Monday, March 31, 2008

Lee Child on Radio 4's Front Row

Lee Child was on last Wednesday's Front Row programme:
Bestselling British writer Lee Child on creating one of the most popular heroes of current crime thrillers: Jack Reacher, ex US army special investigator, who returns in Child's new novel Nothing to Lose.
You can listen again to Wednesday's programme (for a couple more days) or you can download the podcast in which he also 'appears'.

Tomorrow's programme (19.15-19.45) has:
Mark Lawson investigating the life and work of the leading Victorian detective Jack Whicher, in the light of a new book by Kate Summerscale. Whicher's most famous case inspired novelists such as Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

New Reviews

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder that there's just a couple of days to enter March's competition:

Latest Reviews:

Geoff Jones reviews the newest in the Trish Maguire series by Natasha Cooper, A Poisoned Mind, calling it "well plotted and entertaining";

Maxine Clarke reviews The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards, the second in his Lake District series, this one being a "variant on the classic "locked room" mystery";

Maxine awards "ten out ten" for the latest book in paperback by Nicci French, Losing You which revolves around a mother's frantic effort to find her missing daughter on a small island;

Fiona Walker provides the first Euro Crime review of Nemesis by Jo Nesbo and sums up: "A brilliant thriller rife with violence and vengeance, it may be lengthy but you won't want it to end";

Sunnie Gill reviews the third book from Ed O'Connor Primal Cut and suggests it's perhaps for readers who prefer "a walk on the dark side"

and I review the latest from Minette Walters The Chameleon's Shadow which will be on my list of favourite reads at the end of the year.

Current Competition (closing date 31 March)

Win a copy of A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (UK & Europe only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Children of Men to become tv series?

From Digital Spy:
David Eick is writing a pilot script for a TV version of Children of Men.
The story originated with P.D. James's science-fiction novel and was adapted for film in 2006 with Clive Owen in the lead role.

Eick, who steered the Battlestar Galactia and Bionic Woman remakes, is looking to make the proposed series a faithful adaptation of the book.

"It's really taking root more in the origins of the novels in that it will focus on the cultural movement in which young people become the society's utter focus," he explained to Sci Fi Wire.

"Much like our culture, whenever Lindsay Lohan does something [and] it becomes the headline of every news show, it's about how, when you don't have a responsibility to the next generation and you're free to do whatever you want, where do you draw the line?"

Eick added that the pilot would differ from the film and explore ideas of social responsibility and freedom.

"It's a very compelling, human question that science-fiction has always explored extremely provocatively," he said. "It's not really a war show like the movie was. It's more an exploration of that issue."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

More on the new style Famous Five

I mentioned recently the new Disney version of the Famous Five. This week in the Guardian, Lucy Mangan devotes her whole column to it: Five fall into the abyss.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Red House Mystery to be reprinted

A A Milne's sole detective story is to be reprinted in November as part of the Vintage Classics series.

From Publishing News:
...on a visit to the Random House archive at Rushden, Northants, searching for out-of-print titles with re-issue potential for the Vintage Classics series, Vintage/Pimlico Editor Alison Hennessey's eye was caught by “an odd little book with an amazing jacket”.

It transpired it was a little-known crime novel, The Red House Mystery, by A A Milne whose name is now indelibly linked to his children's stories, When We Were Very Young and Winnie-the-Pooh. First published by Methuen in 1922, it will reach a new generation of readers when it is published as a Vintage Classic in November.

“Rushden is a huge, amazing place, with so many lost gems,” Hennessey told PN. “I was sorry to leave. The Milne book was one of many on the shelves and it just leapt out at me. It has an interesting history, because apparently Milne deliberately set out to write what he called 'the perfect detective story'.”

The Red House Mystery, republished in several other editions since it first appeared and still available as a print-on-demand title in the US, was Milne's only detective story in which “secret passages, uninvited guests, a sinister valet and a puzzling murder lay the foundations for a classic crime caper”. It will be published in the Vintage Classics series on 6 November, price £10.
The text of the book is also available on-line for free.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s follow up to The Shadow of the Wind

From the americareadsspanish website:
Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s latest novel, which will be published on April 17 with an initial print run of a million copies, will be titled “El juego del ángel” (The Angel’s Game), the Planeta publishing group announced.

The new novel, part of a tetralogy that began with the wildly successful “La sombra del viento” (The Shadow of the Wind), will set a record in Spain for most copies published in a first print run, Planeta said.

Ruiz Zafón, who was born in Barcelona in 1964, will present “El juego del ángel” to the media at an event in Barcelona a day before the novel is published.

The new work by the Spanish writer, whose books have sold some 10 million copies and been published in more than 50 countries, will arrive in bookstores seven years after the release of his previous novel, “La sombra del viento.”

Set in Barcelona in the 1920s, “El juego del ángel” – like its predecessor – will feature a locale known as the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” a secret library for the safekeeping of old, barely remembered titles.
There's no mention of an English language version on his UK website, yet...

