Saturday, January 31, 2009

OT: Yes it's Caturday

Having posted photos of the whipper-snapper Foxy, two next month, I thought I'd include a couple of today's snaps of Nimes who'll be eighteen in July. He went to the vets yesterday as he's recently started treatment for early stage kidney failure. The vet was very pleased with him and said he didn't look his age. So hopefully he'll be around for another year or two.

OT: Cute cat picture alert

I think my cat Foxy spends as much time on the pc as I do...though I usually have my eyes open.

These were taken a few minutes ago. He was looking even cuter before I got my camera. You can see the scratch on his nose sustained in an ongoing battle with the tabby two doors up, over territory.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Paper Moon Competition..closing soon

The current competition (open to UK & Europe) will end at midnight tomorrow, so don't delay.

The prize is a copy of The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.

Why should you read it? See the reviews by Norman, Michelle and Maxine.

Need more convincing? Read Norman's Camilleri Appreciation.

and finally, what does the translator Stephen Sartarelli think about translating Camilleri's books?

Ten Books to Talk About

The Spread the Word list has been narrowed down from 50 to 10 titles. From the website:

These top ten contemporary books with word-of-mouth appeal have reached the short list in a search to find the best book to talk about this year.

Votes cast here over the next month will decide one winning book, The Book to Talk About, to be announced on World Book Day 2009, Thursday 5th March.

The ten includes Euro Crime favourite - Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis and Natasha Mostert's Season of the Witch.

See the whole list here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Euro Crime Favourites of 2008 (part 2)

A couple of weeks ago I listed the Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2008 by title and by author. The winner of the "favourite title" was:
4 votes:
Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I've now put together the full details of which titles each of the fifteen contributors chose as their five favourite euro crime reads of 2008. I've also included any additional comments the reviewers' made about their choices and their runners-up.

The information can be found via the reviews page (which also has links to 2005, 2006 and 2007 choices) or click directly here.

My favourite audio books of 2008, can be found here.

Anne Perry - Publishing Deal

Yes, another publishing deal..No surprises with this one. From Publisher's Lunch:
Anne Perry's Christmas Novella #8, featuring characters from her two Victorian era mystery series, to Susanna Porter at Ballantine, in a very nice deal, for publication in Holiday 2010, by Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, on behalf of Meg Davis at MBA Literary Agents (NA).
Anne Perry's bibliography can be found here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alan Glynn - Publishing Deal

This one's from BookBrunch:
To Angus Cargill at Faber, Alan Glynn's debut thriller WINTERLAND (November 2009), which has received advance praise from John Connolly and others. Cargill describes it as "an exceptional novel about widespread corruption, from government to street level, in modern day Dublin . . . Winterland seems set to mark Alan Glynn as the first literary chronicler of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland". Cargill bought the book with a pre-emptive bid through St Martin's Press.

S J Parris - Publishing Deal

I've been given some old Bookseller magazines so there may be a few slightly out of date bits of news appearing over the next couple of days! From The Bookseller (online):
Observer critic Stephanie Merritt, who has published two novels with Faber and a memoir on depression with Ebury, is reinventing herself as a writer of historical thrillers.

Julia Wisdom at HarperCollins has acquired a trilogy set in the 16th century by Merritt writing as S J Parris. The first volume, Heresy, will be published in spring 2010. Wisdom bought UK and Commonwealth rights in "a big six-figure deal" from Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown at auction, with Ebury and Simon & Schuster the underbidders.

Heresy stars renegade Italian monk Giordano Bruno, based on a real-life figure, who has heretical ideas about the universe and escapes to England to work undercover for Sir Francis Walsingham. When attending a debate in Oxford, a series of murders take place which Bruno must solve. Wisdom, who bought the book on a 200-page partial manuscript, described it as "a really vividly painted picture of the time and place", being pitched to the C J Sansom market.

US rights have gone to Doubleday for a "high six-figure" deal at auction, via Jennifer Joel of ICM.

Lindsey Davis - Publishing Deal

Lindsey Davis's next book (after February's Alexandria) is a (temporary) departure from her Falco series according to Book Brunch:
To Oliver Johnson at Century, REBELS AND TRAITORS (September 2009) by Lindsey Davis, a departure from the author's Falco Roman mysteries. The novel tells the story of Gideon Jukes and Juliana Lovell, on opposite sides of the Parliamentarian/Royalist divide, but fated to be brought together by adversity, loss and mutual attraction. Johnson describes it as "an absolute epic masterpiece of inspired story telling, poignant and convincing characterisation and razor sharp historical realism: in short, everything she has achieved over 20 years with her Roman books, but on a larger scale". Davis's next Falco novel, Nemesis, will appear in June 2010. Century has UK and Commonwealth rights in Rebels and Traitors through Heather Jeeves.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jar City on DVD (R2)

It's finally here. The DVD of Jar City, based on Arnaldur Indridason's book of the same (translated English) name, was released yesterday. It's out of stock at but they have a good price of £10.98.

