Sunday, December 31, 2017

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2017 - Karen

Here are my favourite British/European/translated reads of 2017:

Karen Meek's favourite reads of 2017

1. British/European/Translated

I recently posted about this but I make no apologies for highlighting it again by revealing that my favourite read of 2017 was The Dying Detective by Leif G W Persson translated by Neil Smith. I'm so pleased that it won the CWA International Dagger.

My other top 4 in alphabetical order:

Death of a Ghost by M C Beaton
Hellfire by Karin Fossum translated by Kari Dickson
The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason translated by Victoria Cribb
A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward

2. Favourite Audio Book

I've got back into listening to audio books this year but not as many as I'd have liked. Raven Crime Reads recommended this author when I picked her brains at CrimeFest, so I thought I'd try the audio and it was such fun. If you like the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler then why not try The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel narrated by Andy Secombe. It features a mismatched due of police officers in 1888 Edinburgh and is very funny and very well narrated.

3. Favourite US Cozy

Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Some Mini Scandi Reviews II

Here are brief reviews of some of the Scandi books I've read this year. I'm including Vargas here as Iceland plays a significant role in her latest Adamsberg.

Karin Fossum – hellfire tr. Kari Dickson

Another bleak outing from Karin Fossum. It starts with the murder of a mother and child and the narrative subsequently alternates between events of several months leading up to the present day, and the present day investigation by series regular, Sejer. Fossum really knows how to break a reader's heart.

Leif G W Persson – The Dying Detective tr. Neil Smith

Shortlisted for the Petrona Award 2017 and winner of the CWA International Dagger 2017, there's not much to add to that. I loved this book. Borrowing from a tradition (I think) begun with Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, our ailing detective Lars Martin Johansson is laid up and asked to investigate a cold case from his sick bed - incidentally a case messed up by one Evert Backstrom. He must find the killer of a little girl. As the statue of limitations has passed what can they do if they do find the murderer? One of the many questions pondered by Johansson.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Why Did You Lie? tr. Victoria Cribb

Also shortlisted for the Petrona Award 2017, Why Did You Lie? is a multi-person narrative – how do their stories overlap and who is behind the sinister events affecting each person? This is the sort of book that when you get to the conclusion you then have to go back to the beginning of the book to see how it's all been cleverly woven together. Some of the narratives are more compelling than others so overall it doesn’t quite live up to the heights of the Petrona Award winning The Silence of the Sea, which I loved.

Fred Vargas – A Climate of Fear tr. Sian Reynolds

This is the latest in the Commissaire Adamsberg series to reach us in English, and it was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger 2017. This one is mostly set in Paris and surroundings with a significant thread playing out in Iceland which necessitates a visit by Adamsberg and some of his colleagues. Vargas weaves her usual fantastical tale this time revolving around Robespierre and the French Revolution/Reign of Terror. I found this topic interesting up to a point but the pace of the book sags in the middle after what seems like countless historical re-enactments and only springs back to life in the subsequent Icelandic section. Overall this was a bit of a disappointment compared to her usual 5-star outings. Nonetheless she's always worth a read but it's perhaps not the best one to start with.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Black Mirror: Crocodile (Netflix)

One of the episodes of Black Mirror's fourth series, available on Netflix on 29 December, is called Crocodile. Set in Iceland it stars Andrea Riseborough and is described as a Scandi-noir influenced thriller (in my tv guide).

Here is the trailer:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Website Updates: December 2017

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.*

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).

*I've also added the breakdowns for 2018: ie published in the UK in 2018 (ALL, Anthology, First Novel, Historical, Translated) - NB the Anthology one is currently blank.

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 1068 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2519 authors (12700 titles of which 3057 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Emma Angstrom, Natasha Bell, James Buckler, Tana Collins, Elle Croft, Alex Day, Teresa Driscoll, Sarah Dunnakey, Jessica Ellicott, Caroline England, Caroline Eriksson, Ramon Diaz Eterovic, Jessica Fellowes, Elina Hirvonen, Cara Hunter, Corrie Jackson, Luke Jennings, Margaret Kirk, Emily Koch, Nicola Lagioia, Amy Lloyd, Alan Parks, Christoffer Petersen, Andreas Pfluger, Jenny Quintana, Khurrum Rahman, Laura Joh Rowland, Jackson Sharp, Lilja Sigurdardottir, M J Tija, Jussi Valtonen, Nicolas Verdan, Rachel Ward, Stephen Weeks, Chris Whitaker and James Wolff.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Stefan Ahnhem, Boris Akunin, Alaux & Balen, Tasha Alexander, David Ashton, M C Beaton, Simon Beaufort, James Becker, Mark Billingham, Jenny Blackhurst, Sara Blaedel, Simon Booker, Rhys Bowen, Alan Bradley, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Tom Callaghan, Stella Cameron, Andrea Camilleri, Sam Carrington, Andrea Carter, Alys Clare, Cassandra Clark, Ann Cleeves, Rory Clements, Martina Cole, Chris Collett, Sheila Connolly, Lesley Cookman, A J Cross, Judith Cutler, Lindsey Davis, Sandrone Dazieri, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Anja de Jager, Luke Delaney, P C/Paul Doherty, Eva Dolan, Matthew Dunn, Paul Finch, Dick Francis, Nicci French, Frances Fyfield, Santiago Gamboa, Pascal Garnier, Elizabeth George, Philippe Georget, Mario Giordano, Abdelilah Hamdouchi, Sophie Hannah, Mark Hardie, Indrek Hargla, Robert Harris, Tessa Harris, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Sarah Hawkswood, Veronica Heley, Mandasue Heller, Peter Helton, Mick Herron, Keigo Higashino, Sarah Hilary, Matt Hilton, Peter Hoeg, Martin Holmen, Tetsuya Honda, Anthony Horowitz, Catherine Ryan Howard, Arnaldur Indridason, P D James, Quintin Jardine, Lene Kaaberbol, Claire Kendal, Simon Kernick, Philip Kerr, Vaseem Khan, Joseph Knox, R J Koreto, Lynda La Plante, Hans Olav Lahlum, Janice Law, Adam Lebor, Leena Lehtolainen, Catherine Lloyd, Peter Lovesey, Walter Lucius, Stuart MacBride, Torquil MacLeod, Gilly Macmillan, Susan Elia MacNeal, Adrian Magson, G M Malliet, Michael J Malone, Scott Mariani, David Mark, Edward/A E Marston, Priscilla Masters, Alyssa Maxwell, Val McDermid, Andy McDermott, James McGee, Claire McGowan, Andy McNab, Catriona McPherson, Kate Medina, Eduardo Mendoza, Denise Mina, Mandy Morton, Abir Mukherjee, James Nally, Jo Nesbo, Harri Nykanen, Pat O'Keeffe, Mark Oldfield, Nick Oldham, Ronnie O'Sullivan, James Oswald, Julie Parsons, Chris Petit, Christine Poulson, Anthony J Quinn, Caro Ramsay, Ruth Rendell, Kate Rhodes, Peter Robinson, Rosemary Rowe, James Runcie, Norman Russell, Tony Schumacher, EV Seymour, Zoe Sharp, William Shaw, Alexander McCall Smith, Anna Smith, Sally Spencer, Cath Staincliffe, Michael Stanley, Viveca Sten, Vidar Sundstol, William Sutton, Gard Sveen, Will Thomas, Robert Thorogood, Marilyn Todd, Kerry Tombs, Rebecca Tope, M J Trow, Valerio Varesi, Marco Vichi, Ashley Weaver, Jason Webster, Lee Weeks, Marianne Wheelaghan, Neil White, Kevin Wignall, Andrew Wilson, Emily Winslow, Jacqueline Winspear, Inger Wolf, Patricia Wynn and Hideo Yokoyama.

