Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reviews: Carol, Chambers, Dicker, Francis, Hodgson, McGrath, Ridpath, Runcie, McCall Smith

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, three have appeared on the blog since last time, and six are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Michelle Peckham reviews Watch Me by James Carol, the second in his Jefferson Winter series set in the US;

Amanda Gillies reviews Kimberley Chambers' Payback, set in London's East End;

Laura Root reviews Joel Dicker's much talked about The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair tr. Sam Taylor;

Susan White reviews Felix Francis's Refusal which sees the return of Sid Halley;
Terry Halligan reviews the CWA Historical Dagger winning The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson;

Michelle also reviews The Bone Seeker, the third in M J McGrath's Edie Kiglatuk series set in the Arctic;
Lynn Harvey reviews Michael Ridpath's Sea of Stone, the fourth and latest in his Icelandic series featuring Magnus Jonson;

Terry also reviews James Runcie's Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil the third in the series (and soon to be an ITV series)
and I review the audio book of Alexander McCall Smith's The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection read by Adjoa Andoh.

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, August 28, 2014

Review: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith (audiobook)

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Adjoa Andoh (ISIS Audio Books, 2012, MP3, ISBN: 978-1-4450-2069-3)

THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION is the thirteenth in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series set in Botswana. The detective agency's proprietor is Mma Ramotswe who is ably helped by assistant detective Grace Mma Makutsi.

The previous book, dealt with Mma Makutsi's marriage to the wealthy Phuti Radiphuti and now the happy couple have to find a home. When Phuti sells a builder, Mr Putumelo, two sofas from his Double Comfort Furniture Store, he thinks he has found just the man to build their new house. However, when Mma Makutsi meets Mr Putumelo she is less than happy with his attitude to her and this is a sign of things to come...

Back at Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the second apprentice at Mr J L B Matekoni's (husband to Mma Ramotse) garage, gets himself into to trouble with the law by helping a friend and it's up to his employer and friends to see justice done.

And over at the Orphan Farm, the redoubtable Mma Potakwani, has been fired for disagreeing with a new proposal to build a shared dining room using the funds from a sizeable donation. She asks Mma Ramotswe to investigate one of the board members, Mr Ditso, who has pushed the board to accept the proposal.

Into all this comes a stranger from America, though he is well known to Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi as he is none other than Clovis Anderson, author of their touchstone guidebook, The Principles of Private Detection. Mr Anderson lends his advice and moral support to Mma Ramotswe's investigation of Mr Ditso and she in turn learns about Mr Anderson.

I was slightly disappointed with the previous book, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY, due to the unsatisfactory resolution to Mma Ramotswe's case however there is no such problem here. And even though Mma Ramotse should not have needed Clovis Anderson's intervention, as the answer is obvious early on, it does not matter, as it is the act of being transported to Mma Ramotswe's Botswana and its gentle way of life which is the reason for reading these. The "crime element" is not as important as catching up with the characters' lives.

I actively seek out these audio books read by Adjoa Andoh. They are an absolute treat to listen to and beautifully done. I've finally tracked down an audiobook of the next book in the series, THE MINOR ADJUSTMENT BEAUTY SALON – a place which appears in LIMPOPO and which provides useful intel – and I can't wait to listen to it.

August 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Sea of Stone by Michael Ridpath

Sea of Stone by Michael Ridpath, May 2014, 324 pages, Corvus, ISBN: 1782393919

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

"All right. In that case, Magnus, I'm arresting you for the murder of Hallgrimur Gunnarsson. Would you like to contact a lawyer?"
Magnus seemed unsurprised at the arrest, Emil thought, as though he was expecting it...

Bjarnarhofn, Snaefells Peninsula, Iceland – 1988
Two young boys stand at a graveside as their mother's coffin is lowered into the ground. Their grandfather has warned them not to cry and after four years of his harsh raising they do as he says. A man stands on the other side of the churchyard and the boys recognise him as their father, Ragnar – come all the way from America. The older brother goes over to him but the younger stays put. There is a ferocious scene, with Grandfather shouting that Ragnar "killed" his daughter, the boys' mother. Ragnar shrugs and walks away. But next day he returns with a court order giving him custody of the boys, Ollie and Magnus. Grandfather rages. Ragnar takes his sons back to America with him.

