Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Crime

Some topical titles:

This is the first in a three book series which has the Queen assisting in investigations and was published in 1996.

The first in a series in which Her Majesty The Queen, with the help of housemaid, Jane Bee, investigates some mysterious murders at the royal residence. Jane believes her friend, Robin Tukes, a palace footman has been murdered - and so does a VIP who asks Jane to help her investigate.

This one's a bit older, coming out in 1981 and according to wikipedia: "purports to tell the story of a hushed-up murder in the Royal residence in 1935. Despite its including 'documentary' photographs, there is no external evidence that the book is anything but pure fiction."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Upcoming Italian Crime Fiction - Marco Vichi

I received a paperback proof of Death in August by Marco Vichi at the weekend. It's due out in June from Hodder & Stoughton. ( I mentioned it before when it was to be called Inspector Bordelli)

There are many reasons to be cheerful about it:

1) gorgeous cover
2) it's the first in the series which currently numbers four
3) it's actually quite short (not a 400 page opus like most of the Dagger submissions!) and contains a sampler of book two which is due out in January 2012.
and most excitingly:
4) it's translated by Stephen Sartarelli (of Camilleri fame) and has some of his notes at the back.

Florence, summer 1963. Inspector Bordelli is one of the few policemen left in the deserted city. He spends his days on routine work, and his nights tormented by the heat and mosquitoes. Suddenly one night, a telephone call gives him a new sense of purpose: the suspected death of a wealthy Signora. Bordelli rushes to her hilltop villa, and picks the locks. The old woman is lying on her bed - apparently killed by an asthma attack, though her medicine has been left untouched. With the help of his young protege, the victim's eccentric brother, and a semi-retired petty thief, the inspector begins a murder investigation. Each suspect has a solid alibi, but there is something that doesn't quite add up ...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The House at Sea's End - Cover Opinions

This week's selection for "cover opinions" is the US, UK and Canadian covers for Elly Griffiths's The House at Sea's End.

This time round the covers are quite similar but what are your thoughts on the US (LHS), UK (RHS) and Canadian (below) covers? Which would entice you most to pick the book up if you were not familiar with the books of Elly Griffiths?

If you have read it, how well do the covers match the story?

Read the Euro Crime review by Maxine Clarke of The House at Sea's End.

Unfortunately the US edition is not out until January 2012.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Val McDermid news

Val McDermid's latest newsletter has just come out. You can sign up for it at her website but here are a couple of snippets:
Before I went on holiday, I was working against the clock to complete the seventh novel to feature profiler Tony Hill and police officer Carol Jordan. UNREDEEMABLE will be released in the UK on September 1st, published by Little, Brown. [] UNREDEEMABLE features the return of Jacko Vance, the villain at the heart of the second Tony & Carol novel, THE WIRE IN THE BLOOD. Many people have asked me over the years about Vance's fate. This book will, I hope, answer their questions. It's dark, it's bloody and it pushes my characters to their limits.

I've had a lot of my American readers asking when TRICK OF THE DARK will be available in the US. I'll be honest - my US publishing history has been a chequered affair. Sometimes it's felt as if US publishers think it best not to tell anyone they're actually publishing my books... So, with TRICK OF THE DARK, I'm taking a sideways step to an indie publisher, Bywater Books. And not just because the editor-in-chief is my wife... I genuinely think that indie publishers can bring a passion to publishing that doesn't always follow through in the big commercial houses. So in September, Bywater will be publishing TRICK OF THE DARK in trade paperback and e-book form in the US. Our marketing slogan will be, 'The girl who Stieg Larsson read,' for reasons that will be obvious to all of you who have read THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Reviews: Chapman, Hall, Hayder, Jones, Leon, Martin, Nesser, Sigurdardottir, Toyne, Villar, Watson, Winslow

Now two competitions for April:
Win a set of 5 Van Veeteren novels by Hakan Nesser UK only new
Win a copy of Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin UK & Europe only.

I've published a double set of reviews today as, due to family visits, I'll be taking the next two weekends off. The reviews will be back in May and today I have chosen reviews of very recently published books and those due out in the remainder of the month.

