Thursday, November 30, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
"Detective Erlendur encounters memories of his troubled past in this gripping and award-winning continuation of the "Reykjavik Murder Mysteries". At a grand Reykjavik hotel, the doorman has been repeatedly stabbed in the dingy basement room he called home. It is only a few days before Christmas and he was preparing to appear as Santa Claus at a children's party. The manager tries to keep the murder under wraps. A glum detective taking up residence in his hotel and an intrusive murder investigation are not what he needs. As Erlendur quietly surveys the cast of grotesques who populate the hotel, the web of malice, greed and corruption that lies beneath its surface reveals itself. Everyone has something to hide. But most shocking is the childhood secret of the dead man who, many years before, was the most famous child singer in the country: it turns out to be a brush with stardom which would ultimately cost him everything. As Christmas Day approaches Erlendur must delve deeply into the past to find the man's killer. "Voices" is a tense, atmospheric and disturbing novel from one of Europe's greatest crime writers."
So far, Erlendur is reminding me of Wallander from Mankell's series though my experiences is limited to having listened to 'The Fifth Woman'.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The tv show blurb: "Homeless for several years, 21-year-old Sibyl Foster regularly scams rooms from unwitting hotel residents on the pretence that her purse has been stolen. She manages to get away with a room to herself, no strings – until one of her targets is violently murdered. When a second murder is committed, there is evidence that unmistakably links Sibyl as the prime suspect. But as they begin to investigate her, the police turn up more than they anticipate – including close links to a prominent public figure and a spell in a psychiatric hospital. As more and more skeletons are discovered in Sibyl’s closet, even she can no longer be sure that she is innocent. Written by Jimmy Gardner (This Life, Outlaws, The Cops, Buried) and adapted from a Swedish novel by Karin Alvtegen."You can view the promo at the Minotaur site. The rights have also been bought for another of Alvtegen's books, 'Betrayal'.
(Reviews: Euro Crime, Petrona, Crime Scraps.)
Secondly, The Independent has a so called 'secret' section on Casino Royale (if you don't mind the advertising), here. For those wanting to know if they'd be eligible to date Bond, click on the 'exclusive' tab.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
"For decades, Omar Yussef has been a teacher of history to the children of Bethlehem. When a favorite former pupil, George Saba, a member of the Palestinian Christian minority, is arrested for collaborating with the Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian guerrilla, Omar is sure he has been framed. If George is not cleared, he faces imminent execution.Then the wife of the dead man, also one of Omar Yussef’s former pupils, is murdered, possibly raped. When he begins to suspect the head of the Bethlehem al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the true collaborator, Omar and his family are threatened. But as no one else is willing to stand up to the violent Martyrs Brigades men, who hold the real power in the town, it is up to him to investigate."
About the author:
From his website: "Matt Beynon Rees is a mystery novelist and journalist. As a reporter, he has covered the Middle East for over a decade, with the vast majority of that time spent amongst Palestinians and Israelis. He’s a Contributor for Time based in Jerusalem, where he was the magazine’s bureau chief from June 2000 until January 2006. He was born in Wales in 1967 and studied at Oxford University and the University of Maryland. Beynon Rees wrote award-winning stories about the violence of the Aqsa intifada for Time."
The US edition will be out in February 2007 and according to his blog, the UK version, retitled 'The Bethlehem Murders', will be out in June 2007.
Monday, November 27, 2006
"To enter, please email your name and snail mail address to Random House and include "AKUNIN" in the subject line. Good luck!"
"AUTHOR Ian Rankin has revealed he is not planning to kill off his hard-drinking creation John Rebus - who today had a single malt whisky named in his honour.Ian Rankin expands on his plans for Rebus in The Scotsman and talks about Rebus and Whiskey here.
Fans of the best-selling Edinburgh detective feared he would make a final bow at the end of the next novel.
But Mr Rankin, who lives in Merchiston, said: "He's not going to die at the end of the final book, that would be an indignity too far."
And he hinted that Rebus could return in a cameo role in a novel about his long-suffering sidekick, Det Sgt Siobhan Clarke.