DVD blurb: It looks like nothing ever happens in Iceland and when a seemingly innocuous old man is brutally killed, the news is in someway amplified. Detective Erlendur Sveisson, fifty and living a life plagued by various forms of addiction, is appointed the apparently incomprehensible case. During his investigations of the murder, Erlendur discovers that the victim was anything but an innocent pensioner, his past filled with rape and violence. These findings lead Erlendur to connect the assassination to other unsolved homicides, revealing an unsettling and gory picture that spreads virtually over the entire country. An austere yet powerful and gripping detective story, Jar City has been very well received by demanding American audiences. Perfectly crafted as a suspense-generating machine, what really makes Jar City a unique film in its genre is the effective balance between its vivid and somewhat physical images, and its cerebral, nearly philosophical narrative mood.

The Metro's review is here and the Crime Scraps review is here.

NB. Jar City became Tainted Blood when released in paperback.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Balancing the reviews/Simon Mayo's book programme

When I'm putting together the weekly reviews, I try and get an equal balance of books by male and female authors. There's a strong feeling amongst female writers (and is probably supported by empirical data) that they do not get reviewed as much as men, at least in the mainstream press. Lizzie Hayes along with a couple of female crime writers set up Mystery Women over eleven years ago to promote female writers (a la Sisters in Crime in the US).

I've only been listening to Simon Mayo's Book Review Programme podcast for three weeks, so maybe this isn't a fair sample, but the authors whose books were reviewed, were as follows:
Week 1: Martin Davies and Joanna Trollope
Week 2: Nicolo Ammaniti and M R Hall
Week 3: Nick Brownlee and Stephen Leather
As well as Simon and the featured authors, there are normally three reviewers. Weeks 1 and 3 had one female reviewer. So that's 1 out of 6 books by female authors and 2 out of 9 female reviewers. Perhaps this week there will be two books by female writers and a panel of female reviewers...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Reviews; M R Hall, Roberta Kray, Preston & Spezi, Roz Southey

There's a faint theme of 'true crime' about this week's reviews which include: a fiction book written by Roberta Kray and a true crime book about 'The Monster of Florence'...

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Maxine Clarke praises highly the debut novel from M R Hall The Coroner which is the first in a several book series starring Jenny Cooper, Coroner and prescription drug addict;

Amanda Brown reviews The Lost by Roberta Kray which has an authenticity about it;

Michelle Peckham reviews the true crime book about the investigation into The Monster of Florence written by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi and the bizarre tack the police took

and Terry Halligan reviews the unusual sounding historical mystery by Roz Southey - Chords and Discords.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The competition is back - go here to see how you can win a copy of The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Books about European Crime Fiction

One of the many knowledgeable commenters on the blog, Simon Clarke, has alerted me to a series of books about European crime fiction being published by the University of Wales. First up is:

French Crime Fiction
This first volume in the European crime fictions series acts as an introduction to crime writing in French. It presents the development of crime fiction in French cultures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and explores the distinctive features of a French-language tradition. Such discussion will be grounded in the study of novels by selected French-speaking writers, some of whom have an established international reputation, such as Georges Simenon, whilst others may be relatively unknown, such as Léo Malet.

Each chapter will examine a specific period, movement or group of writers, as well as engaging with broader debates over the contribution crime fiction makes more generally to contemporary French and European culture. All extracts in French will be translated into English. The book is written in an accessible style without assuming previous knowledge of crime fiction novels and their development in France, thus the title will appeal to undergraduates and also to the general, informed reader of crime fiction.

(This is due to be published in April 2009, £75 for a hardback edition.)

