Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TV News: Grantchester Start Date

The new series, Grantchester, based on the first book in James Runcie's Sidney Chambers series, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death begins on ITV, Monday 6 October at 9pm.

There is a huge billboard outside the train station I use:

From the Radio Times:

Happy Valley actor James Norton will star alongside Robson Green for the six-part series, which is set in 1950s Cambridgeshire.

Adapted from the novel, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, the series is written for ITV by Daisy Coulam, who has previously scripted EastEnders and Casualty.

Set against the backdrop of the real hamlet of Grantchester, the drama focuses upon the life of Sidney Chambers (Norton), a charismatic, charming clergyman who turns investigative vicar when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances.

Soldier Soldier star Green plays plain-speaking, over-worked police inspector, Geordie Keating, whose methodical approach to policing complements Sidney’s more intuitive techniques of coaxing information from witnesses and suspects.

Executive Producer Diederick Santer says of the series: “Grantchester is a real labour of love for me and [production company] Lovely Day. Sidney is a charming, but complex character, a man of faith burdened by his past despite a distinguished wartime record, he’s funny, dashing and inquisitive. He loves being a parish priest in the exquisite village of Grantchester, but somehow it’s not enough and he still finds time to fall in and out of love and solve crimes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Reviews: Baylis, Brett, Charles, Connor, Corbin, Janes, Staincliffe, Weaver, Wilson

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

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

New Reviews

Lynn Harvey reviews The Tottenham Outrage by M H Baylis and she liked it very much;

Rich Westwood reviews Simon Brett's Blotto, Twinks and the Riddle of the Sphinx, which is now out in paperback;

Mark Bailey reviews Paul Charles's The Lonesome Heart is Angry, set in Northern Ireland;

Amanda Gillies reviews The Bosch Deception by Alex Connor;

Michelle Peckham reviews Now That You're Gone by Julie Corbin;

Terry Halligan reviews Tapestry by J Robert Janes, the fourteenth in the St-Cyr and Kohler series set in Occupied Paris;

Laura Root calls Cath Staincliffe's Letters to My Daughter's Killer - "a little gem";

Susan White reviews Fall From Grace by Tim Weaver, the fifth in his David Raker series and

Terry also reviews Robert Wilson's You Will Never Find Me, the second in his Charlie Boxer series.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ludlow Crime Fiction?

I have spent a lovely day today at Ludlow, exploring the woods, town and of course tea-rooms. I have been to the castle before so didn't go inside this time but I will again one day.

I only know of one crime novel set in Ludlow but do let me know if there are more.

Phil Rickman's The Smile of a Ghost, the seventh in his Merrily Watkins series, is set in Ludlow:

The border town of Ludlow has it all: exquisite medieval streets, an imposing ruined castle, a parish church the size of a cathedral and a weight of history and legend. Wealthy people, famous people, have come to Ludlow to live. A sad teenage boy comes here to die ... dramatically, at sunset, in a fall from the ruins. Accident or suicide? Either way, no great mystery. Or is there? Robbie Walsh was the nephew of former Detective Sergeant Andy Mumford, newly - and reluctantly - retired from West Mercia CID. When Mumford's ailing mother becomes convinced she's still seeing her dead grandson in the old town, he brings in Merrily Watkins, parish priest, single mum and Deliverance consultant to the Diocese of Hereford. Is it dementia, delusion or something even more disturbing? Both scepticism and the dark underside of belief threaten Phil Rickman's engagingly open-minded heroine in this brilliantly structured, atmospheric thriller.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Fall From Grace by Tim Weaver

Fall From Grace by Tim Weaver, August 2014, 592 pages, Penguin, ISBN: 1405913460

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

People go missing every day. Sometimes they walk out of their lives and sometimes they are taken against their will. After the police have done everything they can - and if the person still cannot be found - what then? Retired Detective Superintendent's Leonard Frank's daughter has perhaps more knowledge and resources than most but when she is warned off her investigating her father's mysterious disappearance by her superiors, she has no choice but to call in a specialist people-finder.

David Raker is already known and disapproved of by most police officers he has met. He is an ex-journalist and therefore perhaps their suspicions of him are understandable but they also question some of his methods. Because, of course, he doesn't have to follow the same strict rules in his investigations as they do. So he is a bit suspicious when serving police officer Melanie Craw approaches him to help track down a missing person and very surprised when he learns that it is her father, Leonard Franks.

Leonard and Ellie Franks lived in an isolated cottage on the moors in Dartmoor. Leonard went out to the woodpile to collect wood for the fire one winter afternoon and never came back. His disappearance, without clothes, money or telephone has everyone stumped - how was he spirited away from the house from which the moor stretches in full view for miles? Is the disappearance connected to an old case he worked, is it payback for a conviction and if he went willingly, why?

As Raker investigates, he struggles with the reluctance of Frank's old colleagues to talk to him but gradually pieces fall into place and then he finds himself up against men who will do anything to keep their secrets, even threaten the very people closest to him.

This is a really pacy thriller, the action packed into only a few days. The characters are very well written and engaging and I found myself understanding some of the actions of even the bad guys in the story. This is the fifth novel to feature the character David Raker but is easily read as a standalone. David Raker is new to me and I find myself wanting to read the other novels featuring him - this is an exciting read - a real find.

Susan White, September 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Now That You're Gone by Julie Corbin

Now That You're Gone by Julie Corbin, June 2014, Hodder & Stoughton, ebook

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

Set in Scotland, Isla’s life is turned upside down when her twin brother Dougie is found drowned in the Clyde in Glasgow. Isla can’t accept that her brother, an ex-marine, could have died in such a banal way. He’d only had 4 pints to drink in a local pub and he should have been able to swim to safety after falling in the river. As he worked as a private investigator, she is sure that he must have put himself in danger possibly as a result of his investigation into the disappearance of a young girl called Lucy. She thinks that his death was more than simply an accident as the police have concluded and is determined to prove it.

