Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: The Memory of Evil by Roberto Costantini tr. N S Thompson

The Memory of Evil by Roberto Costantini translated by N S Thompson, March 2016, 480 pages, riverrun, ISBN: 0857389408

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

2011, Zawiya, Libya.
Men awaiting execution are noosed to a row of poplar trees leading to the village’s burnt-out, shot-out school. The Berbers, or Amazighs, have been amongst the first to rebel against Gaddafi earlier in the year and now this Amazigh village has been captured by his troops. An armoured SUV draws up and an Arab man in his 60s gets out: civilian dress, dark glasses, part of his ear missing. In the dust of the hot desert wind, this man calls the tune for both Gaddafi’s troops and their white mercenary leader as he dictates the ingredients for a vile and cruel massacre that spares not a man, woman or child in Zawiya.

1962, Tripoli, Libya.
As the desert wind blows sand into the villa courtyard four boys, two Arab and two Italian, solemnly cut their wrists and share an oath of blood brotherhood. Sand and blood. For ever.

2011, Rome, Italy.
Commissario Michele Balistreri walks through early morning Rome, exercising his painful knee before spending the rest of the day, as he prefers, indoors. First an espresso in his favourite bar. The radio spills out the latest on the war in Libya and in particular a brutal massacre at Zawiya. Balistreri leaves and heads for the office. He doesn’t want to hear any more about that war. He wants the darkness of his office.

2011, Tripoli, Libya.
Linda Nardi stretches out on her hotel bed in the quiet of sunset before the night brings the roar of NATO jets. She remembers her closeness with Michele Balistreri five years ago. They had talked, ate, spent time together, without so much as a kiss but it had ended badly. She knows that she should be getting on with the job of reporting this war, the massacre – but what she really wants is to return to her orphans and hospitals in Central Africa. In the morning she will be boarding a plane to Nairobi but for now …
In the hotel bar she bumps into a Lebanese acquaintance from Nairobi. What brings him here? “War is manna from heaven to businessmen”, he says. She asks about the hospital contract in Nairobi. Yes, he won the construction contract: Kenyan accounting, Italian rules. But the investors are Swiss? Nothing is ever really Swiss. He goes on to hint at profitable dealings for a certain bank, God’s Bank, in the Vatican state.
Just then Linda notices a beautiful Western woman surrounded by an obviously Libyan Secret Service group crossing the bar. They are followed by an Arab in his 60s, deeply lined face, part of an ear missing. The Lebanese businessman pales.
Is that a business competitor? No. Have you heard what happened in Zawiya, Miss Nardi? They say that man was behind the death of General Younis … Suddenly her acquaintance remembers something he must attend to. Sick of both Libya and the war, Linda returns to her thoughts of Nairobi.

THE MEMORY OF EVIL is Roberto Costantini's final part of his Commissario Balistreri trilogy. By 2011 (the primary setting of THE MEMORY OF EVIL) bad boy Michele Balistreri, sworn childhood blood-brother of Ahmed, Karim and Nico in 1960s Libya is reaching the end of his career as Head of Rome's Murder Squad. He is a man well-versed on both sides of the criminal fence, in his 60s, exhausted, in ill health and approaching retirement. Although the story begins with journalist Linda Nardi’s investigation of corruption in Nairobi and the death of a beautiful young woman and her two year-old daughter on board a cruise ship off Elba, these crimes are counter played by Balistreri’s increasing obsession with the past, in particular the riddle of his mother’s death in Tripoli of 1969. Supposedly a suicide, Michele is convinced she was murdered. But which of the people he knew and loved back then had killed her?

My sense of Roberto Costantini's trilogy is that it is a work in its own right. So I have to ask if it is a problem not to have read its previous novels. Costantini keeps events clear and apparent in the timeline so the problem is unlikely to be that of missing important elements in the narrative. But as THE MEMORY OF EVIL’s narrative heat rises, its chapters come short and fast, referring back and forth between 2011 and 1960s Libya as seen through the eyes of different characters. This focusses and builds tension but it’s possible that the staccato changes may confuse a reader new to the trilogy.