S J Bolton Interview -

S J Bolton, author of Sacrifice set in the Shetland Islands, is the eighth and final focus of the New and Emerging Authors section on You can read the first chapter of Sacrifice here and there's an exclusive interview with the author herself.

Read Mike Ripley's recent review of Sacrifice on Euro Crime.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trains, then and now (mostly OT)

Yesterday, I travelled down by train to meet up with the lovely Petrona (aka Maxine) as reported on her blog. Here's how I faired with my trains:
#1 Redditch to Birmingham New Street (BNS), as normal 5 mins late as it's a commuter train.

#2 Birmingham Moor Street - London Marylebone. No trains, freight train derailment outside station.

#3 Back to BNS, hopped on to super fast Virgin Pendalino to London Euston. Texted Maxine to say I'd be 30 mins early. Pendalino not so fast, 20 mins late due to "points problem" followed by "signals problem". Met Maxine 20 mins earlier than planned.

#4 It's now 4pm. Marylebone back to Birmingham. Departure boards showing trains running back to Moor Street, hoo-rah. Swiftly followed by announcement that trains terminating at Dorridge (10 miles or so outside Birmingham). Hmm. Just before train gets into Banbury driver advises passengers for Birmingham to change at Banbury and pick up Cross Country train.

#5 Banbury to BNS. Train arrives at BNS 23 mins late due to congestion at Coventry.

#6 BNS to Redditch. Train left BNS a few mins late but nothing out of the usual there. I heave sigh of relief, text Maxine to say I should be home at 7.30pm. But no...train arrives at Barnt Green station (8 miles from Redditch) and is terminated there due to "signalling problem". Eventually train reverses back one stop (now 10 miles from Redditch) and passengers are advised a replacement bus service is waiting. 25 min wait later in rain and dark, still no bus. Finally the great train god takes pity on us and ...

#7 a train arrives and takes us all to Redditch, arriving at 8.30pm, an hour and ten mins late.
And of course the trains had been in chaos over Easter due to Engineering works...

Compare that with this comment from Death in Breslau:
November 13th, 1934
The Breslau-Oppeln train was two minutes late, which to Mock, who was used to the punctuality of German trains, seemed unpardonable. (It's no surprise that in a state governed by Austrian sergeants, everything breaks down.)

A new Dutch author for the database

Simone van der Vlugt's The Reunion is to be published in English for the first time next month by Text Publishing in Australia.

When I read back through my diaries or listen to Robin's stories, I come across completely unknown events, as if another person lived that time in my place. And still, a recollection can suddenly knife its way through my mind, a spark that lights up the grey matter of my memory.

If you could go back, what would you say to your younger self? Would you reach out and hug her?

Sabine was fifteen when Isabel disappeared - isolated at school and tormented by her former friend. What if she'd seen something back then, nine years ago, the day of Isabel's disappearance? What if she'd blocked it out almost entirely? What if her memory was returning to her? And what if it was dangerous?

This riveting and disturbing psychological thriller will appeal to fans of Nicci French and Ruth Rendell. Simone van der Vlugt draws characters brilliantly, and builds tension with the touch of a master as the novel draws to its unexpected and terrifying conclusion.

The Reunion is the author's first adult novel having written several young adult books before. Part of her website is available in English. The Reunion is listed on the Australian bookshop, Abbeys but not yet on the Australian Online Bookshop (I've used the latter before to order Kerry Greenwood books.)

More tv episodes of Lynda La Plante's Commander

From Digital Spy:
Amanda Burton is to return as The Commander after ITV1 ordered a fifth series.

The next outing of the drama by Lynda la Plante will see Burton's Commander Clare Blake take on the case of an elderly woman killed in her home and a newborn baby abducted from hospital.

Three hour-long episodes, rather than the two 90-minuters of previous runs, will air early next year.

La Plante said: "In creating the character of Commander Blake, it was very important for me to develop her personality and never let complacency set in.

"This three-part special is a pressure cooker of emotions that doesn't let up throughout and one that sees Blake tested both personally and professionally beyond anything she has experienced before."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

OT: Doctor Who Series 4 trailer online

The Series 4 trailer can be viewed here.

UPDATE: The new series will start on 5 April at 6.20pm.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Updated News page & Other links

I've updated the News page on the website with the usual links to new reviews and interviews. Death in Breslau and A Quiet Flame are getting a lot of review action.

You can read more about Marek Krajewski's Eberhard Mock (from Death in Breslau) series of four books which should all be published by Quercus/MacLehose Press.

A couple of must read links are:

K O Dahl, the author of The Fourth Man and the upcoming The Man in The Window is blogging at Moments in Crime, this week.

Detectives Beyond Borders has a two part interview with Mike Mitchell, the excellent translator of Friedrich Glauser's Sergeant Studer novels.

Missed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency?

Last night's No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency is available on the BBCiplayer for watch/download for the next six days.

