Monday, December 31, 2007

Ken to play Shardlake

I missed this in the Observer a few weeks ago. Apparently the BBC are in talks to film C J Sansom's Tudor series with Kenneth Branagh as the main character:
Branagh, 46, plans to take the role of a hunchback lawyer named Shardlake who works for the key power brokers of the Tudor court, Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer. Negotiations to bring Shardlake, the idiosyncratic character at the centre of a series of mystery novels by CJ Sansom, to the small screen are believed to be in their final stages.
Read the Euro Crime review of the latest in the series, Sovereign.

Competition for UK residents - closing today...

Last chance to win a copy of Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (UK residents only)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Website update

I've just updated the 'News' page over on the website. There aren't many new links at this time of year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just a taster...

I'm not back yet in total but I have now finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which is excellent as reported already by Ali. Here's the first paragraph from the prologue:
It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day - which was something of an irony given the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.
It's out on the 10th January and amazon have it at half price. It would still be excellent value at full price. I suppose (sniffle) it's now a year's wait until #2...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas!

(from AllPosters)

Move over Trivial Pursuit (last minute present idea)

I don't know how the passed me by but I just found a mention in the Bath Literature Festival programme of a new board game called 'Bookchase'.

From the official site:

"Bookchase® is a board game about books. Important books & trivial books. Classic works and wonderful ideas for children. If it has been written & has any kind of relevance, you might find it in Bookchase®. Questions can be about anything - what pencil someone used to write with, to the name of an author's cat. From Homer to Horowitz, Proust to Pilkey, Dahl to Dickens, Nursery Rhymes to Crime fiction - all kinds of books and writing are here.

Who's qualified to play? Anyone! Never read a book - you could still win. Read all the best books in the world - you could still lose. Where's the fun if you knew who would win at the start and who's to say what might happen in the new, classic, fun, board game of chance and skill.

Bookchase® draws on the huge diversity of thought and ideas since human beings first figured out how to write and think - ...but at the end of the day -it is still just a board game. Have fun. We have making it. The Bookchase® Team"

Also there are "1200 multiple-choice questions in 6 exciting categories - Children & Fun, Crime & Thrillers, Plays & Poetry, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Travel Adventure, Classics & Modern".

And from next year you'll be able to submit your own questions online.

RRP is c. £30.

Friday, December 21, 2007

R J Ellory hits the big time

The new Richard and Judy book club list for 2008 has been announced and it's good news for R J Ellory whose 'A Quiet Belief in Angels' has been selected. His appears to be the only crime title chosen. The full list, from Publishing News is here:
9 January A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury)

16 January Random Acts of Heroic Love, Danny Scheinmann (Black Swan)

23 January The Rose of Sebastopol, Katharine McMahon (W&N)

30 January A Quiet Belief in Angels, RJ Ellory (Orion)

6 February Notes From an Exhibition, Patrick Gale (Fourth Estate)

13 February Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris (Viking)

20 February The Visible World, Mark Slouka (Portobello)

27 February Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones (John Murray)

5 March Blood River, Tim Butcher (Chatto)

12 March The Welsh Girl, Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)
Regular readers of this blog might remember that R J Ellory gave a talk at Mere Green Library earlier this year and read an exclusive extract from said book.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

For the Crime Fan who has everything...

$8.95 on Shakespeare's Den. You can also get Edgar Allan Poe and several other literary figures.

Hat Tip: Oline Cogdill's blog.

It's Christmas Crime (6) - Anne Perry (again)

Another year, another Christmas novella from Anne Perry:

Synopsis: The fifth in "Anne Perry's" series of charming Christmas novellas. Runcorn, Monk's ex-boss and a bachelor, travels to Anglesey hoping to stave off the loneliness of the Christmas season and the memories of Melisande, the woman he fell desperately in love with in "Dark Assassin". His efforts are in vain as he immediately meets Melisande's brother, John Barclay, and learns of Melisand's presence in Anglesey.
Although a widow, Runcorn believes that Melisande is too far above him in society for him to win her heart and then fate intervenes. The vicar of Anglesey's sister is discovered murdered and Barclay is implicated in the crime. Melisande, mindful of Runcorn's experience, asks him to help clear her brother's name, even though the official head of the investigation is Chief Constable Faraday, her soon-to-be fiance. As Runcorn investigates, he learns that life for an upper class woman is hard especially when you are considered unmarriageable. Could this be a reason for murder? And will Runcorn be able to solve the case, and in doing so perhaps win Melisande's heart, or will his efforts be in vain?

Read an excerpt from A Christmas Beginning on the Random House site.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Publishing News - Markaris and Maitland

From The Bookseller:
As part of its EuroCrime series, Arcadia has also paid a good four-figure sum for UK and Commonwealth rights in The Major Shareholder and Che Killed Himself by Greek writer Petros Markaris. Rights were obtained from Susanne Bauknecht at Diogenes Verlag, Zurich, with publication slated for 2009.

UK rights to Barry Maitland's forthcoming novel No Trace, in the same genre, have also been acquired by Arcadia from David Higham on behalf of Wenona Byrne at Australian Literary Management, with a four-figure sum once more changing hands. The book will appear in 2008.
No Trace has already been published in Australia and the US.

The column also has details of a new book by Emma Tennant which has Princess Di coming back from the dead to minister to Prince Harry...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scandinavian Crime/Mystery novels coming out in 2008

Currently there's quite a bit of buzz on the mailing lists I'm on about my current read - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. By all accounts so far, it could be a rival for Vargas for the International Dagger.

I've put a couple of lists together on amazon for new Scandinavian crime novels coming out in 2008. One is for and one for They are slightly different due to books coming out earlier in one country than another.

New Scandinavian Crime/Mystery Novels (

Forthcoming Scandinavian Crime Novels (

Monday, December 17, 2007

Make your reservations for Harrogate...

I've just seen the list of authors attending 2008 Harrogate Crime writing festival. My cat was looking at me quite strangely as I squeaked when I saw who was signed up...Euro Crime's crime writing hero...Jo Nesbo. Now I was all set to go to just Crime Fest as Karin Fossum and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir are attending that but now what shall I do. The main problem I have is that I work most Saturdays and can only take 3 off in a year so I'll have to beg some favours to swap my Saturdays off.

The list of authors attending can be found here.

Bargains on

Here's a very good deal - are listing Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio at £4.99.

Need some convincing to splash out? Read Euro Crime reviews 1 and 2.

Then browse amazon's list of nearly 300 crime paperbacks at up to 50% off which includes other such gems like the paperback of The Coroner's Lunch.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Reviews

Here are this week's new reviews, website updates and a competition reminder:

Latest Reviews:

Laura Root reviews The Officer's Prey by Armand Cabasson from newish publisher, Gallic Books;

Maxine Clarke reviews the Dagger winning Raven Black by Ann Cleeves set at New Year, which she feels is very atmospheric but a bit lacking in the detecting department at times;

I had to stifle my giggles on the train whilst listening to Back to Bologna by the late and much lamented Michael Dibdin. This tenth entry finds Zen in a French (well Italian) farce and is brilliantly narrated by Michael Tudor Barnes;

Terry Halligan is impressed by the latest Roy Grace book, now in paperback, by Peter James - Not Dead Enough

and Maxine recommends sticking with Adrian McKinty's Dead I Well May Be as later events "move the book into a post-Godfather odyssey".