Above all THE MEMORY OF EVIL is crime fiction. It encompasses violence and unlikeable characters doing unspeakable things, investigative journalism and police procedural, plot twists and suspense, skilful writing and translation. But I do recommend this “saga” of an influential Italian family and its circle set against the backdrop of events in twentieth century North Africa and Italy during the rise and fall of Gaddafi. These are times, places and points of view not often caught in crime fiction and Costantini’s writing of this story is authoritative.

Lynn Harvey, June 2018.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Awards News: McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2018 - Longlist announced

From the press release, news of the longlist for McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2018. The winner is announced at Bloody Scotland which takes place in Stirling between 21 and 23 September.

Two years ago the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award was renamed the McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney who established the tradition of Scottish detective fiction. This year his son, Liam McIlvanney, has made the longlist for the 2018 McIlvanney Prize.

The complete longlist, revealed today, has been chosen by an independent panel of readers:

Lin Anderson, Follow the Dead (Macmillan)
Chris Brookmyre, Places in the Darkness (Little, Brown)
Mason Cross, Presumed Dead (Orion)
Charles Cumming, The Man Between (Harper Collins)
Oscar De Muriel, The Loch of the Dead (Michael Joseph)
Helen Fields, Perfect Death (Harper Collins)
Alison James, Now She’s Gone (Bookouture)
Liam McIlvanney, The Quaker (Harper Collins)
James Oswald, No Time to Cry (Headline)
Caro Ramsay, The Suffering of Strangers (Severn House)
Andrew Reid, The Hunter (Headline)
Craig Robertson, The Photographer (Simon & Schuster)

It features an intriguing mix of previous winners, established crime writing luminaries, some emerging talent and a debut. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The judges for the next round will be chaired by Craig Sisterson and include comedian and crime fiction fan, Susan Calman who like Craig is joining the panel for a second year and crime reviewer, Alison Flood.

The finalists will be revealed at the beginning of September and the winner kept under wraps until the ceremony itself which this year will take place at the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling and followed by a torchlight procession – led by the winner accompanied by Denise Mina and Val McDermid – to their first event at the Albert Halls.

Both the opening ceremony and the torchlight procession are open to the public but tickets are selling fast and capacity is less than at the castle last year so people are urged to book them now.

Review: Running Scared by Bill Kitson

Running Scared by Bill Kitson, June 2018, 228 pages, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 719042292

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

With DI Mike Nash away on compassionate leave, DS Clara Mironova and the Helmsdale team are faced with a sudden and dramatic increase in crime. Minor offences ranging from theft, shoplifting, and poaching, pale into significance when a violent turf war breaks out between rival gangs of drugs suppliers. Within weeks the detectives have to cope with three murders, including the shooting of a police officer. As they struggle to investigate the killings, a batch of deliberately contaminated heroin hits the streets, resulting in the deaths of three addicts and causing panic in the media. The breathless speed of events puts the entire region on high alert. The detectives must capture the drug barons, break up their supply networks, solve the murders – and thwart the criminal mastermind before he can realize his ultimate ambition.

The plot of the book encompasses many different threads from murders, drug selling, animal theft to international migrant problems and it makes the very tight plot of the book twist and turn almost from paragraph to paragraph. But when all's said and done this book is a police procedural and part of the very charm of the story is the interaction of the various colourful detectives that we have learnt to know and appreciate in previous stories. Readers will need to concentrate to really enjoy the story but it is not always serious, there are incidents of wry humour to lift from the pathos of the sadder elements of the story.

As in previous books of his that I have reviewed, once you start a Bill Kitson book it is extremely difficult to put down and I had great trouble in closing this one also, until I reached the very exciting conclusion. The book may seem fairly compact but this author seems to put more storylines into 228 pages than many other rival authors can do in 400.

The author has published ten previous books in the DI Mike Nash series and five books in the Eden House Mystery series. I understand he also writes historical fiction and lighter romantic stories set in Greece under the pen-name 'William Gordon' and he has written six books in that series also. I will certainly look out for the Eden House Mysteries in the future. If you want to read a book that once started you won't want to put down then buy this one.

Very highly recommended.

