Monday, December 31, 2012

Tributes to Maxine

Tha family's offical tribute website for Maxine Clarke is online here where you can donate to her designated charity and see photos and post your own thoughts.

Tributes from her online friends have been collated by Margot at We Remember.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas 2012

The daily posts of favourite discoveries of 2012 by the Euro Crime review team will continue in the New Year. I'm signing off for a couple of weeks now.

Firstly I must give my thanks to my lovely reviewers and the readers of this blog and website.

Thank you for the comments both on the blog and privately regarding Maxine. There will be a site set up by the family where we can share our memories, and I'll post the link when I get it. I'm sure she'd love this picture of Foxy in complete relaxation. And I hope your festive break is similar.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (6)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Lynn Harvey who blogs at Little Grey Doll as well as reviewing for Euro Crime. Lynn has chosen a DVD.

Lynn Harvey's Favourite Discovery of 2012

In addition to Euro Crime, I love animation – in particular adult or art-film animation. So I admit that I may be pushing the concept of "discovery" here toward that of positively "hunted-for". It's the DVD of Alois Nebel, a Czech feature length animation directed by Tomas Lunak and based on a trilogy of graphic novels by Jaroslav Rudis and Jaromir 99.

The film is set in 1989 at the time of the fall of the Russian-controlled Czech Communist regime. A man, who comes to be known as The Mute, crosses the Polish-Czech border and is hunted by the authorities. In Bily Potok, a remote village close to the border, Alois Nebel works as a dispatcher at the railway station. A withdrawn man, we see through his eyes a cross-cut of everyday life at the station with his childhood memories of the brutal, forced deportation of the local Sudetenland Germans in 1945. When Alois breaks down in the face of his own memories, he finds himself in a sanatorium sharing a ward with the mysterious Mute who eventually escapes from the asylum. Who is he? And why did he come to Alois' village? When Alois leaves the sanatorium he is forced to join the homeless and jobless at Prague Central Station and the rest of the film tells his story as he attempts to regain his sense of self and peace and return to Bily Potok – where The Mute makes a final appearance.

Rather than recreate the artwork of the original graphic novel the production team, which included the original graphic novel creators, decided to use the technique of rotoscoping which is an animation technique that builds artwork upon live-action film footage. The end result in Alois Nebel is a dramatic black and white animation that vividly catches the characters, landscape and sound-scape of both Prague and the mountainous Sudetenland region. A moving story of love and reprisal.

Here is a sample (subtitle free)

For those interested in animated crime feature films there are others to discover: Renaissance, 20th Century Fox DVD, 2006 is a black and white French sci-fi crime thriller; and on a lighter note, A Cat in Paris, a crime story for all ages, drawn animation, Soda DVD, 2012.

Read Lynn's Euro Crime reviews here.

Euro Crime's list of Czech crime fiction titles available in English.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (5)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Rich Westwood who goes back to the 1960s for his choice.

Rich Westwood's Favourite Discovery of 2012

My greatest discovery of 2012 was the greatest discovery of 1965 to a lot of people.

I've read a lot of fantastic crime fiction this year, but until November I'd yet to find a new series I could wolf down the way I do Bryant and May or Montalbano. That requires a mix of readability, likeability and personality. I found all three in the Modesty Blaise books by Peter O'Donnell.

I knew there were Modesty Blaise comics and a film, but had no idea there were 13 novels by her creator Peter O'Donnell. So far I've read just three - Modesty Blaise (1965), the fourth title A Taste for Death (1969), and a story collection, Cobra Trap (1996; I'm not sure when the stories were first published). All are being reissued by their original publisher Souvenir Press in their classic covers.

Modesty Blaise was born on the run, and did most of her growing up in prison camps across the Balkans and the Middle East during WWII. Aged 17, she took over a small gang and turned it into The Network, a phenomenally successful criminal organisation based in Tangier (criminal, but principled: The Network stood against drugs and prostitution). She retired at 26 with half a million pounds and a penthouse flat in Hyde Park - until tempted back into a life of action by Sir Gerald Tarrant of British Intelligence.