The Times review is less than glowing:
Given Anthony Minghella's unforgivably early death last week, I shall pass briefly over his last work, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Under his direction, this adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's original novel looked beautiful. The Botswana Tourist Board will be chuffed. The problem is that Precious Ramotswe does not really live in Africa but in a verbal universe that is McCall Smith's own. His dialogue, so natural on the page, turned out to be unutterable, at least by the actors assembled here, who struggled to attain end-of-term play standards. The sentimentality also seemed raised. I choose to blame Minghella's co-writer, Richard Curtis.

Son (and daughter) of the Famous Five

I've blogged before about the reimagining of Enid Blyton's Famous Five but I wasn't quite prepared for this, from The Times:
Blyton’s characters are being revived in a series of books, accompanied by an animated television series, screened on the Disney Channel. They still stop for lashings of ginger beer and are accompanied by their faithful dog, still called Timmy, but much has changed since the quintet first investigated Treasure Island in 1942.

Famous Five: On the Case introduces the children of Blyton’s original adventurers. Rumours that George nurtured sapphic tendencies proved wide of the mark. Her Anglo-Indian daughter Jo, short for Jyoti (Hindi for “light”), is the new team leader.

Wimpish Anne became a successful California art dealer and produced Allie, a shopping-obsessed Malibu girl who shares her mother’s disdain for dangerous antics. Dick’s son, Dylan, peruses the Japanese stock market for opportunities to make a quick yen.

The five — now with wireless laptop — are packed off to the Devon moors and are soon on the trail of smugglers. But they encounter a most sinister threat on their first adventure. A phoney environmentalist is running a DVD bootlegging operation from Shelter Island — just the kind of activity that is threatening Disney’s profits.

Our heroes discover that the DVDs are embedded with subliminal messages that brainwash children into craving Fudge Fries candy. The villain is brought to book.
Read the rest of the article and the (mostly up in arms) comments here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Reviews

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder of March's competition:

Latest Reviews:

Maxine Clarke reviews John Harvey's return to his Resnick character, in Cold in Hand, writing, "this is going to be one of the very best novels I read this year";

I review Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski which introduces Criminal Inspector Eberhard Mock, a most unusual policeman;

Declan Burke reviews Sean Moncrieff's The History of Things calling it "a fascinating tale rooted in criminality";

Terry Halligan heaps praise on Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Grave, the first in a Victorian series starring Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane

and Maxine reviews a fictionalised Josephine Tey's first foray into detection in Nicola Upson's An Expert in Murder.

Current Competition (closing date 31 March)

Win a copy of A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (UK & Europe only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Copycat Covers

Here's another one for The Rap Sheet's file of duplicate covers:

Canadian author, Maureen Jennings' Vices of My Blood came out in 2006 and Andrew Taylor's Bleeding Heart Square is due out in May.

Lee Child on choosing the name Reacher

I've heard a couple of explanations for Lee Child choosing the name Reacher for his main character. The one he says below, I've heard before so it may be the correct one...

The next Jack Reacher novel, Nothing to Lose is out on Monday. Here's how the author describes it:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Quercus approach to Stella Rimington

From Publishing News:
HAVING ACQUIRED FORMER MI5 chief Stella Rimington for the fourth novel in her Liz Carlyle series - following three previous bestsellers published by Random House - Quercus is planning to re-position her to appeal to a more female readership when it publishes Dead Line in October with a striking female image on the jacket. It is the latest example of a publisher seeking to boost its market for a particular author by altering the jacket and overall packaging. Little, Brown is currently planning to reposition Nora Roberts to make her appeal to a broader audience, following research which showed that her readers weren't happy with her being solely billed as romance.

“Women are heavy readers of crime novels, and we believe there is an untapped market for women buying thrillers,” says Quercus Sales Director David Murphy. “Stella's novels have a strong female character, but we believe women readers may have been put off by the masculine look of her previous books.” Rimington's editor at Quercus, Jane Wood, adds: “Random House did a brilliant job with Stella, but as the first woman Director General of MI5 with great appeal herself to women as a role model, and writing about a strong female heroine, she should have strong appeal to women who like to read thrillers.” There will also be a filmed interview with Rimington for David Freeman's Meet the Author website to be shot in the apartment of Quercus Chairman Anthony Cheetham, once owned by Sir Winston Churchill.

The challenge for Quercus is to reach a new female readership without alienating the core male market for thriller fiction.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally some good news.. Bond film update

Quantum of Solace is being released a week earlier than planned and is now due on the 31 October, reports the BBC. has the YouTube video of this morning's BBC1 exclusive (but short) behind the scenes footage of filming in Panama and California.

If you want to see more of Daniel Craig watch the trailer for his next film, Flashbacks of a Fool (the quality is a bit jumpy).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C Clarke RIP

From the BBC's obituary:

Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died at the age of 90 in Sri Lanka.