Terry Halligan, June 2018.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Bad Sister by Sam Carrington

Bad Sister by Sam Carrington, December 2017, 368 pages, Avon, ISBN: 0008200211

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

Connie Summers is a psychologist who has recently set-up a private practice after many years working with disturbed prisoners. She is now relishing the chance to work with victims of crime rather than the perpetrators and also has clients who have been relocated under the witness protection programme. One of these clients is Steph, a difficult young woman with a child who has escaped a violent relationship with a drug dealer after giving evidence against him. However as Connie struggles to get her to talk, she realises that Steph is frightened of more than just her ex-boyfriend and his associates. There are other people in her past from whom she is hiding.

When a body is found dumped outside the prison gates, DI Lindsay Wade and DS Charlie Hack find that it is Eric Hargreaves who had absconded from jail. He had been jailed for rape, only to be awarded early parole on the advice of several experts including Connie, only to rape again.

There is a third thread to the story running through the book of a young boy accused of setting fire to a house and causing the death of his father and step-mother. This at times, seems to have no connection with anything else in the story and the reader is left to speculate as to which main character the boy is linked with.

BAD SISTER is a good read, confusing at times as different characters' stories are narrated with the links to each, only being resolved at the end. The story centres on the theme of events in the past affecting the present and how they can never be totally forgotten or escaped. One of the issues for me was that I never really engaged with the characters – they were a bit too unbelievable for me. This is the author's second novel with a third to be published later in 2018.

Susan White, June 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Website Updates: June 2018

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 2019: ie published in the UK in 2019 (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 1077 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2610 authors (13113 titles of which 3077 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Lisa Alber, Amer Anwar, Jennifer Ashley, Noel Balen, Noel & Vanessa Barrot, Peter Beck, Leo Benedictus, Lina Bengtsdotter, Roxanne Bouchard, Harry Brett, Steph Broadribb, JL Butler, Graeme Cameron, Ali Carter, Stevyn Colgan, Paul Colize, Aidan Conway, C J Cooke, Pino Corrias, M W Craven, Alex Dahl, Robert Daws, Tracee de Hahn, Will Dean, Emma Dibdin, Ashley Dyer, Rachel Edwards, Lexie Elliott, Melba Escobar, John Fairfax, Rebecca Fleet, Amanda Flower, Nicola Ford, Dianne Freeman, Jorge Galan, Frank Goldammer, Leonard Goldberg, Lisa Hall, Karen Hamilton, Zhou Haohui, Emma Healey, Sophie Henaff, L S Hilton, David Hingley, Susanne Jansson, You-Jeong Jeong, Lisa Jewell, D B John, Philip Gwynne Jones, Olivia Kiernan, Snorri Kristjansson, Phoebe Locke, Sabri Luatah, Rachel Lynch, Niki Mackay, Iain Maitland, Max Manning, Stephanie Marland, Agustin Martinez, Chris McGeorge, Dervla McTiernan, Stephanie Merritt, Elizabeth Mundy, Vicki Newham, Elisabeth Noreback, Clare O'Donohue, Lloyd Otis, B A Paris, Raj Persaud, E M Powell, Alex Reeve, Emma Rowley, Ahmed Saadawi, Michelle Sacks, Robert Scragg, Renata Serelyte, Susan C Shea, Leila Slimani, Catherine Steadman, Jane Steen, Jesper Stein, Soren Sveistrup, Emma Tallon, Geir Tangen, Hildur Sif Thorarensen, Lynne Truss, Elena Varvello, Julie Wassmer, Roz Watkins and Dylan Young. .