Where Modesty goes, Willie Garvin follows. Willie speaks four languages fluently (but prefers his native Cockney accent), has a photographic memory, is a master of several martial arts, and is 'machine-accurate' with the two throwing knives he keeps under his shirt. Modesty bought Willie out of a Saigon gaol and he's been a constant and eternally grateful companion ever since.

"That's a mighty tall pedestal you've got her on."
"She's never fell off."

I'm going to be upfront about the plots: they don't make a lot of sense. Modesty and Willie go after a bad guy in a glamorous location. Bad guy catches them. Bad guy says, 'No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.' Modesty and Willie make an ingenious escape involving undressing or a gadget. There's a set-piece single combat with another martial artist. Then there's a slightly romantic coda. I put in the bit about Mr Bond, but you get the idea.

There's a lot of humour too. Here's Weng: "Certainly I am worried, Sir Gerald, but I am also inscrutable. I do not allow my manner or my expression to reveal that I believe you have dropped them in it again". And here is Modesty comforting her mathematician boyfriend Collier before a trip to North Africa:
"I’ll hold your hand and quote statistics during the flight."
"You may do so," Collier agreed, "whenever you have a moment to spare from carrying advice, exhortations and urgent technical questions from me to the pilot."

So these are light and amusing stories, but I've stuck around for the characterisation. Take Modesty and Willie. O'Donnell could easily have turned their relationship into a will-they-won't-they story. Instead he makes them best friends - soulmates even - 'a strange and rich companionship incomprehensible to many'. They're happiest in each other's company, and are long past jeopardising that by pushing things any further.

The wider Blaise circle acts as a family group. Sir Gerald is the father figure, perpetually tormented by guilt for putting Modesty in danger. Weng, 'possibly the richest houseboy in the world', takes care of Modesty's domestic arrangements. A multitude of friends drift in and out, and are cared for. Genuine bonds of affection, loyalty and occasionally poignant humour exist between them all. O’Donnell clearly loved his characters and that really comes across.

So Modesty Blaise is in many ways exactly what you'd expect, but also much, much better.

A Taste for Death has been serialised on Radio 4 this week.

Rich blogs at Past Offences where you can read his posts on Modesty Blaise/Peter O'Donnell, and you can read his reviews for Euro Crime here.

The Euro Crime review (by Susan) of A Taste for Death is here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (4)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Geoff Jones. He chooses a best-selling Scottish author.

Geoff Jones's Favourite Discovery of 2012

I enjoy Amazon's kindle promotions where they let you purchase a book by a new author for a nominal amount and once hooked the price increases for the follow up books to the correct one (which is fair enough!).

This year I started reading Gordon Ferris's books. He has two series on the go. The first one was Danny McRae and there have been two books so far, set in London post second world war. He has been badly injured in the war and is trying to make a living as a private investigator. The second series and my particular favourite is Douglas Brodie. Again there have been two books so far, set in post war Glasgow. Brodie is a journalist and knows some of the most violent villains. Brodie becomes friendly with an Advocate – Samantha Campbell. Both series are well written and very violent but gripping. The amount of research and attention to detail is immense when you are setting a series around sixty years ago. Interestingly in January (ebook)/ April (print) there is a third Brodie book (Pilgrim Soul) and this will feature the characters from both series – sounds interesting.

There are several authors who owe their sales to these promotions, James Craig also is another one to look out for. 

TV & Film adaptations rarely work for me. Lynda La Plante is an exception (probably because of her TV background) but other favourite characters don't translate to the small screen. For example Rebus and Alan Banks are poor adaptations, partly I think because you have in your imagination how a book character's description looks like and the actor doesn't match your imagination ideal!

Read Geoff's reviews here.

Read the Euro Crime reviews of Gordon Ferris's books and James Craig's.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (3)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Mark Bailey. He chooses a Sherlock Holmes tv series but not one of the usual suspects...

Mark Bailey's Favourite Discovery of 2012

My favourite discovery of 2012 was the Igor Maslennikov Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson television plays - these are Russian language adaptations made in the late 1970s and 1980s starring Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Dr Watson.

The first one I saw was The Hound of the Baskervilles from 1981 which got a Region 2 release in May 2012 – It was a relatively faithful adaptation with one slight change being Sir Henry Baskerville and his butler Barrymore providing an element of comic relief.

