima Shaw mysteries, written by Antonia Fraser. These investigations were originally published between 1977 and 1987. The 'buyer beware' is that the second in the series, 'The Wild Island', has been retitled 'Tartan Tragedy':

"I warned you, Jemima Shore, things up here are seldom all they seem ... The body of a young man has been found floating in a pool on a remote island in the Scottish Highlands. It just happens to be the island that TV reporter Jemima Shore has rented for a holiday ... a holiday that is rapidly falling apart. Confronted with a foreboding stone house, a bitter family feud and cryptic warnings from locals Jemima begins to regret her choice. It is only when another body is found tangled in weeds in the river she begins to realize she has become caught up in something very dark indeed. As she tries to fight her attraction to a suspect, Jemima struggles to work out just who she can trust. In this lonely spot it seems that nobody is quite as they first appear ..."

Antonia Fraser hasn't published any detective stories since 1994 and is much more famous as an historical novelist - the recent Kirsten Dunst film was loosely based on her biography of 'Marie Antoinette'.

Friday, December 01, 2006

New Reviews on Euro Crime

Just a mini-update this weekend as I'm away for a couple of days so instead of on Sunday, I bring you reviews of books by two of the UK's female big hitters: 'Close' by Martina Cole* and 'The Red Dahlia' by Lynda La Plante, reviewed by Sunnie Gill and Karen Chisholm respectively.

*There is a huge waiting list for this in the library - currently 147 reservations for 51 copies.

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival - new Hotel details

The Harrogate Crime Writing Festival is 19-22 July 2007. The details of the venue and a booking line have just been released. From the website:
"In just four years, the Theakston’s Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival has become the largest crime-writing event of its kind in Europe. 2006 was no exception and saw audiences rise by 24% from 2005, once again attracting writers and enthusiasts from all over the world to the many sell-out events. This year sees a new venue, a growth in the programme and the very best crime authors around, including Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Harlan Coben and our 2007 Programming Chair Natasha Cooper.

2007 heralds an important change of venue for the Festival. Following a tremendous amount of customer feedback the 2007 event will be held at the beautifully refurbished Crown Hotel situated in the centre of the picturesque spa town of Harrogate, and I am pleased to announce that this will now be our home until 2009.

Booking has now opened for all ticket and accommodation packages – call 01423 562303 for tailor made packages and rates."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who Killed Santa Claus? (...or 'What I'm reading')

I've just started my first Indridason. Indridason is the author of the Detective Erlendur series set in Reykjavik and 'Voices' is the third to be translated into English (but I make it the 5th in the series.)

Synopsis from
"Detective Erlendur encounters memories of his troubled past in this gripping and award-winning continuation of the "Reykjavik Murder Mysteries". At a grand Reykjavik hotel, the doorman has been repeatedly stabbed in the dingy basement room he called home. It is only a few days before Christmas and he was preparing to appear as Santa Claus at a children's party. The manager tries to keep the murder under wraps. A glum detective taking up residence in his hotel and an intrusive murder investigation are not what he needs. As Erlendur quietly surveys the cast of grotesques who populate the hotel, the web of malice, greed and corruption that lies beneath its surface reveals itself. Everyone has something to hide. But most shocking is the childhood secret of the dead man who, many years before, was the most famous child singer in the country: it turns out to be a brush with stardom which would ultimately cost him everything. As Christmas Day approaches Erlendur must delve deeply into the past to find the man's killer. "Voices" is a tense, atmospheric and disturbing novel from one of Europe's greatest crime writers."

So far, Erlendur is reminding me of Wallander from Mankell's series though my experiences is limited to having listened to 'The Fifth Woman'.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

TV version of Karin Alvtegen's Missing

Karin Alvtegen's crime novel, 'Missing', published in English in 2003, has been made into 2 x 90 min parts for showing on ITV1 at some point in the, hopefully not too distant, future.
The tv show blurb: "Homeless for several years, 21-year-old Sibyl Foster regularly scams rooms from unwitting hotel residents on the pretence that her purse has been stolen. She manages to get away with a room to herself, no strings – until one of her targets is violently murdered. When a second murder is committed, there is evidence that unmistakably links Sibyl as the prime suspect. But as they begin to investigate her, the police turn up more than they anticipate – including close links to a prominent public figure and a spell in a psychiatric hospital. As more and more skeletons are discovered in Sibyl’s closet, even she can no longer be sure that she is innocent. Written by Jimmy Gardner (This Life, Outlaws, The Cops, Buried) and adapted from a Swedish novel by Karin Alvtegen."
You can view the promo at the Minotaur site. The rights have also been bought for another of Alvtegen's books, 'Betrayal'.

A few links (News, Carofiglio and how to date Bond)

Firstly I've updated the 'News' page on Euro Crime with a few more items including Marcel Berlins' top crime novels of 2006 which includes Euro Crime, Petrona and Crime Scraps favourite, Gianrico Carofiglio's, 'A Walk in the Dark'.
(Reviews: Euro Crime, Petrona, Crime Scraps.)