Snaefells Peninsula – April 2010
Ollie and his new friend Johannes are waiting for Grandfather on the cliff path. Ollie is still scared of Grandfather, even though he must be in his eighties by now, but he feels safe with Johannes around, and Johannes has a tyre iron in his carrier bag.
At the family farm, Magnus finds the body of their grandfather in the tiny neighbouring church. His head is beaten and bleeding. Magnus calls in the death, waiting whilst the police team and the rest of the family arrives. Magnus's Uncle Ingvar is the first to arrive. As luck would have it, he is the local duty doctor come to certify the death. Then Uncle Kollbeinn returns, he works the farm and lives in the main house with Anita and their children. The victim's wife is missing but the family guess that she is at the church in town – she goes to church a lot these days.
It is when Inspector Emil and the forensics team arrive that doubts are raised over Magnus's role in his grandfather's death. Although a homicide detective, Magnus has been clumsy with the murder scene and his aunt spotted him earlier, in the grandparents' cottage, wiping a mug at the sink. There is a sense that Magnus knows more than he is telling and Emil has no option but to hold him on suspicion, eventually arresting him for the murder. When the shocking news reaches Reykjavik, his police colleagues are eager to help clear Magnus. But their boss says "No". He distrusts the "American" anyway. But Vigdis, another member of the team, has a couple of days leave. What's to stop her doing some investigating of her own?...

British writer Michael Ridpath's "Fire & Ice" series is set in Iceland and features Icelandic-born, Boston homicide detective Magnus Jonson. Magnus and his younger brother Ollie were brought to the US as children by their father Ragnar. Eight years later Ragnar was murdered and his unsolved killing draws Magnus to join the police. Now Magnus is back in Reykjavik, as Serious Crime advisor to Iceland’s National Police Commissioner. But Magnus is an outsider. Accepted or not by native Icelanders, he feels strong links to Iceland but, raised in America and working as a tough city cop, has experienced a very different life; the two cultures and his brutal childhood are an uneasy mix within him.

SEA OF STONE is the fourth book in the series and begins where the previous novel, MELTWATER, ends – shortly after the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull with dust clouds isolating the country and forcing the grounding of most air flights. Magnus has been drawn back into his obsession with his father's murder and its possible link to an unsolved killing in Reykjavik. When his brother Ollie arrives from America, Magnus heads out to the family farm on the Snaefells Peninsula, scene of the brothers' unhappy childhood. Death, deceit, hatred and revenge follow in short order, complete with ghostly warnings. The twisting plot travels through the mists and distorted lava fields of the past and present, gradually heating up with Ridpath's trademark race to the finish.

I relish the realism and dark nature of much Scandinavian crime fiction but I also enjoy the opportunity to mollify the psychological chill with some fiery action from Ridpath's Icelandic crime books. They hit the spot, safely straddling the worlds of "American" action crime thriller and a starkly beautiful Northern landscape drenched in history, sagas and supernatural belief. It's possible that readers new to the series might do well to read the first novel, WHERE THE SHADOWS LIE, in order to gain background on Magnus. This would be no loss – the whole series is one to recommend. But established fans can welcome SEA OF STONE which looks as though it may finally lay some of Magnus's ghosts to rest. Or will it?

Lynn Harvey, August 2014.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TV News: Agatha Raisin & the Quiche of Death coming to Sky One

From M C Beaton's website:
We can finally reveal that Ashley Jensen, who has starred in hit TV series such as Extras and Ugly Betty, is to play Agatha Raisin in an upcoming adaptation of The Quiche of Death commissioned for Sky Television. More details will be forthcoming, but for the moment we have the details from the press release below:

As part of Sky’s investment in original content and continuing the tradition of drama on the channel at Christmas, Sky 1 HD today (Friday 22nd August 2014) announces the commission of AGATHA RAISIN AND THE QUICHE OF DEATH, starring Ashley Jensen as PR turned detective Agatha Raisin.