I then sought out the other 4 series (1979, 1980, 1983 & 1986) which are available on Region 1 DVDs with English subtitles – the subtitles aren’t great but you can figure out what is going on.

The key elements in their delightfulness are the performances of the two leads (Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin) as well as Ekaterina Zelenaya as Mrs Hudson and that the storylines stay relatively close to the original sources.

Read Mark's Euro Crime reviews here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Friend Maxine

I only met Maxine Clarke (aka Petrona) in 2007 and yet it feels like I've known her forever. Our first face to face meeting wasn't in auspicious circumstances as we chose to meet on the day the gales hit Britain. Trains were reduced to 50mph and so I was late. Still, we managed to meet, eat and hit it off. My journey was easier back to the Midlands as I was travelling on a diesel line, Maxine's was a little harder as Waterloo was badly affected.

Aside from emails our next event was a lunch in late summer with the lovely ladies at Quercus, Nicci and Lucy, who handed us a proof of a little known book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...

A few months later we were back together again for the official launch of the book in January 2008:

(taken by Ali Karim)

Other events followed including Crime Fest and Harrogate:

(part of the 2009 Crime Fest quiz winning team: Martin Edwards & Maxine)

Maxine and I would regularly meet up in London at the Wellcome Centre and most recently Waterstones Piccadilly where we would spend the whole day wandering from floor to floor including the much-maligned and now absent Costa and chatting about books and family. We'd have a huge book exchange and later in the crime section would offer customers advice on which Jo Nesbo to buy.

We continued to do this, though less frequently, during Maxine's lengthy illness. She had been poorly for a long time but you wouldn't know it from her blog and online persona. I used to call her superwoman and she was.

If you've read any of the tributes pouring in you will know that she was a encouragement to her fellow bloggers and was always well up on the new technology - she dragged me into using google reader and twitter - and was supremely well organised with her own blog. She fought blogger to regularly comment on this blog.

And of course Maxine's reviews are peerless and yet she would always be a bit uncertain about them in the note that would accompany them. She was a fast reader and even when ill could read and review a book I'd given her before I'd get back to Birmingham! I can't imagine how many books have been bought as a result of her well-written reviews and that is legacy worth leaving.

Another one of Maxine's innovations and which has brought me and many others huge pleasure is Crime and Mystery Fiction room she set up in Friendfeed. When Friendfeed disappeared for a couple of days Maxine went straight onto Google+ to create a substitute.

Maxine was an expert on Scandinavian crime fiction there were very few titles available in English that she hadn't read and was a fan of the work by Don Bartlett, Neil Smith and Marlaine Delargy who translated some of her favourite authors. Though I think her favourite author was still Michael Connelly.

Maxine was a great friend, a kind and generous person - she would post books all over the world - hugely supportive, great at her job at Nature magazine and loved her family very much. All fans of crime fiction will miss her input and I will miss her hugely as a friend.

(Sadly, I only have one more review from her to run that of The Chessmen by Peter May which I'll post in January.)

Maxine Clarke who died 17 December 2012.

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (2)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Norman Price who blogs and reviews at Crime Scraps as well as at Euro Crime. He chooses a Scandinavian author whose work I've enjoyed more with each book.

Norman Price's Favourite Discovery of 2012

My discovery of 2012 was the author Anne Holt, who with her book from way back in 1993, The Blind Goddess, translated by Tom Geddes, proved once again that it is characters that make crime fiction. Plot is how those characters perform, but it seems secondary in a successful series such as the Van Veeteren, Montalbano or Brunetti books.

With lawyer Karen Borg, police lawyer Hakan Sand, and detective Hanne Wilhelmsen the author brought together three interesting protagonists and I hope the second book in the series Blessed Are Those Who Thirst is as good. We have waited a long time for this series to be translated but The Blind Goddess was well worth the wait.

Read Norman's full review of The Blind Goddess over at Crime Scraps.

The Euro Crime review (by Maxine) of The Blind Goddess is here plus Anne Holt's English language bibliography (with reviews)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (I)

As usual I have asked my fellow Euro Crime reviewers to come up with their top 5 reads of 2012 - these will be collated and announced in early January. Like last year, I have also asked them what their favourite crime fiction discovery of the past year - be it book, film or tv series - has been.