While the novel focuses on Isla’s attempts to get to the bottom of what caused Dougie’s death, the real story is about her life, her relationship with Dougie, her sister Marie, her parents, and her own children and ex-husband, and how she starts to re-evaluate aspects of those relationships. It’s also about her coming to terms with the shock of Dougie’s death and its unexpectedness. It was such a stupid and avoidable death, and she has to discover that there was something more to it as a way of giving his death more meaning. Her investigations lead to her making discoveries about Dougie, uncovering some of his secrets and learning things about him and his life that she didn’t know or realize. A short, excellent read that manages to capture the sense of loss when someone close dies, and the sense of desperation to make sense of it all.

Michelle Peckham, September 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jane Austen, Detective - Returns

I've posted about Jane Austen and crime before but here's what's Jane-related and coming out in the next few months:

From Stephanie Barron, after a three year gap, the eleventh in her Jane Austen as sleuth series, Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, is published in the US next month:

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.

Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide dies in a tragic accident whose circumstances Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane's fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly-crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

And in July 2015, Mr and Mrs Darcy return in Carrie A Bebris's seventh book in the series, The Suspicion at Sanditon (Or, the Disappearance of Lady Denham), no blurb available yet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: The Tottenham Outrage by M H Baylis

The Tottenham Outrage by M H Baylis, July 2014, 288 pages, Old Street Publishing, ISBN: 1908699671

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

He spotted a group of little boys, done up not as super-heroes or figures of modern legend but in outsized pin-striped suits and ties. One had a big briefcase, another carried a toy mobile phone, a third waved a rolled-up umbrella about.
"They're being you," said a voice at his elbow. It was Mordecai Hershkovits.

Haringey, North London, a spring day.
41 year-old local “journo” Rex Tracey sits in a traffic jam at the wheel of his mate Terry's car and he is terrified. Beside him, Terry tells him to calm down. But Rex hasn't driven since the accident ten years ago and tomorrow he has to retake his test. Photographer Terry has agreed to give Rex some coaching as they drive to Finsbury Park to interview a local history writer. Rex botches his parking and crunches into the car behind. Unfortunately its driver turns out to be Dr George Kovacs, not only the aforesaid local author but also a disagreeable neighbour of Terry's. After some prickly words the trio enter the park which today is full of people celebrating spring, including a Hasidic family picnicking at a table despite being harangued by a young Muslim man. Terry's photography session with Kovacs is cut short by a woman's scream. Turning, they see the picnicking family slumped over their dishes as if asleep. But they are dead. And the screaming woman is accusing a group of young Muslim men of spraying something at the family. The youths scatter and run. Dr Kovacs, visibly shaken, also leaves in a hurry.
Rex and Terry, Geiger-countered, multiply swabbed and issued with contact cards in the event they feel ill, go back to News North London's offices to upload their copy and photos onto its website. The park is filled with chemical-suited techs; soldiers are sealing its centre behind opaque plastic. Helicopters overhead, the Muslim boys – said to have followed a radical teacher – are being hunted in a manner likely to turn other young men to their cause. The dead family were members of the Hasidic Dukovchiner sect, a group already in the news with the disappearance of another member, 14 year-old Micah Walther, the previous year. Rex and Terry decide to drop by Stamford Hill on the way home. There, they find the shomrim – a kind of community policing group – out in force. Rex spots one he knows, Mordecai Hershkovits, who tells him that the family's name was Bettelheim – that the Muslim boys need to be caught – and if Rex wants to know any more, he should try "vegetables". Which turns out to be the name of a nearby shop. Terry, feeling unwell, sets off home. But Rex stays to interview the shop's disparate husband and wife owners, also Dukovchiner, who tell him that the Bettelheims were a quiet family. A quiet family from a quiet sect. Yet a sect with a missing boy and an entire family dead. Rex has almost reached home when ex-News North London reporter, Ellie Mehta, turns up like a bad penny, eager to tell him that his friend Terry has been arrested for the murder of Dr Kovacs...

THE TOTTENHAM OUTRAGE is the second crime novel by writer M H Baylis (aka Matt Baylis, aka Matthew Baylis) featuring Haringey journalist Rex Tracey. It follows on from Tracey’s d├ębut in DEATH AT THE PALACE (“Alexandra”) and continues Baylis's love song to the melting pot which is modern-day Haringey. With his photographer friend Terry accused of murder, Rex continues to look into the deaths of the Bettelheims and Dr Kovacs. His investigations take him deeper into the lives of the Hasidic community of Stamford Hill, the roots of whose sects and Rebbe lie in the villages of 18th century Poland. This is a richness of traditions not often explored in crime fiction although it brings to mind aspects of Michael Chabon's alternative-future crime novel, THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION. Embedded into this modern tale of death in Finsbury Park are flashback narrations recounting the story of the shootings and failed anarchist robbery of 1909, the original "Tottenham Outrage". These narrated segments pop up in the text with no prompting – but, such is the assurance of Baylis's writing, the voice of its narrator, the mysterious and tough George Smith, is vivid and distinct from Rex's story and makes a great counterpoint to that of Rex.

I lapped up THE TOTTENHAM OUTRAGE: jam-packed both with characters and with character: funny, vivacious and enthralling. It's written with skill, observation, understanding and a relish for contemporary life in a teeming part of London that will, I hope, provide many more stories for Rex to tell. Read and enjoy.

Lynn Harvey, September 2014.