The comments came as Orkney distillers Highland Park announced the new Rebus20 malt."
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Other changes include:
The 'News' page has been updated.
The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.
The 'Authors' (485 sites) page of author websites has been updated.
In 'Books' I've added bibliographies for the following authors: Sean Brickell, Derek W Lake and Dennis Lewis.
In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Mark Billingham, Arnaldur Indridason, Arturo Perez-Reverte and Helene Tursten.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
The review concludes:
"You should also read this because, without doing so, you will never have a complete picture of the imaginative postwar life of this country. It is odd to think that people watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II could take a break by reading the newly published hardback edition of this book. When Larkin said that sexual intercourse began in 1963, you may think that he was exactly a decade out. And in his hugely enjoyable study of Bond, The Man Who Saved Britain, Simon Winder points out that the key moment in the novel is when Bond orders an avocado pear ("with french dressing") for dessert. We forget how exotic and desirable the avocado was in 1953; and how hard it was to take money out of the country. When Bond is gambling with thousands of pounds at the baccarat table, British readers must have been boggle-eyed with envy. And even northern France, while a modestly dipped toe in the waters of Abroad, was still a start.
The other reason to read the books is that they are enormous fun. But you might have guessed that already."Read the rest of the review here.
Friday, November 24, 2006
"'Have you ever heard the phrase The Seven Blessings?' That question causes a man to die of shock, and propels Sally Lockhart into a desperate adventure that will expose the deepest secrets of the corrupt and murderous opium trade. Sally is sixteen when the story begins, orphaned and alone. She's had an unconventional education: her knowledge of English Literature, French, History, Art and Music is non-existent, but she has a thorough grounding in military tactics, can run a business, ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol. When her father is drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Sally soon finds herself in terrible danger too - and at the rotten heart of it all lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke."
Philip Pullman says of the series: "Historical thrillers, that's what these books are. Old-fashioned Victorian blood-and-thunder. Actually, I wrote each one with a genuine cliché of melodrama right at the heart of it, on purpose: the priceless jewel with a curse on it – the madman with a weapon that could destroy the world – the situation of being trapped in a cellar with the water rising – the little illiterate servant girl from the slums of London who becomes a princess … And I set the stories up so that each of those stock situations, when they arose, would do so naturally and with the most convincing realism I could manage.These are books I'd like to find time to read, however I'll have to make do with the tv programmes for now. Hopefully the show will encourage more children to read the original stories.
There are many more such hackneyed situations awaiting my attention."
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Will Vuk succeed in killing an Iranian author or will the police, who are aware of his intentions, succeed in capturing him? Find out in this dramatic political thriller from one of Denmark's finest crime writers.
Iranian mullahs have offered a four-million dollar reward to the person who carries out their fatwa, the death sentence of the internationally acclaimed author Sara Santanda. A Danish daily newspaper has in cooperation with the Danish PEN centre invited her to Copenhagen, and police officer Per Toftlund of the Danish Secret Service is put in charge of protecting her. A politician in parliament strikes a deal with dire consequences, and somewhere in the former Yugoslavia a young man signs up for murder. The man is Vuk. He is the Serbian Dane.
I've put the cover in quite large as I can't make out if that's a decaying body in a uniform! 'The Serbian Dane' is out 2 December.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Read Karen Chisholm's review of 'Sun Storm' on Euro Crime.
I think I prefer the US cover, but what do others think?
"In a land of silence and snow, the killing has begun ...Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the small town she left in disgrace years before. A Stockholm tax lawyer, Rebecka has a good reason to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically murdered in the church of the cult he helped create. Beautiful and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor, and to confront the rumours circulating in a closed and frightened community. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark and impossible to guess ..."