The first reveal comes from Amanda Gillies who chooses a DVD boxed set.

Amanda Gillies's Favourite Discovery of 2012

Following on from really rather enjoying reviewing Luther: the Calling, by Neil Cross, earlier this year, I decided to buy series 1 and 2 of the television series of the same name, and by the same author.

I absolutely loved it! Not having a TV, I was unaware of this series and fell in love with the tall, dark, tormented detective Luther, played incredibly well by the perfectly cast Idris Elba. I am delighted that there is to be a third series soon; Luther gets under your skin and I miss him now that I have finished watching both series.

Like most interesting TV policemen, Luther bends the rules a little in order to get the work done. The difference with Luther, though, is that he treads a very close line between "being a dirty cop and just getting his hands dirty", as one of his associates says when she discovers what he has done.

Luther's cases are rather on the dark side, and this appeals to me as well. They are never quite cut and dried and several span over a number of episodes. There is also more to the TV series than just Luther solving cases. His relationship with his ex-wife and her lover, for example, shows you more of the anguish locked up inside him. You frequently wonder what exactly it was that has made him into the person that he is.

If you have been given vouchers for Christmas and are still wondering what to do with them, I recommend purchasing this little beauty. You won't be disappointed.

Read Amanda's review of Luther: the Calling plus more of Amanda's reviews: crime and teenage/YA fiction.

Amanda blogs at Old Dogs and New Tricks.

Radio News: Modesty Blaise on Radio 4

A five-part adaptation of A Taste for Death by Peter O'Donnell featuring Modesty Blaise begins at 10.45am this morning on Radio 4, and is repeated at 7.45pm. The episodes are 15 minutes long.

Susan White recently reviewed A Taste for Death for Euro Crime and we'll have more on Modesty Blaise in the next few days...

She's glamorous, intelligent, rich and very, very cool. Modesty Blaise has been called the female James Bond but she's much more interesting than that. With her expertise in martial arts and unusual weapons, the ability to speak several languages and her liking for fast cars, twenty-something Modesty became a female icon long before the likes of Emma Peel, Lara Croft, or Buffy.

In Stef Penney's brand new radio adaptation of Peter O'Donnell's novel, Sir Gerald Tarrant, Head of a secret British agency, tempts Modesty out of retirement and into a job involving a young woman with extra sensory powers, an exotic desert location, and a larger than life public school villain, intent on murdering his way to a vast fortune. With its perfect cocktail of glamorous settings, hidden treasure, a twisting turning plot, and characters to root for, A Taste for Death is an action packed treat - and a guilty pleasure.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Reviews: Camilleri, Gray, Johnston, Marklund, Quinn, Rhodes

Here is the final set of reviews to be added to the Euro Crime website in 2012 however over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting the reviewers' favourite discoveries of 2012 on the blog, so please check back frequently.

I'm continually grateful to the dedicated reviewers who keep the review section of Euro Crime going with their submissions. Early in the New Year I'll be compiling their favourite reads of 2012.

The next set of reviews will appear around 6-7 January 2013.

Here are the final reviews of 2012:
Susan White reviews the paperback release of the International Dagger Award-winning The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri, tr. Stephen Sartarelli;

Terry Halligan reviews Alex Gray's ninth Lorimer-Brightman book A Pound of Flesh set in a wintry Glasgow, and now out in paperback;

Paul Johnston's Alex Mavros is caught up in the Olympics - the 2004 Olympics in Athens - in The Green Lady, reviewed here by Geoff Jones;

In wintry Stockholm, Liza Marklund's Annika Bengtzon gets the story of a lifetime in Last Will, tr. Neil Smith, which reviewer Lynn Harvey calls "nail-biting";

Terry also reviews Anthony Quinn's debut Disappeared which introduces Northern Ireland policeman Celcius Daly

and Lizzie Hayes reviews Kate Rhodes debut Crossbones Yard.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Free Ebook - The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Released today, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle is available to download for free from and Kobo.

The complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales, both long and short, compiled together for the first time by Simon & Schuster for free!

This fantastic collection is accompanied by an exciting new introduction from Robert Ryan, a writer who's own book has been fully endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate. A big Holmes fan himself, he will undoubtedly provide a fascinating new look at the detective and his bizarre ability to read both people and objects, in order to discover who dunnit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Film News: Love Crime

French thriller, Love Crime, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, is released in the UK on Friday. It's already available in the US on DVD.

From the official website:
The final film from director Alain Corneau (SERIE NOIRE, TOUS LES MATINS DU MONDE), LOVE CRIME pits the fiery talents of Ludivine Sagnier (A GIRL CUT IN TWO) and Oscar-nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (THE ENGLISH PATIENT) against each other in a deliciously twisted tale of office politics that turn, literally, cut-throat.

When Christine, a powerful executive (Scott Thomas), brings on a naive young ingénue, Isabelle (Sagnier), as her assistant, she delights in toying with her naivete and teaching her hard lessons in a ruthless professional philosophy. But when the protege's ideas become tempting enough for Christine to pass one as her own, she underestimates Isabelle's ambition and cunning-- and the ground is set for all out war. In this devilish, propulsive thriller, Corneau sets up a the scenery expertly and his actors devour it.

Love Crime
, from 2010, has been remade in English by Brian de Palma, as Passion and stars Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace however it's by no means a shot for shot remake as this article in the L A Times and the film poster show:
The bones of both stories are by and large the same, as a more senior corporate executive (Rachel McAdams) steals the credit for an idea from a colleague (Noomi Rapace in the remake). Both personal and professional intrigues abound, full of minor humiliations and major flirtations, bringing the simmering connection between the women to a boil as feelings erupt into dangerous actions. The story of who does what to whom and why is at once simple and complicated.

Perhaps De Palma's most notable change — he wrote the script with an "additional

dialogue" credit to Natalie Carter, co-writer with Corneau on the original film — is transforming the relationship between the women from a perverse mentorship in the ways of business and power into a fierce competition by casting McAdams and Rapace in the roles. Where Thomas and Sagnier are separated in age by some 20 years, McAdams and Rapace are barely a year apart. He also repeatedly nudges the audience off-balance with a teasing slippage between the film's reality and the dream life of Rapace's character.

"I saw there were many good things about it, and I saw there were many things I thought I could improve," said De Palma, on the phone from Paris, where he has lived on and off in recent years in addition to New York, of his impression upon seeing "Love Crime" for the first time. "I think it's very difficult to, let's say, remake a classic. This had things that could be made better when you remade it."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Free Short Story - Bruno and le Pere Noel (Martin Walker)

Quercus continue to spoil us with this, their third free short story after ones by Alex Connor and Elly Griffiths.

Martin Walker's Bruno and le Pere Noel can be downloaded at and is also available free at Kobo.

It's the last market day before Christmas and Bruno, Chief of Police is preparing for a traditional gastronomic feast. But, never off duty for long, Bruno is called to action when he receives information that a prisoner on parole has gone missing, last seen heading for St Denis, where his ex-wife and son live.

The goose, the oysters, his English girlfriend's Christmas pudding and Bruno's famous mulled wine will just have to wait... .

And if Martin Walker’s ‘Bruno’ novels have inspired you to visit this beautiful part of France yourself, keep reading for the author’s own guide to ‘A Perfect Week in Perigord’.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TV News: Jack Irish on FX (UK)

Jack Irish starring Guy Pearce, based on the novels by Australian author Peter Temple begins on Friday 14 at 9PM on FX,with the first of two feature-length episodes: Bad Debts, followed a week later by Black Tide.

Jack Irish (Guy Pearce) is a man getting his life back together again.

A former criminal lawyer whose world imploded, he now spends his days as a part-time investigator, debt collector, apprentice cabinet maker, punter and sometime lover – the complete man really.

An expert in finding those who don’t want to be found – dead or alive, Jack helps out his mates while avoiding the past.

That is until the past finds him…

Find out more about the series at the ABC website.

It is likely that books three and four, Dead Point and White Dog will also get the same treatment.

