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