Friday, December 08, 2017

New books from Sara Blaedel

Fans of Danish author Sara Blaedel will have a bumper year in 2018. January seems some infilling of the Louise Rick series with two new books plus a reissue of an earlier book under a different title, and February sees the start of a new series. These are all US publications. Unfortunately I haven't been able to identify the translators yet.

The first book in the Louise Rick series is not yet available but the author says on her Goodreads page: "my publisher Grand Central just bought the rights, so it will be translated, but I don't know when they will publish".

Louise Rick

Books 5 and 6: The Running Girl and The Stolen Angel are out in January with book 4, Farewell to Freedom being reissued as The Night Women.

Ilka Nichols Jensen

Book 1: The Undertaker's Daughter is out in February.

Reading order from the Euro Crime website:

Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Call Me Princess (apa Blue Blood) 2011 #2
• Only One Life 2012 #3
• Farewell to Freedom (apa The Night Women) 2012 #4
• The Running Girl 2018 #5
• The Stolen Angel 2018 #6
• The Forgotten Girls 2015 #7
• The Killing Forest 2016 #8
• The Lost Woman 2017 #9

Ilka Nichols Jensen
• The Undertaker's Daughter 2018 #1

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

TV News: French crime drama aplenty

Currently we have Witnesses series two, A Frozen Death, on BBC Four at 9pm on Saturday nights but next week on Wednesday (13 Dec), Channel 4 are showing the first of six parts of Vanished by the Lake. (The remaining five episodes can be watched via All 4).

Episode 1

Detective Lise Stocker hears a teenager has vanished from her hometown during a local celebration. Her two best friends disappeared in identical circumstances 15 years earlier. Is there a connection?


Even bigger news is that we finally have an air-date for Spiral series six. Courtesy of The Killing Times, the long awaited date is...30 December.

Friday, December 01, 2017

New Releases - December 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in December 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). December and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Beaufort, Simon - Mind of a Killer #1 Alec Londale, Victorian Era
• Cameron, Stella - Whisper the Dead #5 Alex Duggins, Folly-on-Weir, Cotswolds
• Carrington, Sam - Bad Sister
• Corrias, Pino - We'll Sleep When We're Old
• Eterovic, Ramon Diaz - Dark Echoes of the Past
• Flint, Sarah - Liar Liar #3 DC 'Charlie' Stafford
• Heley, Veronica - False Pride #12 Bea Abbott, Sixty-something owner of The Abbott (Domestic) Agency
• Heller, Mandasue - Save Me
• Helton, Peter - Lock 13 #7 Chris Honeysett, artist/PI, Bath
• Hunter, Cara - Close to Home #1 DI Adam Fawley, Oxford
• Kaaberbol, Lene - A Lady in Shadow #2 Madeleine Karno, 1894
• Lloyd, Amy - The Innocent Wife
• Lovesey, Peter - Beau Death #17 Peter Diamond, Bath
• Maxwell, Alyssa - A Devious Death #3 Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery
• McCrery, Nigel - Flesh and Blood #5 DCI Mark Lapslie, synaesthesia sufferer
• Nally, James - Games with the Dead #3 PC Donal Lynch, London
• Oldham, Nick - Bad Cops #23 DCI Christie
• Parks, Alan - Bloody January #1 Harry McCoy, Police Officer, Glasgow, 1973
• Quinn, Anthony J - Undertow #5 Celcius Daly, Police Inspector, Northern Ireland
• Quintana, Jenny - The Missing Girl
• Robins, Jane - White Bodies
• Rogers, Bill - The Tangled Lock #3 National Crime Agency
• Rowland, Laura Joh - The Ripper's Shadow #1 Miss Sarah Bain, Victorian Era
• Seymour, EV - A Deadly Trade #1 Josh Thane
• Tursten, Helene - Protected by the Shadows #10 Inspector Huss, Gothenburg

Friday, November 24, 2017

TV News: Wisting

Sven Nordin is to take the lead role in Wisting, based on the books by (Petrona Award winning) Jorn Lier Horst. Fingers crossed for UK transmission. Here is some of the official press release:

Cinenord and Good Company Films to produce the new major Norwegian drama series Wisting


Jørn Lier Horst’s wildly popular and award-winning books about homicide detective William Wisting will now become a TV series – with Sven Nordin in the leading role.

Sven Nordin is a beloved and revered character actor in Norway, and has also enjoyed great international success recently with the Norwegian drama series “Valkyrien” (NRK).

In the role of William Wisting, Sven Nordin will portray the hard-working, compassionate investigator who is trying to be a force of good in the world, without losing himself to the darkness. Wisting has dedicated his life to solving the senseless and vicious murders that shock his small coastal town. But trying to make the world a safer place comes at a huge cost – failing your own family.

– ”Wisting is a complex and intriguing person, and I can’t wait to portray him. I am a great admirer of the author Jørn Lier Horst and it is with great humility and joy that I embark on this task. This will be exciting! I look forward to it!” says actor Sven Nordin.

– “I am delighted by the great enthusiasm the project has been met with, and that the Wisting series will become a reality. I’m grateful that Sven Nordin has accepted the leading role of William Wisting. It is an excellent choice. He is stylistically assured and one of our very best character actors”, says author Jørn Lier Horst, a former Senior Investigating Officer in the Norwegian police force.

The first season of the series is based on two of the most popular
and prized books in the Wisting literary series, The Hunting Dogs and The Caveman. Shooting commences on January 17th, 2018 on location on southeastern Norwegian twin towns Larvik and Stavern.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: In Dust and Ashes by Anne Holt tr. Anne Bruce

In Dust and Ashes by Anne Holt translated by Anne Bruce, November 2017, 400 pages, Corvus, ISBN: 1782398821

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

Oslo, Norway: January 2016
Kjell Bonsaksen is looking forward to his retirement from the police and his move to Provence. Squeezing ketchup onto the hot dog, he glances through the window towards the petrol pumps as a man approaches the entrance doors. Their eyes meet and Bonsaksen freezes mid-bite. The man fills his cup at the coffee dispenser and as he passes Bonsaksen, he softly says: “You knew I was innocent. You did nothing.”

Oslo: December 2001

Jonas has continuously recalculated the chronology: if he hadn’t had that extra coffee; if he hadn’t cut his hand and allowed little Dina to bandage it; if he hadn’t fumbled the keys or stopped to sort out the junk mail in the mailbox; those misplaced seconds that led to the fatal timing of a little girl running out into the road and stumbling. He had screamed as he tried to push the wheel of the car from his daughter’s body and he had screamed “My fault” at the bewildered driver, “Mine.”

