Saturday, February 28, 2009

OT: Star Trek: The Next Generation

I'm having a resurgence of interest in reading Star Trek books, perhaps kindled by the new film. Though I prefer TNG and Voyager. I'm currently reading Destiny: Gods of Night by David Mack, the first part in a trilogy. So I was pleased to see that the TNG main crew are providing voices for an episode of Family Guy (not something I watch but I can make an exception if/when it's shown in the UK). From

Fox has revealed that former Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Patrick Stewart, Levar Burton, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, Denise Crosby, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Jonathan Frakes will lend their voices to the March 29 episode of Family Guy "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven."

The geek-tastic episode sees the Griffins head to the Quahog Star Trek convention, where Stewie devises a plan to get the Next Geners back to the house.

I'd like to see some audio books read by original cast members, as Doctor Who and Stargate SG1 have done.

Roman de Gare

Having been away for a couple of days and doing plenty of train travelling (or waiting for a non existent train) I've been catching up with my podcasts. Nearly all are downloads from the BBC including Radio 4's The Film Programme. One such episode mentioned the 2007 French film Roman de Gare (aka Crossed Tracks) which was having a special screening for two weeks in London, unfortunately the final day has just gone. Roman de Gare is not yet on R2 DVD but it is on R1 (I think) and is coming soon to Australian DVD (April) which I believe is R4.

Synopsis: Best-selling author Judith Ralitzer (Fanny Ardant) is researching unlikely places to find characters for her next novel. As luck would have it, a serial killer with a penchant for magic tricks has just escaped from a high-security prison, providing the perfect source material for an intricately plotted, moody mystery. At the same time, her ghost writer Pierre (Dominique Pignon) gives a lift to a stranger, Huguette (Audrey Dana) who has been left stranded at a gas station after a huge row with her boyfriend. She and her life become Pierre's inspiration for the next Judith Ralitzer novel - but he's no longer satisfied to stay in the shadows, which sets up a clash of wills with the determined author.

The English language website for the film is here. There is a trailer in which nobody speaks and hence has none of those "off putting" subtitles...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Natasha Cooper's next book

I can't remember whether it was at Harrogate or CrimeFest last year that Natasha Cooper mentioned she was starting a new series. She had provisionally given the main character the first name of Karen (an excellent choice) but wasn't sure if it would remain. So far it seems it has. The blurb listed on amazon for No Escape (released 3 August 2009) goes as follows:
One late-spring day, in a beautiful, remote patch on the Isle of Wight, a picnicking family is brutally murdered. All evidence points towards Spike Falconer: a local vagrant, the adoptive son of a wealthy, influential local couple. Diagnosed in childhood with Dangerous Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD), Spike has long-since been abandoned by his family and society. He is charged and convicted. Four years later, psychologist Karen Taylor is interviewing Spike in prison, as part of her research into DSPD. Not yet fully recovered from the death of her husband, and running from dark memories concerning the circumstances surrounding it, Karen hopes her summer on the Isle of Wight will be a welcome escape from university life on the mainland, as well as giving her the space she needs to think about her new, fledgling relationship with neurosurgeon Will. Her late grandmother's ramshackle chalet, situated in remote woodland, proves the ideal hideaway. But soon Karen begins to feel threatened. Local detective Charlie Trench is convinced whoever killed the picnicking family is responsible for a string of other murders and disappearances on the island. And Spike's family - Colonel Falconer, his fragile wife Sylvia, and their natural-born son Simon - are keeping tight-lipped, closing ranks. Someone on the island doesn't want Karen getting too close to Spike. But could Spike really be innocent of these crimes, as Karen begins to suspect? Is he implicated as accomplice to a more dangerous psychopath, or is he someone's helpless puppet? Karen doesn't know who to believe. But when Spike escapes from prison, and Karen finds herself in the frame for murder, she knows she is going to need all her professional skills to out-smart a manipulative killer.
No Escape joins a very select group of crime novels set on the Isle of Wight.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Reunion - Competition reminder

Win a copy of The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt.

Just answer the simple question and tie-breaker detailed on the competition page.

(UK entrants only please. Closing date is 28th February.)

You can read an extract from The Reunion, here.

OT: Torchwood Comic Strip

Watch, the satellite tv channel which is home to Richard & Judy now, is currently repeating Torchwood and has an exclusive comic strip on its website called Ice Monsters.

View the comic and read more about it on Watch's website. change a lightbulb...