Here are this week's reviews:
Lizzie Hayes reviews Jean Chapman's A Watery Grave, the second in this Fenland-set series;

Maxine Clarke reviews M R Hall's third outing for Coroner Jenny Cooper, The Redeemed;

Michelle Peckham reviews Mo Hayder's Hanging Hill which departs from her recent series;

Laura Root reviews the second in Tobias Jones's Northern Italy set PI series, White Death;

Still in Italy, Maxine reviews Donna Leon's new hardback, the twentieth in the Brunetti Series: Drawing Conclusions;

Terry Halligan reviews the latest in Andrew Martin's railway detective series which brings Jim Stringer into the War in The Somme Stations;

Lizzie is introduced to Swedish humour in Hakan Nesser's The Inspector and Silence, tr. Laurie Thompson which is now out in paperback (and can be won - see above);

I review Yrsa Sigurdardottir's third outing for lawyer-PI Thora, in Ashes to Dust, tr. Philip Roughton;

Amanda Gillies reviews Sanctus by Simon Toyne, the first part in a trilogy, which seems to be as good as the advertising suggests;

Maxine also reviews Domingo Villar's Death on a Galician Shore, tr. Sonia Soto (I was due to review this but I was ill in the week so I'm very grateful that Maxine donated her (superior) review) ;

Lizzie also reviews Before I Go to Sleep the debut from S J Watson which has also been garnering a lot of buzz and Lizzie was very impressed

and Amanda also reviews Satori by Don Winslow a prequel to Trevanian's Shibumi and she doesn't think fans of the original author should be disappointed.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found by author or date, here.

Win: A set of Van Veeteren Novels by Hakan Nesser

Euro Crime has 5 sets of Hakan Nesser's Van Veeteren series (The Mind's Eye, Borkmann's Point, The Return, Woman with Birthmark and The Inspector and Silence) to giveaway.

To enter the draw, just answer the (slightly trickier than normal) question* and include your details in the form below.

This competition is open to UK residents only and will close on 3 May 2011.
Only 1 entry per person/per household please.
(All entries will be deleted once the winner has been notified.)

You can read reviews of all five books at the Euro Crime website.

Plus I have "borrowed" the image on the right from Crimescraps's review of The Inspector and Silence.

*Which of these novels did NOT win the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award?

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Red Herring Without Mustard - Cover Opinions

This week's selection for "cover opinions" is the US and UK covers for Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard.

So what are your thoughts on the US (LHS) and UK (RHS) covers? Which would entice you to pick the book up if you were not familiar with the books of Alan Bradley?

If you have read it, how well do the covers match the story?

Read the Euro Crime review by Lizzie Hayes of A Red Herring Without Mustard

Interestingly the UK Audiobook has a cover similar to the US print edition:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some Publishing Deals News from LBF

Here are a few publishing deals announced at the London Book Fair. From The Bookseller:

Hodder has acquired world English rights to a standalone horror novel by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Editorial director Suzie Doore bought the rights to Blessed are the Children through Petur Mar Olafsson at Bjartur & Verold, with plans to publish in trade paperback for Halloween 2012. The title tells of three friends, terrorised by the ghost of a drowned child while they renovate a derelict house.

World rights for two crime novels were also bought for Arcadia's Eurocrime series. Cold Hearts by Gunnar Staalesen will be published in autumn 2012. The thriller is about a series of murders in the Norwegian city of Bergen. The other crime book is The Iron Chamber by Matti Joensuu, bought from Hanna Kjellberg from the Otava Agency. The book is about a series of mysterious set of murders in Finland. It will be published in autumn 2012.

has acquired world rights in a series of six crime novels by Bath Literature Festival director James Runcie. Group editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle scooped the series through David Godwin. The books will feature character Sidney Chambers, honorary canon of Ely Cathedral, as he works with friend Inspector Horatio Keating to unravel case after case. The first title, Grantchester Murders, will be published in May 2012.

Publishing Deal - Antti Tuomainen

News of a Finnish crime author to be published in English in 2013 comes from Booktrade:
Liz Foley at Harvill Secker has acquired UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to Antti Tuomainen's The Healer, in a deal with the Salomonsson Agency. The Healer will be published in 2013.

The Healer is a dystopian crime novel set in a futuristic Helsinki struggling with ruthless climate change. Subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are left burning in the streets; malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, and the plague are rife. People are fleeing and social order is crumbling. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still living in the city. When his wife Johanna, a newspaper journalist, goes missing Tapani embarks upon a frantic search. Johanna's disappearance seems to be connected to the story she was researching, that of a politically motivated serial killer known as 'The Healer'. Tapani's enduring love for Johanna is illustrated in flashbacks as he searches for his wife, and he uncovers secrets from Johanna's past; secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating...