Oslo: January 2016
Henrik Holme is blocked and jostled by the waiting crowd of journalists as he pushes Hanne’s wheelchair out of the courtroom. Flash photography and shouted questions gradually subside as the journalists examine their phones; the news of the death of Iselin Havorn has pushed the Extremist Trial’s verdict off their agenda.

These days Henrik has his own office and reports to Chief Inspector Sorensen. From seven in the morning until ten at night, he shuttles between this office and his mentor Hanne's apartment, should she need him. Now it is evening and he is staring despondently at his empty in-tray when a burly man darkens the doorway and places an old blue ring-binder on his desk, insisting that Henrik and Hanne look into the case.

Henrik explains that he cannot take a case unless it is referred by the Chief, no matter how much he sympathises over a criminal getting away. The man interrupts, “He didn’t get away,” and tells Henrik that he, Superintendent Bonsaksen, cannot enjoy his retirement until … well. The man was convicted and served time. He never fought the charge of killing his wife. But Bonsaksen always doubted the verdict. When, the other day, he bumped into the man – his eyes were … dead. That man lost everything, Bonsaksen tells Henrik. Jonas Abrahamsen deserves another chance.

Confined to a wheelchair, Hanne Wilhelmsen advises the Oslo police on cold cases from the apartment she shares with her wife and daughter and is assisted by Detective Henrik Holme, a talented but isolated investigator. Hanne is between official cases when she becomes obsessed with the suicide of wealthy businesswoman and blogger Iselin Havorn. Havorn (meaning Sea Eagle) was a successful Marxist-Leninist journalist who, after becoming ill with what she decided was mercury poisoning and electromagnetic sensitivity, had turned towards alternative cures, an alternative lifestyle, conspiracy theories and eventually right-wing nationalism. Her wealth had been founded upon business interests in her wife’s herbal cure company. Recently she became notorious when unmasked as the writer of a virulently racist blog and her sudden death with its suicide note is a media sensation. But Hanne cannot believe that a woman such as Havorn would have killed herself.

Meanwhile Henrik becomes equally concerned by the guilty verdict that convicted Jonas Abrahamsen of the murder of his wife on New Year’s Eve two years after their daughter’s death. The couple were divorcing and Henrik thinks that the traumatised man’s mistake had been to deny visiting his wife on that New Year’s Eve. When Jonas was identified as the figure on the path in the background of a neighbour’s party photograph, with no other suspect in the shooting of his ex-wife, he was convicted. With no fight left in him to appeal, he went to prison for eight years.

Now Henrik and Hanne are at odds with each other. Each is convinced that their cases need investigation, each disagrees with the other’s preoccupation but neither have official permission to investigate. Then everything, it appears, must be put on hold when the child of a national lottery winner is abducted.

IN DUST AND ASHES is described by its publisher as the tenth and “final instalment” in Anne Holt’s “Hanne Wilhelmsen” crime series. An undoubted giant of Nordic crime fiction, Holt has a fine reputation and a host of fans. I have failed to keep up with Hanne since the earlier novels – not following her as a character and the twists, turns and shooting that have led to her confinement to a wheelchair. Nor have I got to know Henrik Holme until now. Therefore I’ll admit to finding the going a bit difficult. The novel unfolds from the working relationship of Hanne and Henrik. Hanne appears to be withdrawing from all social contact other than with Henrik and her family whilst Henrik struggles to modify his compulsive tics and obsessions and to draw closer to “fitting in”. As the plot throws it spotlight on Jonas – it seems as if most of this book’s characters are expressing psychological misery and alienation (with due cause you could say) and this leaves me with the uneasy feeling that Holt has become the queen of bleak. Except for the happy retiree Bonsaksen, whose insistence on re-examining the murder conviction of Jonas provides the impetus for unfolding an ingenious puzzle of a plot.

A thorough police procedural and a tour de force in character study and plotting, IN DUST AND ASHES eventually develops suspense and pace and hurtles towards its ending. But it left me unsure of my feelings about it all. I don’t mind my Nordic Noir being dark but I’m not too sure of almost (and I do say almost) relentlessly bleak.

Lynn Harvey, November 2017

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Publishing Deal - Philip Kerr

From the Bookbrunch newsletter:
Quercus has signed three novels by Philip Kerr, continuing his historical noir series featuring Detective Bernie Gunther.
Reviews and series order can be found on the Euro Crime website.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

TV News: The Sinner

The Sinner starts on Netflix on Tuesday. Based on German author Petra Hammesfahr's novel, is stars Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.
"When a young mother inexplicably stabs a stranger to death, a sympathetic detective struggles to unlock the mystery buried in her missing memories."
Fiona Walker reviewed THE SINNER, translated into English by John Brownjohn, for Euro Crime back in 2008:
Petra Hammesfahr's THE SINNER is a brilliant book, an absolutely masterly piece of crime fiction. Once again I find myself endlessly grateful for the continuing zeitgeist of translated crime, which means that we English readers get the treat of reading this exemplary psychological thriller, a haunting descent into the torments of one woman's youthful years.

...there's been a lot of buzz about Stieg Larsson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and deservedly so, but this first translation from Hammesfahr is without doubt of equal quality, and deserves just as much praise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