Other Website Updates:

The News page has been updated.

Current Competition (closing date 31 December):

Win a copy of Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (UK only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's Christmas Crime (5) - R D Wingfield

Frost at Christmas is the first in the six-book series featuring DI Jack Frost. The final part, Killing Frost, will be published posthumously in April 2008.


Ten days to Christmas and Tracey Uphill, aged eight, hasn't come home from Sunday school. Her mother, a pretty young prostitute, is desperate. Enter Detective Inspector Jack Frost, sloppy, scruffy and insubordinate. To help him investigate the case of the missing child, Frost has been assigned a new sidekick, the Chief Constable's nephew. Fresh to provincial Denton in an oversmart suit, Detective Constable Clive Barnard is an easy target for Frost's withering satire. Assisted and annoyed by Barnard, Frost, complete with a store of tasteless anecdotes to fit every occasion, proceeds with the investigation in typically unorthodox style. After he's consulted a local witch, Dead Man's Hollow yields up a skeleton. Frost finds himself drawn into an unsolved crime from the past and risks not only his career, but also his life...

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Christmas Short Story

Nury Vittachi, author of The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics (which I'm still waiting for my library to cough up) has written a special Christmas short story which is available to read on the Birlinn website: The Christmas Meltdown.

It's Christmas Crime (4) - Brian Battison

The Christmas Bow Murder was first published in 1994 and is the first in the eight book DCI Jim Ashworth series. Brian Battison died in 1998.


Blonde, attractive and promiscuous Stella Carway is found murdered, a scarf around her neck tied in a bow, her near naked body displayed like a bizarre gift. Her stormy marriage immediately puts her shifty husband Steven in the frame as her killer. But Chief Inspector Jim Ashworth, swimming against the tide of his colleagues' opinions, thinks this too obvious a solution. Blackmail, the cover-up of a fatal hit-and-run accident, a passionate lesbian relationship - Ashworth opens up a can so full of worms it would give a crow a coronary.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Christmas Crime (3) - Cyril Hare

The US title of An English Murder is, The Christmas Murder (1951):

Synopsis from

What would an English murder be? Why, it must be a murder of a kind entirely peculiar to England, such as are the murders related in this particularly ingenious novel. And, naturally, it takes a foreigner to savour the full Englishness of a specifically English crime. Such a foreigner is Dr. Bottwink who plays a very important part in the shocking events at Christmastide in Warbeck Hall. The setting seems, at first, to be more conventional than is usual in Mr. Hare's detective stories. The dying and impoverished peer, the family party, the snow-bound castle, the faithful butler and his ambitious daughter. But this is all part of Mr. Hare's ingenious plan, and there is nothing at all conventional about the murders themselves and the manner of their detection. In short, this is a peculiarly enjoyable dish of murder.

Read more about Cyril Hare and his crime novels, here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Terry Pratchett news

The papers today report that Terry Pratchett "is suffering from a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's":
The author has published a statement on a website calling the diagnosis "an embuggerance". Pratchett, who is 59, says that he is taking the news "fairly philosophically" and "possibly with mild optimism". He adds that the statement, posted yesterday on the website of his illustrator Paul Kidby, "should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'" and says that he expects to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments.
Terry Pratchett's statement can be read here.

Terry Pratchett is one of the few non-crime authors that I read. I do tend to stockpile the latest books by my favourite authors especially when they look like they may stop writing soon, for whatever reason, so as to have a cache.

It's Christmas Crime (2) - M C Beaton (b)

M C Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series is one of my favourites. I first started buying them when Murder One was in Denmark Street. After the success of the Agatha Raisin series, Constable and Robinson are printing the newest Hamish next year along with reprints of the earlier titles. I'm currently on a Hamish binge to get myself up to date in time for the new hardback, 'Death of a Gentle Lady'.

A Highland Christmas is a novella length mystery, the 16th entry in the soon to be 24 book series and the only one I think to not include any murders.

Synopsis (from

Christmas is an ancient Roman festival, not to be celebrated by decent folk in the Scottish Highlands. Police Constable Hamish Macbeth has always loved the festivities, but this year he is stuck with the long, lonely Christmas shift in freezing Lochdubh. A cranky old lady kicks off the holidays by reporting her cat missing. Then the Christmas lights and tree in a nearby village disappear soon after the local council voted to allow decorations. As Hamish finds a way to bring Christmas to the Highlands and make a little girl's dreams come true, he finds, to his delight, that he has the best Christmas ever.

You can read an excerpt on the page.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Christmas Crime (again) (1) - M C Beaton (a)

Last year I posted synopses of a few books set at Christmas and New Year time and I propose to add a few more to the list this year.

Starting with Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye.

Synopsis (from
Agatha is dreaming of a white Christmas, with plenty of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts in an open fire - but who will be joining her under the mistletoe? During the dark, grey days of early December Agatha is obsessed by only two things - Christmas, and her ex, James Lacey. Although she says she feels nothing for James now, she feels sure that planning the perfect Dickensian Christmas for all her friends will somehow reanimate her love. Even the murder of a Mrs Tamworthy, poisoned with hemlock at the local manor house, does little to distract Agatha from organising her perfect yuletide celebrations. And yet it should do, as Mrs Tamworthy had written to Agatha, telling her that one of her family wanted to see her dead before the year was out. Slightly guiltily (and belatedly), Agatha sets out to solve the case with the help of her new recruit, young Toni Gilmour.

You can read an excerpt here and also my review on Euro Crime.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All Grown Up and definitely off topic!

From this:

and this

to this in 7 months:

We found him exactly 7 months ago. Thank goodness for blog entries acting as a diary!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New Reviews and Website Updates

Here are this week's new reviews, website updates and a competition reminder:

Latest Reviews:

Fiona Walker reviews Benjamin Black aka John Banville's second crime novel, The Silver Swan writing that "It's possible that Banville is the best writer at work in the genre at the moment";

Maxine Clarke reviews Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill which though lighter on the mystery side than The Coroner's Lunch, provides much to think about;

Maxine also reviews the latest in the 'only honest lawyer in Bari' series Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio calling it an "unpretentious, shiningly true book";

I review the debut book by author L C Tyler - the intriguingly entitled The Herring Seller's Apprentice, which is a very amusing and page-turning read

and Pat Austin is disappointed with Sue Walker's latest book, after the excellence of The Reckoning, she finds The Dead Pool slightly implausible and full of unlikeable characters.

Other Website Updates:

The Authors (599 homepages) page has been updated.

The New Releases pages have been updated.

In Books there are now bibliographies for 1170 authors.