Secondly, The Independent has a so called 'secret' section on Casino Royale (if you don't mind the advertising), here. For those wanting to know if they'd be eligible to date Bond, click on the 'exclusive' tab.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Collaborator of Bethlehem - Matt Beynon Rees

Here's another tastefully covered offering from Soho Press and thus another book is added to the wishlist. 'The Collaborator of Bethlehem' by British author, Matt Beynon Rees, is billed as the first in a series of Palestine mysteries and the main character is history teacher, Omar Yussef.

"For decades, Omar Yussef has been a teacher of history to the children of Bethlehem. When a favorite former pupil, George Saba, a member of the Palestinian Christian minority, is arrested for collaborating with the Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian guerrilla, Omar is sure he has been framed. If George is not cleared, he faces imminent execution.Then the wife of the dead man, also one of Omar Yussef’s former pupils, is murdered, possibly raped. When he begins to suspect the head of the Bethlehem al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the true collaborator, Omar and his family are threatened. But as no one else is willing to stand up to the violent Martyrs Brigades men, who hold the real power in the town, it is up to him to investigate."

About the author:
From his website: "Matt Beynon Rees is a mystery novelist and journalist. As a reporter, he has covered the Middle East for over a decade, with the vast majority of that time spent amongst Palestinians and Israelis. He’s a Contributor for Time based in Jerusalem, where he was the magazine’s bureau chief from June 2000 until January 2006. He was born in Wales in 1967 and studied at Oxford University and the University of Maryland. Beynon Rees wrote award-winning stories about the violence of the Aqsa intifada for Time."

The US edition will be out in February 2007 and according to his blog, the UK version, retitled 'The Bethlehem Murders', will be out in June 2007.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Win a copy of Boris Akunin's new book from Random House (US)

Today's 'Outlined in Chalk' newsletter offers US readers a chance to win one of 25 advance copies of Boris Akunin's 'Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog'.

"To enter, please email your name and snail mail address to Random House and include "AKUNIN" in the subject line. Good luck!"

Rebus not dying next year

According to last Thursday's Edinburgh Evening News,
"AUTHOR Ian Rankin has revealed he is not planning to kill off his hard-drinking creation John Rebus - who today had a single malt whisky named in his honour.

Fans of the best-selling Edinburgh detective feared he would make a final bow at the end of the next novel.

But Mr Rankin, who lives in Merchiston, said: "He's not going to die at the end of the final book, that would be an indignity too far."

And he hinted that Rebus could return in a cameo role in a novel about his long-suffering sidekick, Det Sgt Siobhan Clarke.

The comments came as Orkney distillers Highland Park announced the new Rebus20 malt."

Ian Rankin expands on his plans for Rebus in The Scotsman and talks about Rebus and Whiskey here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New reviews and other updates to the Euro Crime website

Both the new reviews added to the Euro Crime website this weekend are of titles by female Swedish authors: Liza Marklund's 'Prime Time', reviewed by Karen Chisholm, and Helene Tursten's 'The Torso'.

Other changes include:

The 'News' page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

The 'Authors' (485 sites) page of author websites has been updated.

In 'Books' I've added bibliographies for the following authors: Sean Brickell, Derek W Lake and Dennis Lewis.

In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Mark Billingham, Arnaldur Indridason, Arturo Perez-Reverte and Helene Tursten.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Casino Royale - let's not forget the book...

Today's Guardian reviews the new Penguin film-tie-in edition of Casino Royale. It's hard to believe that the book was written in 1953.

The review concludes:
"You should also read this because, without doing so, you will never have a complete picture of the imaginative postwar life of this country. It is odd to think that people watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II could take a break by reading the newly published hardback edition of this book. When Larkin said that sexual intercourse began in 1963, you may think that he was exactly a decade out. And in his hugely enjoyable study of Bond, The Man Who Saved Britain, Simon Winder points out that the key moment in the novel is when Bond orders an avocado pear ("with french dressing") for dessert. We forget how exotic and desirable the avocado was in 1953; and how hard it was to take money out of the country. When Bond is gambling with thousands of pounds at the baccarat table, British readers must have been boggle-eyed with envy. And even northern France, while a modestly dipped toe in the waters of Abroad, was still a start.

The other reason to read the books is that they are enormous fun. But you might have guessed that already."

Read the rest of the review here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Ruby in the Smoke

The first of the Sally Lockhart mysteries is to be shown over Christmas on the BBC, with Billie Piper playing the sixteen year old heroine. All four books by Philip Pullman are scheduled to be televised.

"'Have you ever heard the phrase The Seven Blessings?' That question causes a man to die of shock, and propels Sally Lockhart into a desperate adventure that will expose the deepest secrets of the corrupt and murderous opium trade. Sally is sixteen when the story begins, orphaned and alone. She's had an unconventional education: her knowledge of English Literature, French, History, Art and Music is non-existent, but she has a thorough grounding in military tactics, can run a business, ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol. When her father is drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Sally soon finds herself in terrible danger too - and at the rotten heart of it all lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke."