New Releases - November 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in November 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). November and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Anthology - CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour (ed. Martin Edwards)
• Anthology - Murder on Christmas Eve (ed. Cecily Gayford)
• Amphlett, Rachel - Hell to Pay #4 Detective Kay Hunter
• Blackhurst, Jenny - The Foster Child
• Boland, Shalini - The Secret Mother
• Bonda, Katarzyna - Girl at Midnight
• Bowen, Rhys - The Ghost of Christmas Past #17 Molly Murphy, PI, 1900s New York
• Bruen, Ken - The Ghosts of Galway #13 Jack Taylor
• Caan, Alex - First to Die #2 DCI Kate Riley and Zain Harris
• Carrisi, Donato - The Girl in the Fog
• Child, Lee - The Midnight Line #22 Jack Reacher, ex MP, USA
• Cutts, Lisa - Buried Secrets
• de Jager, Anja - Death on the Canal #3 Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case Detective, Amsterdam
• Dearman, Lara - The Devil's Claw #1 Jennifer Dorey, journalist & DCI Michael Gilbert, Guernsey
• Doherty, Paul/P C - Devil's Wolf #19 Hugh Corbett
• Fielden, T P - Resort to Murder #2 Miss Dimont, Temple Regis, Devon
• Fortin, Sue - The Birthday Girl
• Fyfield, Frances - Welcome the Stranger #4 Di Porteous
• Griffiths, Elly - The Vanishing Box #4 Stephens and Mephisto, Brighton, 1950s
• Gunn, Alastair - Cold Christmas #4 DCI Antonia Hawkins, London
• Hamdy, Adam - Freefall #2 John Wallace
• Harvey, John - Going Down Slow and Other Stories
• Holliday, Susi - The Deaths of December
• Holt, Anne - In Dust and Ashes #10 Hanne Wilhelmsen
• Jackson, Corrie - The Perfect Victim #2 Sophie Kent, Journalist
• Jonasson, Ragnar - Whiteout #4 Ari Thor, Policeman
• Kernick, Simon - The Hanged Man #2 DI Ray Mason and Tina Boyd, London
• Kirk, Margaret - Shadow Man #1 ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler, Inverness
• Koreto, R J - Death at the Emerald #3 Lady Frances Ffolkes, Edwardian era
• Kray, Roberta - Survivor
• Law, J S - The Fear Within #2 Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, Royal Navy
• Lebor, Adam - District VIII #1 Balthazar Kovacs, Detective, Budapest
• Lehtolainen, Leena - Below the Surface #8 Detective Maria Kallio, Helsinki
• Llobregat, Jordi - The Secret of Vesalius
• Lloyd, Catherine - Death Comes to the School #5 Kurland St. Mary Mysteries
• MacBride, Stuart - Now We Are Dead #1 DS Roberta Steel
• MacLeod, Torquil - Menace in Malmo #5 Inspector Anita Sundstrom
• Mariani, Scott - The Bach Manuscript #16 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• Marsons, Angela - Broken Bones (ebook only) #7 DI Kim Stone
• McIntyre, WHS - Last Will #9 Best Defense
• O'Keeffe, Pat - Blind Chance
• Oksanen, Sofi - Norma
• O'Sullivan, Ronnie - Double Kiss #2 Frankie James
• Petit, Chris - Pale Horse Riding #2 Schlegel and Morgen, Germany, 1943
• Pfluger, Andreas - In the Dark #1 Jenny Aaron
• Poulson, Christine - Cold, Cold Heart #2 Katie Flanagan
• Rahman, Khurrum - East of Hounslow #1 Jay Qasim
• Ramsay, Caro - The Suffering of Strangers #9 DCI McAlpine, DS Anderson and DS Costello, Glasgow
• Riches, Marnie - The Cover Up #1 O'Briens, Manchester
• Sharp, Zoe - Fox Hunter #12 Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard
• Shaw, M B - Murder at the Mill #1 Iris Grey, portrait painter and amateur sleuth, Hampshire
• Sten, Viveca - Tonight You're Dead #4 Sandhamn Murders
• Taylor, Marsali - Death in Shetland Waters #6 Shetland Sailing Mysteries
• Todd, Charles - Casualty of War #9 Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse, WWI
• Tyler, L C - Fire #4 John Grey, lawyer, 1657
• Valtonen, Jussi - They Know Not What They Do
• Veste, Luca - The Bone Keeper #1 DC Louise Henderson
• Wynn, Patricia - Whisper of Death #6 Gideon Mars & Mrs Kean

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Awards News: Ngaio Marsh Awards 2017 - Winners

Last month, Euro Crime took part in the Ngaio Marsh Awards blog tour and I'm very pleased to publish the press release revealing the winners:

Fresh blood on the ferns: new voices dominate Ngaio Marsh Awards

The usual suspects took a back seat as first-time crime writers Fiona Sussman, Finn Bell, and Michael Bennett swept the spoils at the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards in Christchurch on Saturday night.

The talented trio made history on several fronts at a special WORD Christchurch event hosted in Dame Ngaio’s hometown by Scorpio Books as part of nationwide NZ Bookshop Day celebrations.

“Each of our winners this year is a remarkable storyteller who uses crime writing as a prism through which to explore broader human and societal issues,” said Ngaios founder Craig Sisterson. “When we launched in 2010 we wanted to highlight excellence in local crime writing, beyond traditional ideas of puzzling whodunits or airport thrillers. Our 2017 winners emphasise that broader scope to the genre, and showcase the inventiveness and world-class quality of our local storytellers.”

Sussman is the first female author to win the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE (Allison & Busby) is her second novel but the first foray into crime storytelling for the former GP who grew up in Apartheid South Africa. It explores the ongoing impact of a brutal home invasion on both victim and perpetrator. “Laden with empathy and insight,” said the international judging panel. “A challenging, emotional read, harrowing yet touching, this is brave and sophisticated storytelling.”

It took Sussman seven years to research and write her winning novel. She travelled Aotearoa visiting prisons, talking to police and victims, inmates and ex-gang members, and seeking advice from Māori writers to ensure she brought authenticity to the disparate worlds of her characters. She won a Ngaios trophy, special edition of a Dame Ngaio book, and $1,000 cash prize courtesy of WORD Christchurch.

Self-published e-book author Finn Bell won Best First Novel for DEAD LEMONS and was a finalist for Best Crime Novel for PANCAKE MONEY. His debut explores themes of addiction, loss, and recovery as a wheelchair-bound man contemplating suicide decamps to a remote cottage in Southland, only to be obsessively drawn into a dangerous search for a father and daughter who went missing years before.
Bell has worked in night shelters, charities, hospitals, and prisons. He is the first author to ever have two books become finalists in a single year. The judges called him "a wonderful new voice in crime writing” who “delivers a tense, compelling tale centred on an original, genuine, and vulnerable character."

Experienced filmmaker Michael Bennett (Te Arawa) won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Non Fiction for IN DARK PLACES (Paul Little Books), the astonishing tale of how teenage car thief Teina Pora spent decades in prison for the brutal murder of Susan Burdett, and the remarkable fight to free him. The international judging panel called it “a scintillating, expertly balanced account of one of the most grievous miscarriages of justice in New Zealand history".

“Decades ago a woman from Christchurch was among the biggest names in the books world,” said Sisterson. “In recent years there’s a growing appreciation abroad for the top talent of our contemporary Kiwi crime writers; a reputation that’s going to flourish even more thanks to this year’s winners.”

For more information about the Ngaio Marsh Awards, contact the Judging Convenor: or

Friday, October 27, 2017

Awards News: CWA Daggers 2017 - Winners

The Press Release announcing the winners (shortlists can be found here):

CWA Daggers 2017 Awarded to

The Dry, Spook Street and Tall Oaks

The 2017 winners of the prestigious CWA Daggers were announced at a gala dinner sponsored by publishers Pan Macmillan at the Grange City Hotel, Cooper’s Row, London on Thursday 26 October.

The CWA Daggers, the crème de la crème of crime-writing awards, were awarded to:

Gold – for the best crime novel of the year: Jane Harper for The Dry

Ian Fleming Steel – for the best crime thriller of the year; Mick Herron for Spook Street

John Creasey New Blood – for the best debut crime novel; Chris Whitaker for Tall Oaks

Endeavour Historical – for the best historical crime novel; Abir Mukherjee for A Rising Man

Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction – for non-fiction crime; Stephen Purvis for Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro’s Cuba

Short Story – for a short crime story published in the UK; L C Tyler for ‘The Trials of Margaret’ from Motives for Murder, edited by Martin Edwards

International – for crime fiction translated into English and published in the UK; Leif G W Persson for The Dying Detective, translated by Neil Smith

Dagger in the Library – for the author of the most enjoyed collection of work in libraries; Mari Hannah (announced earlier in the year)

Debut Dagger sponsored by Orion Books – for the opening of a crime novel by a writer with no publishing contract at time of submission: Sherry Rankin for Strange Fire

The Diamond Dagger, for a career’s outstanding contribution to crime fiction as nominated by CWA members, was announced earlier in the year and awarded to the very popular author Ann Cleeves, who received the stunning Cartier Diamond Dagger. Ann is known for her work with libraries and for her TV series: with Vera and Shetland, she is the only living author to have two major drama series broadcast at the same time.