I've added bibliographies for:
Wendy Burgess, Armand Cabasson, Jacques Chessex, Titania Hardie, Yves Jego & Denis Lepee, Simon Lewis, Bill Liversidge, Felicity McCall, Jessica Mann, Grace Monroe, Caro Peacock, Mark Radford, Jack Ross, Leigh Russell, Teresa Solana, Lesley Thomson and Shirley Worrall.

and updated the bibliographies for:
Kate Atkinson, Rhys Bowen, Simon Brett, Ken Bruen, Tom Cain, John Connolly, Colin Cotterill, Leif Davidsen, Ruth/R S Downie, Carola Dunn, Gavin Esler, Duncan Falconer, Jane Finnis, Philip Gooden, Peter Helton, Mick/M Herron, Suzette A Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Claude Izner, Peter James, Peter Kerr, Clare Littleford, Stuart MacBride, Edward/A E Marston, Peter May, Pat McIntosh, Mark Mills, Hakan Nesser, Jean-Francois Parot, Michael Robotham, Graeme Roe, Sally Spencer, Shirley Wells, Kate Westbrook and Stella Whitelaw.

Current Competition (closing date 31 December):

Win a copy of Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (UK only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

November's Euro Crime Competition Winners

Here are the winners of November's Euro Crime competition (and the correct answer):

Prize=A copy of A Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair

Which one of these titles was written by Agatha Christie?

b) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd


Sarah Laycock,
Liz Mellett (USA)
Dawn Taylor
John Teece
Ian Youngman

Enter this month's competition here.

There's always next year...

I regret that I've not had time to read this yet and it's had such good reviews that I know I'm missing out... I'll get to it one day!

On the Orion website for God's Spy, there's a trailer which is one of the more informative (and least cheesy) one's that I've seen.

You can also download a twelve page extract here.

A certain giant online website has the trade paperback priced at a bargain £5.99. The mass market paperback is due out in April.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Best Crime Fiction Books of 2007 (

Crime Fiction Dossier has a post on's 'Top 10 Editors' Picks: Mystery & Thrillers'. The list only includes one European title - In the Woods by Tana French.

The equivalent list on is quite different and again, the Euro Crime team has reviewed all the European ones:

Bad Luck and Trouble - Lee Child
Hurting Distance - Sophie Hannah
The Savage Garden - Mark Mills
Exit Music - Ian Rankin
Friend of the Devil - Peter Robinson

Still a month to go but if anyone wants to offer up their top British and (other) European reads for 2007, please feel free to list them in the comments...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New authors for Bitter Lemon Press

Yet again from The Bookseller:
Bitter Lemon Press has made two additions to its European list. François von Hurter bought world English-language rights in Catalan writer Teresa Solana's The Not So Perfect Crime from the Balcells agency.

World English-language rights to Goncourt Prize-winning French novelist Jacques Chessex's Le Vampire de Ropraz were also acquired direct from the author. Both novels are due in autumn 2008.
From Teresa Solana's webpage:
Teresa Solana has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Barcelona where she also studied Classical Philology. She is a literary translator and author of articles and essays about translation and has directed the Translators’ House in Tarazona. An Imperfect Crime (Edicions 62, 2006) is her first book. With this generic novel she has begun a series centered around two very different twins who team up to create a curious consulting company and end up becoming detectives. Short Cut to Paradise (Edicinos 62, 2007), the second novel of the series, builds a caustic and amusing satire about writers and the literary world.

Publishing Deal - Gavin Esler

Gavin Esler, the BBC correspondent, has already got three thrillers under his belt dating from the 1990s, but has a new one out next year as part of a two book-deal. 'A Scandalous Man' will be out next May, according to The Bookseller:
HarperCollins has signed up BBC correspondent Gavin Esler to a two-book fiction deal. The first novel, a political thriller entitled A Scandalous Man, will be published in May 2008. The deal for British Commonwealth rights in the two books was struck with Toby Eady Associates.

Publishing director Susan Watt said: "I have been looking for a strong political novel for some time-it's such a naturally rich background for character and drama-and here at last is one. It makes you understand completely the all-consuming adrenalin of political power. All of us here are enormously excited to be publishing this and look forward to a highly stimulating publication."

Esler was the chief America correspondent for the BBC, and is now one the main presenters of BBC Newsnight. He said: "We have never lived in a more political age-from Iraq and Afghanistan to recycling and global warming. And yet we have never been so suspicious of politicians. A Scandalous Man attempts to explain how we got here."

Quercus books to be optioned for filming?

From The Bookseller:

Quercus has signed a three-year first look deal with UK-based production company MARV Films, founded by "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" producer Matthew Vaughn. Under the agreement, MARV will have an exclusive window to review all of Quercus's fiction with a view to working with the publisher and its authors to option film rights.

MARV was founded by Vaughn in 2003, with marketer Kris Thykier becoming a partner in 2007. The company has produced the gangster film "Layer Cake" and the recent "Stardust", adapted from a Neil Gaiman novel.

Thykier said the deal marked a "new approach to working with British publishing houses." He added: "Anthony Cheetham, Mark Smith and Wayne Davis have quickly established Quercus as the most exciting publisher in the UK, with particular emphasis on the kind of strong thriller and crime genre material that we believe have a significant opportunity to translate to commercial, quality movies."

Anthony Cheetham, Quercus chairman, said: "In crime fiction there have always been strong links between book and film. Our new relationship with MARV will, I hope, allow Quercus to play a part in bringing some of the best new talent in crime writing to the attention of an exceptional team of film makers."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Caro Peacock=Gillian Linscott

Just to complete the story, I listened to the relevant part of Phil the Shelf last night and it was confirmed that Gillian Linscott is now writing as Caro Peacock. Despite her being an award winner, her last two books under her real name didn't sell well enough.

Here's the blurb for the first, of a projected three, in the Liberty Lane series:

Duelling, derring-do, and dastardly deeds are all in a day's work for Liberty Lane: a new heroine for fans of Matthew Hawkwood and Sarah Waters's Victorian novels. June 1837. She should have remained in the care of her sour aunt in Chalke Bissett, but Liberty Lane was never one to obey instructions. Eager to be reunited with her beloved father, she heads for Dover. But her hopes of surprising him as he steps off the boat are dashed by an anonymous note informing her that he has been killed in a duel at Calais, and commanding her to remain where she is and speak to no one. Thomas Jacques Lane -- radical, romantic, scholar, republican, gambler and devoted father -had led an unconventional life. His movements in the days leading up to his death are a mystery, but of one thing Liberty is certain: he would never have taken part in a duel, for it went against everything he believed in. And if the author of the anonymous note expected her to swallow this lie and meekly obey his command to stay put, he had severely underestimated Liberty Lane. With no resources bar her own wits, she immediately sets sail for Calais in pursuit of the truth - and her father's killer. And as the nation prepares to celebrate the coronation of young Queen Victoria, Liberty uncovers a treasonable plot which could lead to another vicious civil war!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New Reviews and a New Competition

Here are this week's new reviews, website updates and a new competition:

Latest Reviews:

In Mike Ripley's latest Crime File, he reviews ''Losing Ground' by Catherine Aird, 'Swansea Terminal' by Robert Lewis and 'Cop Killer' and 'The Terrorists' by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo;

Maxine Clarke reviews the most recent Brunetti novel by long-term Venice resident Donna Leon: Suffer the Little Children;

Terry Halligan reviews the unusual The Mystery Writer which has the author, Jessica Mann, as one of the main characters;

Laura Root reviews the long awaited Charlie Priest novel, Grief Encounters by Stuart Pawson which should appeal to fans of Dalziel and Pascoe and Inspector Banks

and Maxine has no trouble keeping up with the characters in her first but the author's sixteenth entry in the series - Sins of the Fathers by Sally Spencer.