[] this 1 x 120 contemporary and quirky crime drama written by Stewart Harcourt is based on the highly successful novel series by M C Beaton, creator of Hamish Macbeth, and can be enjoyed by the whole family this Christmas on Sky 1 HD.

AGATHA RAISIN, PR whiz, gives up her successful life in London, landing with a bang in the quiet village of Carsely with hopes of beginning a new dream life. Bored, lonely and used to getting her own way, Agatha finds that life in the Cotswolds isn’t quite the picture-perfect existence she imagined...and when her highflying city attitude is met with puzzlement and suspicion from country locals, Agatha enlists the few allies she can find. Among them are DC BILL WONG, a lovelorn local policeman, GEMMA SIMPSON, her suffer-no-fools cleaning lady, and ROY SILVER, a faithful former assistant from London. But with her unique brand of feisty truth telling finding little favour, it seems the community is not quite ready for the acerbic Agatha.

In an attempt to ingratiate herself, Agatha enters the annual quiche making competition and inadvertently becomes a suspect in a murder case. As her reputation sinks ever lower, and any hopes of romance with her dashing ex-Army neighbour JAMES LACEY swiftly thwarted, Agatha has no choice but to clear her name and earn the respect of her fellow villagers. Determined to wring out the truth, Agatha sets about solving the mystery of the quiche of death. Further casting to be announced.

Ashley Jensen comments: “I am absolutely delighted to be on board! It's not often a part like this comes along for a woman. Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time. Determined to fulfil her lifelong dream and in doing so discovers that all is not quite as rosy as she had anticipated, undeterred she finds a new purpose in her life! Based on the hugely successful novels and filled with wonderful hilarious characters set in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, it has all the ingredients for a great show. I can't wait!”

Filming begins in September in Bristol and the Cotswolds.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: The Bone Seeker by M J McGrath

The Bone Seeker by M J McGrath, June 2014, 384 pages, Mantle, ISBN: 0230766889

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This is the third crime novel from this author, all of which have the unusual background setting of the Arctic providing a strong flavour of the local culture and how it affects people's perceptions and reactions to events. The main protagonist in these stories, including the current book, is Edie Kiglatuk, half Inuit and half qulunaat (a term for 'white person' or southerner). She is currently living in a tent in the front yard of the house of her policeman friend Derek Palliser, on Ellesmere Island, and at the start of the book, she is working as a teacher in the local school.

The story revolves around the disappearance and murder of one of her pupils, Martha Salliaq. At the very start of the book, Edie says goodbye to Martha at the end of the school week, not knowing that it would be the last time she would ever see her. Martha disappears that weekend, and then Edie, as part of the search team is one of those to find her body in Lake Turngaluk; a lake avoided by the locals, who believe it to be evil. She has suffered a horrible violent death.

With Sergeant Palliser's deputy away, Derek asks Edie to help him try to find out what happened to Martha, against the complicated backdrop of the local culture and a general lack of resources. Into the mix is the presence of the army, and a Guatemalan woman called Sonia Gutierrez, who are both involved in some kind of local clean up/decontamination at Glacier Ridge, close to where Martha's body was found. The clean up has to be delayed while the investigation starts, and the lake is drained to try to find the murder weapon.

Edie and Derek quickly trace Martha’s last footsteps, and then a neat solution to the crime apparently presents itself, but Edie is suspicious. Everything seems to be just a bit too neat, and she keeps on investigating. Equally important is Sonia’s own bit of sleuthing into the recent history of Glacier Ridge and what’s really behind the clean up, which neatly feeds into the overall story.

This was an absorbing book, with an authentic feel of life for the Inuit in the Arctic, right down to the rather unappetising descriptions of Edie’s cooking. (Some of the slightly more appetising recipes are on M J McGrath’s website). The treatment of the Inuit by the government, the installation of the army, relationships between the local people, and their general mistrust for outsiders all feed into the plot development, and there is a small closed community feel to the story. Edie is a strong, independent character, only dropping in to see her new boyfriend when she feels like it, and using all her local knowledge and resources to track down what really happened to Martha. An intriguing read then, and while I found the overall story a little predictable in places, it was made up for by the backdrop, and insight into a completely foreign culture.