This is to be followed by Italian Crime Fiction:
This book constitutes an introduction to crime writing in Italian from its first development in the 1930s to the present day. It explores the distinctive features of the Italian tradition, such as the close links with the American and French tradition and the social commentary which characterises much crime fiction in Italian in the post-war period. This study focuses on novels by selected Italian writers, some of whom have an established international reputation, such as Leonardo Sciascia and Umberto Eco, whilst others may be relatively unknown, such as the new generation of crime writers of the Bologna school, and analyses the contribution crime fiction makes more generally to contemporary Italian and European culture. The book will be written in an accessible style aimed at undergraduates and does not assume any previous knowledge of Italian Crime Fiction. And will also appeal to the general, informed reader. All extracts in Italian will be translated into English.
(Currently listed on amazon for March 2010)

And hopefully appearing this year: Criminal Scandinavia: Nordic Crime Fiction. The information from Simon is that: "It's edited by Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas and will contain some great essays on contemporary Scandinavian writers such as Mankell, Marklund, Nesser, Holt, Indridason while also remembering the work of Sjowall and Wahloo".

The website does list a paperback version for the Italian volume at a more modest £16.99 but if your library has no plans to stock these books then an Inter-Library Loan is always worth a go. The fee is currently £2.50, refundable if the book is unobtainable..

Friday, January 23, 2009

Guardian article on Scandinavian crime fiction

Many thanks to Simon Clarke for pointing me towards this article in today's Guardian. The interest in Scandinavian crime fiction continues and increases. The article concludes that we might have more authors to come:
But the bottom line is that Scandinavian crime fiction has risen above cult status because much of it is a lot better than anything else on offer, and the person who has done most to introduce it into this country is publisher Christopher MacLehose. As head of the Harvill imprint, he bought both the translation rights of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow and the Wallander series, and latterly picked up Larsson's Millennium trilogy - the third comes out later this year - for his new imprint, MacLehose Press.

Not that MacLehose had any great plans to be at the vanguard of the Nordic revolution when he started out. "I bought Miss Smilla simply because I thought it was a great book," he says, "and I remember saying to a colleague at the time that, if nothing else, we were doing our bit for Danish literature. I was as surprised as anyone when it went on to sell millions worldwide."

With Scandinavian crime now this year's must-have for every genre publisher, the days of picking up unnoticed gems on the cheap are long gone. Scandinavian authors may not get the advances of a Grisham or a Connelly, but their agents are learning to be a little more greedy. Even so, things still nearly get missed.

"Larsson's trilogy had been rejected by seven or eight British publishers by the time it got to me, I'm pleased to say," MacLehose smiles. "I think a lot of publishers just fell for the old orthodoxy, born of Orion's experience that it took six books to successfully launch Ian Rankin, that you can't sell a dead foreign author who only wrote three books. Hopefully, that's another myth that's dead in the water."

But if there's one thing you can count on it's publishers following a trend, so you can be sure of hearing about a great many more Scandinavian thriller writers over the next couple of years. So who should we watch out for? "Kristian Lundberg and Jens Lapidus are two of the best crime writers who are as yet untranslated," says Maria Edstrom, Swedish literary critic. "By and large, though, the really good writers are already in print in the UK. But we still have a whole bunch of not very good thriller writers so I dare say they are heading your way".
Read the whole article, here.

Scandinavian authors that have already been translated can be found, here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

OT: Narrators for the next set of Doctor Who Audio Books

The next three Doctor Who (tenth Doctor) audio books are released on 12th March. The narrators are as follows...

Debbie Chazen will narrate Shining Darkness by Mark Michalowski
Russell Tovey will narrate The Doctor Trap by Simon Messingham
David Troughton will narrate Ghosts of India by Mark Morris

My amazon list of Doctor Who related audio books, published since 2008, can be found here.

New (Whole Story) Audio Books for January

Whole Story Audio Books produce unabridged audio books on CD. A new feature of their website is that you can now upload your own review of an audio book.

The new Euro Crime titles for January are:

The Blood Detective by Dan Waddell
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst Review

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Couple of Historical Crime Series

One of the perks of working in a public library is seeing new books and being reminded of older books. I won a proof of The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn a couple of years ago. I planned to read it and was looking forward to it, however the months went by and it didn't get read. Then just recently my memory was jogged by a borrower returning the audio book version of it. I immediately checked it out and spent last week listening to it. It's not a crime novel but rather is about Katherine Parr and her best friend Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk and Thomas Seymour.

I'm now re-inspired to try the series written by Karen Harper which features a young Princess Elizabeth/Elizabeth I. I bought the first one in the series The Poyson Garden in 2000. (It's no reflection on the quality of a book if it's languished in my four digit tbr for a few years...)
There are currently nine books in this series.

A historical crime series I have read and enjoyed is the charming Beau Brummell series by Rosemary Stevens which also stars a delightful (and clever) Siamese cat. Unfortunately there are only four in this series despite it garnering many awards.