Other Website Updates:

The New Releases pages have been updated.

NEW Competition (closing date 31 December 2007):

Win a copy of Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (UK only)

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Phil Rickman's radio show

Maybe the mystery of Caro Peacock will be revealed on Phil Rickman's radio show on BBC Radio Wales, later this evening...

17:32 Phil the Shelf

5/7. Phil Rickman talks to writers Ariana Franklin, Caro Peacock and Robert Goddard. The Shelf Starter comes from Sarah Hollins from Aberdare.

The show is "Phil Rickman's round-up of the best in new books, including the Shelf Starter slot where listeners' manuscripts get the big novel treatment."

More information on the programme is on Phil Rickman's website and you can listen again online here.

Phil Rickman writes the Merrily Watkins series, now published by the nice people at Quercus.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Let the countdown begin...

It's been a long day at work today so not much blogging tonight. The new reviews will go as usual tomorrow. I did spot that the cover for the next Jo Nesbo is now up on

Publication date is 6th March 2008. If you've not yet begun reading the Harry Hole series, though this is a serious oversight which should be rectified immediately, you do have the chance to read them in the original publication order viz: The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil's Star which are #3,#4 and #5 in the series.

Friday, November 30, 2007

News page on Euro Crime updated

The Euro Crime news page has been updated with links to the latest reviews and interviews in the main UK papers.

Borders (UK) discount voucher for this weekend

A Christmas gift from Borders:
Everyone here at Borders and Books etc would like to wish a Happy Christmas to you, your colleagues and your families!

Back by popular demand, and bigger than before, the coupon entitles the bearer to a 25% DISCOUNT - OUR BIGGEST EVER OFFER - on all full-priced Books, CDs, DVDs and DVD interactive games, calendars, board games, toys and Paperchase products from Borders and Books etc stores throughout the UK and Ireland, valid from Friday 30th November to Monday 3rd December*.

*Terms and conditions 1. 25% discount only available on full priced items. 2. Only one 25% discount voucher per transaction. 3. Only valid between 30/11/07 - 03/12/07. 4. 25% Discount only valid on Paperchase within Borders Stores. 5. 25% Discount not available on Starbucks, newspapers, magazines, magazine subscriptions, gift cards and vouchers, book and theatre tokens, non stock special orders, online purchases or purchases made over the phone. 6. Not exchangeable for cash or cash equivalent. 7. Only valid in Borders and Books etc stores in the UK & Ireland. Not valid with any other coupon or voucher offer.
Go here to get your coupon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More about the new Poirot films

As reported last month, the first of the four new adaptations is of Mrs McGinty's Dead. The second film is Cat Among the Pigeons which is to be based on a script by Mark Gatiss, author of the Lucifer Box series and one of the stars of the League of Gentleman. From 24 newscentral:
Cat Among The Pigeons sees Poirot face one of his toughest cases yet – one which encompasses international espionage, a middle-Eastern revolution and a missing princess – as well as a huge line-up of characters who all seem to have secrets they could be willing to kill to protect.

When the middle-Eastern country of Ramat is over-run by anti-monarchist revolutionaries, the surviving heir to the throne is spirited away to safety in a small girls’ school, Meadowbank, which is run by the progressive Miss Bulstrode (Harriet Walter, Atonement).

However, when the bullying games mistress Miss Springer (Elizabeth Berrington, The Deal) is found stabbed through the chest with a javelin, it appears that Meadowbank may not be the haven it promised to be.

As Poirot assists Inspector Keslsey (Anton Lesser, Miss Potter) they begin to find that some of the staff may not be quite what they appear, a situation which is compounded when another teacher, Madame Blanche (Miranda Raison, Spooks), is found dead and Princess Shaista (Amara Karan, St Trinian’s) is kidnapped from the school.

With the princess’ life in peril, and the prized rubies of Ramat missing, it is up to Poirot to discover who is the Cat Among The Pigeons.

Cat Among The Pigeons also stars Natasha Little (This Life), Susan Woolridge (The Jewel in The Crown), Carol Macready (The Darling Buds of May), Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Adam Croasdell (The Chase), Lois Edmett, Katie Leung (Harry Potter), Pippa Haywood (Green Wing) and Jo Woodcock (Torn, Marple).
Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Shadow in the North (Sally Lockhart #2)

The TV guides are now hinting at what's on over Christmas and one of the highlights is the second Sally Lockhart adventure following on from last year's Ruby in the Smoke. From the BBC press release:
Billie Piper heads an all-star cast, including Julian Rhind-Tutt, JJ Feild, Jared Harris, Matt Smith, John Standing and Hayley Atwell, in The Shadow In The North. This second book in a quartet by novelist Philip Pullman charts the adventures of Sally Lockhart, a feisty, young Victorian heroine (Piper).

Bafta Award-winning Adrian Hodges (Charles II, Rome, The Lost World and Pullman's first novel in the series, The Ruby In The Smoke), has adapted Pullman's intricate and cleverly woven plot and set it in the heart of Victorian London.

An elderly lady loses her money on an investment; a conjuror is pursued by thugs; and a clairvoyant sees a brutal murder in a forest and a glass coffin, then whispers the name of the richest man in Europe. These seemingly unconnected events set Sally Lockhart on the trail of an evil far more awful than she could ever imagine: the Hopkinson Self-Regulator, a super-weapon in the hands of Scandinavian madman Axel Bellmann.

Once again, Pullman's much-loved and fearless heroine embarks on a mission – this time to find out why her elderly client's investment crashed and what links the clairvoyant's murderous vision to the rich industrialist, Bellmann. As Sally closes in on the truth, it becomes devastatingly clear that her life will never be the same again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who is Caro Peacock?

I'm probably completely wrong on this but could these photos be of the same woman?

Author on the left is Caro Peacock, whose first book, Death at Dawn, has just come out. Author on the right is Gillian Linscott, whose last book came out in 2003. (A more recent but lower resolution photo is on the reviewingtheevidence site.)

From the author information on Death at Dawn: "Caro rides horses, climbs trampolines and spends some time every year studying wild flowers in the Alps."

From Tangled Web - Gillian Linscott has "passions for horse-riding and hill-walking."

Death at Dawn which is the first in the Liberty Lane series is set in 1837 and Gillian Linscott's Nell Bray series is set in the early 1900s.

Not much to go on, just a feeling of familiarity when I looked at the author photo on the jacket. Either way, Death at Dawn looks well worth checking out. The opening line is: "Would you be kind enough to tell me where they keep people's bodies".

Monday, November 26, 2007

(a link to) an interview with Martin Edwards

In case you haven't seen it already, here's a link to an interview with Martin Edwards, conducted by fellow author Julia Buckley.