Philip Pullman says of the series: "Historical thrillers, that's what these books are. Old-fashioned Victorian blood-and-thunder. Actually, I wrote each one with a genuine cliché of melodrama right at the heart of it, on purpose: the priceless jewel with a curse on it – the madman with a weapon that could destroy the world – the situation of being trapped in a cellar with the water rising – the little illiterate servant girl from the slums of London who becomes a princess … And I set the stories up so that each of those stock situations, when they arose, would do so naturally and with the most convincing realism I could manage.

There are many more such hackneyed situations awaiting my attention."
These are books I'd like to find time to read, however I'll have to make do with the tv programmes for now. Hopefully the show will encourage more children to read the original stories.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Translated crime/thriller coming soon (1)

From Arcadia Books: "Leif Davidsen is a Danish journalist and the author of a number of best-selling suspense novels. He has worked for many years for Danish radio and television as a foreign correspondent and editor of foreign news, specialising in Russian, East and Central European affairs."

Will Vuk succeed in killing an Iranian author or will the police, who are aware of his intentions, succeed in capturing him? Find out in this dramatic political thriller from one of Denmark's finest crime writers.

Iranian mullahs have offered a four-million dollar reward to the person who carries out their fatwa, the death sentence of the internationally acclaimed author Sara Santanda. A Danish daily newspaper has in cooperation with the Danish PEN centre invited her to Copenhagen, and police officer Per Toftlund of the Danish Secret Service is put in charge of protecting her. A politician in parliament strikes a deal with dire consequences, and somewhere in the former Yugoslavia a young man signs up for murder. The man is Vuk. He is the Serbian Dane.

I've put the cover in quite large as I can't make out if that's a decaying body in a uniform! 'The Serbian Dane' is out 2 December.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Asa Larsson to be published in the UK

Good news for those of us reluctant to splash out on a US hardback, 'Sun Storm' is to be published by Viking in April 2007 albeit under the new title of 'The Savage Altar'. This means this title can be considered for the 2007 International Dagger. Alternatively the US paperback of 'Sun Storm' is out on Boxing Day (according to

Read Karen Chisholm's review of 'Sun Storm' on Euro Crime.

I think I prefer the US cover, but what do others think?

"In a land of silence and snow, the killing has begun ...Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the small town she left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm tax lawyer, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the church of the cult he helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor, and to confront the rumours circulating in a closed and frightened community. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark and impossible to guess ..."

The follow up, 'The Blood Spilt', is out in the US in January 2007.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Life on Mars & Vincent win International EMMY Awards

Full list of International Emmy winners, here


DRAMA SERIES - Life on Mars
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR - Ray Winstone as Vincent

Adelaide Advertiser 's top crime titles 2006

Firstly thanks goes to the organiser of yahoo group oz_mystery_readers for this news, as it doesn't appear online.

The Adelaide Advertiser book reviewers have printed their 'best 100' books for 2006 and the paperbacks on their Crime List include several British authors:


'A Child's Game' by by John Connor
'The Lizard's Bite' by David Hewson
'The Naming of the Dead' by Ian Rankin
'Mr Clarinet' by Nick Stone
'Darkness and the Deep' by Aline Templeton


'Without Consent' by Kathryn Fox
'Diamond Dove' by Adrian Hyland


'The Cold Moon' by by Jeffrey Deaver

'Diamond Dove' sounds fascinating and it stars a young Aboriginal woman.
"Emily Tempest has been away from Central Australia for a long time—uni, travel, dead-end jobs. Finding trouble all over the world. Now she's back at Moonlight Downs, the community where she grew up, half in the Aboriginal world, half in the white. And true to form, there's trouble. An old friend brutally murdered and mutilated. An old enemy the only suspect. Until Emily starts asking questions.

Take a nail-biting mystery, an epic setting and a heroine with a talent for stirring things up. Throw in an affectionate flogging of outback Australia's melanoma-encrusted hide—and Diamond Dove may be the wittiest and most gripping debut of the year."
There's a long interview with author Adrian Hyland in The Age

Monday, November 20, 2006

Geraldine McEwan's Marple in 2007

Three more Marple films are on their way in 2007. Filming has been completed on 'Towards Zero' and 'Nemesis' with shooting just starting on 'At Bertram's Hotel'.

Half the fun of these is spotting the various guest stars, a who's who of British acting.

In 'Towards Zero' we have the best Doctor Who of them all, Tom Baker and the cad John Willoughby aka Greg Wise.

'Nemesis' features Richard E Grant and two Coronation Street actors, (Johnny Briggs and Anne Reid) but it's Sam Ryan from Silent Witness (Amanda Burton) who may give Miss M a run for her money in the detecting stakes.

Finally, 'At Bertram's Hotel' has Campion actor, Peter Davidson and Love Actually's tea lady at No. 10, Martine McCutcheon.

A fuller cast list can be found on Wikipedia.

Orion New Blood - Stuart Archer Cohen

Picking up where I left off a few weeks ago, the next 'where are they now?' author is Stuart Archer Cohen. It is indeed a mystery as since Orion's publication of 'The Stone Angels', nothing more has been heard of him, at least in the crime/mystery world. Having read the Shots interview, it's possible he won't write another crime novel.