Once called "the first dweller in the electronic cottage", his vision of the future, and its technology - popularised in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey - captured the popular imagination.

Arthur C Clarke's vivid - and detailed - descriptions of space shuttles, super-computers and rapid communications systems were enjoyed by millions of readers around the world.

His writings gave science fiction - a genre often accused of veering towards the fantastical - a refreshingly human and practical face.

Clarke's ideas and gadgets engaged his readers because of, not despite, their plausibility. Quite often, his fictional musings formed the basis of what we now see as science fact.

Anthony Minghella RIP

I was shocked to read earlier today about the death of director and screenwriter Anthony Minghella, aged 54. It seems he'd recently been operated on for cancer of the neck and tonsils. Of late he'd been at work on the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency film. Read his obituary on the BBC website.

Tinkering with the Scandinavia Bibliography page

Previously on Euro Crime, the Scandinavia books page comprised authors, and their bibliographies, from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. After a bit of re-jigging, it now also includes authors from Iceland. Plus there are now separate pages for authors from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as the existing Iceland page.

The Euro Crime definition of Scandinavia, as being the five countries mentioned above, is one several definitions of Scandinavia, but it is in common usage (including the Official Website of the Scandinavian Tourist Boards in North America). The alternative definitions of Scandinavia and their relationship to the term, the Nordic countries, are explained on this page.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Richard Armitage to join Spooks

Digital Spy are reporting cast changes to Spooks in its seventh season. It's spoiler protected but you can have a peep if you want to know who's in and who's out.

The Sun reveals all, so don't click here if you want a surprise.

UPDATE: The BBC Press Release has all the details regarding series 7.

New Title from Serpent's Tail

The July-December 2008 catalogue from Serpent's Tail lists a new title in translation from the late Manuel Vazquez Montalban. The second in his long running Pepe Carvalho series, Tattoo, originally published in 1974, will be published in English in August.
Pepe Carvalho, ex-cop, ex-marxist and constant gourmet, is working as a private detective in Barcelona, when a body is pulled out of the sea, its face so badly destroyed that the only way of identifying it is through a tattoo that says: 'Born to raise hell in hell'. A local hairdresser hires Carvalho to find out who the man is. Meanwhile, the Barcelona police make a connection between the murder and local drug dealers and prostitutes, and they begin raiding bars and brothels.A lead on the identity of the murdered man brings Carvalho to Amsterdam, where he gets entangled with a drug gang. As the pace accelerates, Carvalho realises that this is no straightforward John Doe case.
In an interview (undated) with the Australian journal SCAN, Serpent's Tail publisher, Peter Ayrton, confirmed his commitment to publishing more Montalban:
SCAN: One wonderful crime writer you have translated is Manuel Montalban who sadly died in a Thai airport while changing planes on his way back to Europe after a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand. You've published several of his books, most recently The Buenos Aires Quartet, in which Pepe heads off to Argentina. There are several other books in that series still not translated, from the first to the last. Do you have plans to bring out more?

PA: It's great really that we are slowly establishing the Pepe series and actually selling Montalban's books. It's a long process. Word of mouth helps when people talk to their friends and everything, and it's been helped by having some of the books published by Duffy and Snellgrove. It helps here to have an Australian publisher, I should think. And what a great character Pepe is! Montalban loved food, sex and radical politics, so he had his priorities in life right! And these are only his crime novels we're discussing; he wrote other novels, non-fiction books and had a weekly column for El Pais. His literary production was phenomenal. Yes, we'll be doing the first one in the Pepe series, I Killed Kennedy, and at least two others, The Man of My Life, and Tattoos, at the rate of one a year. The remaining books in the series are uneven but those three are very good.
As well as the fact that The Man of My Life came out in 2005, the following comments make the interview seem a bit dated, given the current enthusiasm for crime in translation:
SCAN: In the past you have said that it's a hard-sell to persuade people to read crime novels in translation; why is that?

PA: There are particular problems about crime in translation; a lot of crime books have a lot of street slang and that's always a serious problem for the translator. In a way it's easier to translate literary fiction than it is genre fiction. The other problem is that there are so many good American and British crime writers that the market isn't desperately crying out for translated works.
Read the whole interview here.

Update: Read the Euro Crime review of Tattoo.

The Book Depository interview R J Ellory

Here are a couple of snippets from the Book Depository interview of author, R J Ellory, whose fifth book, A Quiet Belief in Angels was selected for this year's Richard & Judy bookclub:

MT: What does it mean to you to be on the Richard & Judy list?

RJE: It has been unimaginable. Truly! To put it in perspective, the paperback print run for my last novel City of Lies was something in the region of 7500 copies. Yesterday I received a call to say that another print run of A Quiet Belief had been authorised, which now brings the total number of copies in circulation to 193,000.

MT: What draws you to crime-writing Roger?