Martin Edwards' 'Lakes' series is a big favourite of the Euro Crime team: The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden and The Arsenic Labyrinth.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New Reviews

The review hiatus is now over and we're back with six reviews this week and a reminder that this month's competition closes on Friday.

Latest Reviews:
Norman Price reviews this month's competition prize, A Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair calling it "a really fun read" (see below on how to enter);

This year I've managed to get up to date with the Agatha Raisin series by M C Beaton in time to read her latest not long after it came out (thank you Birmingham Libraries). The eighteenth in the series, Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye is a bit lightweight and short but existing fans should enjoy it;

Maxine Clarke reviews the other thriller published in 2007 about the death of Diana,The Accident Man by Tom Cain - the first one being 12:23 by Eoin McNamee;

The last, for the moment, of Maxine's reviews of the Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri, is of Excursion to Tindari and the book is as wonderful as the rest;

Laura Root reviews Kennedy's Brain, Henning Mankell's latest non-series thriller

and Terry Halligan pronounces the third collaboration by The Medieval Murderers - House of Shadows - the best so far.

Current Competition (closing date 30 November):

Win one of five copies of The Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair (NO Geographical restictions)

Friday, November 23, 2007

A new Prime

From Digital Spy:
ITV will not be making a TV version of the final Prime Suspect, according to Broadcast.

Writer Lynda La Plante is planning to publish one more instalment of the series as a book, despite ITV airing Prime Suspect: The Final Act in October 2006.

"I didn't and I haven't [ended Prime Suspect]," she told the magazine. "My publisher is very keen for me to write the last [book], which I intend to do."

La Plante wrote scripts for the first three Prime Suspects but left the TV franchise after the third transmitted in 1993.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "As far as we are concerned, the final Prime Suspect has been filmed and transmitted and there are no plans to make any more."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

James Anderson RIP

This is somewhat belated news as I've only found out via the Allison and Busby catalogue that James Anderson died earlier this year. He is probably best recognised as the author of the Golden Age homages - The Affair of the Blood Stained Egg Cosy, Affair of the Mutilated Mink Coat and The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks (his most recent book). His website has been taken down but you can read a bit more about him and his books on Wikipedia and his publisher's page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nominees for the Costa Book Awards 2007

The shortlists for the Costa Book Awards 2007 have been announced:
Costa First Novel Award

* A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
* Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
* What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
* Mosquito by Roma Tearne

Costa Novel Award

* Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett
* Day by A.L. Kennedy
* Death of a Murderer by Rupert Thomson
* The Road Home by Rose Tremain
Crime novels are in bold. More details at the Costa Book Awards page. Winners of each category will be announced on 3rd January with the overall winner being revealed on 22nd January.

Oprah chooses Ken Follett

From Publishers Lunch:
Oprah Taps Follett
Who needs a National Book Award when you're an Oprah pick? Yesterday Winfrey selected Ken Follett's 973-page THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH as her latest selection (as MJ Rose has noted, keeping her long streak of selecting books by men intact). In a statement Oprah said it's "like nothing I would ever read or had ever read before." A spokesman for NAL said they had shipped 612,000 copies to stores in advance of the announcement.

Publishing Deals

From Publisher's Lunch:
Bestselling UK nonfiction author Titania Hardie's debut novel THE ROSE LABYRINTH, which centers on a mystery that begins in 17th century England with Elizabeth I's royal astrologer and unravels to present-day London, where a beautiful, brilliant young woman, still recovering from a heart transplant, embarks on a dangerous adventure in search of the secrets behind the Rose Labyrinth, to Judith Curr at Atria, with Sarah Branham editing, by Robin Straus at Robin Straus Agency, on behalf of Quadrille Publishing and Andrew Nurnberg Associates (NA).

Foreign sales previously, by Andrew Nurnberg Associates, to: Headline in the UK, Heyne in Germany, Uniebock in Holland, Piemme in Italy, Santillana in Spain, Patakis in Greece, Pearl in Thailand, Eksmo in Russia, Noxi in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Nemira in Romania, and Ainari in Serbia and Montenegro.

A second mystery and suspense novel by Titania Hardie, to Atria, by Robin Straus, on behalf of Andrew Nurnberg Associates.
The Rose Labyrinth is published in the UK in March 2008.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Velibre La France! (well Paris at least)

Never ones to let total traffic chaos get in the way of a good lieu of the metro we used good old fashioned foot power to get around Paris in general but at the weekend when traffic was lighter we did avail of the excellent Velibre system, where you can rent a bike for an hour for two euros. Register your credit card, unlock bike, metaphorically shut eyes and pedal. Return bike to another rack. Stop hands shaking then carry on sight seeing. I should have taken some photos of my own but this photo I've 'borrowed' comes with an article explaining the whys, wherefores and how many(s) in the Globe and Mail.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - to be filmed report the following:
After the both artistically and commercially successful children's film Drømmen (We Shall Overcome), which was inspired by director Niel Arden Oplev's own youth and set in the Danish countryside, the Danish filmmaker will cross the Kattegat and direct an adaptation of Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), the first of the Millenium novels triptych by the late Swedish journalist and novelist Stieg Larsson. Swedish star actor Michael Nyqvist (Äideistä parhain / Mother of Mine) is set to take on the role of Mikael Blomkvist, a former journalist who is asked to re-open an investigation into a case that happened forty years earlier.

The title of the first Millenium novel, Män som hatar kvinnor, literally means "Men Who Hate Women", but the tome will be published in English as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in January 2008. Oplev will start filming his adaptation not much later, in the spring of 2008. Upcoming Swedish actress Noomi Rapace will join Nyqvist on the set as the female lead of the film.

Larsson, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004 at age 50, did not live to see any of his novels appear in print but has posthumously become a bestselling and prize-winning novelist. His trilogy of novels will be filmed in Sweden one after the other on a total budget of SEK 106 million (€11.4 million), but only Oplev's film will be released theatrically, with the second and third made for TV and DVD. No directors have been named for the second and third installment.
As stated above, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be available in English in January, from Quercus. The film is due out in Sweden in 2009.

A photo of the actor and more information can be found here.

UPDATE: Read the Euro Crime review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (book).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Off to Paris

As a belated birthday treat (for me) and general pick-us up, we're off to Paris this afternoon from St Pancras. There won't be any updates to the blog or website for about a week. In the meantime, do peruse the reviews the Euro Crime team has written this year and if you haven't already done so, enter this month's competition which is open to all.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Reviews on Euro Crime

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder of the current competition:

Latest Reviews:

Continuing with Maxine Clarke's reviews of the Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri, here is number four, The Voice of the Violin;

Geoff Jones is impressed enough with Peter Conway's Unwillingly to School to volunteer to review another one later this year;

Maxine Clarke calls In the Woods by Tana French 'unputdownable';

Crimeficreader (from It's a Crime! blog) reviews The Noble Outlaw by Bernard Knight

and for something a bit different - Mike Ripley reviews the Swedish vampire novel - Let the Right One In by John Ajvid Lindqvist.