Author details from
"Stuart Archer Cohen is in his early 40s. He owns an international company trading in rare textiles, and lived in China and South America before settling in Alaska where he now lives with his wife and two children. He has travelled widely and speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin fluently. His acclaimed first novel, INVISIBLE WORLD, was set in Inner Mongolia."

Summary from "The assignment depressed him. He knew that the Waterbury investigation would be a sham, that it was political and that the Chief was in on it. He knew that the reason he'd been appointed to head up the investigation was for the express purpose of not finding the killer. He knew that clearly, because he was the one who had put the bullet in the back of Waterbury's head. Comisario Miguel Fortunato has been in the Buenos Aires police for a long time. Perhaps too long. His pockets have seen more than half a million dollars in bribes over the years. But that's just the way it is. He hasn't done as much wrong as some of his colleagues, but he never managed to tell his wife - just dead from cancer - where most of their money was coming from. Now he has a delicate problem. Some time ago, Robert Waterbury, an American novelist, was found shot dead on Fortunato's patch - officially a drugs deal gone bad. But now the Americans are sending someone over - though nobody's sure why they've sent Athena, a human rights professor - and the case is reopened. Athena soon finds that here in Buenos Aires, the truth is way down anyone's list of priorities. Corruption seeps from the city's every pore in this gritty, atmospheric thriller, where no one is quite what they claim to be, and you have to pick your heroes from the bad, the very bad and the indescribably worse."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's update time again...

The new reviews on the Euro Crime website this weekend feature two of Italy's finest writers. Check out Massimo Carlotto's 'The Goodbye Kiss' and Andrea Camilleri's 'Rounding the Mark', reviewed by Sunnie Gill.

Other changes are:

The 'News' page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

The 'Authors' (483 sites) page of author websites has been updated.

In 'Books' I've added bibliographies for the following authors: Jonathan Barnes, Gyles Brandreth, Gary Coyne, K O Dahl, John Macken and Roz Southey.

In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Vivien Armstrong, Lindsay Ashford, Colin Bateman, John Burdett, Lee Child, Natasha Cooper, Ann Granger, Patrica Hall, June Hampson, Sophie Hannah, Anne Holt, Peter James, Katherine John, Bernard Knight, Roberta Kray, David Lawrence, Paul McAuley, R N/Roger Morris, Amy Myers, Ed O'Connor, Sheila Quigley, Betty Rowlands, Pauline Rowson, Craig Russell, Kate Sedley, Sally Spedding, Sally Spencer, Aline Templeton, M J Trow, Pip Vaughan-Hughes, Jill Paton Walsh and Stella Whitelaw.

...and don't forget, the Competition closes tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Faber & Faber's Three (Historical) Investigators

Whilst I was updating my Euro Crime database with new titles for next year I came across a title from Faber and Faber called 'A Gentle Axe' by R N Morris.

Synopsis from
St. Petersburg, Winter, 1867 - Two frozen bodies are found in an isolated corner of Petrovsky Park. The first - that of a dwarf - has been packed neatly in a suitcase, a deep wound splitting his skull in two. The second body, of a burly peasant, is hanging from a nearby tree, a bloody axe tucked into his belt. The detective Porfiry Petrovich, in his first murder case since Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment", suspects the truth may be more complex than others wish him to believe. His investigation leads him from the squalid tenements, brothels and drinking dens of the city's Haymarket district to an altogether more genteel stratum of society. Atmospheric and tense from its dramatic opening to its shocking climax.

This one's not out until next February but it seems Faber has a history (groan) of publishing crime novels with unusual heroes...

In July we had 'Critique of Criminal Reason' by Michael Gregorio:

Synopis from
In 1793, Hanno Stiffeniis travels to Konigsberg to seek advice from Immanuel Kant. Whatever was said at that private meeting, it changed both their lives. Shortly afterwards, a close friend of the philosopher extracts a promise from the young man: never to return to Konigsberg. But ten years later, having become a magistrate, Stiffeniis is ordered to return there by the King. He must investigate a spate of murders which has reduced the city to a state of terror. Four people have died, and there is no sign of an end to the killing spree. Tension inside the city is heightened by the imminent threat of invasion: Napoleon is menacing the borders of Prussia. While hunting for a murderer in the criminal underworld of Konigsberg - forced to deal with scheming whores, necromancers who claim to speak with the victims, and the scum of the Prussian army - Stiffeniis is caught up once again in the enigmatic world of his former mentor, Kant. What demons haunt the magistrate's past and why has he had been enticed back to Konigsberg to deal with these grisly murders? Stiffeniis must face a dark truth which he would rather deny...

I'm not sure if it was terribly well received as shown by Peter Guttridge's review.

The third historical investigator appeared in June, in Jason Goodwin's, 'The Janissary Tree'.