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jane Adams, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Stefan Ahnhem, Ursula P Archer, Ross Armstrong, Jean-Luc Bannalec, Jo Bannister, Belinda Bauer, Simon Beaufort, Mark Billingham, Cara Black, Tony Black, Sam Blake, Stephen Booth, Rhys Bowen, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Brett, Eric Brown, Alison Bruce, Fiona Buckley, Michel Bussi, Helen Callaghan, Andrea Camilleri, Christoffer Carlsson, Gianrico Carofiglio, James Carol, CJ Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Kimberley Chambers, Jean Chapman, Julia Chapman, Karen Charlton, Lee Child, Alys Clare, Rosie Claverton, Barbara Cleverly, Tammy Cohen, Daniel Cole, Tana Collins, John Connolly, Jane Corry, James Craig, Mason Cross, Charles Cumming, Fiona Cummins, Judith Cutler, Arne Dahl, Kjell Ola Dahl, Nadia Dalbuono, Saul David, Michelle Davies, Oscar de Muriel, Lara Dearman, Victor del Arbol, J P Delaney, A A Dhand, P C/Paul Doherty, Margaret Duffy, Ruth Dugdall, Elizabeth J Duncan, Carola Dunn, Martin Edwards, Jim Eldridge, Kate Ellis, P R Ellis, Marc Elsberg, Caroline Eriksson, Geraldine Evans, Helen Fields, Judith Flanders, Karin Fossum, Christopher Fowler, Tana French, Frank Gardner, Phyllis Gobbell, Ann Granger, Alex Gray, Clio Gray, Isabelle Grey, Elly Griffiths, Jack Grimwood, Johana Gustawsson, Lotte and Soren Hammer, Nell Hampton, Mari Hannah, Sophie Hannah, C S Harris, Tessa Harris, Cora Harrison, E V Harte, John Harvey, Veronica Heley, Mandasue Heller, Mark Hill, Susan Hill, Suzette A Hill, Anthony Horowitz, Jorn Lier Horst, Anna Lee Huber, Cara Hunter, Graham Hurley, Graham Ison, David Jackson, Peter James, Jessica Jarlvi, Matt Johnson, Doug Johnstone, Mons Kallentoft, Robert Karjel, M R C Kasasian, Jessie Keane, Lesley Kelly, Jim Kelly, Christobel Kent, Philip Kerr, Laurie R King, Bill Kitson, Alanna Knight, Volker Kutscher, Peter Laws, John Lawton, Stephen Leather, Leena Lehtolainen, Pierre Lemaitre, Donna Leon, Minna Lindgren, Howard Linskey, M L Longworth, Stuart MacBride, A J MacKenzie, Clare Mackintosh, G M Malliet, Scott Mariani, Ngaio Marsh, Laura Marshall, Edward Marston, Peter May, Anna Mazzola, Val McDermid, Liam McIlvanney, Catriona McPherson, Elmer Mendoza, Derek B Miller, Bernard Minier, Caroline Mitchell, Roger/R N Morris, Rebecca Muddiman, Barbara Nadel, Hakan Nesser, Chris Nickson, Liz Nugent, Carlene O'Connor, Gerard O'Donovan, Kristina Ohlsson, Chris Ould, Nikki Owen, Tony Parsons, Caro Peacock, Andrea Penrose, Anne Perry, Karen Perry, Sarah Pinborough, Oliver Potzsch, Laura Purcell, Melanie Raabe, Khurrum Rahman, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, Jaime Raven, Deanna Raybourn, Dolores Redondo, Amanda Reynolds, Rachel Rhys, Matthew Richardson, Michael Ridpath, Mark Roberts, Craig Robertson, Michael Robotham, Laura Joh Rowland, Leigh Russell, C J Sansom, Ian Sansom, Manda Scott, Holly Seddon, EV Seymour, Gerald Seymour, Jackson Sharp, Zoe Sharp, Paige Shelton, Jeffrey Siger, Lilja Sigurdardottir, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Chris Simms, Anna Smith, Martin Cruz Smith, Gunnar Staalesen, Cath Staincliffe, Katherine Stansfield, Viveca Sten, Jon Stenhugg, Linda Stratmann, Karen Lee Street, Martin Suter, Frank Tallis, Abbie Taylor, Andrew Taylor, C L Taylor, Aline Templeton, David/D B Thorne, Robert Thorogood, Rebecca Tope, M J Trow, Antti Tuomainen, Helene Tursten, Cathi Unsworth, David P Wagner, Martyn Waites, Martin Walker, Sarah Ward, S J Watson, Tim Weaver, Matt Wesolowski, Jeri Westerson, Kerry Wilkinson, Andrew Wilson, Edward Wilson, Inger Wolf, Simon Wood, Christopher J Yates and David Young

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: The Body in the Boat by A J Mackenzie

This will be available in paperback in November 2018.