RJE: The simple fact of putting an ordinary individual into an extraordinary situation. The vast majority of us never have to deal with bank robberies and murders and suchlike. For me it has always been the challenge of representing the nature of people, how people deal with difficult and trying situations, how they cope with the tougher aspects of being human. A wonderful lady at the Bookseller Magazine called Sarah Broadhurst once said that I didn’t write crime fiction as such, I wrote ‘human dramas, but always in some way focused around a crime’, and I think that’s possibly the best description that was ever given of what I am trying to do.
Read the whole interview here

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Reviews on Euro Crime

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder of March's competition:

Latest Reviews:

Maxine Clarke reviews the latest thriller from Nicci French, Until It's Over, writing, "you won't want to put this book down until you have finished it";

Maxine also reviews the second in the Lorimer-Brightman series from Alex Gray, A Small Weeping, which she found enjoyable with a few caveats;

Geoff Jones was entertained by Mrs Tanner in L M Jackson's A Most Dangerous Woman set in Victorian London;

Norman Price provides several reasons why you should read the new outing for Bernie Gunther in Philip Kerr's latest, A Quiet Flame

and Laura Root recommends the long awaited new book from International Dagger nominee Dominique Manotti - Lorraine Connection - calling it "unusual, stylish and compelling".

Current Competition (closing date 31 March)

Win a copy of A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (UK & Europe only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Trailer

The BBC website for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency pilot/film now has the trailer that's been showing on the tv, plus two further clips: deciding on the sign for the office and meeting a client.

Tom Rob Smith Interview -

Tom Rob Smith is the current focus of the New and Emerging Authors section on You can read the first chapter of Child 44 there plus there's an exclusive (but short) interview with the man himself, 44 Stalinist statistics and a discussion forum (currently quiet).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Poirot - Interactive DVD Game & PC Games

The good news about being a bit late in the 'game' as it were, (this came out last November), is that it's now only £6.99 at HMV.

Can you solve Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery, After The Funeral? Take Poirot's challenge to find clues hidden in this unique Murder Mystery DVD game! Entertainment for all the family - play a series of exciting games and puzzles to test your detective skills in 'observation', 'analysis' and 'intuition' as you try to identify the murderer!

DVD Extras:
Exclusive New Footage Of David Suchet As The World-Famous Detective Hercule Poirot
Over 40 Minutes Of After The Funeral TV Movie Footage
9 Different Puzzle Types - Different Each Time You Play!

The customer reviews on amazon are a bit mixed, it seems that though there are different puzzles, the murderer is always the same and it helps if you can't remember the tv show/book! Still £6.99 for a few hours entertainment can't be bad.

There are also three Agatha Christie PC Games: Evil Under the Sun, And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express the latter with a surprise ending plus David Suchet voicing Poirot. All three can be bought together as a bundle for £19.99 from 20th March. And Then There Were None is also availabe for Wii.

New offering from P D James

Hat tip to Philip on the yahoo group, British Mysteries, as he's just posted that P D James will have a new Dalgleish book out in September, called The Private Patient.

Draft blurb:
"When the notorious investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, booked into Mr Chandler-Powell's private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar, she had every prospect of a successful operation by a distinguished surgeon, a week's peaceful convalescence in one of Dorset's most beautiful manor houses and the beginning of a new life. She was never to leave Cheverell Manor alive. Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder, and later a second death, which are to raise even more complicated problems than the question of innocence or guilt.

A new detective novel by P D James is always keenly awaited and The Private Patient will undoubtedly equal the success of her world-wide best-seller, The Lighthouse. It displays the qualities which P D James's readers have come to expect: a masterly psychological and emotional richness of characterisation, a vivid evocation of place and a credible and exciting mystery. The Private Patient is a powerful work of contemporary fiction."
Update 2: The Private Patient will be out in the US in November.

Update 3: Read the Euro Crime review of The Private Patient.

News page updated

Other than Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, the other two main books getting the reviews in the last week or so are the ones featuring the 'real life' writers, Josephine Tey and Daphne du Maurier. Nicola Upson's An Expert in Murder is getting higher praise than Daphne by Justine Picardie. The Sunday Times was quite damning about the latter, calling it "this baggy, repetitive and inert slab of pseudo-fiction".

The links to all the recent reviews and articles in the UK papers can be found here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

February's Competition winners

Here are the winners of February's Euro Crime competitions (and the correct answers):

Prize=A copy of A Vengeful Longing by R N Morris

Which one of the following Faber authors has begun a series starring a real-life Golden Age crime writer?

c) Nicola Upson (who is writing about Josephine Tey)


Mike Lenton
Maggie Lloyd
Nicola Manning, Canada
Paul Maxwell
Thomas Warburton

Prize=A copy of Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Which one of the following authors has published a series set in Victorian London?

b) L M Jackson


Ana Branco
Monica Di Marco
Warren Jacobs
Ryan Kett
Julia Kiss
Kim Lam
Greg Martin
Sue Norminton
Michael O'Sullivan
Tracey Wright

Enter this month's competition here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Galaxy Book Awards 2008 - shortlists

The shortlists for the various Galaxy British Book Awards were anounced today. One category is the Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year and the nominees are...
The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (Orion)
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (Little, Brown)
The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid (Harper)
Exit Music by Ian Rankin (Orion)
The rest of the categories with links to the shortlists, can be found here and you can also vote on the selections.