Michelle Peckham, August 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Reviews: Dunmore, Eriksson, Gibson, Gordon-Smith, Larsson, May, Neville, Simpson, Walker

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, five have appeared on the blog since last time, and four are completely new. Interestingly, the settings of the books reviewed range from Canada to Venezuela.

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Terry Halligan reviews Helen Dunmore's The Lie writing that "it is not a book that will be forgotten very quickly";

Lynn Harvey reviews Kjell Eriksson's Black Lies, Red Blood tr. Paul Norlen which is the latest in the Ann Lindell series set in Uppsala;
Rich Westwood recommends Jasper Gibson's A Bright Moon for Fools set in an unvarnished Venezuela;

Terry also reviews Dolores Gordon-Smith's latest Jack Haldean mystery, set in the 1920s: After the Exhibition;

Michelle Peckham reviews the newest in Asa Larsson's Rebecka Martinsson series,  The Second Deadly Sin tr. Laurie Thompson, which is set in Northern Sweden;

Michelle also reviews Entry Island by Peter May which is now out in paperback;
Lynn also reviews Stuart Neville's The Final Silence, featuring DI Jack Lennon;

Geoff reviews Ian Simpson's  Murder on the Second Tee, set at St Andrews

and Amanda Gillies reviews Martin Walker's latest "Bruno, Chief of Police" mystery set in France: Children of War.

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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Liz Evans's Grace Smith series becoming available digitally

The first three books of Liz Evans's well regarded Grace Smith series are now available as ebooks. The first book in the series, Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? is available on amazon and kobo however the next two appear to be Kindle only at the moment.

Book Two, formerly titled JFK is Missing is now called Blindsided and is currently free on UK Kindle.

Book Three, Don't Mess with Mrs In-Between, is now called Heir Apparent.

The six-book series, set on the South Coast, was first published between 1997 and 2005.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: The Final Silence by Stuart Neville

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville, July 2014, 336 pages, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846556945

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

The water came to meet him, swallowed him, as tender as it was cold. A million images streaked through Raymond's mind, each one as bold and brilliant as the last, faces he'd known, many he hadn't, some of them twisted in terror...

Northern Ireland, Belfast - present day.
Raymond wants to die by the river, no hospital, no family and no one going into his house. He knows that there are things in there which he should destroy – but he can't. He locks the front door behind him and makes his way through the streets, his sick heart pounding and his breath short. At the pub on the towpath, one last drink, Black Bush. He savours it and leaves the pub as the cold sweat and the pain in his left arm strengthens. Not here. Further on, away from the people and buildings. Finally, with numbing fingers, he digs out his keys and throws them into the river before collapsing, falling towards the water's surface.
A few weeks later, Rea sits in the empty house with her dead uncle Raymond's few possessions in black bags, ready to be dumped. She hadn't seen him since she was a child, he seemed to spurn all contact with the family. Now he's gone, his body fished out of the Lagan where it had lain undiscovered for some time. Rea's father's first reaction was to call the solicitor, before even comforting his wife over the death of her brother. The solicitor said it was a matter of searching out any documents, bills and so on, before they can lay claim to the house. Rea's parents have decided that as soon legalities are sorted, the house will be hers. Rea has cleared the rooms with her mother but has found nothing. There is only the back bedroom left, its locked door proving stubborn against her father's shoulder. Rea sends her tired mother home and, taking stock, decides that she really wants the house and she will have that upstairs door open before the day ends. She finds a crowbar in the garage and returns upstairs. Working the bar into the door frame, pushing, slipping, falling, but battling on until, with a furious scream, attacking it with such force that she is driven backwards as a loud crack rings out. She falls, hitting her head and tasting blood. Recovering, she sees the room beyond the door – a dark cave. Within? A single light bulb and a desk whose only drawer contains a ledger, or is it an album? And within that book? Names, newspaper cuttings, hand-written entries, locks of hair and other dreadful mementos...