Current Competition (closing date 30 November):

Win one of five copies of The Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair (NO Geographical restictions)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival 2008 - update

A missive from programme chair Simon Kernick:
The fantastic news is we've almost finalised the Festival Programme. The Programming Committee has been working really hard to get all the authors confirmed as soon as possible. Not that they've needed much persuasion, everyone is already hugely excited about 2008. There's also a rumour that the full programme will be announced at the end of the month in time for Christmas. If that wasn't enough T&R Theakston and the Harrogate International Festival have just been short listed for the Arts, Business & Sustainability Award, part of the Arts & Business Yorkshire 2007 Awards, for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

The bad news is we've been tardy sending out October's missive, for which we apologise. However, we'd like to take this opportunity to welcome all newcomers to the Festival Friends Scheme.
Sam Bourne, Robert Crais, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen and Peter Robinson have already confirmed for next year's Festival and more names to be announced soon.
Space is limited at the Crown Hotel, venue for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, 17 - 20 July 2008, so reserve your place now by calling our hotline 01423 562303.

To find out how to join the Friends of the Festival call us on 01423 562303, or email
Sign up for newsletters etc at the website.

More on the Ellis Peters Award

It took a bit longer than I thought but the CWA website has now been updated to state that Ariana Franklin won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award:
Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin, has won this year’s CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award - the prestigious prize for the best historical crime novel of 2007. The winner was announced by the Chair of judges, Janet Laurence, at a party held in London on the evening of Wednesday, November 7th. More information shortly ...

Judges’ comments:
‘Ariana Franklin has found a unique female protagonist, an Italian doctor trained in the study of death and brought to England as assistant to a renowned investigator charged by Henry II with the solving of murder. In this seductive book, characters leap into life, scenes form a closely woven and colourful tapestry, the central figure of Adelia, the mistress of the art of death, has an unusual charm, and the plot darkens as the story progresses.’

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ellis Peters Award 2007 - Winner...

The word is that Ariana Franklin has won for Mistress of the Art of Death. Full details of the shortlist here. No doubt a press release will be available in the morning.

Crime Fiction Weekend in Lowdham

I received the following press release from the brains behind the Crime Express series about a crime fiction event at Lowdham later this month:
Lowdham Book Festival, in Nottinghamshire, has a winter weekend on crime fiction running from 23-25th November 2007.

Visiting writers include: Danuta Reah ("write a crime novel in an afternoon"); Nicola Monaghan, Allan Guthrie, Chris Ewan (crime fiction award winning rising stars); Michael Jecks, John Wilcox, Karen Maitland ("mystery and history"); John Martin on the scene of the crime; Colin Dexter; John Harvey, TV and film writer Michael Eaton, theatre director Giles Croft ("murder on stage and screen"); Stephen Booth and Rod Duncan (Crime Express); Laura Thompson on Agatha Christie - followed by "Death on the Nile" and "Crime by Candlelight" - storytelling and readings.

Sponsored by Hodder Headline, Crème de la Crime and Five Leaves. Ticket prices vary.
You can download the programme which also contains a creme de la crime competition to win books and tickets, here.

More offers from The Book People

Even more tempting offers from The Book People:

Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye for £4.99,
Complete Bond - 14 Books by Ian Fleming for £14.99
Harlan Coben Thrillers - 10 Books by Harlan Coben for £9.99
Michael Connelly Thrillers - 10 Books by Michael Connelly for £9.99

and for younger readers:
Alex Rider: The Six Missions - 6 Audiobooks on 37 CDs by Anthony Horowitz for £21.99
Spy Girl Set - 3 Books by Carol Hedges for £5.99
The Grk Collection - 3 Books by Joshua Doder for £3.99

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New BBC 1 Crime Drama

From the BBC Press release:

Louise Lombard (CSI, The House Of Eliott), Lyndsey Marshal (Rome) and Danny Dyer (Straightheads, The Football Factory, Human Traffic) are to star in Blood Rush (working title), a gritty new two-part crime drama for BBC One, produced in house by BBC Drama Studios.

Written by Barbara Machin (who also created Waking The Dead), the format represents a bold step forward for the crime genre: as events flip both backwards and forwards in time, this compelling story is told at various times from the point of view of every character involved – those investigating the crime, as well as the killer and his victims.

Read more about Blood Rush here.

Update: Blood Rush is now called Kiss of Death (12/07)

Website updates

Yesterday I spent a bit of time updating some of the reference pages on the website - the Discussions and Events pages - as well as the News page.

The main addition to the Events page is details of the continuing tour by The Agatha Christie Theatre Company of The Unexpected Guest, which will be followed in 2008 by their production of And Then There Were None. Click here for dates and venues.

Monday, November 05, 2007

October's Euro Crime competition winners

Here are the winners of October's Euro Crime competition (and the correct answer):

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

Which one of these titles by Fred Vargas has not won the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger?

a) Have Mercy On Us All


Tom Ayres
Helena Cooke
Lynn Mercer
Hannah Prosser
Stephen Purser

Enter this month's competition here.

Martina Cole books to be televised

From Digital Spy:
Warner Sisters Productions and Granada International are developing two new novels by Martina Cole for television, they have announced.

The Graft and The Take, the best-seller's most recent books, will be produced by Warner and distributed by Granada.

Warner Sisters creator Lavinia Warner (Tenko) commented: "We’re really excited about the project. It is high time for more of Martina’s work to be available to television viewers.

"Her honest and tough novels, vividly revealing the effects of violence and crime on family life in the UK today, are absorbing and addictive. Her talent for strong characters and storylines makes the books perfect for TV adaptation."

Granada is already distributor for Cole/Warner adaptations Dangerous Lady and The Jump which drew strong audiences for ITV1.

Cole said: "I am thrilled to see two more of my books adapted for television. It really feels like I'm coming home - working and collaborating with Warner Sisters again."

Granada head of drama Noel Hedges added: "Martina Cole is simply a publishing phenomenon. Her books go straight to the top of the bestseller lists and stay there.

"At their heart Martina’s novels contain gripping, highly commercial plots and characters that appeal to lovers of crime the world over."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Reviews this week

Here are this week's new reviews and a reminder of the new competition:

Latest Reviews:

Laura Root reviews The Fugitive, Massimo Carlotto's account of his life as an innocent man on the run;

I heartily recommend this tense thriller from Danish author Leif Davidsen, The Serbian Dane;

Maxine Clarke didn't find Sweet Gum by Jo-Ann Goodwin much to her taste;

Terry Halligan praises Otto Penzler's editing of the Dangerous Women anthology and the stories within it

and Fiona Walker is convinced that Ian Rankin's Exit Music is not the last we'll see of Rebus.

Current Competition (closing date 30 November):

Win one of five copies of The Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair (NO Geographical restictions)

The weary cyclist returns

Regular cyclists will probably poo poo at my achieving an 80km ride today, but I'm pleased with it. Emergency chocolate rations were needed for the last 10k but overall it went ok. The weather was foggy and very cold and my feet were blocks of ice by the time we arrived at our destination, the Redwings centre at Oxhill. It's a lovely place where you can see rescued horses and donkeys, the cafe is well priced and serves good quality food and the gift shop has many present ideas. You can buy these online but if you do live near one of their centres then do go visit. It doesn't even cost to enter.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Update on reviews and reading

The plan for tomorrow includes me spending several hours on my bicycle so the review upload will be towards the end of the day. In the meantime, do check out this month's competition which has *no* geographical restrictions. The prize is a copy of the newly released 'A Mysterious Affair of Style' by Gilbert Adair.