The follow up, 'The Blood Spilt', is out in the US in January 2007.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
2006 INTERNATIONAL EMMY® AWARD WINNERS:
DRAMA SERIES - Life on Mars
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR - Ray Winstone as Vincent
The Adelaide Advertiser book reviewers have printed their 'best 100' books for 2006 and the paperbacks on their Crime List include several British authors:
'A Child's Game' by by John Connor
'The Lizard's Bite' by David Hewson
'The Naming of the Dead' by Ian Rankin
'Mr Clarinet' by Nick Stone
'Darkness and the Deep' by Aline Templeton
'Without Consent' by Kathryn Fox
'Diamond Dove' by Adrian Hyland
'The Cold Moon' by by Jeffrey Deaver
'Diamond Dove' sounds fascinating and it stars a young Aboriginal woman.
"Emily Tempest has been away from Central Australia for a long time—uni, travel, dead-end jobs. Finding trouble all over the world. Now she's back at Moonlight Downs, the community where she grew up, half in the Aboriginal world, half in the white. And true to form, there's trouble. An old friend brutally murdered and mutilated. An old enemy the only suspect. Until Emily starts asking questions.There's a long interview with author Adrian Hyland in The Age
Take a nail-biting mystery, an epic setting and a heroine with a talent for stirring things up. Throw in an affectionate flogging of outback Australia's melanoma-encrusted hide—and Diamond Dove may be the wittiest and most gripping debut of the year."
Monday, November 20, 2006
Half the fun of these is spotting the various guest stars, a who's who of British acting.
In 'Towards Zero' we have the best Doctor Who of them all, Tom Baker and the cad John Willoughby aka Greg Wise.
'Nemesis' features Richard E Grant and two Coronation Street actors, (Johnny Briggs and Anne Reid) but it's Sam Ryan from Silent Witness (Amanda Burton) who may give Miss M a run for her money in the detecting stakes.
Finally, 'At Bertram's Hotel' has Campion actor, Peter Davidson and Love Actually's tea lady at No. 10, Martine McCutcheon.
A fuller cast list can be found on Wikipedia.
Author details from amazon.co.uk:
"Stuart Archer Cohen is in his early 40s. He owns an international company trading in rare textiles, and lived in China and South America before settling in Alaska where he now lives with his wife and two children. He has travelled widely and speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin fluently. His acclaimed first novel, INVISIBLE WORLD, was set in Inner Mongolia."
Summary from amazon.co.uk: "The assignment depressed him. He knew that the Waterbury investigation would be a sham, that it was political and that the Chief was in on it. He knew that the reason he'd been appointed to head up the investigation was for the express purpose of not finding the killer. He knew that clearly, because he was the one who had put the bullet in the back of Waterbury's head. Comisario Miguel Fortunato has been in the Buenos Aires police for a long time. Perhaps too long. His pockets have seen more than half a million dollars in bribes over the years. But that's just the way it is. He hasn't done as much wrong as some of his colleagues, but he never managed to tell his wife - just dead from cancer - where most of their money was coming from. Now he has a delicate problem. Some time ago, Robert Waterbury, an American novelist, was found shot dead on Fortunato's patch - officially a drugs deal gone bad. But now the Americans are sending someone over - though nobody's sure why they've sent Athena, a human rights professor - and the case is reopened. Athena soon finds that here in Buenos Aires, the truth is way down anyone's list of priorities. Corruption seeps from the city's every pore in this gritty, atmospheric thriller, where no one is quite what they claim to be, and you have to pick your heroes from the bad, the very bad and the indescribably worse."
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Other changes are:
The 'News' page has been updated.
The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.
The 'Authors' (483 sites) page of author websites has been updated.
In 'Books' I've added bibliographies for the following authors: Jonathan Barnes, Gyles Brandreth, Gary Coyne, K O Dahl, John Macken and Roz Southey.
In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Vivien Armstrong, Lindsay Ashford, Colin Bateman, John Burdett, Lee Child, Natasha Cooper, Ann Granger, Patrica Hall, June Hampson, Sophie Hannah, Anne Holt, Peter James, Katherine John, Bernard Knight, Roberta Kray, David Lawrence, Paul McAuley, R N/Roger Morris, Amy Myers, Ed O'Connor, Sheila Quigley, Betty Rowlands, Pauline Rowson, Craig Russell, Kate Sedley, Sally Spedding, Sally Spencer, Aline Templeton, M J Trow, Pip Vaughan-Hughes, Jill Paton Walsh and Stella Whitelaw.