The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett is reviewed here and The Intruders by Michael Marshall is reviewed here. Any advance on 3 covers?
UPDATE: A fourth cover has been spotted by Fiona.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Reviews: Claudel, George, Kelly, Sewell

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

Norman Price reviews the impressive Brodeck's Report by Philippe Claudel which left him "breathless with admiration";

Terry Halligan was disappointed with Elizabeth George's Careless in Red which he found had too little of the series characters Lynley and Havers;

Pat Austin gives the thumbs up to the first in Jim Kelly's spin-off series Death Wore White which is set on a snowy Norfolk coastline

and Maxine Clarke reviews Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell which has rather too much going on for her liking.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The current competition is for a copy of The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt (here's an extract). (Closing date is 28st February, one entry per household and UK entrants only.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Camilla Lackberg's The Preacher - on audio already

Normally there's a delay of a few months at least between the print book being released and the audio version of it being available. Not this time for The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg. Both were released earlier this month (and the audiobook is unabridged).

Synopsis: In the fishing community of Fjallbacka, life is remote, peaceful – and for some, tragically short. Foul play was always suspected in the disappearance twenty years ago of two young holidaymakers in the area. Now a young boy out playing has confirmed this grim truth. Their remains, discovered with those of a fresh victim, send the town into shock. Local detective Patrik Hedstrom, expecting a baby with his girlfriend Erica, can only imagine what it is like to lose a child. When a second young girl goes missing, Hedstrom's attention focuses on the Hults, a feuding clan of misfits, relgious fanatics and criminals. The suspect list is long but time is short – which of this family's dark secrets will provide the vital clue?

The RRP is £14.98 but amazon has it for £9.88 at the moment, only 14p dearer than the print version.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Geezer Girls - preview

One of the recent review copies to arrive chez Euro Crime is Geezer Girls by Dreda Say Mitchell which will be published in March. It has an excellent opening and I've copied a bit from the author's website:

The bride and bridesmaids stared at their guns.


They stood in one of London’s hottest clubs. On the middle floor. In a room that was two floors up from the silent dance floor, two floors down from the Members Only spa. They stood in a semi-circle. Around the table where the guns lay. The bride, Jackie Jarvis, dragged her gaze away from the shooters. Stared directly at her three friends. Roxy. Anna. Ollie.

Finally she broke the silence. “Ollie’s right, he’s coming to get us, I know he is. And we can’t take the chance that he might not come to the church.” She stopped. Her tongue did a nervous flick across her lips. “If you want out, now’s the time to say it.”

Once again, she gazed at her friends.

“I’m in,” Ollie said calmly.

“So am I.” Roxy’s added.

“You know me girl.” Anna gave Jackie a half smile. “I’m always in.”

Jackie nodded. “OK, this is the set up. Anna and Roxy there’s no need for you two to be tooled-up. But as soon as we hit the church you both become our eyes. Check the place over, up and down, to see if he’s there.”

“And if he is?” Anna cut in.

The glow in Jackie’s green eyes became grim. “If that bastard has the brass balls to gatecrash my wedding…” She stopped. Eyeballed the guns. “Me and Ollie will have no choice but to blow him away.”

Read more here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Publishing Deal - Eliza Graham

Maxine pointed this one out in the addictive crime fiction FriendFeed room. From the Bookseller:

Pan Macmillan has acquired the rights to a further two novels by Eliza Graham. Will Atkins, founding editor of Macmillan New Writing, bought world rights from Graham herself for "a good five figure advance".

Her new novel is provisionally called Jubilee, and will be published in Pan paperback in May 2010. The title is about the disappearance of a child and takes place in England, with the period spanning from the Queen's Coronation to her Golden Jubilee.

The second book is as yet untitled, but has been scheduled for publication in October 2011.
Eliza Graham's blog is Staring Out of the Window and she wrote on the 15th January:
I'm really delighted to announce that Pan Macmillan has contracted me to write two further books. The first, provisionally entitled JUBILEE, is about the disappearance of a girl from a Silver Jubilee party in a chocolate-box pretty village 1977 and how this mystery relates to less than chocolate-box pretty events occuring in her farming family decades earlier.

I have no idea what the second one will be about though I did have an idea when we up in Scotland on a long family walk through a very icy, very beautiful copse beside an almost frozen Highland river.

JUBILEE has to be completed by the end of May. I have set myself the task of writing at least one thousand words every working day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More African crime fiction - Margie Orford

I recently mentioned some African crime fiction titles coming up and a few more were suggested in the comments, well today a review copy of Margie Orford's Like Clockwork arrived from Atlantic Books. Like Clockwork is getting its UK publication next month and is the first in the Clare Hart series. The follow-up, Blood Rose, will be published in 2010.