In THE FINAL SILENCE, Stuart Neville's fourth book in his DI Jack Lennon series, Jack himself is in a bad way. Suspended from the police force for shooting a fellow officer, still recovering from his own injuries, struggling to keep his young daughter out of the clutches of her dead mother's family – and with his old nemesis, DCI Hewitt of C3 Intelligence, still on his back. Rea Carlisle, an old girlfriend of Jack's, makes a macabre discovery in her dead uncle's house. Her politically ambitious father forbids her to go to the police, promising instead that he will deal with it, but Rea cannot rest easy. She calls in the only person she can think of to help her – Jack. Dragged into the mystery of the macabre find, Jack faces yet another police opponent in DI Serena Flanagan who seems determined to push him deeper onto the ropes.

Stuart Neville is an excellent writer whose books (the earlier three in this series and RATLINES, a politico/intelligence thriller set in the world of 1960s Ireland) are exciting and absorbing. I have been waiting anxiously for the latest Jack Lennon. I am not disappointed. On his website's blog, Neville has written about his struggles with writer's block both before and early on in its writing, so I am relieved that STOLEN SOULS, the previous DI Lennon, was not Lennon's own "final silence". Neville has found a way through the block to give us another story that builds suspense and pace without sacrificing depth of character. Human stories intertwine with ambition, deceit and the darker regions of the psyche. Jack Lennon is already more physically battered and scarred than Ian Rankin's "Rebus" but he too continues to slide down the greasy pole of his police career, notching up enemies with each lurching descent. Bad history and bad company contribute to his beleaguered state. Yet something within Lennon still urges him to play the “knight chivalrous” down streets filled with the bitter legacy of Northern Ireland's political struggles and factions. I am trusting that he will remain a force to be reckoned with – and I'm glad that both he and Neville are back.

Lynn Harvey, August 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson tr. Laurie Thompson

The Second Deadly Sin by Åsa Larsson tr. Laurie Thompson, January 2014, 320 pages, MacLehose Press, ISBN: 0857051725

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Rebecka Martinsson is once again involved in a murder investigation in this latest outing from Åsa Larsson (book five in the series). She was once a hot-shot lawyer in Stockholm, but circumstances in earlier books have brought her back to where she grew up, and she now lives in Kiruna, in the house that was once her grandmother's. She is working as the district prosecutor, and has an impeccable reputation for her preparedness and meticulous attention to detail.

As the story opens, a troublesome bear is shot dead, and is found to have a human hand in his stomach. Next, Rebecka and Eriksson, her police colleague, discover a woman, Sol-Britt, stabbed to death in her house. Outside, her grandson Marcus is found hiding outside in a children’s playhouse, and is clearly traumatised. What has he seen? What does he know? Why was Sol-Britt murdered and what is the connection to the discovery of the hand in the bear’s stomach?

Rebecka should be directing the investigation but a second district prosecutor, Carl Van Post, is nursing a grudge and manages to persuade the chief prosecutor, Björnfot, that he should take charge, leaving Rebecka to conduct her own undercover investigation while 'on holiday' (by her own choice). Police Inspector Anna-Maria Mella, a friend and a colleague, is still involved in the investigation, and keeps Rebecka informed on the quiet. It seems that the murdered woman comes from a family that has suffered a series of tragic events. For example, as well as her own murder, Sol-Britt's son had been killed in a hit and run accident some time earlier. Sadly, as a consequence, Marcus was living with his grandmother Sol-Britt because his mother then refused to look after him.

Interspersed between chapters about the current investigation, is a story set some years before, in 1914, about a school teacher who goes out to Kiruna to run a school, and ends up falling in love with a local entrepreneur. Her story is also a tragic one of unrequited love and its consequences. Gradually, the links between the current investigation and the past events reveal themselves, and Rebecka’s determination and meticulousness enable her to discover the unpleasant truth.

Åsa Larsson's books have a strong feeling of female empowerment, and not just through the strong female leads of Rebecka and Anna-Marie. This book manages to cleverly pass comment on how arrogance, pompousness and at times, weakness in a subset of men can lead to undesirable outcomes (though I should say that most men in the story are depicted in a much more favourable light!). It also shows how strong ties and co-operation between women are important in finding solutions. Rebecka's vulnerability and sense of past, combined with her strong-mindedness determination, thoughtfulness, and ever-developing character is something the reader can empathise and engage with. An interesting plot, combined with intriguing characters, means that all I want now is to read the next outing in the series! And, as always, there is a great translation from Laurie Thompson.