The Body in the Boat by A J Mackenzie, April 2018, 400 pages, Zaffre, Ebook

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

1796. Across the still, dark English Channel come the smugglers. But tonight they carry an unusual cargo: a coffin. Several miles inland, a respected banker holds a birthday party for his wife. Within days, one of the guests is found shot dead.

What links this apparently senseless killing to the smugglers lurking in the mists? Why has the local bank been buying and hoarding gold? And who was in the mysterious coffin?

Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor find themselves drawn into the worlds of high finance and organised crime in this dramatic and dark Georgian mystery. With its unique cast of characters and captivating amateur sleuths, The Body in the Boat is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.

The expertly researched story is told by a Canadian husband and wife writing partnership and follows on from their previous stories in this series which I have read and enjoyed and which began with The BODY ON THE DOORSTEP. We learnt that in the eighteenth century many ordinary people were prodigious drinkers of alcohol and the Reverend Hardcastle was known to get through a huge amount (by modern standards of port and brandy) and fortunately a lot was supplied to him as free gifts from smugglers, keen that he as a magistrate as well as a clergyman should show a blind eye to their nefarious activities.

England is still at war with France, which feeds the atmosphere of fear and paranoia and brings with it fears that invasion is likely and that there are spies lurking every where.

For readers of the two earlier stories, you will be reassured that the Reverend Hardcastle seems, however, to have cut back on the volume of alcohol he gets through which in the first book seemed absolutely astounding. Apparently, now that he is a magistrate he has to set an example and also keep a clear head for when he is asked to act in his official capacity. However, at times of stress he seems to still enjoy a few glasses of port! He also however still seems to be at war with his housekeeper.

I was very impressed by the quality of the research and the historical detail of this well plotted and highly atmospheric story. The characters are all richly drawn and full of period detail. The rich plot kept me guessing until the final page and I look forward to reading further stories by these really very gifted authors. Most strongly recommended.

A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.

Terry Halligan, June 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon

The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon, April 2018, 300 pages, Hardback, William Heinemann, ISBN: 1785151959

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

November, Venice
Commissario Guido Brunetti is taking the vaporetto to a morning appointment with his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, at police headquarters. A wall of fog suddenly envelopes the canal, blocking all sight of other traffic. It disperses as suddenly as it appeared and as they emerge into sunlight Brunetti doubts what he has experienced.

Brunetti is equally amazed to receive Patta’s uncharacteristic apologies for a delay. Returning to his own office, he contemplates the thick file on his desk. It is stuffed with car-related crimes, amongst them the latest scam concerning the illegal acquisition of licenses, test results, etc. It is such an ingenious scam that it earns Brunetti's respect and he is considering the file’s fate when he is called back to the Vice-Questore’s presence. Does Brunetti know anything about a leak to the media concerning a suspect brought in for questioning? Scarpa, Patta’s assistant, was given this information by one of his informants. Brunetti shrugs off the matter and manages to score against the ever unpleasant Scarpa by discounting the informant. As he leaves he finds a member of his own team in Patta’s outer office, staring at a computer screen and deep in discussion with Patta’s secretary, Signorina Elettra. Her computer skills are extensive, almost all pervasive – but the information she acquires is now of such service to Brunetti’s investigations that he discounts any uneasiness he might feel over her methods in favour of admiration for her magical skills.

In his office, a woman – one of his wife’s academic colleagues – is waiting for him. It takes all of Brunetti's time and patience to clarify the reason for her visit. Finally she admits that she thinks her son is using drugs. Is this a crime? Her husband says it is impossible that their son who attends a prestigious private school is using drugs. But surely Brunetti can do something? Arrest whoever is selling the drugs? Brunetti explains the legal process of questioning her children and their schoolfriends and the woman realises the social ramifications of her complaint. Leave it, she weeps. Swayed by her tears, Brunetti promises to try and find out more.