...and don't forget, the Competition closes tomorrow night.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
St. Petersburg, Winter, 1867 - Two frozen bodies are found in an isolated corner of Petrovsky Park. The first - that of a dwarf - has been packed neatly in a suitcase, a deep wound splitting his skull in two. The second body, of a burly peasant, is hanging from a nearby tree, a bloody axe tucked into his belt. The detective Porfiry Petrovich, in his first murder case since Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment", suspects the truth may be more complex than others wish him to believe. His investigation leads him from the squalid tenements, brothels and drinking dens of the city's Haymarket district to an altogether more genteel stratum of society. Atmospheric and tense from its dramatic opening to its shocking climax.
This one's not out until next February but it seems Faber has a history (groan) of publishing crime novels with unusual heroes...
In July we had 'Critique of Criminal Reason' by Michael Gregorio:
Synopis from amazon.co.uk:
In 1793, Hanno Stiffeniis travels to Konigsberg to seek advice from Immanuel Kant. Whatever was said at that private meeting, it changed both their lives. Shortly afterwards, a close friend of the philosopher extracts a promise from the young man: never to return to Konigsberg. But ten years later, having become a magistrate, Stiffeniis is ordered to return there by the King. He must investigate a spate of murders which has reduced the city to a state of terror. Four people have died, and there is no sign of an end to the killing spree. Tension inside the city is heightened by the imminent threat of invasion: Napoleon is menacing the borders of Prussia. While hunting for a murderer in the criminal underworld of Konigsberg - forced to deal with scheming whores, necromancers who claim to speak with the victims, and the scum of the Prussian army - Stiffeniis is caught up once again in the enigmatic world of his former mentor, Kant. What demons haunt the magistrate's past and why has he had been enticed back to Konigsberg to deal with these grisly murders? Stiffeniis must face a dark truth which he would rather deny...
I'm not sure if it was terribly well received as shown by Peter Guttridge's review.
The third historical investigator appeared in June, in Jason Goodwin's, 'The Janissary Tree'.
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk
Yashim is no ordinary detective. It's not that he's particularly brave. Or that he cooks so well, or reads French novels. Not even that his best friend is the Ambassador from Poland, whose country has vanished from the map. Yashim is a eunuch. As the Sultan plans a series of radical reforms to his empire, a concubine is strangled in the palace harem. And a young cadet is found butchered in the streets of Istanbul. Delving deep into the city's crooked alleyways, and deeper still into its tumultuous past, Yashim discovers that some people will go to any lengths to preserve the traditions of the Ottoman Empire. Brilliantly evoking Istanbul in the 1830s, "The Janissary Tree" is a fast-paced literary thriller with a spectacular cast, from mystic orders and lissom archivists to soup-makers and a seductive ambassador's wife. Darker than any of these is the mysterious figure who controls the Sultan's harem.
The Independent's review is here.
Faber seem to have the market cornered for unlikely heroes of crime fiction. I'm just surprised they're not behind 'The Interpretation of Murder' by Jed Rubenfeld starring Freud.
What's the most unusual sleuth you've encountered?
Friday, November 17, 2006
There's still a few days left to enter the Euro Crime competition for a proof copy of the new Fred Vargas novel, 'Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand'.
Fans will finally learn the truth about time-travelling DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) and how he came to be stuck in 1973.However some of the characters, though it's not clear if that includes those played by the two main leads, John Simm and Philip Glenister, will appear in 'Ashes to Ashes' a 1980s spin off - more Miami Vice than The Sweeney.
"We decided that Sam's journey should have a finite lifespan and a clear-cut ending and we feel that we have now reached that point after two series; so, although it is sad that we have just finished filming Sam's final scenes, it's also been an incredibly exciting few days!" explains writer and co-creator Matthew Graham.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"Any UK publisher may enter books provided that the book is relevant to the appropriate award and was published between June 1 2006 and May 31 2007."