Publisher's Synopsis: When a beautiful young woman is found murdered on Cape Town's Seapoint promenade, journalist and part-time police profiler, Dr Clare Hart is drawn into the web of a brutal serial killer. As more bodies are discovered, Clare is forced to re-visit the brutal rape of her twin sister and the gang ties that bind Cape Town’s dark crime rings. Is her investigation into human trafficking linked to the murders or is the killer just playing a sick game with her?

Like Clockwork is a dark and compelling crime story which exposes the underbelly of porn and prostitution in the Mother City.

You can read an extract at the author's website.

Euro Crime website mentioned in the Washington Post

A few weeks ago I was contacted by journalist Malin Rising who was asking questions about Scandinavian crime fiction in translation. I passed the questions onto Euro Crime's Scandinavian experts Crime Scraps and Petrona who of course replied swiftly and informatively (for which I thank them most heartedly). The resulting article has now been published in the Washington Post (I've bolded the Euro Crime reference!):

[Stieg]Larsson is the latest of many Swedish crime writers to win international acclaim, from the team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo in the 1960s to the more recent Henning Mankell, creator of the gloomy detective Kurt Wallander in such books as "Faceless Killers," "Sidetracked," "Firewall" and "Before the Frost."

The Scandinavian crime writing tradition also includes Denmark's Peter Hoeg, whose "Smilla's Sense of Snow" became an international best seller in the 1990s and a movie starring Julia Ormond, Vanessa Redgrave and Gabriel Byrne.

Set in a scenic Nordic landscape of serene lakes and lonely red cabins, Larsson's trilogy follows computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomqvist as they get entangled in a series of murder mysteries. Like Mankell, Larsson weaves in social commentary, with democracy and women's rights as prominent themes.

That, the exotic setting and an introspective streak are what set apart Swedish crime writing in a genre dominated by U.S. and British novelists, says Maxine Clarke, a critic at the Britain-based Web site Euro Crime, which specializes in European crime literature.

In Swedish crime novels, Clarke says, "one gets to know the characters' domestic lives and concerns as background to the plots, one feels they are real people rather than, in some other thriller genres, characters who only seem to exist to take part in the novel's main story."

The whole article can be found, here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Extract from The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt

The following is an extract from The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt (translated by Michele Hutchison) which is to be published in March. The Reunion is one of the prizes on offer in this month's Euro Crime competitions.


She cycles the last part alone. She waves to her girlfriend and then turns to the road ahead. She sings softly to herself, her back straight, a carefree look in her eyes.

School’s out. It’s Friday afternoon. The weekend can begin.

She’s strapped her jacket onto the luggage rack behind her, over her black canvas school bag. She feels the heat of the sun on her bare arms.

It’s a glorious day, the beginning of a promising summer. The blue sky extends like a high, radiant dome above her.

At the traffic light, she brakes and dismounts. It’s a solitary light, a little outside of the city centre, where the bustle of school children on their bikes, mopeds and car traffic lessens.

She’s completely alone. No cars or buses go by. She looks from left to right, frustrated at the pointlessness of waiting.

A delivery van draws up behind her and stops, its engine throbbing.


The girl gets back on her bike and rides on. The van overtakes her and envelops her in a thick cloud of diesel smoke. She coughs, flaps her hand at the smoke and stops pedalling.

The van tears away, in the direction of the Dark Dunes. The girl thinks about her meeting. She’s having second thoughts now – perhaps she should have chosen a less isolated place.


I stand at the entrance to the beach, my hands in the pockets of my jacket, and look out to sea. It’s 6 May and way too cold for this time of year. Apart from a solitary beachcomber, the beach is deserted. The sea is the colour of lead. Snarling and foaming, it swallows up more and more sand.

A little further up, a young girl sits on a bench. She too looks out to sea, hunched up in her padded jacket. She’s wearing sturdy shoes that can withstand the wind and rain. A school bag lies at her feet. Not far from where she’s sitting, her bike leans against the barbed wire fence. It’s padlocked, even though she’s nearby.

I knew I would find her here.

She stares blindly out to sea. Even the wind, which tugs at her clothing, can’t get a grip on her. It catches her light brown hair whirling around her head, but not her attention.

Despite her insensitivity to the cold, there’s a vulnerability about this girl that touches me.

I know her, yet I hesitate to speak to her because she doesn’t know me. But it’s extremely important that she gets to know me, that she listens to me, that I get through to her.