Publishing Deal - Lin Anderson

From BookBrunch:
To Suzie Doore at Hodder, a further two crime novels by Lin Anderson featuring Glasgow-based forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod. In THE REBORN (2010), the body of a teenager is found with her uterus cut open and a full term foetus removed; MacLeod’s investigations lead to the maker of reborns, or lifelike baby dolls. A further novel, the eighth in the series, will appear in 2011. Hodder has world rights through Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates.
Lin Anderson's Euro Crime bibliography with reviews of the Rhona MacLeod series, can be found here.

A few publishing deals...

From today's Publisher's Lunch:
Winner of the 2008 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel competition IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM Stefanie Pintoff's next two Detective Ziele historical mysteries, set in early twentieth century New York City, to Kelley Ragland at Minotaur, by David Hale Smith at DHS Literary (World).

William Boyd's ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS, in which a man wrongly accused of murder sheds his identity and goes underground in contemporary London, to Gillian Blake at Harper, by Amanda Urban at ICM (US).

Thomas E. Kennedy's IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS, one of four books comprising his Copenhagen Quartet set in different seasons in the Danish capital city, this one set in summer, focusing on two damaged characters struggling to heal and regain normalcy, to Anton Mueller at Bloomsbury, for publication in Winter 2010, followed by a second novel from the quarter in Winter 2011, by Nat Sobel at Sobel Weber Associates (US; UK).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Updates to the Euro Crime Website

The following changes have been made today to the Euro Crime website:

The summary page of Authors' personal websites now has 728 links on it.

The New Releases pages (by author or by date) have been updated.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 1370 authors (7150 titles with links to 1421 reviews). I've added new bibliographies for: Maureen Ash, Alex Auswaks, Noah Charney, Mary-Jane Deeb, Jef Geeraerts, J M Gregson, Steven Hague, Karen Harper, Graham Hastings, Graham Ison, Roderic Jeffries, Rose Melikan, Martin Millar, Charles O'Brien, I J Parker, Jeffrey Siger, Frank Smith, Domenica Starnone, Rosemary Stevens and Rebecca Stott.

Also in Bibliographies I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Niccolo Ammaniti, Tessa Barclay, Colin Bateman, Richard Blake, Colin Cotterill, Karin Fossum, Gillian Galbraith, Susanna Gregory, Cora Harrison, Sam Hayes, Reginald Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Hans-Werner Kettenbach, Bernard Knight, Deryn Lake, Val McDermid, Adrian McKinty, Denise Mina, Saskia Noort, Hilary Norman, Malcolm Pryce, Craig Russell, Alan Rustage, Kate Sedley, Chris Simms, Peter Tremayne and Elizabeth Wilson.

(Bibliography pages list an author's books in series order and contains details of the author's personal website (where available) and links to any reviews that have been written by Euro Crime or Reviewing the Evidence).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Reviews: Barclay, MacLean, Rickman, Sjowall & Wahloo

I was going to label this column as "three fat books and a thin one". I'd been going for a theme of 500+ page books but couldn't find a fourth. You can guess which one is the thin one, it's the one first published in the 1970s.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Amanda Brown reviews Alex Barclay's Blood Runs Cold which appears to be the start of a new series which features female FBI agent, Ren Bryce;

Terry Halligan reviews Home Before Dark by Charles MacLean a creepy psychological thriller;

Laura Root reviews the newest Merrily Watkins from Phil Rickman: To Dream of the Dead

and Maxine Clarke reviews the seventh in the classic Martin Beck series by Sjowall and Wahloo: The Abominable Man.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The competition is back - go here to see how you can win a copy of The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Evil Under the Sun - for the Wii

Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun is now available to solve on the Wii. It was released in the UK in December and can be bought for around £25. The reviews are a bit mixed. I spotted it in Nintendo magazine which gave it 43% and this review at IGN rates it as 4.6/10 and concludes:

There is a good detective story buried somewhere here, but it's hindered by archaic gameplay, and terrible pacing. If you're a huge fan of Agatha Christie's work, or if you're the type of gamer that misses the old days of random item collecting and nonsensical puzzle solving, this might be a game worth checking out, but anyone else is going to want to pass this one by.

Evil Under the Sun is already available for pc as are Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None. And Then There Were None is also available for the Wii.

Radio 5 Live - Podcast

I'm getting into this podcast business and I've now subscribed to 'Book Reviews with Simon Mayo'. The latest edition is of particular interest to crime fiction fans:

Books: Niccolo Ammaniti & Matthew R. Hall, 15 Jan 09

Simon is joined by the book reviewers Charlie Fletcher, Boyd Hilton and Joel Morris to take us through this weeks picks which include Niccolo Ammaniti’s The Crossroads and M.R Hall’s The Coroner.