As well as the 'Jack Irish' novels, Peter Temple has written the CWA Dagger Award-winning The Broken Shore, and Truth.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

New Reviews: Burdett, Chambers, Cleverly, Fforde, Lehtolainen, Williams

Here are 6 new reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today:
Lynn Harvey reviews John Burdett's Vulture Peak the fifth in his Thailand-set series featuring Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep;

Michelle Peckham, a real-life scientist, is not enamoured of the fictional science in Clem Chambers's The First Horseman;

Earlier this week, on the blog, I reviewed the audio book of Barbara Cleverly's Ellie Hardwick Mysteries, a collection of traditional amateur sleuth short stories;

Susan White reviews Jasper Fforde's The Woman Who Died a Lot, the seventh in the Thursday Next series;

Maxine Clarke reviews Leena Lehtolainen's My First Murder tr. Owen Witesman which introduces Finnish detective Maria Kallio

and Terry Halligan reviews David Williams's Treasure in Oxford which is now available as an ebook.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Free Short Story - Ruth's first Christmas Tree (Elly Griffiths)

A seasonal short story, Ruth's first Christmas Tree, by [Euro Crime favourite] Elly Griffiths is available for free.

Ruth's first Christmas Tree is available on US Amazon and also as a pdf via when you sign up at the Quercus website.

It is three days before Christmas and a bitter wind is blowing across Norfolk.

Until her daughter was born, forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway didn’t do Christmas, but now that Kate is a year old, she wants it to be special.

She must get a tree, shop for food, clean the house, buy presents, including one for her new boyfriend—who she isn’t even sure is her boyfriend—and remember to get the turkey out of the freezer.

But time is rushing by and the best-laid plans don’t always work out …

Friday, December 07, 2012

Agatha Christie Theatre Company's Go Back for Murder

The next production for the Agatha Christie Theatre Company is Go Back for Murder, which will be touring from January 2013:

Now in its eighth thrilling year, the Agatha Christie Theatre Company presents a production of the queen of crime’s classic Go Back For Murder.

Carla Le Marchant learns a disturbing family secret; her

mother, Caroline Crale, died in prison after being convicted of poisoning her father. Caroline leaves an intriguing legacy in the form of a letter professing her innocence and, believing this to be true, Carla is determined to clear her mother’s name. Suspects, secrets, and red herrings abound in this thrilling new production

I haven't got the full itinerary but early stops include Windsor, Malvern, Wolverhampton and Cardiff. Another non-comprehensive listing can be found here.

Apparently the play Go Back for Murder was adapted by Agatha Christie from her Poirot novel Five Little Pigs.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Review: The Ellie Hardwick Mysteries by Barbara Cleverly (audio book)

The Ellie Hardwick Mysteries by Barbara Cleverly read by Suzi Aitchison, AudioGO, September 2012, 4 CDs

Barbara Cleverly is probably best known for her historical Joe Sandilands series set for the first few books in India. The Ellie Hardwick Mysteries is a collection of five short stories, starring mid-twenties, Suffolk-based architect Ellie Hardwick, first published between 2003 and 2006 in crime and women's magazines.

Love-Lies Bleeding is set in a Norfolk stately home run by a charity. The repair of a staircase leads to a discovery which requires Ellie to solve a paternity question from several hundred years ago and to do a sort of exorcism.

Here Lies is the first of two stories set in a Suffolk church. Ellie discovers the dead body of a woman lying on one of the church's tombs. Her identify is swiftly established; she was about to marry into a local, ancient family. Someone didn't want her to it seems. Ellie does a bit of sleuthing and Inspector Jennings is introduced.

A Threatened Species again has Ellie visiting a Suffolk church where she discovers a dead body in the belfry. She calls Inspector Jennings out and again does a bit of investigating. (This story has also appeared in The Best British Mysteries IV edited by Maxim Jakubowski.)

A Black Tie Affair has Ellie invited to a swanky evening do at a manor hall she's been working on, owned by a property-developer. Inspector Jennings is her date and they stumble on a body whilst looking round the house... This time round it's Jennings who puts the pieces together.

Die Like a Maharajah, tales Ellie to India on a tour. One of the group is an insufferable woman who upsets everyone, so it's no surprise when she dies. Murder or accident though? Only Ellie has the answer.