I walk towards the bench, my gaze fixed on the sea as if I’ve come here to enjoy the angry waves.

The girl looks the other way, her face expressionless. For a moment she seems to want to get up and leave, but then resigns herself to having her solitude invaded.

We sit next to each other on the bench, our hands in our pockets, and watch how air and water merge. I must say something. She’ll leave soon and we won’t have exchanged a word. But what do you say when every word counts?

As I take a deep breath and turn towards her, she looks over at me. Our eyes are the same colour. We probably have the same expression too.

She’s about fifteen. The age Isabel was when she was murdered.

Years ago I went to school in this area. Every day I rode ten kilometres there and back, sometimes with the sea wind behind me, but mostly straight into it.

The wind blew in from the sea, unhindered by anything on the flat polders, the drained fields reclaimed from the sea. It caught up with me on my bike. The daily struggle against it made my body strong. The distance between school and home, that no-man’s-land of meadows and salty wind, was like a buffer zone between the two worlds I inhabited.

I look at the sea, its waves casting up memory after memory. I should never have come back.

What brought me here? That short announcement in the newspaper.

Two weeks ago I was standing at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee, leafing through the paper. It was eight o’clock. I was dressed and had eaten breakfast, but I didn’t have much time. A quick glance through the headlines was all I could manage.

I turned the page and a small notice in a side column caught my eye: HELDER HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.

My old school, which, in the meantime, has amalgamated with some other schools in Den Helder.

I’m twenty-three. My school days are thankfully long over. I’m not even thinking of going.

The girl has left. I let her escape while I was deep in thought. It doesn’t matter. I’ll see her again.

The wind blows my hair into my face and every so often steals my breath. Yes, this is just how it used to be. I’d pedal into the wind with tears running down my cheeks. I’d put my hair up in a ponytail, otherwise it would get hopelessly knotted. When I washed it in the evening, it would smell of sea salt.

The scent of the beach is the same, of course. Its familiarity takes me by surprise, bringing back old memories and allowing me into the dark corners of my mind.

Why did I come back? What did I hope to achieve?

The only thing that might come of it is more clarity. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

As I stroll back to my car sand flurries around me and the wind pushes at my back, urging me to hurry. I’m not welcome here. I don’t belong here anymore.

But I’m not planning to return to Amsterdam yet. Even when it begins to pour, I don’t quicken my pace. My car stands alone in the large carpark. Normally it would be packed here, but summer has abandoned us temporarily. I think about the rows of cars parked here on hot days, glistening in the sun. It was good to live on the coast. You could ride right past the sweaty drivers stranded in traffic jams, throw your bike against the fence, pull your towel out from the luggage rack and look for a place to stretch out in the sun. In Zandvoort these days, you can’t find a spot anymore if you’re not on the beach by nine.

Heating on, radio on, a bag of liquorice on the seat next to me, I drive out of the abandoned carpark, past the woods, the Dark Dunes, towards the town centre.

Den Helder is not a comforting sight in the rain. Neither is Amsterdam, but at least Amsterdam stays alive. Den Helder looks like a city where the air-raid sirens have just gone off. I haven’t been back since my parents moved to Spain five years ago.

I love cities with a soul, with a historic centre. But the only thing old about Den Helder are the people who live there. All the young people go to Alkmaar and Amsterdam when they leave school. The only people left are sailors and tourists taking the boat to Texel.

I drive along the Middenweg towards my old school. When I reach it, the school grounds are almost empty. A small group of students are defying the drizzle to get a fix of nicotine that will help them through the day.

Once around the school and then along the same route I used to ride home, past the military camp towards the Lange Vliet. The cross wind can’t touch me now. In the corner of my eye I can see the bike path.

Isabel lived in the same village as me. We didn’t ride home together that day, but she must have taken the Lange Vliet route. I saw her ride out of the school grounds. I’d deliberately lingered before leaving. If I’d ridden after her, nothing might have happened.

I accelerate and drive at the speed limit along the Lange Vliet. At Juliana Village I take the first left onto the motorway. As I drive along the canal I change into fifth and turn up the radio.

Out of here. Back to Amsterdam.

I sing along at the top of my voice to the chart hits blaring out of the radio and fish one piece of liquorice after the other out of the bag next to me. Only when Alkmaar is behind me do I return to the present. I think about my work. The Bank. I have to go back on Monday. It’s Thursday today, I still have three days to myself. Even though I don’t want to go back to work, I think it will be good for me. I’ve been home alone for too long, watching unexpected and incomprehensible images passing like dreams before my eyes. I’m starting back on a trial basis - mornings only, to see how I feel.