I listened to about 3/4s of it on the train to work and the reviewers were very keen on The Crossroads and I've only just got to the reviews about The Coroner. Maxine at Petrona is enjoying the review copy we've received.

The Crossroads has already been made into a film and has won the Italian equivalent of the Booker Prize.

The Coroner carries a cover quote from Lynda La Plante - M R Hall has created a wonderful heroine in a genre we haven't seen before.

Publisher's blurb: I'm a Coroner. I spend my life laying things to rest...When small-town lawyer, Jenny Cooper, is appointed Severn Vale District Coroner, she's hoping for a quiet life and space to recover from a traumatic divorce, but the office she inherits from the recently deceased Harry Marshall contains neglected files hiding dark secrets and a trail of buried evidence. Could the tragic death of a young boy in custody be linked to the apparent suicide of a teenage prostitute and the fate of Marshall himself? In the face of powerful and sinister forces determined to keep both the truth hidden and the troublesome coroner in check, Jenny embarks on a lonely and dangerous one-woman crusade for justice which threatens not only her career but also her sanity...

Priscilla Masters also has a series featuring a Coroner and her second book in that series, Slip Knot (2007), revolved around the death of a young boy in custody.

The programme's definitely worth a listen, especially for a definition of 'muscular writing' :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

So good a cover they used it thrice

I mentioned a while ago, two books by Jacqueline Winspear and Gerri Brightwell having the same photo on the cover but I've just come across an older book which also has the same cover, but in reverse to its successors - Anne Perry's Belgrave Square, republished in 1996:

Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2008

I've asked all the contributors to Euro Crime to choose their five favourite European reads of 2008. The following favourites come from the lists submitted by: Pat Austin, Paul Blackburn, Karen Chisholm, Maxine Clarke, Sunnie Gill, Amanda Gillies, Terry Halligan, Geoff Jones, Michelle Peckham, Norman Price, Mike Ripley, Laura Root, Kerrie Smith, Fiona Walker and myself:

The most mentioned titles are:
4 votes:
Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

3 votes:
Stuart MacBride - Flesh House
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Last Rituals
Johan Theorin - Echoes from the Dead

2 votes:
Kate Atkinson - When will there be good news?
Reginald Hill - A Cure for All Diseases
Arnaldur Indridason - Arctic Chill
Philip Kerr - A Quiet Flame
Jo Nesbo - Nemesis
Michael Robotham - Shatter
Helene Tursten - The Torso
Fred Vargas - This Night's Foul Work
The most mentioned authors (irrespective of title) are:
4 votes:
Stieg Larsson
Stuart MacBride

3 votes:
Jo Nesbo
Yrsa Sigudardottir
Johan Theorin

2 votes:
Kate Atkinson
Ariana Franklin
Reginald Hill
Arnaldur Indridason
Philip Kerr
Ian Rankin
Sarah Rayne
Michael Robotham
Sjowall and Wahloo
Helene Tursten
Fred Vargas
The breakdown by reviewer plus any additional comments they have made, will be uploaded to the website, soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Online CSI game

The new series of CSI: Vegas has just started in the UK. If you're inspired and fancy having a go at solving the case of The Barbee Doll Killer then visit You can examine the crime scene and any clues you find will go to the forensic lab for analysis. Read the profiles of and interviews with the main suspects. If like me you're impatient, click on the solution tab to find out whodunnit.

Scandawegian crime fiction on Radio 4

Steph of Wheredunnit fame mentioned over on the crime and mystery fiction friendfeed room that Open Book on Radio 4 had a piece on Scandinavian crime fiction, or Scandawegian as they referred to it, the other day (repeated today at 4pm as well). Presented by Mariella Frostup whose father is Norwegian, she spoke to crime fiction critic Michael Carlson about Sjowall and Wahloo, Henning Mankell, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Stieg Larsson and also Karin Fossum and Jo Nesbo (no K O Dahl though). Some interesting observations from Carlson eg that Scandinavian languages have smaller vocabularies than eg English and thus lend themselves to translation easier. The Scandinavian feature is only ten minutes long so best listened to perhaps, than have me paraphrase it incorrectly!

Listen again via iplayer. The Scandinavian bit is about 20 minutes in.