The after-dinner speaker was Robert Thorogood, creator and writer of TV series Death in Paradise, and Master of Ceremonies was leading crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw, author of Brit Noir. The quality of entertainment and crime-writing erudition on display was excellent, and much enjoyed by the authors, publishers, literary agents, CWA members, actors and crime writing fans at the event.

For more details on the authors and the books, including publishers, and for photos of the event soon to be posted, please visit the website:

Dagger Review Competition
The CWA is launching a public competition for the best review of a CWA Dagger-shortlisted or winning title, or a book by the Diamond Dagger or Dagger in the Library winners. The competition is open to anyone; simply submit a review on The writer of the best review wins a full weekend pass to CrimeFest 2018 (event only), and a copy of the new anthologies shortly to be released by both the CWA and CrimeFest.

CWA Daggers 2018
Nominations from publishers are now open for the CWA Dagger Awards 2018. Longlists will be announced at CrimeFest on 18 May 2018.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Publishing Deal - Isabel Ashdown

From today's Bookseller:
Trapeze will publish an “unsettling thriller” set in Norway from novelist Isabel Ashdown which promises “jawdropping twists and turns”.

Sam Eades, editorial director at the Orion imprint, acquired world rights (all languages) for two more books by Isabel Ashdown.

The first book, Lake Child, will be published in spring 2019, set in Norway and London, exploring the "dangerous lengths parents will go to in the name of love".

Lake Child follows a young Norwegian woman who wakes from an accident missing her most recent memories and trusts her parents’ advice that she must stay confined to her bedroom while she recuperates. However when she breaks out she discovers a world of secrets and lies which force her to question her who her parents really are.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: I Am Missing by Tim Weaver

I Am Missing by Tim Weaver, July 2017, 544 pages, Penguin, ISBN: 1405917849

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Richard Kite is someone who has no memory of who he is or where he came from. He was found besides a lifeboat station on the Hampshire coast. His name has been made up for him. He asks private investigator David Raker to try and find out who he is. He seems to have a west country accent but is not recognised locally.

Richard sees psychologist Naomi Russum based in London. Raker visits Russom's clinic but finds her evasive. He gains access to her office illegally and finds photographs that she uses in her sessions with Richard, they include two photographs of a mysterious woman. Raker follows Russum to a school – The Red Tree City of London school.

Raker finds a mutilated woman's body on a disused railway site and connects this to the school, and particularly to a teacher – Jacob Howson. He meets the school's head Roland Dell and meets the sinister security chief Alexander Marek. Can Raker find out who Richard is and why he has lost his memory?

There are three parts to the book. The main part is with Raker's investigation. The second part is a diary written by a young girl Penny Beck. She appears to live on an island in the south Atlantic, very similar in climate to the Falklands. She lives with her mother and stepfather and step sister Beth. There is an area on the island fenced off called the Brink and all islanders are warned to keep away. The third part is a travel book around Britain's shores.

I have read a couple of the author's David Raker series and enjoyed his compelling storytelling. This book is equally rewarding. I didn't find the storyline around the Brink very plausible, however this is a minor criticism. Recommended as a good read.

Geoff Jones, October 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: The Magdalena File by Jon Stenhugg

The Magdalena File by Jon Stenhugg, August 2017, Endeavour Press, ISBN: 978-1549581441

Reviewed by Ewa Sherman.

Sara Markham, 36-year-old Homicide Investigator at Sweden’s National Bureau of Investigation is called to a crime scene: a body of a tortured man was found in his own home on Sela Island. He seemed to have been electrocuted and then shot twice closely in the chest. Initial investigation showed that the victim was Leo Hoffberg, outspoken and rebellious MP who had recently quit Parliament, interested in environmental matters, former member of the Defence Department Committee. Just before his death he had seemingly delivered a letter to the Prime Minister, threatening to expose secrets and to destroy the entire city of Stockholm.

His shocked and grieving wife Kristina couldn’t fathom any reason for the murder, though she pointed at Magdalena, a cleaner from Poland, and decided to check through all her husband's possessions. Documents come to light showing that Hoffberg might have bought a manual for a Shkval, a nuclear Russian torpedo.

But as Sara begins to work on the case, she gets contradictory messages from her superiors. She’s also required to look for Martin Spimler, whose boat was found drifting empty in the waters opposite Stockholm’s City Hall. The missing man, a retired Navy diver was interested in a ‘fish project’ and travelled to Estonia some time ago with Hoffberg.

At the back of her mind is the tragedy of MS Sally, brought to her attention at the victim’s home. The sinking of MS Sally in September 1994, off the coast of Sweden and close to Estonia, had put the entire nation into a state of mourning. The wreckage of the ship has never been discovered, but several theories float around, implying that the dangerous weapon, the infamous Shkval, was being smuggled to Stockholm.

The quote at the beginning of the book is indeed very apt: "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead". The author cleverly moves between different points of views, to muddy the waters, not just for the readers for also for the main players. Hard-working Sara is kept in the dark; her boss Sven Peterson wants quick results yet seems to withhold certain information; Chief Inspector Lars Ekman, head of the Counter Terrorism seems to be pulling all the strings, and then a legendary retired US Army CID Lieutenant John Hurtree is brought to Europe as a ‘tourist’ and the only person who might have seen the elusive Schneller, an ex-Stasi secret agent. Sara tries to balance the conflicting demands and her own equilibrium while convinced that a certain Kim Lemko, somehow connected to the murdered man, and a technological company in Tallinn, is behind the murder, and also a link to the dangerous torpedo hidden underwater.

Jon Stenhugg is a pen name of a Swedish author born in California, USA. A graduate of Education, Psychology and Statistics from Stockholm University his career involved teaching and IT. THE MAGDALENA FILE follows his debut novel THE SECOND CHILD, and again demonstrates his fascination with European history. The fast-moving tight plot offers plenty of surprises, and an occasional cynical sense of humour which lightens the mood of an otherwise very serious thriller and shady politics, with the caricature-like Swedish Prime Minister and a sleazy Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the centre of the current investigation. Relationships between central characters keep changing as quickly as the priorities which move from the local searches to the wider international arena. The dark past is never far behind and its enigmas can have devastating consequences, as shown by the background stories of Kim Lemko and the mysterious Magdalena.

THE MAGDALENA FILE is a good solid read.

Ewa Sherman, October 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TV News: Jordskott Series 2

The second series of Swedish drama, Jordskott, starts on ITV Encore tomorrow night (19 Oct) at 10pm. There are 8 episodes.

Episode 1

Two years have passed since Silverhöjd was rocked by harrowing events. Eva Thörnblad has left Silverhöjd to return to the grey concrete of the big city and her job with the Stockholm police. Eva is trying to move on, but struggles with her grief over Josefin and the pain that the Jordskott causes her. Soon, Eva is drawn into a mysterious case with a connection to her own past, and she is forced to confront the mystical world she decided to put behind her.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Review: The House of Four by Barbara Nadel

The House of Four by Barbara Nadel, May 2017, 336 pages, Headline, ISBN: 1472234650

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

There is an old crumbling house that the locals know as the Devil’s House, believed by most to have been long abandoned. However it was occupied by 3 brothers and their sister – all in their 90s – and all apparently stabbed through the heart on the same day.