Earlier this year I put together a list of books I considered eligible* for the 2006 International Dagger. That list only included translated crime fiction from Europe. I'd like to create a similar list for 2007 but also include non-European translated crime. So far I've come up with only two titles...'Grotesque' by Natsuo Kirino (Feb 07, Japan) and 'Havana Blue' by Leonardo Padura (Apr 07, Cuba).
I know the cut-off date is a few months away but I'd have expected some books out by May to be listed on amazon by now.
The challenge is to tell me what authors/books I'm missing! (NB. They have to be published in the UK.)
*I did ask the CWA for this information but they were unable to supply it.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Synopsis:There's a short (English) interview with him on a German site here.
In the course of a routine police raid, Detective Inspector Frank Frolich of the Oslo Police saves Elizabeth Faremo from getting inadvertently caught in crossfire. By the time he learns that she is the sister of Jonny Faremo, wanted member of a larceny gang, it is already too late. He is obsessed. Suspected, suspended, and blindly in love, Frolich must find out if he is being used before his life unravels beyond repair.
I particularly like this Q & A:
Q: How did you get into crime mysteries?
K.O. Dahl: It is a long story, which involves one beautiful woman, one late night, some bottles of champagne, a police car, an angry husband and a typewriter.
There's also a Norwegian website for Dahl.
Monday, November 13, 2006
From the BBC Press release:
"Baker Street Irregulars is an original Sherlock Holmes mystery, which pits Holmes and the Irregulars against one of Holmes' greatest enemies.Due to air in 2007. In the meantime there is a 'biography' of Sherlock Holmes, by Nick Rennison, which was reviewed in yesterday's New York Times.
The rag-tag group of street kids known as the Irregulars first appeared in the Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, in 1887.
This time they find themselves having to solve the mysterious disappearance of two of their own gang, while Holmes himself is accused of murder and put under house arrest.
Only by the combination of all their skills can they hope to free Holmes and the kidnap victims, solve the murders and prevent an audacious heist."
Sunday, November 12, 2006
New Reviews this week on the Euro Crime website are Daily Mail reviewer, Carla McKay's October roundup and Karen Chisholm's review of 'Borkmann's Point' by Hakan Nesser.
Other changes to the website include:
The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.
The 'Authors' (482 sites) page has been updated.
In 'Books' there are now bibliographies for 961 authors (5367 titles with links to 829 reviews) - I've added bibliographies for the following: Taylor Holden, Julia Navarro and Justine Picardie.
In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Richard Haley, K T McCaffrey, Keith Moray, John Paxton Sheriff and Roger Silverwood.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I also found this snippet in The Bookseller column:
The aggressively commercial publisher Headline made waves earlier this year with a swirly, girly new look for Jane Austen. Its next target is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Headline believes that despite the iconic status of Sherlock Holmes, the original stories are not really being read. So just before Christmas all nine Sherlock Holmes titles are being "beautifully repackaged for a new generation", with suitably foggy covers and a marketing and publicity campaign. Stephen Fry, who has starred as Sherlock Holmes, offers his endorsement: "[Conan Doyle] is unique in simultaneously bringing down the curtain on an era and raising one on another ... Personally, I would walk a mile in tight boots to read his letters to the milkman.A couple of years ago there was talk of a production of Sherlock Holmes with Fry and Laurie however so far, it doesn't seem to have got off the ground. Hard to see either of them as a bumbling Dr Watson especially after Laurie's Holmes incarnation in House.
Friday, November 10, 2006
A whole host of promotional events are planned leading up to October 2007 when we discover (perhaps) if the last Rebus has been written.
"GALAXY CHOCOLATE is to be the first title sponsor of the British Book Awards which will now be known as the Galaxy British Book Awards. The company already has a well-established association with the pleasure of reading, and now has plans to devote up to £1m on marketing the Awards, with the aim of promoting reading far beyond the Book Awards and encouraging mass-market footfall into bookshops and libraries.Full article at Publishing News.