About a week later, he is woken in the night by his colleague Claudia Griffoni. A man has been found unconscious, lying at the base of a bridge. He may have been attacked or he may fallen and hit his head on the railing. There are marks on his wrist, the imprints of fingernails. Whichever it is, it looks bad for him. After visiting the possible crime scene, Brunetti arrives at the hospital. Only then does he realise the identity of the victim. It is the husband of his wife’s colleague, the woman who was worried about her son.

Brunetti and colleague Claudia Griffoni investigate what happened to the unconscious man and as they do so they uncover a new turn to the investigation, one that will require all of the pair’s consummate play-acting to unravel a tissue of motives and deception.

THE TEMPTATION OF FORGIVENESS is Donna Leon’s twenty-seventh Commissario Brunetti crime novel. To me Leon remains fresh and thoughtful in this gargantuan series which has seen Brunetti and his family and colleagues age and change just as the city they call their own – Venice – changes and ages. And this novel, rather than being a tale filled with fast action and chases, thunder and lightning, is as formally composed as a piece of chamber music. The investigation of the puzzle of a man found unconscious beneath a Venetian bridge turns into an intimate study of ethics, a study of scams and nuances. It left me with the satisfaction of a mystery unravelled, the experience of eating a beautifully made cannoli and drinking a pleasant glass of wine together with a close observation of human nature and, as ever with Brunetti, food for thought.

Lynn Harvey, June 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Crime Fiction of the Isles of Scilly

Here's another entry in my (occasional but hoping to become more frequent) crime fiction by county series. Though the Isles of Scilly form part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall they have a separate local authority which has the status of a county council (source:Wikipedia).

I have recently purchased Hell Bay, which looks to be the first in an excellent new series by Kate Rhodes, and I was intrigued to see what else was set in the Isles of Scilly. Not much it seems! I welcome any additions to my short-list.

[Official blurbs are in italics.]

Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes (Jan. 2018) is set on Bryher.

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.

The sequel to Hell Bay, Ruin Beach, is out in hardback in January 2019* and looks to be set on Tresco. (*Amazon are listing the kindle version as available on 14 June 2018.)

DI Ben Kitto has become the Scilly Islands’ Deputy Chief of Police. As the island’s lazy summer takes hold, he finds himself missing the excitement of the murder squad in London. But when a body is found anchored to the rocks of a nearby cave, it appears he’s spoken too soon. The island of Tresco, and the deep and murky waters that surround it, hold a dark secret. One that someone seems desperate to uncover . . .

Robert Goddard's Name to a Face, published in 2007 is partially set on the Isles of Scilly.

A sequence of extraordinary events over the past 300 years. A chain of intrigue, deceit, greed and murder.

The loss of H.M.S. Association with all hands in 1707.

An admiralty clerk's secret mission thirty years after.

A fatal accident during a dive to the wreck in 1996.

An expatriate's reluctant return home ten years later. The simple task he has come to accomplish, shown to be anything but. A woman he recognises but cannot identify.

A conspiracy of circumstances that is about to unravel his life. And with it, the past.

And much, much earlier, the Isles of Scilly get their first fictional murder in Andrew Garve's The Riddle of Samson (1954). Samson, (Wikipedia again), is the largest uninhabited island of the Isles of Scilly.

(Cover shown is a 1978 US paperback edition.)

If a man spends a night on an uninhabited island with another man's beautiful wife, the husband is not apt to be pleased about it. Especially when the husband is notoriously jealous and considerably older than his wife ...

*Added 20/1/21

*Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison was published by Minotaur in August 2020, and there is a sequel out in August 21.

Death at High Tide is the delightful first installment in the Island Sisters series by Hannah Dennison, featuring two sisters who inherit an old hotel in the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall and find it full of intrigue, danger, and romance.

When Evie Mead's husband, Robert, suddenly drops dead of a heart attack, a mysterious note is found among his possessions. It indicates that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Isles of Scilly.

Still grieving, Evie is inclined to leave the matter to the accountant to sort out. Her sister Margot, however, flown in from her glamorous career in LA, has other plans. Envisioning a luxurious weekend getaway, she goes right ahead and buys two tickets--one way--to Tregarrick.