This is an enjoyable collection of short whodunnits, which range from 30 to 60 minutes long. Ellie is a traditional amateur sleuth with occasional back-up from the capable Inspector Jennings. My favourite of the five stories was A Threatened Species which has Ellie and Jennings working together to solve the mystery. I would like to read more about Ellie though I haven't been able to track down any newer stories. Suzy Aitchison narrates well, giving Ellie a fitting, perky, indomitable voice.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New Titles from Head of Zeus - Jan-June 2013

Taken from Head of Zeus's Spring catalogue, here are their new crime titles (relevant to Euro Crime) for January to June 2013:

White Bones by Graham Masterton (published in the US as A Terrible Beauty in 2003) (#1 Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire, Ireland)


Shadows in the Night by Jane Finnis (paperback) (#1 Aurelia Marcella, Innkeeper, AD 90s, Roman Britain)

One For Sorrow by M E Mayer (aka Mary Reed & Eric Mayer) (paperback) (#1 John the Eunuch)

The Sentinel by Mark Oldfield (paperback) (#1 Vengeance of Memory trilogy)

Wine of Violence by Priscilla Royal (paperback) (#1 Eleanor, Prioress of Tyndal, 13thC)


A Bitter Chill by Jane Finnis (#2 Aurelia Marcella, Innkeeper, AD 90s, Roman Britain)

The Abomination by Jonathan Holt

Roman Games by Bruce Macbain (paperback) (#1 Plinius Secundus (aka Pliny the Younger), Ancient Rome)

Tyrant of the Mind by Priscilla Royal (#2 Eleanor, Prioress of Tyndal, 13thC)

The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson


Something You Are by Hanna Jameson (paperback) (#1 London Underground)

Two For Joy by M E Mayer (aka Mary Reed & Eric Mayer) (#2 John the Eunuch)

Traitor's Gate
by Michael Ridpath

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

National Book Awards - Winners

The National Book Award winners have been announced tonight and the winner of the Crime & Thriller of the Year is Lee Child - A Wanted Man.
Crime & Thriller of the Year
For a novel in this genre from a UK author which has made an outstanding impact in bookselling outlets in terms of acclaim and sales.

Lee Child - A Wanted Man - WINNER

Also shortlisted:

Sophie Hannah - Kind of Cruel
Susan Hill - A Question of Identity
Anthony Horowitz - The House of Silk
Peter James - Perfect People
Denise Mina - Gods and Beasts

Ian Rankin has won the "Outstanding Achievement Award".

Monday, December 03, 2012

Free Kindle Short Story (UK) - Unearthing the Bones (Alex Connor)

Unearthing the Bones, a short story by Alex Connor is currently free on UK Amazon (Kindle):

Blurb on Amazon:

A human skull is discovered in Madrid.

A serial killer takes a life in London..

The race is on, to own the most notorious relic of all time..

A scorching short story and an enticing prequel to Alex Connor’s MEMORY OF BONES. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

New Reviews: Camilleri, Connolly, Hunter, Kelly, Kepler, O'Donnell, Robertson

Here are 7 new reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today:
Maxine Clarke reviews Andrea Camilleri's The Age of Doubt tr. Stephen Sartarelli the latest Montalbano to have a UK release;

Lynn Harvey reviews John Connolly's The Wrath of Angels the new 'Charlie Parker' novel;

Terry Halligan reviews Alan Hunter's Gently Continental, the series upon which the TV show is (very) loosely based;

Jim Kelly's Philip Dryden is back, in Nightrise, reviewed here by Geoff Jones;

Earlier this week, on the blog, I reviewed Lars Kepler's The Nightmare tr. Laura A Wideburg, the follow-up to The Hypnotist, starring Stockholm detective Joona Linna;

Susan White reviews Peter O'Donnell's A Taste for Death featuring Modesty Blaise, which is being serialised on Radio 4 later this month

and Amanda Gillies reviews the paperback release of Imogen Robertson's Circle of Shadows the fourth in the eighteenth-century Westerman-Crowther series.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

A Belated Happy Cat-urday

Foxy awake for once (in a photo)...