And if you want to check out more Scandinavian authors and/or reviews of books mentioned in the programme, go to the Scandinavian authors page on Euro Crime.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Previously on Radio 3 - Andrew Taylor on Poe

You can listen to Andrew Taylor talking about Poe's childhood for a few more days on iplayer:
Andrew Taylor investigates Edgar Allan Poe's childhood in England and the inspiration behind his own bestselling novel The American Boy.
And in case you missed the announcement, Andrew has won the Cartier Diamond Dagger 2009 Award (from the CWA website:)
“The recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award is chosen by the members and committee of the CWA and is very much an honour awarded by the author’s peers and thus makes it special.”
Andrew is a very nice man (a very nice man) and not only is a marvellous writer but also a great supporter of new talent.

On Front Row tonight...

Barry Forshaw has dropped me a line to say that he'll be on Radio 4's Front Row programme tonight (7.15pm) promoting his Encyclopedia of British Crime Writing:
Encyclopedia of British Crime Writing
A new encyclopedia of British crime writing, listing everything from Miss Marple to Ian Rankin, is published next month. Its editor Barry Forshaw joins Mark Lawson to discuss the challenges of pulling off such an ambitious project, and crime writer Martyn Waites who is listed in the encyclopaedia takes a look at his own entry.

British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia, edited by Barry Forshaw, is published by Greenwood World Publishing at £90.00, available from 28 February
The show can be listened to for seven days after broadcast.

Murder One's Final Newsletter

The Murder One shop will be closing at the end of the month, sadly, but the mail-order side is set to continue. Here's the final newsletter:
It is with much sadness that this newsletter, which will also be our final one in this form, will confirm the news many of you might have already heard: Murder One will be closing its doors at the end of January; however in all likelihood we will all be working from behind closed doors packing and dismantling the shop from the 24th January.

It is not a decision that has been taken lightly. We have been making small losses for the past few years, and had actually been trying to find a buyer to coincide with Maxim's likely retirement later this year. Sadly after extensive talks with a couple of parties, these negotiations have failed due to the current economic climate which has discouraged the optimism of possible investors. In addition, the Pound Sterling's fall of 30% against the value of the US Dollar over past weeks has made the cost our American imports so much higher, thus badly affecting our future profitability.

Since our inception, we have never had bank borrowings or an overdraft and it is a fact we are particularly proud of. With the current poor prospects for retail on Britain's streets, now would not prudently be the time to go down that road, we felt.

We've survived almost 21 years which is not a bad innings in a time when chains and the Internet benefit from outrageously more favourable terms from publishers than a single independent bookshop.

When the news broke, it was covered by all the major British newspapers and television and brought heartfelt expressions of dismay from all: customers, journalists, publishers, authors. I can only say THANK YOU most sincerely (and a particular nod to the wonderful people at Orion, who also sent over complimentary champagne for the staff...).

On the positive side, two of our senior staff Tanya and Trisha have made an offer to acquire the mail order side of the business and the website, which has been accepted subject to contract and legal requirements. I sincerely hope they can keep the Murder One name alive and that you will be willing to continue doing business with them.

They will be contacting all existing and prospective customers soon with their plans.

It's been a great adventure. Thank you.
I visited Murder One when it was a small shop on Denmark Street before it moved to Charing Cross Road and was where I discovered M C Beaton and many other writers. My visits to London will not be the same.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Reviews: Camilleri, Cross, Doherty, MacLean, Weeks

The compilation of Euro Crime reviewers' favourites from last year is almost complete. Early indications are that Scandinavian writers will take the first three places...

This week, the following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Michelle Peckham reviews this month's competition prize, The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri;

Maxine Clarke reviews Burial by Neil Cross which she believes will be a big hit;

Mike Ripley reviews The Spies of Sobeck by Paul Doherty;

Pat Austin reviews The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean which after a shaky start, she couldn't put down

and Maxine also reviews Lee Weeks's The Trophy Taker which is the first in a new series set in Hong Kong.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The competition is back - go here to see how you can win a copy of The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.

Friday, January 09, 2009

BBC4 has bought Spiral 2

No idea when it'll be shown but a press release in September 2008 proves that the BBC4 has bought the second series of French crime drama, Spiral:
The hard-hitting, stylish and critically acclaimed French police thriller returns for a second series as Pierre Clement and Police Captain Laure Berthaud descend into the paranoid rivalries of the drug trafficking underworld.

Unflinchingly realistic and nail-bitingingly tense, the series follows the investigators into the dark and uncompromising world of organised crime.