That’s what the doctor ordered, after all.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Reviews: Black, Izner, Parker, Taylor & a New Competition

The third and final competition for February is up and running. NB This one will close on 28th. The 'Martin Beck' competition has now closed and the winner will be announced soon.

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

Maxine Clarke reviews A Place of Safety by Helen Black and concludes that she was "impressed by the author's commitment and her ability to tell a good story while maintaining a clear moral voice";

Laura Root reviews the second book from French sisters "Claude Izner" who continue their tour of Paris's tourist sites with The Pere Lachaise Mystery;

Amanda Gillies was disappointed with what she felt was the poor execution of a great idea in Michael Parker's The Devil's Trinity

and Michelle Peckham reviews the paperback edition of Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor writing that it's "a hugely enjoyable book, in which the many different threads, and rich detail, are skilfully woven together".
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The new competition is for a copy of The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt. (Closing date is 28st February, one entry per household and UK entrants only.)

The existing competition is for a copy of The Doomsday Prophecy by Scott Mariani. (Closing date is 21st February, one entry per household and UK/Europe entrants only.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Town (aka Purves & Pekkala) - BBC4 tonight

As the characters' names weren't mentioned in my tv guide, I hadn't twigged until a few minutes ago that BBC4's drama New Town, which is on at 9pm tonight and 4.25am tomorrow morning, is the drama Purves and Pekkala which I blogged about back in April.

In brief from the BBC4 programme page: Drama set in Edinburgh's New Town area. Starry architects Purves and Pekkala are offered the chance to redesign a Georgian church, but when the head of Scottish Heritage falls from the church tower in a mysterious accident, it becomes a question of whether he fell or was pushed.

More information is available on the BBC Press Office page.

OT: Calling Martha Jones

One of the latest set of Doctor Who books is The Story of Martha by Dan Abnett which reveals what Martha got up to in the year after the Master captured the Doctor.

Martha travels the globe, on the run from the scar-faced Griffin and his team from the UCF (Unified Containment Forces), aided only by her TARDIS 'perception filter' and the Underground resistance movement.

Interspersed amongst Martha's tale are a handful of short stories (written by other writers) telling of some never before revealed adventures that she and the Doctor have had. Martha tells these to the people she meets.

In the tv series there are 'Doctor lite' episodes (where the Doctor doesn't appear except at the beginning and end) but this book has shied away from that by having the Martha/Doctor adventures at regular intervals. Personally I'd have preferred it if they'd dispensed with those and had the whole book about Martha; there are several months and continents not covered in The Story of Martha.

In conclusion I enjoyed the story about Martha which was tense and exciting and also learning how the Earth fared under the rule of the Master, but I didn't feel the extra Doctor stories added much. This is probably the last time Martha will appear in print, and for saving the world, I feel she deserved a whole book to herself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Law & Order: UK

Digital Spy has a few video interviews with the main cast of Law and Order: UK ie. Freema Agyeman, Jeremy Bamber, Ben Daniels, Bill Patterson, Bradley Walsh and Harriet Walter.

The story:
In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecution Service who prosecute the offenders.

Bradley Walsh is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End, copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) whose approach to policing is part seduction part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) a working mum who would back them to the end.

Meanwhile, the CPS team comprises Ben Daniels as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice, Freema Agyeman as the hard-working and strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips, and Bill Paterson as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture. Together they represent a formidable team.
The first of the 13 episodes will be shown on 23 February. More videos and information can be found at the ITV Law & Order website.

Kerry Greenwood - published in the UK

Australian author Kerry Greenwood is probably better known for her Phryne Fisher series than her "Earthly Delights" series but it's the latter which has just made its debut in the UK. Orion have just published Trick or Treat, the fourth (groan) and latest in the series featuring baker Corinna Chapman.

Synopsis: When a cut-price franchise bakery opens its doors just down the street from Earthly Delights and crowds flock to purchase the bread, Corinna Chapman is understandably nervous. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Daniel's old friend Georgiana Hope has temporarily set up residence in his house, and it doesn't take Corinna long to work out that she's tall, blonde, gorgeous and up to something. Daniel is making excuses and Corinna is worried about his absences and also the strange outbreak of madness which seems to be centred on Lonsdale Street.

Will Corinna win through a maze of health regulations, missing boyfriends, sinister strangers, fraudulent companies and back-alley ambushes? Or will this be the end for the Earthly Delights Bakery?

You can read more about the books and Corinna at the Earthly Delights website. Unfortunately the link to the Phryne Fisher site isn't working at the moment.