Once at the hotel--used in its heyday to house detective novelists, and more fixer-upper than spa resort, after all--Evie and Margot attempt to get to the bottom of things. But the foul-tempered hotel owner claims he's never met the late Robert, even after Evie finds framed photos of them--alongside Robert's first wife--in his office. The rest of the island inhabitants, ranging from an ex-con receptionist to a vicar who communicates with cats, aren't any easier to read.

But when a murder occurs at the hotel, and then another soon follows, frustration turns to desperation. There's no getting off the island at high tide. And Evie and Margot, the only current visitors to Tregarrick, are suspects one and two. It falls to them to unravel secrets spanning generations--and several of their own--if they want to make it back alive.

**Added 28/4/21

** A Death at Seascape House by Emma Jameson (Apr 21) with a sequel out in August 21.

With its sweeping sandy beaches and rolling emerald hills, the island of St. Morwenna is an idyllic escape. But behind the perfectly pruned primroses and neighborly smiles a killer lies in wait…

When librarian Jemima Jago is offered the opportunity to catalogue Cornwall’s largest collection of antique shipwreck records it is a dream come true. The only problem? The collection is housed on the island of St. Morwenna, the childhood home she left years ago and vowed never to return to.

Shortly after Jem arrives back in town, island busybody and notorious grump Edith Reddy is found dead, with duct tape clamped over her mouth and nose. Jem, caught seemingly red-handed at the scene of the crime, mistakenly becomes the police’s number one suspect. The handsome Sergeant Hackman in particular can’t seem to leave Jem alone…

Jem must take matters into her own hands if she wants to clear her name. Snooping around Edith’s once-grand home, she is struck by the mess before her. The bedroom is completely ransacked and in the living room all the photographs have been removed from their frames. Was Edith’s death simply a break-in gone wrong, or is there more to the mystery that the police are missing?

Jem has a sharp eye for a clue and she soon realizes that many of the island’s eccentric residents had reason for wanting Edith out of the way. Could Declan, the curious cafĂ© owner, or Bart, the fishy ferryman have killed Edith? Jem won’t rest until she uncovers the truth, but doing so will put her right in the killer’s line of sight…

There is a non-fiction book: The Life of a Scilly Sergeant by Colin Taylor (2016) which might also be of interest.

Meet Sergeant Colin Taylor, he has been a valuable member of the police force for over 20 years, 5 of which have been spent policing the ‘quiet’ Isles of Scilly, a group of islands off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula.

Colin has made it his purpose to keep the streets of Scilly free from drunk anchor thieves, Balance Board riders and other culprits, mostly drunken, intent on breaking the law. This book is the first hand account of how he did it.

Coupled with his increasingly popular ‘Isle of Scilly Police Force’ Facebook page, this book charts the day to day trials and tribulations of a small-island police officer, told in a perfectly humorous and affectionate way.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Review: You Were Gone by Tim Weaver

You Were Gone by Tim Weaver, April 2018, 496 pages, Michael Joseph, ISBN: 0718189000

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

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

David Raker had been visiting his newly discovered daughter Annabel, and her family, in South Devon. The telephone call from Charing Cross police station was made by Detective Sergeant Catherine Field. Raker was told that his wife was at the station and had been badly injured and told them that he had done it.

Raker is devastated, he buried his wife eight years ago. Derryn and he had been married for fourteen years. She died after many courses of chemotherapy for breast cancer. There are some inconsistencies in this woman's story but basically she knows a great deal about their life together and looks very much like his deceased wife. The police contact St. Augustine's hospital at the woman's request and speak to a consultant there – a Dr. Erik McMillan who tells them that Raker is suffering from Capgras delusion, a condition where people believe that a husband, wife or child has been replaced by an exact duplicate.

Raker who has built a reputation on finding what happened to missing people, is facing his worst nightmare and begins to believe he is losing his mind. He still maintains that the woman is not his wife but because it's Christmas time, he can't prove it. He can't even find the death certificate he last remembers was in the loft of his house. Then when the woman goes to spend the night at a hostel the police located for her, she vanishes and of course suspicion falls on Raker.