The Healer is a story of survival, loyalty and determination in merciless times. When the world is coming to an end, all that's left is love and hope.

Liz Foley says: 'We are immensely excited to have acquired Antti Tuomainen's The Healer. Following our recent success with Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell in the bestseller lists we're delighted to welcome a new and original Nordic crime writer to Harvill Secker.'

The Healer won the Finnish Academy of Crime Writers' Award 2010 for Best Crime Novel of the Year.

This will be a welcome addition to the currently small number of Finnish crime writers available in English translation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Swedish crime fiction

I went to London Book Fair today and picked up catalogues and what-not and also bumped into Don Bartlett, who is not only the friendly, charming and talented translator of Jo Nesbo and KO Dahl amongst others, but is also such a gentleman that he even asked after the cats!

Anyway, spotted on one of the huge stands, was this huge poster. My friend and I took one look at it and said Scandinavian. And yes, it's Swedish and will be published in October by Hodder & Stoughton.

It is the coldest February in recent memory. In the early hours of a particularly freezing night, the body of a man is found hanging from a lone oak tree in the middle of the withered, windswept plains outside Linkoping, Sweden. The young superintendent Malin Fors, a single mother plagued by personal tragedies, is assigned to the case. Together with her colleagues from the Violent Crime Squad at the Linkoping Police Department, she must track down the identity of the man hanging from the tree and the reason he ended up there. And at the same time they must follow in the frigid wake of a killer - a manhunt that takes Malin Fors into the darkest corners of the human heart.

With Midwinter Sacrifice, I've now begun part 2 of my Scandinavian Crime Fiction Published in 2011 on amazon. Part 1 is here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Reviews: Hampson, Johnstone, Jungstedt, Vargas, Verhoef, Zimler

April's competition:
Win a copy of Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin UK & Europe only.

Here are this week's reviews:
Lizzie Hayes reviews June Hampson's sixth book in her "Daisy Lane" series, Fighting Dirty;

Amanda Gillies provides a whisky-themed review of Doug Johnstone's Smokeheads;

Laura Root reviews the paperback edition of Mari Jungstedt's The Killer's Art, tr. Tiina Nunnally;

A few days ago on this blog I reviewed the latest in the Adamsberg series from Fred Vargas - An Uncertain Place, tr. Sian Reynolds;

Maxine Clarke reviews the paperback release of Esther Verhoef's Rendezvous, tr. Alexander Smith

and Terry Halligan was deeply impressed with Richard Zimler's The Warsaw Anagrams.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found by author or date, here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

And Redemption makes 25

I've been looking through Quercus's Autumn catalogue and it lists a new Roslund-Hellstrom (authors of the excellent Three Seconds) called Redemption to be published on 29 September and translated, as before, by Kari Dickson.

This now makes a full list of 25 titles on my Scandinavian Crime Fiction Published in 2011 amazon list (though it includes the odd US publication) so I'll soon be starting part deux it seems.

An interesting thing I've discovered is that Three Seconds is not the third in the series - Redemption is and Three Seconds is actually the fifth which might explain why the main character seemed to change abruptly from Box 21.

No UK cover yet but here is the blurb:
John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row in Utah for murdering a girl when he was seventeen. His victim's father is desperate for revenge, while his prison guard is torn by feelings of compassion for the young man. Both of them see their hopes thwarted when the killer dies of heart disease before he can be either justly punished or attain redemption.

Across the other side of the Atlantic a cheap crooner by the name of John Schwarz earns his daily crust on a ferry between Finland and Sweden. One night he sees a drunkard harassing several women and loses his temper, beating the man so badly that he ends up in hospital. The incident would normally be dismissed as just another drunken brawl, but Detective Inspector Ewert Grens is made suspicious by certain details of the case and investigates further.

This will initiate the most remarkable criminal investigation of the sullen, acerbic widower's career, which not only shocks him to the core but blows apart the worldwide debate on the death penalty - and the wider conflict between public justice and private revenge. Moving, harrowing, disturbing, Redemption is the third crime novel by Roslund and Hellström, combining a hard-hitting plot with a dark, multi-layered narrative and a killer twist.