The right honourable Phryne Fisher is a flapper who has moved from England to Australia and gets into all sorts of scrapes. She has a gun, fast cars, planes and numerous lovers. I've only read the early ones but I have quite a few more in my tbr which I bought direct from Australia. More recently, this series has been published in the US by Poisoned Pen Press. (The covers are gorgeous).

Hopefully Orion will publish the earlier Corinna Chapman books and the Phryne Fisher books at some point. (I had thought they'd begun with the Phryne books but it seems I was mistaken).

I await the purchase of Trick or Treat by a library near me :).

Euro Crime's been Wordled

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise has subjected her blog to the wordle experience and so I thought I'd do the same for Euro Crime. The image is based on the RSS feed. The recent post on African Crime Fiction is reflected in some of the words.

The image above is courtesy of Wordle ( A bigger and clearer version can be found here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TV Shows - win some (Foyle's War), lose some (Wire in the Blood)

A press release from ITV has good news and bad news. Wire in the Blood is out but Foyle's War is in, plus details of more Poirot (including Murder on the Orient Express) and Marple. From The Stage:

ITV has commissioned a new series of Doc Martin and three more episodes of Foyle’s War.

The broadcaster’s decision to recommission the dramas follows the news that another long-running favourite, Wire in the Blood, has been axed, and that doubt hangs over the future of popular series Heartbeat.

In its announcement today, ITV said Foyle’s War, created by Anthony Horowitz and starring Michael Kitchen, will return with three new episodes, while Martin Clunes will reprise his role as Doc Martin in a new eight-part series to be filmed in Cornwall.

Elsewhere, ITV director of drama Laura Mackie has also commissioned eight new Agatha Christie films, including Murder on the Orient Express. This will star David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, and will run alongside three other Poirot dramas.

At the same time, Julia McKenzie - who later this year will make her first appearance as Jane Marple - will begin production on four new Marple films.

Forthcoming African crime novels

Here are a few novels coming out in the next few months set in Africa:

I've been lucky enough to receive today a review copy of Malla Nunn's A Beautiful Place to Die, which is to be published in the UK in March and of which I've heard great things.

When an Afrikaans police captain is murdered in a small South African country town, Detective Emmanuel Cooper must navigate his way through the labyrinthine racial and social divisions that split the community. And as the National Party introduces the laws to support the system of apartheid, Emmanuel struggles - much like Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko - to remain a good man in the face of astonishing power. In a considered but very commercial novel, Malla Nunn combines a compelling plot with a thoughtful and complex portrayal of a fascinating period of history, illustrating the human desires that drive us all, regardless of race, colour or creed. "A Beautiful Place To Die" is the first of a planned series of novels featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper.

Also in March, is the publication of the latest in the Mma Ramotswe series by Alexander McCall Smith, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.

It is a troublesome fact on which even Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi agree: there are things that men know and ladies do not, and vice versa. It is unfortunate, for example, when Mma Ramotswe's newest client is the big-shot owner of the ailing Kalahari Swoopers, that one thing lady detectives know very little about is football. And when the glamorous Violet Sephotho sets her sights on Mma Makutsi's unsuspecting fiance, it becomes exasperatingly clear that some men do not know how to recognise a ruthless Jezebel even when she is bouncing up and down on the best bed in the Double Comfort Furniture Shop. In her attempt to foster understanding between the sexes and find the traitor on Mr Football's team, Mma Ramotswe ventures into new territory, drinks tea in unfamiliar kitchens and learns to trust in the observational powers of small boys. And, as wise and warm-hearted as his heroine, Alexander McCall Smith reminds us that we must dig deep to uncover the goodness of the human heart.

April brings a new standalone novel from Deon Meyer, Blood Safari.

Lemmer is a freelance bodyguard for Body Armor, a personal security company in South Africa. Lean, angry, violent, he is way down on the price list where the bargains are to be found.

Emma le Roux wants to find her missing brother, who supposedly died twenty years ago, but whom she is convinced she's seen on the news as a suspect in the recent killing of a witch doctor and four poachers. She hires Lemmer to watch her back when she goes looking for answers.

As le Roux and Lemmer look for clues in the Lowveld, it becomes clear someone wants to keep them in the dark. Someone who will go to any lengths to stop them asking questions. When they are attacked and almost killed, Lemmer decides to go after whoever is hunting them – against all odds.

and June will see the follow up to Michael Stanley's A Carrion Death - the UK title is A Deadly Trade and the US title is The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu.