Michelle Peckham, August 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: After the Exhibition by Dolores Gordon-Smith

After the Exhibition by Dolores Gordon-Smith, April 2014, 240 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727883763

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

I was absolutely gripped and excited by this very well written and deftly plotted mystery set in London during the years 1924-5. The author, Dolores Gordon-Smith,has written seven other novels in this series and I was so knocked out by it I have bought the first and may buy the others as well!

Major Jack Haldean an author of crime novels and an amateur detective, with his friend Scotland Yard detective Bill Rackham attends Lythewell and Askerns’ exhibition of church art in Lyon House, London, which is expected to be a sedate affair. After all, Lythewell and Askern, Church Artists, are a respectable, old-fashioned firm, the last people to be associated with mystery, violence and sudden death. However, whilst they consider the exhibition rather boring and whilst they are waiting after the exhibition, a seller of flags for a charity appeal suddenly collapses. Later, their friend Betty Wingate, who is connected to the organisers of the exhibition is very surprised by her experience of a vanishing corpse and she tells Jack, who is also intrigued by it all; this all leads to a fascinating story which once started I just could not put down. The clues follow one another with astonishing rapidity and I found the story immensely gripping and fast moving and the pages just shot by. The story is peopled with a very interesting and rich cast of authentic, well described characters. It was very atmospheric and expertly researched giving a real glimpse of life in London and the wider country in the 1920s.

There are a few red herrings to draw the reader up the wrong road before the dramatic and very exciting conclusion is reached. I was really stumped before I reached the end of this book as to how it would end and of course I got it all wrong I'm pleased to say.

I'm very attracted to stories set during the 'Golden Age' of detective fiction and I see that this author is influenced by writers that I already admire such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and PG Wodehouse and having another writer of really gripping stories set during this time is excellent news. I will certainly look out for stories by this very exciting author and I'm pleased that I have already another seven to buy.


Terry Halligan, August 2014.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

James Thompson RIP

Sad news via Scandinavian Crime Fiction, that James Thompson author of the Finland-set Inspector Kari Vaara series has died.

From an article in the Helsinki Times:
...the fifth book, Helsinki Dead, was set for release this year but its status is unknown. Thompson also contributed to Helsinki Noir, an anthology of short crime stories which is scheduled for publication this November.

From Terry's Euro Crime review of Snow Angels, the first book in the series:
SNOW ANGELS is an astonishing good first rate police procedural thriller. Extremely violent and so may not be for those that are particularly squeamish, but the author has the gift that the best writers have, which is to completely transport you to the world of his imagination all within a few pages. Finnish is a very hard language to learn and the names of characters in the story seem very strange to my eyes, but because of the writer's huge skill, this does not stop me enjoying this mesmerising story.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Review: Children of War by Martin Walker

Children of War by Martin Walker, June 2014, 400 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 184866401X

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Reading the first few lines of this latest book by Martin Walker, and settling in to enjoy the cooking and exploits of Bruno, Chef de Police, was like being welcomed home by a long-lost friend. It seems ages since I last had the pleasure of an evening with this delightful French policeman and his most recent tale is a real treat. Walker’s words bring Bruno’s world – his village, his culinary expertise, his women – so vividly to life that for the far too short a time that it takes to read this book you are transported to rural France and all the charms that it has to offer.

This case is not at all charming for Bruno, however, and this time all of his professional skills are tested to the limit. A badly mutilated body is found in a local woodland and, when it is identified as the undercover policeman who had contacted Bruno only hours before, to ask for help, Bruno discovers that his troubles are only beginning: soon after this grisly find, sleepy St. Denis finds itself at the centre of some unwanted global attention when Sami, a young, Muslim man, who has previously gone missing, turns up at a French base in Afghanistan and wants to be taken home. Despite being somewhere on the autistic spectrum and unable to talk to a significant degree, it looks as if he might have been responsible for building bombs that subsequently killed a large number of people, and he is wanted for questioning by several governments, including that of the USA. What should have been a joyful homecoming for Sami and his parents is soon fraught with worry and Bruno is drafted in to help with security after it becomes apparent that certain people from the mosque where Sami used to worship want him dead.