Inspector Ikmen slowly unravels the history of the house and the sad history of the four old people who only communicated with each other by letters which show their hatred of each other. Ikmen comes to believe that their murder can only be solved by uncovering the events of years before.

At the same time someone is killing people at random in the City and Inspector Mehmet Suleyman is charged with identifying and stopping the killer. The cases move slowly together but is it the same killer?

This is the latest of the series featuring Inspector Cetin Ikmen. Set in Istanbul, a secular city but with a rising number of citizens who would like to see the return of a more conservative Muslim society.

For me the history of Istanbul and its people is an important and interesting part of this series. The complexity of that history and how that still influences life today make these a fascinating read.

Susan White, October 2017

Sunday, October 01, 2017

New Releases - October 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in October 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). October and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Anthology - The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers
• Anthology - Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women (ed. Sophie Hannah)
• Akunin, Boris - All The World's A Stage #11 Erast Fandorin, Gentleman Sleuth, Russia
• Alexander, Tasha - Death in St. Petersburg #12 Lady Emily
• Beaton, M C - Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree #29 Agatha Raisin, Retired PR person, Cotswolds
• Becker, James - The Templar Brotherhood #3 The Lost Treasure of the Templars
• Brightwell, Emily - Mrs Jeffries and the Three Wise Women #36 Mrs Jeffries
• Brody, Frances - Death in the Stars #9 Kate Shackleton, Bradford, 1920s
• Brown, Vivien - Lily Alone
• Burnet, Graeme Macrae - The Accident on the A35
• Carter, Andrea - The Well of Ice #3 Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keeffe, Solicitor, Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland.
• Chapman, Julia - Date with Malice #2 The Dales Detective Series
• Clare, Alys - The Rufus Spy #8 Lassair, 11thC, East Anglia
• Cookman, Lesley - Murder by the Barrel #18 Libby Sarjeant, middle aged actress/investigator, Kent
• Cutler, Judith - Head Count #2 Jane Cowan, Wrayford, Kent
• D'Andrea, Luca - The Mountain
• Day, Alex - The Missing Twin
• Driscoll, Teresa - I Am Watching You
• Dunn, Matthew - Act of Betrayal #7 Will Cochrane, Super-spy
• Edmondson, Elizabeth - A Matter of Loyalty (with Anselm Audley) #3 Very English Mystery
• Ellicott, Jessica - Murder in an English Village #1 Beryl and Edwina Mystery, 1920s
• England, Caroline - Beneath the Skin
• Finch, Paul - Shadows #2 Lucy Clayburn
• Hamdouchi, Abdelilah - Bled Dry #1 Detective Hanash, Casablanca
• Harris, Robert J - The Thirty-One Kings #1 Richard Hannay
• Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia - Shadow Play #20 Bill Slider, Shepherd's Bush CID
• James, P D - Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales
• James, Peter - Absolute Proof
• Jardine, Quintin - State Secrets #28 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh
• Law, Janice - Mornings in London #6 Francis Bacon
• Macmillan, Gilly - Odd Child Out #1 Detective Jim Clemo, Bristol
• Magson, Adrian - Rocco and the Nightingale #5 Inspector Lucas Rocco, Poissons-Les-Marais, 1960s
• Malliet, G M - Weycombe
• Mankell, Henning - After the Fire
• Marston, Edward - Under Attack #7 Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy
• Masters, Priscilla - The Deceiver #2 Dr Claire Roget, Forensic Psychiatrist
• Masterton, Graham - The Coven #2 Beatrice Scarlet, 1750s
• McNab, Andy - Line of Fire #19 The Nick Stone Missions
• Nesser, Hakan - The Darkest Day #1 Inspector Barbarotti
• Poulson, Christine - Cold, Cold Heart #2 Katie Flanagan
• Purcell, Laura - The Silent Companions
• Rendell, Ruth - A Spot of Folly (Short Stories)
• Rowe, Rosemary - The Price of Freedom #17 Mosaicist Libertus, Glevum (modern Gloucester)
• Schumacher, Tony - An Army of One #3 John Rossett
• Sharp, Zoe - Fox Hunter #12 Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard
• Sigurdardottir, Lilja - Snare
• Smith, Anna - The Hit #9 Rosie Gilmour, Crime Journalist, 1990s
• Spencer, Sally - Dry Bones #2 Jennie Redhead, PI, Oxford, 1974
• Thomas, Will - Old Scores #9 Barker and Llewelyn, Victorian London
• Thomson, E S - The Blood #3 Jem Flockhart, Apothecary, 1850s
• Tuomainen, Antti - The Man Who Died
• Upson, Nicola - Nine Lessons #7 Josephine Tey, real-life crime writer
• Watson, Allan - Heart Swarm
• Wilson, Laura - The Other Woman
• Winslow, Emily Look for Her #3 Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene, Cambridge

Sunday, September 17, 2017

US Cozy Review: If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey

Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey, December 2014, Kensington Publishing ISBN: 1617732494

If You've Got It, Haunt It is the first in a series which currently runs to five books, with a sixth out in 2018, and it introduces vintage-clothing shop owner and blogger Cookie Chanel. Cookie's shop, It's Vintage, Y'All is in the small town of Sugar Creek, Georgia.

Cookie is attending the estate sale of the late Charlotte Meadows, a successful businesswoman who died under mysterious circumstances. Cookie doesn't just acquire some new stock for her shop though...she comes home with the ghost of Charlotte. And Charlotte won't leave Cookie alone until Cookie finds Charlotte's murderer.

Encouraged by Charlotte – and not having much choice really – Cookie begins to do some snooping and even some breaking and entering. As no-one else can see Charlotte, Cookie has to be on her toes to not look like she's talking to herself all the time! Cookie crosses paths with a new to the town, and attractive, police detective when she discovers a body. And she acquires a cat who can communicate via a Ouija board.

This is an enjoyable and light read, well paced with a likeable lead character and the mystery is satisfying. It's high on the woo-woo factor with not only a ghost but a very mysterious cat but I don't mind that. I don't know whether Charlotte stays around in further books but I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

Karen Meek, September 2017.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Free TV Episodes on Amazon have updated their list of "first episode for you" choices where you can "buy" the first episode in a series for free.

The list includes one Scandi title - Dicte (NB. first episode of a two parter); British series include Sherlock, Death in Paradise, Inspector George Gently, Cuffs; also available is the New Zealand series The Brokenwood Mysteries, and the Australian series Rake, and Deep Water.

Browse the whole list at

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review: Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante, August 2017, 400 pages, Zaffre, ISBN: 1785762818

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

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused - some were not.

Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can't identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

'Good Friday' is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin's Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It's the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London's entire detective force?

This was a very atmospheric and fast moving story. I was gripped by this fabulous page turning read. I have not read any of the Tennison stories before but have distant memories of the TV series and in 2010 I reviewed her book BLIND FURY, which featured her other protagonist DI Anna Travis and was very impressed with that story. I remember the 1970s very well and the IRA bombing campaign was very shocking and the TV news reports very filled with all the latest outrages and the difficult reporting of all the latest news from Northern Ireland.