A few more publishing deals

From today's Publisher's Lunch:
Rory Clements' MARTYR, a first historical thriller pitched as in the vein of CJ Sansom, about John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer to Queen Elizabeth, ordered to protect England's "sea dragon" Francis Drake from an assassination plot, to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, by Patty Moosbrugger at Patricia Moosbrugger Literary Agency (NA).

JRR Tolkien's grandson Simon Tolkien's THE INHERITANCE, in which an aging police inspector decides to travel from England to France to delve into a possible World War II theft and crime hoping to save an upper-class student set to hang for murdering his father, an Oxford historian with a questionable military record, to Peter Wolverton and Thomas Dunne at Thomas Dunne Books, in a two-book deal, by Marly Rusoff of Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Marple cast news - A Pocket Full of Rye

Julia McKenzie will make her debut in A Pocket Full of Rye and as usual for Agatha Christie productions a hoard of well known actors will be joining her including Rupert Graves, Matthew McFadyen, Helen Baxendale, Wendy Richard and Ralf Little. From Yahoo:
A Pocket Full of Rye will see Miss Marple trying to solve her most compelling case yet.

Wealthy businessman Rex Fortescue (Kenneth Craham) collapses after his breakfast, poisoned by an extract from yew berries. A pocketful of rye is found in his jacket. Nobody seems too upset, as Rex was universally disliked as a tyrant, especially by his children.

Inspector Neele (McFadyen) is despatched to the house to investigate. Maid Gladys who was trained by Miss Marple, is acting strangely, and writes to her former employer for help. Yet the call for help has come too late: Rex's glamorous and cheating young wife also falls foul of the poisoner. And Gladys is found strangled, a peg on her nose.

The case appears to be echoing the children's rhyme 'Sing A Song of Sixpence'. The question is: who will be next?

Graves and McFadyen appeared together in last year's Death at the Funeral, (along with Keeley Hawes from Ashes to Ashes):

The Oxford Murders - film

The Oxford Murders, based on the book by Argentine author Guillermo Martinez, will be out in UK cinemas on the 26th March (according to Wikipedia) or 25th April (according to IMDB). The actors involved include John Hurt, Elijah Wood, Anna Massey and Torchwood's Burn Gorman.

Synopsis from Wikipedia: November 1993. Wood plays Martin, an American student at Oxford University who wants Arthur Seldom (Hurt) as his thesis director. In a public lecture, Seldom quotes Wittgenstein's Tractatus to deny the possibility of truth. Martin contests asserting his faith in the mathematics under reality. Later, Martin and Seldom coincide and find Martin's landlady (also a friend of Seldom's) murdered. Seldom declares to the police that he had received a note with his friend's address marked as "the first of a series". As Seldom is an authority on logical series, he suspects that a serial murderer is defying his intelligence. Martin, Seldom and Lorna (Leonor Watling), a Spanish nurse, will try to guess the following terms of the series as murders continue.

Watch the English language trailer below:

Guillermo Martinez's next book available in English, The Book of Murder, will be on sale from 1 May.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More No.1 Ladies Detective Agency episodes on tv

I've seen the trailer for the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency film that's going to be on the BBC over Easter (Monday I think). I can't find a version online yet. But I did find that there are plans for a further 13 hour-long episodes. From
HBO has retained the services of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

The cable network has ordered 13 hour-long episodes based on the best-selling crime books by Alexander McCall Smith, with shooting to begin in the summer. That's in addition to the two-hour pilot that Anthony Minghella recently shot in Botswana from a script he wrote with Richard Curtis.

Agency stars R&B singer Jill Scott as Precious Ramotswe, the proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in the southern African nation. Anika Noni Rose plays her quirky secretary, Mma Makutsi, and Lucian Msamati stars as Ramotswe's devoted suitor, JLB Matekoni.

HBO has secured U.S. and Canadian television and home video rights, and the BBC has taken U.K. television distribution.
UPDATE: Trailer and two clips are on line.

LCC Awards - Rhys Bowen

The Rap Sheet has the full list of winners and nominees for this year's LCC Awards. Of European interest is ex-pat author Rhys Bowen who was nominated for the Dilys Award and won The Arty (for best cover art on a mystery novel published in 2007) for Her Royal Spyness.

By coincidence I picked this up last Friday at my local library and added it to my enormous library books pile, culled from two library services.

Her Royal Spyness is also nominated in the Best Novel category of the Agathas.

You can read an excerpt on Her Royal Spyness will be out in paperback in July and the follow-up A Royal Pain is out in hardback, also in July.