If you are already a fan of Bruno Courrèges, then you are going to love this latest book about him. If you have yet to meet this dashing young police officer then I suggest that CHILDREN OF WAR is an excellent place to start!

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, August 2014.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Some 1952 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in August, published in 1952. Here are a few classic crime titles to choose from, pulled from my database:
Margery Allingham - The Tiger in the Smoke
Georges Arnaud - The Wages of Fear
Margot Bennett - The Widow of Bath
Joanna Cannan - The Body in the Beck
Glyn Carr - The Youth Hostel Murders
Agatha Christie - They Do It With Mirrors (apa Murder With Mirrors)
Agatha Christie - Mrs McGinty's Dead (apa Blood Will Tell)
Marten Cumberland - Fade Out the Stars
Katherine Farrer - The Missing Link
Elbur Ford - The Bed Disturbed
Edward Grierson - Reputation for a Song
Georges Simenon - Maigret and the Gangsters (apa Inspector Maigret and the Killers)
Georges Simenon - Maigret's Revolver
Georges Simenon - The Girl with a Squint
Georges Simenon - Belle
Georges Simenon - The Brothers Rico
Josephine Tey - The Singing Sands
Patricia Wentworth - Ladies' Bane

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Website Updates - August 2014

I've updated the main files on the Euro Crime website today. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK eg Emily Brightwell's series which was published in the US in the 1990s (and on) is only now being published in the UK and so her books are appearing in the 2014 Historical list.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1027 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2126 authors (10568 titles of which 2807 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Ursula P Archer, Zoltan Boszormenyi, Neil Broadfoot, Steve Burrows, Tammy Cohen, Stella Duffy, Shu Ejima, Daniel Galera, Jasper Gibson, Alex Howard, D E Ireland, Carys Jones, Herman Koch, Frederick Lightfoot, Jane Lythell, Mallock, A J McCreanor, Karim Miske, Paul Pilkington, Dan T Sehlberg, Liad Shoham, Terry Stiastny, Anna Sweeney, Simon Sylvester, Kazuaki Takano, Jean Teule, Sophia Tobin, Olivier Truc, Ashley Weaver, Rebecca Whitney, Susan Wilkins and Jake Woodhouse.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jussi Adler-Olsen, Lin Anderson, M C Beaton, Sean Black, Hilary Bonner, John Boyne, Diana Bretherick, Simon Brett, Christopher Brookmyre, Eric Brown, Sheila Bugler, Andrea Camilleri, James Carol, Karen Charlton, Adam Chase, Ben Cheetham, Ann Cleeves, Alex Connor, James Craig, Matthew Dunn, Mark Ellis, Gordon Ferris, Conor Fitzgerald, Dick Francis, Alan Furst, A D Garrett, Sissel-Jo Gazan, Philippe Georget, Carin Gerhardsen, Michele Giuttari, Christopher (C W) Gortner, Andrew Grant, Alex Grecian, Elly Griffiths, Annie Hauxwell, Keigo Higashino, Sarah Hilary, Casey Hill, Pekka Hiltunen, Linda Huber, Philip Hunter, Steffen Jacobsen, Peter James, Quintin Jardine, Mons Kallentoft, Jessie Keane, Christobel Kent, Simon Kernick, Philip Kerr, Lynda La Plante, Camilla Lackberg, Hans Olav Lahlum, Stephen Leather, Sheila Lowe, Karen Maitland, Russel D McLean, Andy McNab, Catriona McPherson, Barbara Nadel, Fuminori Nakamura, James Oswald, Richard Jay Parker, Tim Parks, Anne Perry, Louise Phillips, Christine Poulson, Ann Purser, Sheila Quigley, Anthony Quinn, Christopher Radmann, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, Leigh Russell, Fay Sampson, Ian Sansom, Simon Scarrow, Lloyd Shepherd, Lynn Shepherd, Jeffrey Siger, Edney Silvestre, Georges Simenon, Cath Staincliffe, Vidar Sundstol, William Sutton, L C Tyler, S J Watson, Tim Weaver and Kerry Wilkinson.