This is the ninth book by the author in this series. I have read four of them and they are always exciting mysteries and this one is no exception. It keeps you gripped and guessing up to the explosive finish. Recommended.

Geoff Jones, June 2018

Friday, June 01, 2018

New Releases - June 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). June and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Ani, Friedrich - The Nameless Day #1 Jakob Franck
• Billingham, Mark - The Killing Habit #15 DI Tom Thorne, London
• Black, Cara - Murder on the Left Bank #18 Aimee Leduc, Paris
• Bonnier, Jonas - The Helicopter Heist
• Butler, JL - Mine
• Cavanagh, Steve - Thirteen #4 Eddie Flynn, USA
• Clare, Alys - The Angel in the Glass #2 Gabriel Taverner, Former ship's surgeon, C17 Devon
• Corry, Jane - The Dead Ex
• Craven, M W - The Puppet Show #1 Washington Poe
• Cumming, Charles - The Man Between
• Dhand, A A - City of Sinners #3 Detective Harry Virdee, Bradford
• Doherty, P C - Dark Queen Rising #1 Margaret Beaufort
• Duffy, Margaret - Stone Cold, Stone Dead #21 Major Patrick Gillard, MI5 & Ingrid Langley, author (ex MI5)
• Durrant, Sabine - Take Me In
• Ford, Nicola - The Hidden Bones #1 Hills & Barbrook
• Freeman, Dianne - A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder #1 Countess of Harleigh, Victorian England
• Galan, Jorge - November
• Goldberg, Leonard - A Study in Treason #2 Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series
• Haohui, Zhou - Death Notice
• Heley, Veronica - Murder by Suggestion #19 Ellie Quicke, widow, London suburbs
• Hurley, Graham - Estocada #3 Wars Within
• King, Laurie R - Island of the Mad #15 Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes
• Koutsakis, Pol - Baby Blue #2 Stratos Gazis
• Lindgren, Minna - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: The End of Sunset Grove #3 Twilight Grove Trilogy
• Linskey, Howard - The Chosen Ones #4 DC Ian Bradshaw
• Locke, Phoebe - The Tall Man
• MacBride, Stuart - The Blood Road #11 DS Logan McRae, Aberdeen
• Marshall, Laura - Three Little Lies
• Marston, Edward - Fugitive from the Grave #4 Bow Street Rivals
• McCrum, Mark - Cruising to Murder #2 Francis Meadowes
• McIlvanney, Liam - The Quaker #1 Duncan McCormac, Glasgow
• Mukherjee, Abir - Smoke and Ashes #3 Captain Sam Wyndham, Calcutta, 1919
• Nadel, Barbara - Incorruptible #20 Cetin Ikmen, Policeman, Istanbul
• O'Donohue, Clare - Beyond the Pale
• Ohlsson, Kristina - The Lies We Tell #2 Martin Benner
• Perry, Karen - Your Closest Friend
• Porter, Henry - Firefly
• Ramsay, Caro - The Sideman #10 DCI McAlpine, DS Anderson and DS Costello, Glasgow
• Robotham, Michael - The Other Wife #9 Joseph O'Loughlin, Psychologist & Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz
• Sacks, Michelle - You Were Made for This
• Schepp, Emelie - Slowly We Die #3 Jana Berzelius, Public Prosecutor
• Seddon, Holly - Love Will Tear Us Apart
• Sharp, Zoe - Dancing On The Grave
• Shea, Susan C - Dressed for Death in Burgundy #2 Katherine Goff
• Simms, Chris - Loose Tongues #1 DC Sean Blake, Manchester
• Staalesen, Gunnar - Big Sister #20 Varg Veum, PI in Bergen, Norway
• Taylor, Abbie - The Dilemma
• Truss, Lynne - A Shot in the Dark #1 Constable Twitten, Brighton, 1950s
• Varesi, Valerio - The Lizard Strategy #12 Commissario Soneri, Italy
• Waites, Martyn - The Old Religion
• Walker, Martin - A Taste for Vengeance #11 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Wassmer, Julie - Disappearance at Oare #5 Pearl Nolan, Whitstable
• Watson, S J - Double Take