Synopsis from
Yashim is no ordinary detective. It's not that he's particularly brave. Or that he cooks so well, or reads French novels. Not even that his best friend is the Ambassador from Poland, whose country has vanished from the map. Yashim is a eunuch. As the Sultan plans a series of radical reforms to his empire, a concubine is strangled in the palace harem. And a young cadet is found butchered in the streets of Istanbul. Delving deep into the city's crooked alleyways, and deeper still into its tumultuous past, Yashim discovers that some people will go to any lengths to preserve the traditions of the Ottoman Empire. Brilliantly evoking Istanbul in the 1830s, "The Janissary Tree" is a fast-paced literary thriller with a spectacular cast, from mystic orders and lissom archivists to soup-makers and a seductive ambassador's wife. Darker than any of these is the mysterious figure who controls the Sultan's harem.

The Independent's review is here.

Faber seem to have the market cornered for unlikely heroes of crime fiction. I'm just surprised they're not behind 'The Interpretation of Murder' by Jed Rubenfeld starring Freud.

What's the most unusual sleuth you've encountered?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Euro Crime website - 'News' page updated & Competition reminder

I've just added a few more links to reviews in UK papers, from the past few days, to the 'News' page.

There's still a few days left to enter the Euro Crime competition for a proof copy of the new Fred Vargas novel, 'Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand'.

Life on Mars

Sadly the next series of 'Life on Mars' will be the last. The BBC Press Release confirms:
Fans will finally learn the truth about time-travelling DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) and how he came to be stuck in 1973.

"We decided that Sam's journey should have a finite lifespan and a clear-cut ending and we feel that we have now reached that point after two series; so, although it is sad that we have just finished filming Sam's final scenes, it's also been an incredibly exciting few days!" explains writer and co-creator Matthew Graham.
However some of the characters, though it's not clear if that includes those played by the two main leads, John Simm and Philip Glenister, will appear in 'Ashes to Ashes' a 1980s spin off - more Miami Vice than The Sweeney.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Translated Crime Challenge

The CWA has announced the qualifying period for the 2007 Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards:
"Any UK publisher may enter books provided that the book is relevant to the appropriate award and was published between June 1 2006 and May 31 2007."

Earlier this year I put together a list of books I considered eligible* for the 2006 International Dagger. That list only included translated crime fiction from Europe. I'd like to create a similar list for 2007 but also include non-European translated crime. So far I've come up with only two titles...'Grotesque' by Natsuo Kirino (Feb 07, Japan) and 'Havana Blue' by Leonardo Padura (Apr 07, Cuba).

I know the cut-off date is a few months away but I'd have expected some books out by May to be listed on amazon by now.

The challenge is to tell me what authors/books I'm missing! (NB. They have to be published in the UK.)

*I did ask the CWA for this information but they were unable to supply it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Scandinavian author to look forward to...

The Rap Sheet have posted a link to Mike Ripley's excellent Shots column. Do make your hot drink before you start reading as it's quite long as well as very informative. Mike mentions a new Norwegian author coming from Faber next March - K O Dahl. I think 'The Fourth Man' is the first one in the series:

In the course of a routine police raid, Detective Inspector Frank Frolich of the Oslo Police saves Elizabeth Faremo from getting inadvertently caught in crossfire. By the time he learns that she is the sister of Jonny Faremo, wanted member of a larceny gang, it is already too late. He is obsessed. Suspected, suspended, and blindly in love, Frolich must find out if he is being used before his life unravels beyond repair.
There's a short (English) interview with him on a German site here.

I particularly like this Q & A:

Q: How did you get into crime mysteries?

K.O. Dahl: It is a long story, which involves one beautiful woman, one late night, some bottles of champagne, a police car, an angry husband and a typewriter.

There's also a Norwegian website for Dahl.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Sherlock Holmes news

The BBC are filming Baker Street Irregulars, a new two-part family drama starring Jonathan Pryce and Bill Paterson.

From the BBC Press release:
"Baker Street Irregulars is an original Sherlock Holmes mystery, which pits Holmes and the Irregulars against one of Holmes' greatest enemies.

The rag-tag group of street kids known as the Irregulars first appeared in the Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, in 1887.

This time they find themselves having to solve the mysterious disappearance of two of their own gang, while Holmes himself is accused of murder and put under house arrest.

Only by the combination of all their skills can they hope to free Holmes and the kidnap victims, solve the murders and prevent an audacious heist."
Due to air in 2007. In the meantime there is a 'biography' of Sherlock Holmes, by Nick Rennison, which was reviewed in yesterday's New York Times.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Competition, New Reviews & other updates to the Euro Crime website

This week Euro Crime blog and website visitors can enter a competition to win one of five proof copies of Fred Vargas' 'Wash this Blood Clean From My Hand'. (Geographical restrictions apply.)

New Reviews this week on the Euro Crime website are Daily Mail reviewer, Carla McKay's October roundup and Karen Chisholm's review of 'Borkmann's Point' by Hakan Nesser.

Other changes to the website include:

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

The 'Authors' (482 sites) page has been updated.