Let's Try This Again - Tom Rob Smith on the radio

Apparently last week's interview with Tom Rob Smith on Radio 4's Front Row will now be aired today instead.

Front Row is on at 19-15 to 19.45 and you can listen again for 7 more days after the date of broadcast.

The description from last week:

Child 44
Mark Lawson talks to British crime writer Tom Rob Smith, whose novel Child 44 has been hyped as Gorky Park for the 21st century in its portrayal of a Russian policeman searching for a child serial killer in modern Moscow.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is published by Simon and Schuster.

Mike Ripley's new Shots Column

This month's Getting Away with Murder column from Mike Ripley is now online at Shots.

One of the topics he covers, is his time on judging Murder Most Famous, the eventual winner of which was Sherrie Hewson.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

New Reviews on Euro Crime

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder of March's competition:

Latest Reviews:

Lindsay Davis has a significant rival according to Pat Austin in her review of Ruso and the Demented Doctor by R S Downie;

Moving on from Roman Britain to the fourteenth century, Terry Halligan finds Susanna Gregory's To Kill or Cure a fine read for the winter days (and nights);

Maxine Clarke gives the thumbs up to Ritual by Mo Hayder in which series character Jack Caffrey moves to Bristol (NB the home of Crimefest in June);

Maxine's working her way through Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series, in time for the new one in June, and sends on her review of the second in the series, The Pure in Heart

and Mike Ripley praises Stratton's War by Laura Wilson calling it "not only an outstanding crime story, but a wonderful historical novel".

Current Competition (closing date 31 March)

Win a copy of A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (UK & Europe only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Will Adams - Publishing Deal

From Publishing News:
At HCUK, Wayne Brookes has paid a six-figure sum for two novels by Will Adams, whose debut The Alexander Cipher was published last winter. Brookes, who bought from Luigi Bonomi, praises the author's ability “to weave fascinating fact into adrenalin- packed fiction” in the Clive Cussler mode.
The Courier-Mail recently ran an article/review on The Alexander Cipher.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

OT: Foxy the Cat at work and play

Here's Foxy hard at work on the Euro Crime database, quite interested in the forthcoming 'Spider' by Michael Morley (a future competition prize)

and later to prevent RSI he stretches his legs to do a little hunting:

in this case his 'sister' Pippa Jones.

Friday, March 07, 2008

German thriller Yella on DVD

This one passed me by completely when it was released in cinemas last year, however the review in the Metro DVD section has finally made me aware of it.

Synopsis: Following a near-death experience,Yella (Nina Hoss) flees her eastern German hometown, failed marriage and broken dreams to start over again in Hanover. By chance she finds work with ambitious and determined young executive Philipp (Devid Striesow) and enters a ruthless world of big business and cut-throat boardroom deals for which she finds her looks, quick wits and icy demeanour major assets. But just as Yella seems poised to fully realise her ambitions, she finds herself haunted by truths from the past that threaten to destroy her new life. Featuring an enigmatic performance from Nina Hoss in the title role, Christian Petzold's stylish new film is both compelling thriller and an unsettling mystery that grips until right until its stunning denouement.

Read the Metro review and watch the trailer (in German) on YouTube. Birmingham Library has a copy so I look forward to getting hold of it in due course. I have Tell No One lined up for the Easter holiday (fingers crossed).

Reviewers wanted

The Euro Crime band of reviewers continues to do sterling work over on the reviews page on the website but could do with some help as the requests for reviews are coming thick and fast via email and in the parcel safe.

I'm particularly after reviewers who enjoy: the Da Vinci Code/Sam Bourne type of book, psychological crime and also the noir end of the crime spectrum.

So if you're in the UK and fancy reviewing the occasional (or more!) book, do pop over to the website, have a look round and drop me an email. (NB. Euro Crime just covers British and European crime fiction.)

If you're outside the UK and would like to help out on the reviews page by reviewing your own books then please do get in touch.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Le Serpent on DVD

The French thriller, Le Serpent, which was released last September, is now available on DVD.

Amazon has it at £9.98 and you can watch a trailer with an English voice-over on their site.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Forthcoming titles from Quercus

The Autumn catalogue from Quercus arrived today. So what do Euro Crime fans have to look forward to?:
Paulus Hochgatterer - The Sweetness of Life
Shona MacLean - The Redemption of Alexander Seaton

Elena Forbes - Our Lady of Pain

Colin Cotterill - Anarchy and Old Dogs
Phil Rickman - To Dream of the Dead
Stella Rimington - Dead Line

John Gardner - Moriarty

As well as those delights there are two titles by Peter Temple plus a number of US authors including Thomas H Cook.