You can find out more about the books and authors on their website and here's a promo picture for the film of The Beast featuring a familiar face to Swedish Wallander Series 1 viewers:

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Review: An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas

An Uncertain Place is published today.

An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas, tr Sian Reynolds (March 2011, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846554452)

AN UNCERTAIN PLACE was published in French in 2008 and is the seventh in the Commissaire Adamsberg series. English readers almost have a full set of the previous entries with only the fourth instalment yet to be translated. The non-linear translation order has made Adamsberg's romantic-life and his relationship with Camille, who flits in and out of the stories, a little confusing to follow however the later books which are all set close together in time have come out more or less one after the other.

The book opens in London, where Adamsberg and two of his colleagues including the human encyclopedia Danglard, are attending a conference. After-hours, one of the English policemen, Radstock, takes his French guests around the neighbourhood which includes Highgate Cemetery. Radstock is horrified to discover a vast number of shoes (with the feet still inside) outside the cemetery. The French delegation return home to Paris shortly after and on the journey Danglard regales his colleagues with tales of the cemetery and its master vampire.

Soon though Adamsberg has a new murder case of his own. A semi-retired legal-journalist has been found obliterated in his apartment. The victim was not well liked even by his son and has left most of his fortune to the gardener who is soon suspected, however Adamsberg doesn't think he did it. This investigation begins to go off the rails and as in WASH THIS BLOOD CLEAN FROM MY HAND Adamsberg has to go off the grid and solve the case by himself.

The journey takes him to a small village in Serbia, where an old colleague turns up, and also back several centuries to find the seed of the present murderous activity.

Vargas has previously covered ghosts, werewolves and plagues so the subject matter of vampires isn't a stretch and though the story is fantastical it has its own well-plotted logic and the most incidental of happenings often proves significant as the story progresses. I have never warmed to the lead character Adamsberg, as I find him a cold creature, but he is surrounded by a cast of unusual and more likeable colleagues such as the aforementioned Danglard, a single parent with a penchant for wine and the redoubtable Retancourt, a goddess in Adamberg's mind.

Though over 400 pages long, AN UNCERTAIN PLACE didn't feel quite as meaty or as intricate as some of Vargas's earlier books, but it was still a great pleasure to read, with its excellent translation by Sian Reynolds.

The Vargas-Reynolds pairing has already won the CWA International Dagger three times, will 2011 see a fourth? Time will tell.

You can read multiple reviews of Vargas's earlier books and get the series's correct order on the Euro Crime website.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Preacher - Cover Opinions

This week's selection for "cover opinions" is the US and UK (original and reissue) covers for Camilla Lackberg's The Preacher.

So what are you thoughts on the US (LHS) and UK (RHS - hardback & original paperback cover on top, paperback reissue below) covers? Which would entice you to pick the book up if you were not familiar with the books of Camilla Lackberg?

If you have read it, how well do the covers match the story?

The Preacher will published in the US on 27 April.

Read the Euro Crime review by Sunny Gill of The Preacher

The covers of the previous book, The Ice Princess, were discussed here.

Camilla Lackberg is on twitter @camillalackberg.

Monday, April 04, 2011

London's Landmarks (Cover Theme )

These covers caught my eye, London through its bridges and waterside landmarks:

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New Reviews: Barone, Bradley, Dobbs, Knox, Perissinotto, Templeton, Wilson & New Competition

A brand new competition for April:
Win a copy of Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin UK & Europe only.

Here are this week's reviews:
Terry Halligan reviews Sam Barone's historical saga with lots of fighting: Quest for Honour which he enjoyed very much;

Lizzie Hayes reviews Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard, the third in the Flavia de Luce series, which was a "delightful read";

Guest reviewer, author Sarah Hilary reviews Michael Dobbs's Old Enemies calling it a "whip-tight thriller";

Amanda Gillies reviews Tom Knox's Bible of the Dead, a globe-trotting thriller which she highly recommends;

Maxine Clarke reviews Alessandro Perissinotto's Blood Sisters, tr. Howard Curtis writing that it is "a compelling tale";

A few days ago on this blog I reviewed the audio book of Aline Templeton's Lamb to the Slaughter which is another one of her excellent whodunnits set in Galloway

and Paul Blackburn reviews Laura Wilson's A Capital Crime, the third in the WW2-era Stratton series, which is now out in paperback.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found by author or date, here.

Win: Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin

Euro Crime has 6 copies of Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin to giveaway. To enter the draw, just answer the simple question* and include your details in the form below.
*The answer can be found in the Bibliographies section.