Synopsis: Detective Kubu faces his most disturbing investigation yet when he finds himself caught up in a case of betrayal and mistaken identity on the outskirts of northern Botswana. Goodluck Tinubu, an ex-Zimbabwean who has taught in Botswana for many years, is viciously murdered at the Jackalberry bush camp, situated on an isolated peninsula in northern Botswana. Peter Sithole, a guest at the camp, is found bludgeoned to death a few hours later. Detective 'Kubu' Bengu is sent from Botswana's capital, Gaborone, to assist the local CID in this puzzling investigation. Meanwhile, another guest at the camp – Ishmael Zondo - leaves the camp suddenly the next morning and disappears without a trace. The Zimbabwe police are unable to trace him. And, as fingerprints are matched, records reveal that Tinubu was killed in the Rhodesian civil war thirty years earlier...

Nick Brownlee's Bait, published last December is also set in Africa and Richard Kunzmann's latest Harry Mason book, Dead-End Road, set in Johannesburg, came out in paperback this month.

Graham Hurley on Front Row tonight

According to the Front Row newsletter, tonight's programme will have an interview with Graham Hurley author of the Joe Faraday series:
For Wednesday's programme, John Wilson recorded what's probably our highest ever author interview - 100 metres above Portsmouth harbour, in the Spinnaker Tower, with crime writer Graham Hurley, whose books unfold on the streets below.

There'll also be a review of James McAvoy, star of the film Atonement, on stage in the play Three Days of Rain.
Front Row goes out on Radio 4 at 7.15pm and you can listen again for seven days.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Current Competitions on Euro Crime

February is a busy month on Euro Crime for competitions. I've just added a second competition and a third will appear next weekend.

Both competitions are open to UK and Europe residents:

1. Win a copy of The Doomsday Prophecy by Scott Mariani.

You have to read the three reviews I've highlighted and determine which one of the books doesn't have an archaeologist as one of the merry band of characters pursuing a mythical object :). Go here to read the reviews and enter the competition. Closing date is the 21st.

2. Win the ten-book Martin Beck collection by Sjowall and Wahloo.

Easy question this time. What is Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer's dog's name? Go here to see the choices and enter the competition. Closing date is the 14th.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Reviews: Adair, Davis, Tyler, Vargas & New Competition

A second competition is up and running. NB This one will close on 21st.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website. The faint theme this week is humorous mysteries:
New Reviews:

Rik Shepherd was disappointed that the third Evadne Mount book from Gilbert Adair, And Then There Was No One, took an entirely different approach to the previous two;

Mike Ripley reviews Alexandria by Lindsey Davis a series which he describes as "a long-running situation comedy";

Maxine Clarke reviews the paperback edition of L C Tyler's The Herring Seller's Apprentice which she calls "a wonderful book"

and Michelle Peckham reviews the paperback edition of This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The new competition is for a copy of The Doomsday Prophecy by Scott Mariani. (Closing date is 21st February, one entry per household and UK/Europe entrants only.)

The existing competition is for a set of the ten Martin Beck books by Sjowall and Wahloo. (Closing date is 14th February, one entry per household and UK/Europe entrants only.)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What I'm listening to...

My current audio book listen is Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason which is narrated by the peerless Saul Reichlin. My introduction to Indridason was Voices which focused mainly on Erlendur and less on his colleagues Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg. After all the praise for Indridason I was a bit let down by Voices and that's why it's taken me a while to try another title. I spotted that Silence of the Grave was available on audio (unlike Jar City, The Draining Lake and the latest, Arctic Chill) and I've whizzed along to CD3 of eight today on my journeys to and from work. The sidekicks are fleshed out as is the family situation which pays a large role in Voices. So far so very good though the descriptions of wife-beating are horrific to listen to.

Silence of the Grave on audio is produced by Whole Story Audio Books and on the product page you can listen to the opening of the book being read by Saul Reichlin.

Reviews of the 'Reykjavik Murder Mysteries' can be found via Arnaldur Indridason's bibliography page.

Gomorrah out on DVD

Gomorrah is out on DVD (R2) on Monday. Amazon have it at £12.

Blurb: Based on the bestselling exposé of the Neapolitan mafia, by award-winning journalist Roberto Saviano, Gomorrah is an unforgettable and compelling story of power, money and blood.

Five stories are woven together in modern day Naples, set in a brutal world from which there is no escape and no mercy.

Gomorrah is directed by acclaimed and multi award-winning director Matteo Garrone. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2008 and was a multi prize winner at the European Film Academy awards with honours including Best European Film and Best European Director.