In 'Books' there are now bibliographies for 961 authors (5367 titles with links to 829 reviews) - I've added bibliographies for the following: Taylor Holden, Julia Navarro and Justine Picardie.

In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Richard Haley, K T McCaffrey, Keith Moray, John Paxton Sheriff and Roger Silverwood.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sherlock Holmes series being reissued

The Guardian is replete with crime reviews today and links will appear shortly on the News page.

I also found this snippet in The Bookseller column:
The aggressively commercial publisher Headline made waves earlier this year with a swirly, girly new look for Jane Austen. Its next target is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Headline believes that despite the iconic status of Sherlock Holmes, the original stories are not really being read. So just before Christmas all nine Sherlock Holmes titles are being "beautifully repackaged for a new generation", with suitably foggy covers and a marketing and publicity campaign. Stephen Fry, who has starred as Sherlock Holmes, offers his endorsement: "[Conan Doyle] is unique in simultaneously bringing down the curtain on an era and raising one on another ... Personally, I would walk a mile in tight boots to read his letters to the milkman.
A couple of years ago there was talk of a production of Sherlock Holmes with Fry and Laurie however so far, it doesn't seem to have got off the ground. Hard to see either of them as a bumbling Dr Watson especially after Laurie's Holmes incarnation in House.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ian Rankin's Knots & Crosses Reissue

Orion have launched Rebus 20 to celebrate next year's 20 years of Rebus and in March a special hardback edition of Knots and Crosses will be launched with "never before seen material from the original manuscript".

A whole host of promotional events are planned leading up to October 2007 when we discover (perhaps) if the last Rebus has been written.

Galaxy - the new sponsor of the British Book Awards

"GALAXY CHOCOLATE is to be the first title sponsor of the British Book Awards which will now be known as the Galaxy British Book Awards. The company already has a well-established association with the pleasure of reading, and now has plans to devote up to £1m on marketing the Awards, with the aim of promoting reading far beyond the Book Awards and encouraging mass-market footfall into bookshops and libraries.

Galaxy has conducted marketing campaigns that celebrate curling up with a good book, and has worked with Borders, where customers received free Promises bars, and HarperCollins, with which it collaborated on The Devil Wears Prada. Galaxy also supports Richard & Judy’s Summer Read and the forthcoming Christmas Books show.

“We are delighted and very excited by the link we have established between Galaxy and reading with these prestigious Awards,” said Xavi Pons, Galaxy’s Marketing Manager. “It takes our reading campaign to an entirely new level. It is not only about the Awards themselves, but also about the promotion of reading as a key female activity, associated with enjoyment and relaxation, to the mass market. It is a cause in which we are prepared to make a considerable investment.”"
Full article at Publishing News.

I'm pleased to see promotion of reading though I'm inclined to believe that men need more encouragement to read than women but maybe they don't buy as much chocolate.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

'News' page updated on Euro Crime website

Last night, I managed to add a few more links to the 'News' page of the Euro Crime website. More news links, some new reviews and a competition should be added over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Agatha Raisin website

Constable and Robinson have launched a new website for the Agatha Raisin series by M C Beaton. The site includes information on the books, a little bit about the main characters and a newsletter to sign up for.

I'm currently reading:

and Radio 4 is currently dramatising Agatha Raisin and The Terrible Tourist.

Normal service slowly being resumed...

I'm back at home now, with access to my pc. I've been away for a few days holiday to the Isle of Man. However just before we set off, I broke out in spots on torso and head and thinking uh-oh decided I'd better get them checked out. Sure enough...chickenpox. I'd not had it as a child and the doctor was full of gloom, saying it can be quite nasty in adults. However he said it was okay to go away and just keep away from young children etc. So I've been looking like the invisible man with a hat (to cover spots) and scarf obscuring mouth and nose. Fortunately it appears to be quite a mild dose and apart from looking unsightly I feel/felt ok and should be able to go back to work tomorrow as planned. I didn't get much reading done though, not even of my beloved Agatha Raisin...

Friday, November 03, 2006

What I'm listening to..

I've been neglecting my audio book listening recently but I'm back in the swing of it with 'Captain Alatriste' by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Synopsis: "In Madrid in the 1620s a man must live by his wits, and often by his sword. For this is a time when court intrigue is high, when the decadent young king has dragged the country into a series of disastrous wars, and citizens live in fear of the infamous Spanish Inquisition. In this political hotbed of hired assassins, court players, political moles, smugglers, and pirates, Captain Alatriste hires out his skills as a dashing swordsman with a mind as sharp as his blade. He is approached by two masked men to fake an attack on a pair of travellers who are stealing into Madrid in the dead of night. But things take a different turn when the Captain realises that this is no ordinary job, but is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels..."

I am struggling a bit with the long Spanish names as there are a lot of characters. It might be set in 1620 but the bad language is C21st! You can listen to a sample at the Clipper website.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Romanzo Criminale - out 3rd Nov

I spotted this in the weekend's papers and the film is released tomorrow.


"Rome, 1960s. Three young criminals, Lebanese (Pierfrancesco Favino), Ice (Kim Rossi Stuart) and Dandy (Claudio Santamaria), decide to take a step up from the streets of Rome into the world of organized crime.