My 'at home' book is still Philip Kerr's 'The One From The Other' which is a bit serious for my current frame of mind so I have been indulging myself in my choice of 'on the train' books: more American cozies - 'The Ghost and the Dead Deb' by Alice Kimberly and one of the two Cat Who books I needed to complete a read of the set (30 in all by next year) - 'The Cat Who Played Post Office'. (Much, much better than her recent offerings). I'm also working my way through the audio books of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series which are addictive and charming and warm.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Paris Noir interview

Maxim Jakubowski, the multi-tasking, multi-talented owner of Murder One and editor of Paris Noir which goes on sale today, has kindly answered a few questions for Euro Crime's first interview.

EC: How did Paris Noir come about? Was it your idea or were you approached by Serpent’s Tail?

MJ: It was my idea. A decade or so ago, I did a London Noir volume for Serpent’s Tail, and had always intended to do a companion volume. Then the Akashic Noir Cities series came about and the concept was once more to the fore. However, Akashic wanted an all-French author volume, and I was keener to present a blend of nationalities, as being English but brought up in Paris gave me a different approach to the subject. So, I went with Serpent’s Tail, although I’ve just delivered a Rome Noir volume to Akashic recently, this time all Italian authors plus my own obligatory contribution.

EC: How did you decide which authors should appear in the collection?

MJ: The criterion was for English-writing authors that they had to have lived/studied/spent some time in Paris during the course of their lives. On the French side, I just picked personal friends and people I personally admired.

EC: What’s the role of an editor of an anthology like this?

MJ: To get the balance right; get a blend of authors who fit together even though all their stories are pretty radically different in tone or style.

EC: What’s your favourite story from this collection?

MJ: An unanswerable question I fear, although naturally I have a soft spot for my own, in which I brought back a character who has so far appeared in 3 novels and was just right for Paris.

EC: London already has two noir collections, one edited by yourself in 1994 and one last year edited by Cathi Unsworth, which was in fact the first in this Capital Crime series. How does Paris differ from London in the type of stories being told about it?

MJ: Every city has its own psychogeography, inner life, whatever you call it. Cities are at the heart of ‘noir’ and will attract a different kind of story, as seen through the eyes of the respective contributors. I think that, with a few exceptions (Mike Moorcock’s tale being one, but then he only moved to Paris a few months back) Paris generates somewhat more socially-conscious, even political stories, but then the French have always had a more acute sense of politics than us Brits.

EC: Which other cities or countries do you think should have a ‘Noir’ collection and are you involved in doing any more?

MJ: As I mentioned earlier I’ve just delivered Rome. Actually every city deserves its volume and between Serpent’s Tail and Akashic many are already being covered. I’d love to see a Berlin and Moscow volume, but not edited by me. Every book should be curated by someone with a strong affinity for the place. As New Orleans and New York have already been done, that rules me out as I’m sure they will find a native to cover Seattle.

EC: Why do you think European crime fiction has become so successful/fashionable in the last few years?

MJ: Very simple: when it’s good, it’s as good as homegrown mystery writing. It just took the success of Mankell’s books to convince publishers they could actually make a profit with crime books in translation, so now it’s become a fertile area of mystery publishing. Although I would also say that I’m bemused by certain editorial choices and omissions still.

EC: Which European authors do you recommend that a) are available in English and b) should be available in English?

MJ: I enjoy Vargas, Manchette particularly. Not overly fond of most Scandinavians, who just appear to be riffing on the Maigret with angst theme. Still so many deserve to be translated. Can only recommend from languages I actually read of course, Certainly the French contributors to Paris Noir still not available here: Romain Slocombe, Dominique Sylvain, Jean-Hughes Oppel and Marc Villard, but also Maurice Dantec. In Italy there are so many: De Catraldo, Pinketts, Vallorani, Mazzucato, De Silva, Faletti, etc....

EC: Finally, you own Murder One, write books, blog for the Guardian, edit anthologies, organise Crime Scene – how do you fit it all in!?

MJ: I don’t! Actually, I feel as if half the time, I’m somewhat idle and lazy... Mind you, my next novel is a few years behind schedule, so I have to increase my productivity...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Radio 4 - Afternoon Reading - this week

Two of this week's Afternoon Reading programmes - weekdays 3.30pm-3.45pm ("A short story or an abridged book, often by writers who are new to radio") are of particular interest to crime fiction readers:

Tuesday (30/10)

Blood in Stone by Frances Fyfield, read by Nicholas Gleaves.
John Smith sets off through the woods at night in search of the haunted house he grew up in, equipped with matches and cans of petrol.
Listen again here until next Tuesday. Frances Fyfield's next book, Blood from Stone, will be out in March 2008.

Friday (2/11)

The Lost Child by Brian McGilloway, read by Lloyd Hutchinson.
A couple hear a baby crying on their child monitor. Unfortunately, it's not their baby. A cry for help or a call from beyond the grave? Inspector Devlin investigates.
Brian McGilloway's series featuring Garda Inspector Devlin began this year, with the well regarded Borderlands

We Knew Him When...

Not before time, Irish author (and Euro Crime reviewer) Declan Burke has landed a publishing deal in the US. Today's Publishers Lunch has the following in their deals snippets: "Declan Burke's debut, pitched as "Elmore Leonard with a harder Irish edge". Read more about the good news on Declan's blog.

Read the Euro Crime reviews of The Big O, here.

(link to) an interview of Ariana Franklin

The (free postage and packing) online book shop, Book Depository, has an interview with historical crime fiction writer, Ariana Franklin. The interview is here and the Euro Crime bibliography page is here where you can read reviews of her first two books (under this pseudonym) plus see the titles of the next two Adelia books.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eragon and on... (OT)

From Publisher's Lunch:
The third book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series will be published on September 23, 2008, Knopf Children's announced this morning. Originally envisioned as a trilogy, Paolini is expanding the story into a fourth book. He says in the announcement: "I plotted out the Inheritance series as a trilogy nine years ago, when I was fifteen. At that time, I never imagined I'd write all three books, much less that they would be published. When I finally delved into Book Three, it soon became obvious that the remainder of the story was far too big to fit in one volume. Having spent so long thinking about the series as a trilogy, it was difficult for me to realize that, in order to be true to my characters and to address all of the plot points and unanswered questions Eragon and Eldest raised, I needed to split the end of the series into two books."

Eragon has been licensed in 50 foreign languages, and the first two books have combined sales of over 12.5 million copies worldwide.

Kate Muir column in The Times - 'James Bond' for Girls

From 20th October edition of The Times, Kate Muir's column includes information on a couple of series that might appeal to the female teenage contingent:
Earlier this month at the Cheltenham Literature Festival – which my kids love because they get to stay the night in a real hotel with free bubble-bath miniatures – my daughter, my hangover and I were out at ten on a Sunday morning for a lecture on “Spy Girls and Stunt Girls: they show the boys how real sleuthing is done!”