This was thoroughly engrossing read and the very experienced author has done her research impeccably and the book is infused with period detail to give a real flavour of life as I remembered during the mid 1970s. One just could not fault the plotting of this story. The dramatic plot with many twists and turns in the story telling kept me gripped until the sensational conclusion. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, September 2017

Friday, September 08, 2017

Blog Tour: Ngaio Marsh Awards - Lucy Sussex

Last month, the finalists for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards were revealed, with the winners to be announced at an event in Christchurch, the birthplace of Dame Ngaio Marsh, in late October.

Named after the Queen of Crime who came from the edge of the British Empire, since 2010 the Ngaio Marsh Awards have celebrated the best crime writing by New Zealand authors. This year, for the first time, those celebrations include non-fiction writing as well as fictional crime tales.

Today on Euro Crime, as part of the Ngaio Marsh Awards blog tour, we’re hosting an interview with Lucy Sussex, author of Blockbuster!: Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

Unlike her fellow finalists for the new Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Non Fiction, Sussex hasn’t written a true crime tale; instead her book delves into the strange tale of mystery writing’s first runaway global hit (the best-selling crime novel of the entire nineteenth century), and its unusual author.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume (1886) was a word-of-mouth literary sensation with Victorian-era readers that helped popularise the nascent genre and paved the way for the success of the likes of Sherlock Holmes, and then the Queens of Crime in the early twentieth century.

After several reprints sold out in Australia, it was released in England. It sold half a million copies and the Illustrated London News reported at the time that people were found everywhere, travelling by road, rail, and river, “eagerly devouring the realistic sensational tale of Melbourne social life”.

The fact it was a self-published debut was remarkable enough, but as Sussex uncovered, the story behind The Mystery of the Hansom Cab and its author Fergus Hume is stranger than fiction.


(credit Darren James)
What inspired you to research the story behind Fergus Hume's bestselling if somewhat forgotten or overlooked 1886 novel in such depth and write your book Blockbuster?

I was working with Meg Tasker at Federation University on a research project about Australian and New Zealand writers and journalists in London at the turn of the last century. It ranged from very well known figures like Henry Lawson, to lesser-knowns like poet Arthur Adams and Kate Evelyn Isitt.

So of course we had a file on Hume, who moved to England in 1888, in the wake of Hansom Cab’s success. We were indexing all sorts of periodicals, just ahead of the boom in digitising newspapers. More and more sources were coming online as we worked. So one morning in my office at La Trobe University — when I probably should have been doing other things — I idly started following Hume, chasing the leads from paper to paper, back and forth across the Tasman. By lunch I knew there was enough material for a book on the Hansom Cab alone, and I could even see the form of it, too.

Before you began this project, what did you know about The Mystery of the Hansom Cab? How did your perspective on the novel change (if at all) during the course of your research?

When I grew up in Christchurch, everybody knew about Ngaio Marsh, but I never heard of Hume. In fact I didn’t know about Hansom Cab until I worked as a researcher for crime fiction historian Professor Stephen Knight, who did several Hume editions.

I read it then, and learnt about its success. Quite how important a book it was I came to understand in the course of this research. It was the best-selling detective novel of the 1800s. The success of Hansom Cab helped consolidate the emerging publishing genre of detective fiction, as well as drawing attention to the potential of Antipodean writers.

Given Hume’s debut was published more than 125 years ago, how did you go about researching Blockbuster? Was it all based on records and documents, or were you able to speak to descendants of Hume or others who knew him?

Hume never married, had no descendants, though distant relatives do exist. Researchers have interviewed them, so we know about his fascination with reincarnation, that he believed in a former life that he’d been guillotined in the French Revolution (and could remember it!).

I mainly used archives. The problem with Hume is that he left no diaries, there are few letters and the most relevant publishers’ records do not survive. David Green, Trischler family historian, kindly gave me a lot of information about Fred Trischler, Hume’s brilliant publisher. Rowan Gibbs, Hume’s NZ bibliographer, was an endless help. But mostly the interviews I conducted were more about Hansom Cab than its author. In this sense Blockbuster is the biography of a book rather than of Hume.

Even with written sources I had more than enough material. As the book was going to press ever more digitised detail was going online. It was very hard to stop researching Blockbuster. One fact just too late to include was that one of the three lost silent film versions of Hansom Cab was by Eliot Stannard, who went on to work with Alfred Hitchcock.

What were some of the most surprising revelations you gathered about Hume, Melbourne at the time, or the publication and popularity of the book, during your research?

Well, people kept asking me if he was gay, which meant I had to look into the question...

I do think Hume was same-sex identified, and it shows in the novels. But in 1895 the Oscar Wilde trial happened, which meant caution, or else celibacy. There is one incident which suggests he was being blackmailed. He was also highly religious, a Theosophist. His personal life ultimately remains a mystery.

Another insight was how successful the book was in Australasia —could it really have sold out a then and now huge first edition of 5,000 copies in several weeks? All the modern publishers said yes, the book historians tended to say no. But with a high level of literacy, an existing demand for detective fiction, and some really clever marketing—like Hume delivering copies to bookshops in a Hansom Cab, then driving around the suburbs as an advertisement—it did look increasingly possible.

Have you read any of Hume's later novels? Why do you think they didn't have much success?

Hansom Cab was a good crime novel, the next, Madame Midas, a good novel which transcends genre. When he got to London, Hume thought his success with the novel would ensure he achieved his ambition to be a dramatist. His follow up novels are hasty and not very reprintable, and he spent a lot of time trying to establish himself in other areas, such as children’s fiction, futuristic, and utopian fiction. Really, he was best fitted to be a crime novelist, with his legal training, and ear for dialogue and description. He wrote some very fine detective novels in the 1890s and 1900s, but they weren’t as popular. By that stage other writers were leading the field, such as Conan Doyle.

From what you've researched, how did Hume feel about the stunning success of his debut novel (more than a million copies sold in UK and USA), for which he got little financial reward?

He wasn’t expecting it, but as a fortune-teller told him, he did wake up one day and found himself an international sensation. What he resented was being typecast as a writer of ‘shilling-shockers’, popular trash. He was better than that, and knew it. But he couldn’t escape the label, and it gave him a living from writing, rather than the law, which he hated. At the end of his life he believed it was karma, his fate. He died hopeful of better luck in the next life.

Why do you think the novel was such a sensation, devoured by so many readers in several countries in the 1880s?

Hume had consulted booksellers, found what was selling—the French writer Gaboriau’s detective novels—and set out to adapt them to the colonial setting. It was his first attempt at writing crime, but he took it very seriously, working out the plot carefully, rewriting when he found the criminal too obvious. He also understood that the setting, boomtown Melbourne, was as important as a character to crime fiction. As a result he got it absolutely right on his first attempt, which very few authors do.

For you, what is special about The Mystery of a Hansom Cab? What makes it still readable 125 years later?

It draws you in, keeps you reading. It is also a vivid picture of a 19th-century city, its highs and lows, from society parties to the slums and opium dens. Not least, a modern crime reader can still be surprised by the narrative, the whodunit not guessable even after over a century.

Buy Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab at
Buy The Mystery of a Hansom Cab at

Many thanks to Lucy Sussex for stopping by and to Craig Sisterson for arranging it.