As a seemingly isolated case of urban violence grows in complexity and danger, each new piece of evidence unearths a duplicitous world of international trafficking, informers, double lives and arms dealing.

Each with a different vision of justice, each with their own personal demons, the characters become ever darker, disillusioned and warped.

As the heart-racing suspense builds, an audacious plan to strike at the heart of the crime network means that the slightest slip will result in certain death.
I thought BBC4 might have shown it as part of the recent "euro sleuth" series.

More Poirot episodes?

From Digital Spy:

David Suchet has revealed that he wants to continue playing Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot until he has filmed the novelist's "complete works".

The 62-year-old confessed that he had experienced mixed emotions at the thought of leaving behind the Belgian detective that he first portrayed in 1989.

"I feel two emotions, great sadness to leave him, and 700 million people watch it throughout the world, but also terrific joy if I am given the opportunity to do the complete works," he said, as he accepted the Freedom of the City of London today.

"It really depends if the money is there because they might not have the funding. We are filming four episodes this year, which will leave six more to do and that will be the complete works. He doesn't exist after that."

The character of Hercule Poirot appeared in 33 novels and 51 short stories. Suchet has starred in more than 60 feature-length shows in the ITV franchise.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Podcasts - Behind the Mic

Sorry I've been a bit quiet on the blog. I've just acquired an MP3 player which is taking all my spare time at the moment. I'm not technologically minded and wrestling with windows media player has not been much fun. I've finally managed to load an audio book (The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn, about Catherine Parr) on to it. I've also added a few podcasts that I've been downloading via itunes over the last few months in preparation for this momentous event.

One of the things I'm subscribed to in itunes is "Behind the mic" which is about audio books and which first came to my attention when a David Tennant podcast about Pest Control was mentioned. I've saved that one for now, but today I listened to the programme from 18th August called Men's Fiction on Audio which has well known audio book narrators/actors Clive Mantle and Christian Rodska being interviewed and gives a bit of behind the scenes gossip about how they go about the narration, and Mantle muses on how dedicated crime fiction readers are, and how they read everything a writer's written and in order :).

I came across Rodska when I listened to The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis. The programme played a clip of the full cast rendition of The Silver Pigs with Anton Lesser (recently seen in Little Dorrit) as Falco.

To get to these programmes search in itunes under "Behind the mic" in podcasts.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January's Audio Books from Oakhill Publishing

Another publisher of Audio books in the UK is Oakhill Publishing. And this month, they've released two notable crime novels on audio: Andrea Camilleri's The Scent of the Night and Tana French's The Likeness.

As an angry octogenarian holds a terrified and lovelorn secretary at gunpoint, Inspector Montalbano is reluctantly drawn into the case. The secretary’s boss, a financial adviser, has vanished along with several billion lire entrusted to him by the good citizens of Vigata. Also missing is the adviser’s young colleague, whose uncle just happens to be building a house on the site of Inspector Montalbano’s very favourite olive tree ... Ably abetted by his loyal and eccentric team, Montalbano, the food-loving, commitment-phobic inspector, returns for another delicious investigation served up in vintage Camilleri style.

The previous five Montalbano novels are also available as Oakhill audio books. The Scent of the Night is reviewed here on Euro Crime.

When Detective Cassie Maddox transferred out of Dublin’s Murder Squad at her own request, she vowed never to return. Then her boyfriend, Detective Sam O’Neill, calls her to a murder scene in Glenskehy. It isn’t until Cassie sees the body that she understands Sam’s insistence. The dead girl is her double, and carries ID identifying her as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie used when she worked undercover. But who killed this girl, and who was she? Having played Lexie once before, Cassie is in the perfect position to take her place ... and lure out her killer.

The Likeness
is Tana French's second book and is the follow-up to the award winning, In The Woods and is reviewed, here.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sherlock Holmes DS game

I'm enjoying Professor Layton and the Curious Village so much that I've pre-ordered Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy which is released for the DS at the end of February. Amazon currently have it for £18.