It’s the birth of a smart and ruthless organization which soon crushes all its rivals assuming total control of the drugs trade, whilst imposing brutal criminal laws on Rome. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the '90s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government.

As the three friends head to the end of an era where all vendettas are executed and scores are settled only one question remains, who will be left standing."

At the official UK website you can search to see which cinemas will be showing it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Martin Shaw to play another policeman

Not content with Doyle, Judge John Deed and Adam Dalgleish it seems Martin Shaw's law enforcement career is to continue with the filming of the 'Gently' series by Alan Hunter.

There's an article in Media Guardian which seems to require registration so I've borrowed the pertinent details:
Martin Shaw, star of the BBC1 series Judge John Deed, may be preparing to hang up his wig and take on a major new BBC drama role - that of 1950s East Anglian copper, George Gently.

The BBC has commissioned drama specialist Company Pictures to develop a series based on the books by Alan Hunter, who died in February last year.

The series has not yet been commissioned, but is almost certain soon to be given the go-ahead on BBC1.

A senior BBC source said: "Martin Shaw is very keen to do this new drama, and if it gets the green light, which is very likely, Judge John Deed will undoubtedly come to an end."

Judge John Deed is made by the corporation's in-house drama department.

Shaw has been optioned to play the chief inspector, who featured in 48 novels Hunter wrote between 1955 and 1999.

The character's name was used in 32 of the books' titles, such as Gently Does it and Landed Gently.

The character of Gently has been likened to that of George Simenon's Inspector Maigret, who was the subject of an ITV adaptation in the early 1990s starring Michael Gambon.

Most of Hunter's novels were inspired by, and set in, his native East Anglia, which is also Shaw's home. In the 1977 novel Gently Instrumental, for example, the chief inspector is called to a music festival, modelled on the Benjamin Britten festival of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, where a clarinettist is found murdered after flouncing out of a rehearsal.

Gently is also said to resemble the author. Both smoked a pipe.
I'd better get my bibliography ready on the Euro Crime website!

In addition, Brian Cooper writes a series (9 so far) about two policeman in 1940s East Anglia. I reviewed The Norfolk Triangle a few years ago but wasn't terribly impressed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wanted! European Ellroy suggestions...

I've had an email asking if I know of a European equivalent to James Ellroy. Specifically authors "that like Ellroy seem to have a real feel for disturbed states of mind".

I've suggested Friedrich Glauser as he spent a lot of his short life in institutions. I'm also wondering if Massimo Carlotto's 'The Goodbye Kiss' would count as the 'hero' believes the world owes him a living and he doesn't see the things he does, to get the good life, as wrong (rape, murder, betrayal etc).

Anyone any other thoughts?

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Reviews on the Euro Crime website

New reviews just added to the Euro Crime website are 'One Good Turn' by Kate Atkinson and 'Silence of the Grave' by Arnaldur Indridason, reviewed by Yvonne Klein and Karen Chisholm respectively.

The update's a bit early this week as I'm away for a few days. Hope to be blogging again Monday or Tuesday :-).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kate Atkinson books competition

I'll be uploading a review of Kate Atkinson's newest book, 'One Good Turn' at the weekend and I stumbled over this competition for both Jackson Brodie books at Only open to residents of US and Canada (exc. Quebec) and closes on the 31st.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What I'm Reading - The Torso by Helene Tursten

Soho Press bring out natty and classy editions of books by big name authors including Cara Black and Rebecca Pawel who set their stories in France and Spain respectively. They are also responsible for bringing two books (so far) by Swedish author Helene Tursten into English. Tursten's series features Crime Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit in Gothenburg (I don't know if she's met Eric Winter, from Ake Edwardson's work :-)).

I'm about 1/3rd through 'The Torso' which is the third in the series (I believe) and the second to be translated. The first in the series and to be translated was 'Detective Inspector Huss'. It's a bit graphic in parts but I'm enjoying it enormously . What's quite unusual as Peter on Detectives Beyond Borders mentioned a while ago (apologies if I'm mis-remembering) is that she has a normal homelife. Her husband works evenings as a chef and they share their car, they have well balanced twin daughters and a dog and so far no complaints about her working long hours etc. So far so very good.

Synopsis from Soho Press website: Part of a human torso washes up on a beach near Göteborg, Sweden. It is so mutilated that gender is only established by DNA testing. A similar crime, now several years old, remains unsolved in Denmark. Detective Inspector Irene Huss is dispatched to Copenhagen to liaise with police there in pursuing the killer. Then a third corpse is discovered. This time it’s identified. She is a girl Detective Huss knew; she was asked by the girl’s mother to help her locate her missing daughter. A fourth victim, the son of the woman heading the Copenhagen crime squad, is also known to Huss. She fears the killer is tracking her, killing people with whom she is connected. There is even a chilling suggestion that he or she is one of her colleagues.

(Incidentally mine's a library copy so maybe worth checking with your local library :-))

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bitter Lemon Press

Just had an email from Bitter Lemon Press to say they've revamped their website.