Do check out the other stops on this month-long tour:

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Free Kindle Book - Dark September by Inger Wolf

Earlier in the year, Danish author Inger Wolf's Under a Black Sky was free on Kindle for a while, and now Dark September has been made free. Both titles are translated by Mark Kline.

If, like me you prefer to read a series in order if at all possible, then you'll be pleased to know that Dark September is the first in the Daniel Trokic series. [Under a Black Sky, currently 99p on kindle is the sixth in the series.]

Dark September: UK Kindle; US Kindle.

It is late September, and Anna Kiehl, a student of anthropology and a single mother, does not return from her evening run in the forest. The next morning, she is found dead. She is naked, her throat is cut, and there is a bouquet of poisonous hemlock on her chest.

Police inspector Daniel Trokic is in charge of the investigation, and it leads him to the case of a prominent scientist and specialist in neurochemistry and antidepressants who disappeared eight weeks earlier. Daniel Trokic must get to the killer before he strikes again, but this turns out to be a dangerous pursuit.

Suspenseful and fast-paced. Winner of the Danish Crime Academy's Debut Award in 2006 for the most exciting debut of the year.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Blog Tour: Review of A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward

I'm very chuffed to be on the blog tour for Sarah's third book, A Patient Fury. I've reviewed the previous two: In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw and A Patient Fury doesn't disappoint.

A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward (September 2017, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 0571332323)

A PATIENT FURY is the third book in Sarah Ward's Derbyshire series, following on from IN BITTER CHILL and A DEADLY THAW. The series which began with a trio of detectives, Sadler, Palmer and Childs is increasingly marketed as the DC Connie Childs series and as befits that, it's Connie who puts the most into the case(s) and risks the most, in this new book.

A PATIENT FURY opens with slaying of a father and small son in their home. It quickly moves on to the police being called out to a house fire – three suspected casualties: mum, dad and son.

The fire investigator concludes that the fire which killed dad, Peter and son, Charlie was set by the mum, Francesca, before she hung herself. Connie is unhappy with this conclusion and challenges Sadler – when do mothers kill their children?

The next of kin are two adult children from Peter's first marriage, Julia and George. Connie finds out from Julia that this is not the first parent she's lost under mysterious circumstances. It's Connie's investigation into this cold case which leads to her career being on the line. Connie, however, gets help from an unexpected source as she digs deeper into the past and current tragedies.

As with the earlier books the narrative is mainly split between the police officers and a sympathetic female civilian, in this case Julia, with the cliff-hanger chapters switching briskly between them keeping the pace up; even more so in the second half of the book.

Each book in the series has been more ambitious than the last with A PATIENT FURY having a larger cast of secondary characters which fortunately are easy to keep straight and adds to the (fictional) town of Bampton feeling like a real community.

The mystery of who did what to whom is kept from the reader until the very last page, in what I'd call a typical Karin Fossum ending, you are left satisfied and yet wanting more. I always enjoy my time in Bampton and I can't wait to find out what happens next with our Bampton police squad.

Karen Meek, September 2017.

Friday, September 01, 2017

New Releases - September 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in September 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). September and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.

• Anthology - Bloody Scotland
• Aaronovitch, Ben - The Furthest Station #1 Rivers of London Novella
• Adler-Olsen, Jussi - The Scarred Woman #7 Carl Morck and his assistant Assad, Department Q, Copenhagen
• Alaux, Jean-Pierre & Balen, Noel - Requiem in Yquem #13 Benjamin Cooker, world-renowned winemaker turned gentleman detective
• Ashton, David - The Lost Daughter #2 Jean Brash
• Benn, James R - The Devouring #12 Billy Boyle, WW2
• Boyd, Damien - Heads or Tails #7 DI Nick Dixon
• Brandreth, Benet - The Assassin of Verona #2 William Shakespeare
• Brett, Simon - The Liar in the Library #18 Carole and Jude, Fethering, Southern coast of England
• Cable, Vince - Open Arms
• Cadbury, Helen - Race To The Kill #3 Sean Denton
• Cleeves, Ann - The Seagull #8 Inspector Vera Stanhope, East Yorkshire
• Cole, Martina - Damaged #4 DI Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly, East End London
• Crane, Hamilton - Miss Seeton Quilts the Village #22 Miss Seeton
• Dashkova, Polina - Madness Treads Lightly
• Diamond, Katerina - The Angel #3 DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles
• Fellowes, Jessica - The Mitford Murders #1 Louisa Cannon, Maid to the Mitfords, 1919
• Francis, Dick - Pulse (by Felix Francis)
• Freeman, Philip - The Gospel of Mary #3 Sister Deirdre
• Gamboa, Santiago - Return to the Dark Valley
• Gilbert, Paul D - The Four-Handed Game Sherlock Holmes
• Gray, Juliana - A Strange Scottish Shore #2 Emmeline Truelove
• Harris, Robert - Munich
• Harte, E V - The Prime of Ms Dolly Greene #1 Dolly Greene, Professional Tarot Reader, London
• Hilton, Matt - Worst Fear #4 Grey and Villere, Louisiana
• Lagercrantz, David - The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium V)
• Lahlum, Hans Olav - The Anthill Murders #5 Criminal Investigator Kolbjorn Kristiansen (known as K2) and young assistant Patricia, 1960s, Norway
• Le Carre, John - A Legacy of Spies George Smiley
• Mark, David - The Zealot's Bones (as D M Mark)
• McDermott, Andy - King Solomon's Curse #13 Archaeologist Nina Wilde & ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase
• McPherson, Catriona - House. Tree. Person
• Michelet, Jon - The Frozen Woman #9 Vilhelm Thygesen
• Perry, Anne - Twenty-One Days #1 Daniel Pitt, Barrister,1910
• Perry, Tasmina - The Pool House
• Robins, Jane - White Bodies
• Sharp, Zoe - Fox Hunter #12 Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard
• Smith, Alexander McCall - The House of Unexpected Sisters #18 Mma Ramotswe, PI, Botswana
• Spain, Jo - Sleeping Beauties #3 Detective Tom Reynolds, Dublin
• Staincliffe, Cath - The Girl in the Green Dress
• Sundstol, Vidar - The Devil's Wedding Ring
• Trow, M J - The Island #4 A Grand & Batchelor Victorian Mystery
• Ward, Rachel - The Cost of Living #1 Ant and Bea
• Ward, Sarah - A Patient Fury #3 DI Sadler, DS Palmer & DC Childs, Bampton, Derbyshire
• Weaver, Ashley - The Essence of Malice #4 Amory Ames
• Weeks, Stephen - The Countess of Prague #1 The Countess of Prague
• Westerson, Jeri - Season of Blood #9 Crispin Guest, ex Knight, Medieval times
• Wilton, Robert - Treason's Spring

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Award News: Petrona Award Eligibles 2018 on Goodreads

I've now tagged all the 2018 Petrona Award Eligibles on Goodreads.

And using one of their widgets, here are the titles in author order:

The Scarred Woman
Ninth Grave
The Forgotten Dead: A dark, twisted, unputdownable thriller
The Dying Game
The Owl Always Hunts At Night
Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend
Watching You
Certain Signs That You Are Dead
The Missing
What My Body Remembers
Block 46
Cruel is the Night
The Lake
The Silent Girl
The Susan Effect
Down for the Count
In Dust and Ashes