Synopsis: After Lord Montcalfe's death, his daughter Elisabeth turns to the famous detective Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery that surrounds her father's death. As Holmes' trusted assistant Doctor Watson is having a well deserved holiday with his family, Holmes decides to go to the manor on his own. He will have to use all of his considerable skills to solve all the manor's riddles. Only then will he discover that behind this mysterious case lies a dreadful secret. In The Mystery of the Mummy, you're immersed in an incredible adventure full of mysteries and with many twisting plot developments. Take on the role of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and get ready to avoid numerous diabolical traps while solving a variety of clever riddles. A mysterious murder, numerous suspects, and the famous mummy makes for a case that appears most challenging.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Reviews: Kirino, Larsson, Navarro, Tallis

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Going slightly farther afield, Rik Shepherd reviews Japan's Natsuo Kirino's Real World;

Maxine Clarke reviews the long awaited follow-up to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: The Girl Who Played With Fire;

Terry Halligan reviews Julia Navarro's The Bible of Clay which he found to be one of his favourite reads of 2008

and Norman Price was similarly enamoured of Frank Tallis's Darkness Rising which is the fourth outing for Vienna's Dr Max Liebermann.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here plus for those still thinking about their favourite books of 2008, there's a list (generated from my database) of British/European crime novels (written by British/Europeans) published in the UK in 2008, here. (I haven't yet updated it to include non-Europeans writing about Europe).

The competition is back - go here to see how you can win a copy of The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The new Inspector Sejer novel

I've just added The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum to my database and also my amazon list of forthcoming Scandinavian crime novels in 2009. It's a new Sejer novel and is the eighth in the series which means the seventh has been skipped over.

Synopsis: Walking through the woods to Lake Linde one warm September day, Reinhardt and Kristine Ris pass a man who is in a state of agitation. Unusually in a small town, he does not return Kristine's smile and drives off in a hurry. Near the end of their walk they make a terrible discovery: lying in a cluster of trees is the lifeless body of a young boy. It is a moment that will change their lives for ever. Inspector Sejer is called to the scene, but can find no immediate cause of death. That evening he is faced with the heavy task of telling the boy's mother that her missing son has been found. As the weeks go by, the appeal for the man seen in the woods to come forward remains unanswered. A once peaceful community is deeply shaken and the children lose their freedom to walk alone and play wherever they wish. Then a second boy goes missing.

Unfortunately The Water's Edge is not published until July in the UK and August in the US.

The 11th Doctor

Having caught up with both of the Sally Lockhart mysteries over the festive period, I'd hoped that the twinkly-eyed J J Feild would be the new Doctor. However the honour has gone to his co-star Matt Smith. Watch an interview with the Doctor in waiting at the BBC's Doctor Who website.

(J J Feild)

(Matt Smith)

Whilst Burn Notice is off the air

Here in the UK, FX's run of Season 1 of Burn Notice has now finished and Season 2 is no doubt months away. But today I discovered (in Murder One) that there is a Burn Notice novel, The Fix, written by Tod Golberg that might fill the gap for a few days.

Synopsis: Covert spy Michael Westen has found himself in forced seclusion in Miami - and a little paranoid. Watched by the FBI, cut off from intelligence contacts and with his assets frozen, Westen is on ice with a warning: stay there or get ""disappeared"". Driven to find out who burned him and why, he's biding his time helping people with nowhere else to turn. People like socialite Cricket O'Connor whose husband has vanished, along with her furtune...

A second book, The End Game is due out in May.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Mystery Reader Cafe - Reading Challenge

From Reading Challenges:
The yahoo group, Mystery Reader Cafe, is running the following challenge for 2009:
1. Read a mystery with the word "murder" in the title
2. Read a mystery set in your region
3. Read a mystery that has been on your shelf for at least a year
4. Read a mystery from a "new to you" author
  • Please remember that each challenge above should be a different book.
  • Although this was created for the Yahoo reading group, anyone can participate.
  • Reading challenges are personal and self-policed.
  • You make the decisions if you want to change the books as the year goes on, etc.
  • What's important is that it's fun and that you get to books you want to read.
In 2008 I read:
1. An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson
2. Bad Press by Maureen Carter (Birmingham setting)
3. Larkspur by Sheila Simonson (US cozy bought in 1997)
4. Most of what I read was by new to me authors so picking one I enjoyed a lot - The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang.

re. No.3. I made a concerted effort to read some of the older books I had with a view that if I disliked the one I'd read I'd be able to remove the rest of the series from my shelves. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way and I ended up buying the sequel to Larkspur to fill in the gap in the books I'd got of that series!

I'll have to give some thought to 2009's choices but I plan to read more of Maureen Carter's series for no.2.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year, New Competition

Pan Macmillan have allocated five copies of the new paperback of Andrea Camilleri's The Paper Moon to Euro Crime visitors. Naturally there's a tough question to be answered before you can go into the draw :).

They've also supplied an exclusive extract from The Paper Moon in which the answer to my question can be found.

Full details of the competition and terms & conditions can be found on the Euro Crime competition page.