Lee Child's brother joining the fray

In case you missed the story yesterday, Lee Child's brother, Andrew Grant, has secured a 'significant' publishing deal. His first book will be called Even and is due to be published in the US in June 2009:
Younger brother of Lee Child, Andrew Grant's debut EVEN, introducing David Trevellyan, described as Jack Reacher's younger brother if Reacher had a brother who'd joined the British Navy, and taken James Bond's career path, to Peter Wolverton at Thomas Dunne Books, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in June 2009, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management
Janet Reid explains how it all came about on the Hey There's a Dead Guy blog.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

John Le Carre's next book

From the International Herald Tribune:
John le Carré, the British writer of literary spy thrillers, has returned to a previous publisher for his forthcoming novel, "A Most Wanted Man." Le Carré has signed a one-book deal with Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster, for the United States rights to the novel, which will be simultaneously published in Britain (by Hodder & Stoughton) in October. Le Carré is leaving Little, Brown & Co., the publisher of his last two books, "The Mission Song" and "Absolute Friends," and returning to Scribner, which published "Single & Single" and "The Constant Gardener." The new novel is set in Germany and chronicles the fate of a Muslim man who moves to Hamburg to enroll in medical school but because of his murky background ends up being followed by both local and other Western intelligence agencies.

Murder Most Famous

I blogged before about Murder Most Famous a reality tv show where 'celebrities' compete to publish a crime novel. The winner will be published in next year's 'Quick Reads' series which are published to promote reading and aimed at the irregular or less confident reader.

The programme started yesterday afternoon and runs every afternoon this week. It doesn't seem to be repeated on the BBCiplayer but the BBC website has some video diaries and writing tips from Minette.

Swedish Horror (for a change)

From the Quercus website:
The trailer for the film edition of Let the Right One In is now available on youtube and looks very exciting indeed. The author (John Ajvide Lindqvist) will be in the UK for the premiere of the film later this year, while his next novel Handling the Undead will be published by Quercus in September 2008.
(nb. the trailer is a bit gruesome)

Read Mike Ripley's review of Let The Right One In.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Free Books

Just a round up of the current opportunities to win some crime books:

Euro Crime: A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley.
(UK & Europe only, closes 31 March)

Crime Always Pays: Ruso and the Demented Doctor by R S Downie
(enter before noon Tuesday 4th March)

Shots: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
(UK only)

Julian Rathbone RIP

Mike Stotter from Shots has just advised me that Julian Rathbone died last week, aged 73. Read Mike's tribute over on the Shots Blog.

Frank Tallis on the Radio

Yesterday's subject of Radio 3's Private Passions was psychologist and author Frank Tallis:
Michael Berkeley meets Dr Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist specialising in obsessive-compulsive disorders who has also achieved success as a writer of detective novels. His Liebermann series of books is set in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, where his young doctor hero, a disciple of Freud, helps to solve complex crimes through the use of radical analytical techniques.

Frank is interested in all the arts of the period, but particularly music, and pieces by Mahler and Zemlinsky feature among his choices, as well as vocal music by Gesualdo and Rachmaninov and a Viennese-sounding waltz from a film score by Takemitsu.
You can listen again for the next six days.

(Many thanks to Alison for the tip.)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

New Reviews & A New Competition

Here are this week's new reviews and details of the new competition:

Latest Reviews:

In Mike Ripley's latest Crime File he reviews: A Cure For All Diseases by Reginald Hill, Unforgotten by Clare Francis, Sacrifice by S J Bolton and Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis;

Maxine Clarke is unimpressed by Meltdown by Martin Baker (which seems to have had a lot of money spent on the marketing) calling it a "mechanically insipid effort" but she gives a suggestion for a better read in her review;

Maxine finds the latest Tony Hill book by Val McDermid, Beneath the Bleeding a thrilling read, only let down by the "ludicrous motivation" of the bad guy;

More praise for the re-emergence of Crime and Punishment's Porfiry Petrovich in A Vengeful Longing by R N Morris comes from Pat Austin

and Laura Root reviews the second in the Palestine set series by Matt Rees, The Saladin Murders (aka A Grave in Gaza).

Current Competition (closing date 31 March)

Win a copy of A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (UK & Europe only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ian Rankin on Film 2008 & The Bank Job

This week's Film 2008 featured Ian Rankin talking about Hitchcock's early films made before his glittering Hollywood career. There's also an interview with Jason Statham and Ross' thoughts on The Bank Job, the latest British crime film.

Watch Film 2008 for the next few days on BBCiplayer. The Ian Rankin piece is about 6 mins in and The Bank Job, 20 mins in.

The Bank Job official website is here. Ashes to Ashes star, Keeley Hawes plays Statham's wife.

'News' page updated

I've just uploaded the now up to date 'News' page. The Scotsman is the first newspaper (I've found) to review Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, saying this about it:
The phrase "master storyteller" is horribly over-used. In the case of young, first-time novelist Tom Rob Smith, it simply cannot do him justice. Child 44 is not only a thriller of the highest quality – addictive, pacey, frighteningly unpredictable – but also a magnificently written novel with far more to offer than carefully managed tension and twists.
Links to this review and other reviews and articles are on the News page.