Friday, February 06, 2009

OT: Torchwood Trailor for Children of Earth

A preview of Torchwood: Children of Earth is now online at the BBC's Torchwood site.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Butterflies and Glass Jars

Avon will be publishing Laura Lippman's latest book, Life Sentences, next month in the UK.

The cover seems familiar but the nearest I can pin it down to are The Killing Jar by Nicola Monaghan and Weaving Shadows by Margaret Murphy.

Update: As suggested by Fiona

Added Dec. 2012

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One Book - One Cover - Two Titles

Laura Wilson's Stratton's War will be published as The Innocent Spy in the US in July. The sequel, An Empty Death, will be published (in the UK) in July also.

Spread the Word 2009 - Bad Traffic (free book offer II)

I mentioned recently that Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis had made it through to the 10 books to talk about phase of the Spread the Word promotion.

The publishers of Bad Traffic are again offering encouragement to fans of the book to register and vote at the Spread the Word website:
We'd be very happy to offer free books again to the first 10 voters who post up a comment on the website above and send it to me at along with their home address.
The publishers and Simon Lewis also wish to thank all those who have voted his book onto the shortlist.

Life on FX and DVD

I'm going to have a second attempt at watching Damian Lewis's Life, having failed miserably with the ITV3 run.

FX UK will be showing the first of the 11 episodes of Life on Tuesday 10th February at 9pm. It is repeated the following Thursday at 11pm (and probably more times later in the week!).

The FX website is here.

In addition the DVD has just been released, currently £16 on

Publishing Deals - Swarup & Bradley

From Publisher's Lunch:
Vikas Swarup's SIX SUSPECTS, from the author of Q&A, the novel that "Slumdog Millionaire" is based on, showing that there's a caste system even in murder in this richly-textured whodunit, to Toni Plummer at Thomas Dunne Books, by Helen Edwards at Transworld (US).

Alan Bradley's next three Flavia de Luce whodunits, featuring an 11-year-old pig-tailed detective with a passion for poison who lives in a gothic mansion in 1950s England, again to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell for Delacorte, by Denise Bukowski at The Bukowski Agency (US).
NB. The Six Suspects was published in the UK last July and the paperback will be out later this month. Bradley's first Flavia de Luce book , The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, was published here in January.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Eurocrime Graphic Novel

This graphic novel was published in July last year, in English for the first time, by cinebook.

According to it was a "French comic first published in 1995 and 1996 by Darguad-Lombard", and they go on to say:
"This is the first volume in a series. Is it worth following? If you have any interest at all in the international espionage/crime genre you will thoroughly enjoy this. If you enjoy realistic artwork helping to tell that story, you will certainly like this. If you enjoy both, you've hit the jackpot!"
You can read the whole of the review, here.

Synopsis: Assia Donkova is a young Muscovite, idealistic and very attractive. As manager of an art gallery, she visits Paris museums and exhibitions in search of new Western talents. In front of a Monet work one day, she meets painter Julian Morgan. Very quickly the young woman falls under his spell, and they meet again. But is Julian only an aspiring painter? Why does he spy on Assia’s slightest moves? And what are the mysterious appointments Assia keeps? Russian mafia and powerful financial organizations are at the centre of a diabolical machination... one that could eventually present grave danger to the new global balance...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

News page updated

The News page has again been sadly neglected. I've gone a bit blurry-eyed... but I've now updated it; it contains links to the latest book reviews in the UK's major papers. I will try and update it more frequently now I'm on top of it again. The Times is less well represented as I can never find any older reviews!

The News page is here.

For ongoing news and chat about books, call in at the Friend-Feed crime and mystery fiction room.

New Reviews: Beckett, Jungstedt, Macken, Rayne & New Competition

A new competition is up and running. NB This one will close on 14th February and a new one will start on the 15th.

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

It's been a two year wait for the new David Hunter novel by Simon Beckett. Michelle Peckham reviews, Whispers of the Dead which takes place in the 'Body Farm' in the US and is somewhat gruesome in parts;

Maxine Clarke reviews the third in the Gotland series by Mari Jungstedt, which until recently was to be called 'A Lonely Place' but is published as Unknown (US: The Inner Circle);

Terry Halligan reviews the paperback edition of John Macken's Trial by Blood which he found "unputdownable"

and Amanda Gillies writes that Sarah Rayne's Ghost Song "had me both absorbed and fascinated".
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

The first competition of February is for a set of the ten Martin Beck books by Sjowall and Wahloo. (Closing date is 14th February, one entry per household and UK/Europe entrants only.)