Jonny Zucker, author of the Venus Spring, Stunt Girl action adventures, showed us the cover he wanted for his first book – blue with a girl silhouetted in kickboxing action poses – and what he actually got after tests with readers: a Pepto-Bismol pink cover with a pretty girl’s face and flicky, bouncy hair.

On the espionage side, Carol Hedges invented Jazmin Dawson, a girl spy, in reaction to all the Young Bond and Anthony Horowitz books for boys, and I suppose we can take heart from the fact that only one of the three covers in the series is pink. Aside from the prodigious unisex works of Potter, “Girls read boys’ books, but boys don’t read girls’ books,” shrugged Zucker, who also writes a boys’ adventure series.
Read the whole article about feminism, clothes and the colour pink here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Trial and Retribution

From the ever informative Digital Spy
Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution will return to ITV1 next year, it has been confirmed.

The network has commissioned a further 16 hours of the series which is now entering its tenth year on the air.

Corinne Hollingworth, ITV's head of continuing drama, said: "Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution has gone from strength to strength during its ten years on ITV, and we're absolutely thrilled to be able to give the audience eight more exciting two part episodes in 2008."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New reviews this week

Here are this week's new reviews, website updates and a competition reminder:

Latest Reviews:

In Mike Ripley's Crime File for October, he reviews 'King of Swords' by Nick Stone, 'The Herring Seller's Apprentice' by L C Tyler, 'The Noble Outlaw' by Bernard Knight and 'The Pere-Lachaise Mystery' by Claude Izner;

Maxine of Petrona has recently blogged about this book and now offers a glowing review of A Half Life of One by Bill Liversidge;

There's no stopping the flood of praise for Jo Nesbo and it continues with Norman Price's review of The Redbreast. You can enter the draw for a free copy here (but don't delay as the competition ends on the 31st);

I was intrigued and informed by Matt Rees' The Bethlehem Murders, but don't expect a cosy read. The original (US) title, 'The Collaborator of Bethlehem' feels more appropriate

and Declan Burke applauds Kevin Wignall's Who is Conrad Hirst? and finds it "as subtly devastating as an assassin in the night".

Other Website Updates:

The New Releases pages have been updated.

Current Competition (closing date 31 October):

Win one of five copies of The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (UK, Europe, Commonwealth (excluding Canada))

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

In London on Tuesday night?

From the Gallic Books website:
Armand Cabasson (author of The Officer’s Prey) and Claude Izner (author of The Eiffel Tower and The Pere-Lachaise Mystery) will be in London this month. They will be the centrepiece of an event hosted by the French Institute on October 30th at 7.30 pm: ‘ Gallic Crimes: from Napoleon to Fin-de-Siecle Paris. The authors will be interviewed (in English) by Barry Forshaw on the challenges of writing and researching crime novels set in the nineteenth century. Barry is the author of The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction. He is currently editing a two-volume encyclopedia of British Crime Writing, and writes for the Independent and the Express. He also edits the magazine Crime Time.

Tickets are available at the door for £3 (£2 for concessions)

Unfortunately I don't finish work until 7pm in Birmingham that night otherwise I'd have trekked down.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Delay in the weekend's reviews

This weekend's reviews will probably be delayed or postponed. It depends how I feel in a couple of days. My beloved cat, Cadgy, has died today after a short illness aged 15 and a half. The photo doesn't show how beautiful she was, like a little bear and the loudest purr imaginable for such a small cat. Fortunately she's not suffering now and I hope she didn't suffer whilst she was ill.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ken Follett's change in direction

According to an article in The Book Standard:
Bestselling author of World Without End, Ken Follett, will write a new epic trilogy, called "The Century Trilogy," which will "focus on intense personal dramas set against the vast looming background of world-changing historical events" of the 20th Century. The series will follow a number of families and the three books will take place before and up to World War I, World War II and the Cold War.
Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

(a link to) an interview with Simon Levack

Simon Levack writes the Aztec mystery series, starring Yaotl, a slave, who has now had four printed adventures. You can read an interview with him on the Getting Medieval blog.

The fourth book, Tribute of Death, has had to be self-published due to insufficient sales of the previous books, despite critical acclaim. If you like this series and want to see more, Simon Levack's website gives the following tips:
Buy my books (well, you were expecting that!)
Borrow my books from your library - and if the library doesn't have one, request it!
Encourage your friends to read my books
Write about my books in your blogs, newsgroups and discussion lists
Get your reading groups to discuss my books
If you know any publishers, booksellers or anyone else who may have a commercial interest in what I've done, tell them about it!
Give this website address out to anyone who may be interested.
Tribute of Death is available to buy or download from

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Prime Suspect 7 wins award

According to Digital Spy:
ITV's Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act won a top honour at this year's Prix Europa.

The Helen Mirren crime drama took the Special Prix Europa for series, mini-series or serial.
It's also available to buy on DVD.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Get Andy McNab on your mobile...

From today's Guardian:
Andy McNab, the former SAS man turned bestselling author, plans to hunt for new readers of his next book via mobile phones.

Posters advertising Crossfire, his latest novel out next month, will invite mobile phone users to request by text the first chapter, to be downloaded in audio or text version to their phones. They can also use the PayPal system to order the print version of the whole book.

McNab's pursuit of a new readers follows a trial this year when the paperback version of his book Recoil was available to order on mobiles.

Although that experiment generated only modest sales, McNab's technology partner, Spoken Entertainment, hopes mobile shopping will soon become more established. It points to the emergence of flat-rate internet charging plans for mobiles, which could encourage more people to use handsets to read and shop online.

McNab and Spoken Entertainment are also testing the market with a range of made-for-download audio stories. From next month, fans of the author can go to his web or mobile site and download 20-minute tales from the Spoken from the Front collection.
According to his website, these stories are already available:
Listen to Andy McNab's brand new series Spoken From The Front. This series of hard hitting spoken stories written and introduced by McNab have been developed especially for download, either directly to mobile phones or from the internet. The series is based on the experiences of soldiers fighting on the front line.
Go here to purchase the audio (£2.00 per story).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This week's new reviews

Here are this week's new reviews, website updates and a competition reminder:

Latest Reviews:

Here are my thoughts on the first three novellas from the Crime Express imprint: 'Trouble in Mind by John Harvey, 'Claws' by Stephen Booth and 'The Mentalist' by Rod Duncan;

Declan Burke's The Big O gets its second rave review on Euro Crime, this time from fellow Euro Crime reviewer Maxine Clarke;

Continuing with Maxine's reviews of the Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri, next up is number three, The Snack Thief;

Sunnie Gill reviews the latest Superintendent Mike Yeadings book, The Edge by Clare Curzon, which is the twentieth in the series and still going strong

and Terry Halligan is disappointed with the stories in Paul D Gilbert's The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes.

Other Website Updates:

The New Releases pages have been updated.

Current Competition (closing date 31 October):

Win one of five copies of The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (UK, Europe, Commonwealth (excluding Canada))

(geographical restrictions are in brackets)