Galaxy has conducted marketing campaigns that celebrate curling up with a good book, and has worked with Borders, where customers received free Promises bars, and HarperCollins, with which it collaborated on The Devil Wears Prada. Galaxy also supports Richard & Judy’s Summer Read and the forthcoming Christmas Books show.
“We are delighted and very excited by the link we have established between Galaxy and reading with these prestigious Awards,” said Xavi Pons, Galaxy’s Marketing Manager. “It takes our reading campaign to an entirely new level. It is not only about the Awards themselves, but also about the promotion of reading as a key female activity, associated with enjoyment and relaxation, to the mass market. It is a cause in which we are prepared to make a considerable investment.”"
I'm pleased to see promotion of reading though I'm inclined to believe that men need more encouragement to read than women but maybe they don't buy as much chocolate.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I'm currently reading:
and Radio 4 is currently dramatising Agatha Raisin and The Terrible Tourist.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Synopsis: "In Madrid in the 1620s a man must live by his wits, and often by his sword. For this is a time when court intrigue is high, when the decadent young king has dragged the country into a series of disastrous wars, and citizens live in fear of the infamous Spanish Inquisition. In this political hotbed of hired assassins, court players, political moles, smugglers, and pirates, Captain Alatriste hires out his skills as a dashing swordsman with a mind as sharp as his blade. He is approached by two masked men to fake an attack on a pair of travellers who are stealing into Madrid in the dead of night. But things take a different turn when the Captain realises that this is no ordinary job, but is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels..."
I am struggling a bit with the long Spanish names as there are a lot of characters. It might be set in 1620 but the bad language is C21st! You can listen to a sample at the Clipper website.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
"Rome, 1960s. Three young criminals, Lebanese (Pierfrancesco Favino), Ice (Kim Rossi Stuart) and Dandy (Claudio Santamaria), decide to take a step up from the streets of Rome into the world of organized crime.
It’s the birth of a smart and ruthless organization which soon crushes all its rivals assuming total control of the drugs trade, whilst imposing brutal criminal laws on Rome. Their progress and changes in leadership take place over twenty-five years, from the 1970s into the '90s, and are inseparably intertwined with the dark history of modern Italy: terrorism, kidnappings and corruption at the highest levels of government.
As the three friends head to the end of an era where all vendettas are executed and scores are settled only one question remains, who will be left standing."
At the official UK website you can search to see which cinemas will be showing it.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
There's an article in Media Guardian which seems to require registration so I've borrowed the pertinent details:
Martin Shaw, star of the BBC1 series Judge John Deed, may be preparing to hang up his wig and take on a major new BBC drama role - that of 1950s East Anglian copper, George Gently.I'd better get my bibliography ready on the Euro Crime website!
The BBC has commissioned drama specialist Company Pictures to develop a series based on the books by Alan Hunter, who died in February last year.
The series has not yet been commissioned, but is almost certain soon to be given the go-ahead on BBC1.
A senior BBC source said: "Martin Shaw is very keen to do this new drama, and if it gets the green light, which is very likely, Judge John Deed will undoubtedly come to an end."
Judge John Deed is made by the corporation's in-house drama department.
Shaw has been optioned to play the chief inspector, who featured in 48 novels Hunter wrote between 1955 and 1999.
The character's name was used in 32 of the books' titles, such as Gently Does it and Landed Gently.
The character of Gently has been likened to that of George Simenon's Inspector Maigret, who was the subject of an ITV adaptation in the early 1990s starring Michael Gambon.
Most of Hunter's novels were inspired by, and set in, his native East Anglia, which is also Shaw's home. In the 1977 novel Gently Instrumental, for example, the chief inspector is called to a music festival, modelled on the Benjamin Britten festival of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, where a clarinettist is found murdered after flouncing out of a rehearsal.
Gently is also said to resemble the author. Both smoked a pipe.
In addition, Brian Cooper writes a series (9 so far) about two policeman in 1940s East Anglia. I reviewed The Norfolk Triangle a few years ago but wasn't terribly impressed.