If you've not come across them before BLP are a small publisher of high quality authors, mostly in translation. They aim to bring you "the best crime and roman noirs from faraway places".

Their continental European authors include Gianrico Carofiglio, Friedrich Glauser and Tonino Benacquista and from Cuba, Leonardo Padura.

The website has infomation on all their authors, book extracts as well as reviews (Euro Crime website gets a mention under Involuntary Witness reviews :-)).

Basically if the book's published by BLP you're in for a great read.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Reviews and Updates to Euro Crime Website

The new reviews added to the Euro Crime website are 'The Silver Pigs' (Audio) by Lindsey Davis and 'Hidden' by Katy Gardner.

The 'Authors' (480 sites) page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

In 'Books' the bibliographies for: Andrea Camilleri, Judith Cutler, Nicci French, Pavel Kohout, Michael Marshall, Edward Marston and Pat McIntosh have been updated and new bibliographies have been added for: Mikhail Chernenok, Vil Lipatov, Alexei Malashenko, Frank Parrish and Marietta Shaginian.

The 'News' page has been further updated today.

The Act of Roger Murgatroyd

Here's another title which I'm looking forward to getting. The reviewer in today's Scotland on Sunday calls it a 'bally hoot'.

Synopsis from "It is Boxing Day circa 1935. The place is a snowed-in manor on the very edge of Dartmoor. It is a Christmas house-party. And overhead, in the attic, the dead body of Raymond Gentry, gossip columnist and blackmailer, shot through the heart. But the attic door is locked from the inside, its sole window is traversed by thick iron bars and, naturally, there is no sign of a murderer or a murder weapon. Fortunately (though, for the murderer, unfortunately), one of the guests is the formidable Evadne Mount, the bestselling author of countless classic whodunits. In fact, were she not its presiding sleuth, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" is exactly the type of whodunit she herself might have written."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

'News items' added to Euro Crime website

Links to reviews and articles from this week's UK papers have been added to the 'News' page of the Euro Crime website.

Friday, October 20, 2006

CWA Short Story Award 2006 - Winner...

From the CWA website:

"The winner of this year’s CWA Short Story Awards was announced at a dinner as part of the Off The Shelf festival in Sheffield on October 18.

Robert Barnard beat the competition to take the £1500 prize for his story Sins of Scarlet in the CWA anthology edited by Martin Edwards, ID: Crimes of Identity, published by Comma Press. The story was commended by the judges as: “The ultimate in locked room murders, set in the Sistine Chapel during an election of a Pope.”

The shortlisted authors, chosen from more than 100 entries, were Robert Barnard, Ken Bruen, Stuart Pawson and Martyn Waites. The judges were chaired by Peter Lovesey, winner of both the CWA Gold Dagger (twice), the Silver Dagger, and the prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger. He said that the final list demonstrated that: “The crime short story can still thrill, chill and entertain in a variety of styles and settings.” The other judges were crime fiction reviewers Ayo Onatade and Ali Karim.

Robert Richardson, Chair of the CWA, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Off The Shelf festival. Many of our events take place in London, so it’s good to come to another city and underline the fact that there are outstanding crime writers working all over Britain.”

Receiving his award, Robert Barnard said: “This is utterly delightful. I’ve had nominations in the US – and won – but they’ve never had any money attached . . . (Sins of Scarlet) was intended as a full-length novel but I don’t like novels that have only one sex in them and thought it came better as a short story.” He also revealed that the story had been turned down by a leading US short story magazine. “They loved it, but wouldn’t publish it - it was too offensive to too many people . . . which was very sad. It’s a very nice story and I did enjoy writing it.”"
Certainly an anthology worth seeking out!

What I've just read...

The other day I finished Paul Magrs - 'Never the Bride', which I mentioned on the blog a couple of weeks ago and I ordered myself a copy. It's more horror than crime as our heroines deal with aliens and demons and a reformed vampire (but he doesn't have a soul unlike Angel), but in a gentle way. I enjoyed it, but it felt like several episodes linked together rather than a seamless story. The ending does leave it open for a follow up and if there was one I'd like to revisit Brenda & Effy, a B & B owner and a junk shop owner respectively as they save the world or at least Whitby. As you can maybe guess there's more than a nod to the Buffy-verse in this book.

Joolz Denby reviewed it in the Guardian last weekend and I agree with most of her summing up:
"Never the Bride should be extensively stocked in Whitby; it's a fun holiday book. There are some poetic descriptions ("the shot silk of the perplexing sea", "a fine clinging mist ... inching its way in thick scarves"), and the damp charms of an English seaside town are nicely evoked. But though the characters are amusing, they're not well constructed enough to be as truly engaging or as darkly terrifying as they should be. The dialogue and storyline are often clunky and the book suffers very badly from repetition, giving the impression of an over-extended, unedited short story; though presumably pitched at adults, it would better suit a younger audience. None the less, Magrs should do an event at the next Whitby goth fest; without doubt, Never the Bride will be a gothic smash."