This competition is open to UK & Europe residents and will close on 30 April 2011.
Only 1 entry per person/per household please.
(All entries will be deleted once the winner has been notified.)

Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press, and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case. He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He's running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer's psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others. 'Apostle Rising' is an extremely powerful Noir Crime story that contains a unique twist, timed to perfection by the author. It is a dark, layered narrative with detailed psychological profiling, and a chilling dimension of horror.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

New Vik & Stubo (Anne Holt)

I've just added this title to my Scandinavian Crime Fiction Published in 2011 amazon list which now numbers 24 and it's only April...

Fear Not, Anne Holt's fourth in the Vik and Stubo series will be published in July by Corvus.

You can read my increasingly positive reviews of this series over on Euro Crime

A drug addict dead in a basement, a young asylum seeker floating in the harbour, a high profile female bishop stabbed to death in the street. What is the connection? During a snowy Christmas season in Norway, criminal psychologist and profiler Johanne Vik finds not only her husband and herself but also her autistic daughter drawn into the investigation of a number of disturbing deaths. Her husband, detective Adam Stubo, has been dispatched to Bergen to investigate the shocking Christmas Eve murder of a local female bishop. Meanwhile, in Oslo, dead bodies keep turning up, though the causes of death vary. Before long, Johanne will incredulously discover something that will link them all.

Anne Holt's Fear Not is a thrilling crime novel that raises questions about religion, human rights, and the very nature of love itself. Anne Holt has the courage to go beyond conventional crime writing and peppers the story with red-hot political issues.

Do have a peep at the sticker on the otherwise attractive cover!

I'm not sure yet if this is translated by Kari Dickson who has translated the previous three Vik and Stubos.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Review: Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton (audio book)

Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton read by by Cathleen McCarron, Magna Story Sound, May 2010, 13 CDs, ISBN: 9781846527142)

When I reviewed the third book in the "big Marge" series by Aline Templeton, Lying Dead, I commented that I hoped for a swift appearance on audio book of the fourth instalment. Unfortunately it took two years for it to appear and then a few more months for me to get hold of it and listen to it.

This time round the events revolve around the small Galloway market town of Kirkluce, where DI Marjory Fleming and her team are based. Picking up a few months after Lying Dead, Marjory's right-hand man Tam MacNee is still off on sick-leave and she has to make do with the less experienced DSs Macdonald and Wilson and DCs Kerr and Campbell.

The book opens with the discovery of a dead sheep in the craft centre in Kirkluce. The matter is not deemed important and attention is focused on the possibility of a new large supermarket coming to the town. The craft centre will have to go and the local shop-keepers are worried, however the majority seem to be in favour of it. But the man who owns the land, which includes the craft centre, is Andrew Carmichael. It's not clear what he will do and before his decision is announced he is found shot on his doorstep.

There are many suspects, especially as both those pro- and against the supermarket project have a motive. Marjory and her team swing into action and Marjory gives strict instructions that Tam be kept out of it. However he has different ideas and proceeds to carry out his own investigation. Another strand in the book is the persecution of an elderly farmer, by the local youths (neds) who are riding round her property on motorbikes and she fears for her animals. The two threads meet quite early on in the book when there is another shooting. Is there a sniper loose in the area or is there a motive behind the seemingly unconnected killings?

As well as the police-work Marjory has her own family problems to cope with, not least the association of her fourteen-year-old-daughter with the neds.

Marjory and her team have their work cut out for them with many of the suspects lying and covering up for relatives. Only a final shooting makes it all clear, at least to Fleming who tries to see that justice is done.

Lamb to the Slaughter is a good entry in this series though it doesn't quite reach the same heady heights as the previous two. As before, the community where events take place, is well depicted for the reader and you feel you get to the place, though, aside from the police and their relatives, there seems to be few likeable inhabitants. For those used to England-set police procedurals, the differences in Scottish law will be of interest as will the Scottish words and phrases used by some of the characters. The whodunnit is, as usual with this series, impossible to guess or work-out and makes you want to keep loading the cd-player up! This was a compulsive listen and made all the more enjoyable by Cathleen McCarron's skilled narration and as always I adore her Tam MacNee.

The next book, Dead in the Water, has just been released as an audio book and I look forward very much to catching up with big Marge and the team in the not too distant future.