Historic Reading Posters - January, A Year of Good Reading Ahead
Sunday, December 31, 2006
We have another new reviewer for Euro Crime and Terry Halligan's first review is of 'The Last Secret of the Temple' by Paul Sussman. In addition, Karen Chisholm reviews 'Spider Light' by Sarah Rayne.
If you're in the UK and interested in reviewing British and other European crime fiction drop me an email at email@example.com.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
"Five years ago the number of new crime titles by Brits represented 57% of the total titles published in the UK and it stayed around that figure until this year when it dropped to an estimated 52%.
It is just possible that 2007 will see the home-grown share of the market (in titles if not sales) drop below the 50% mark for the first time."
Friday, December 22, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man! To mark the 80th anniversary of Hercule Poirot's first appearance, and to celebrate his renewed fortunes as a primetime television star, this title in a collection of facsimile first editions is the perfect way to experience Agatha Christie. Reproducing the original typesetting and format of the first edition from the Christie family's own archive, this book sports the original cover which has been painstakingly restored to its original glory.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thanks to Hope McIntyre aka Caroline Upcher who mentioned this on DorothyL the other day.
"A truly magnificent and elegant former rectory with splendid views over farmland to the front, standing majestically within gardens and grounds of approximately two acres.More Estate Agent details and photos here,
This breathtaking Grade II Listed residence has undergone an intense programme of modernisation, refurbishment and improvement works while in current vendor's ownership. This substantial home now proudly offers many period features along with modern conveniences such as a superb indoor heating swimming pool and gas fired central heating system.
Bluntisham House, formerly Bluntisham Rectory, was the home of the famous author, Dorothy L Sayers and one of the doorways is reputed to have been brought over from Oliver Cromwell's house at Huntingdon."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies buried beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a vivid splash of colour on the white ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbour Catherine Ross. As Fran opens her mouth to scream, the ravens continue their deadly dance ...The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when police insist on opening out the investigation a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine's neighbours nervously lock their doors, whilst a killer lives on in their midst."
Read Sunnie Gill's review for Euro Crime here and CrimeFic Reader's analysis, on her It's a Crime blog.
"BBC One's new series of Waking The Dead, which begins in early January, will be supported by an interactive TV and broadband service, giving viewers a greater understanding of forensic and detection methods included in the show.
Following the second part of the two-part stories viewers can, for the first time, be transported behind the scenes and into the world of the cold case unit by pressing the red button or visiting the show's website.
Viewers will be presented with the CCHQ evidence board and given the opportunity to discover more about the week's story, by moving around the board and clicking on a piece of evidence they'd like to investigate further."
In addition the BBC press release confirms that "Tara FitzGerald (Sirens, Brassed Off, The Virgin Queen) joins the cast of Waking The Dead as Eve Lockhart, the new forensic scientist, when the six-part series returns to investigate more dark, gripping tales of murder mystery."
"In the first two-part story, Boyd and his team, Grace (Sue Johnston), Spence (Wil Johnson), Stella (Felicite du Jeu) and Eve, find themselves investigating pagan and druid rituals, stigmata, Irish travellers and bare knuckle boxing."
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "It is Boxing Day circa 1935. The place is a snowed-in manor on the very edge of Dartmoor. It is a Christmas house-party. And overhead, in the attic, the dead body of Raymond Gentry, gossip columnist and blackmailer, shot through the heart. But the attic door is locked from the inside, its sole window is traversed by thick iron bars and, naturally, there is no sign of a murderer or a murder weapon. Fortunately (though, for the murderer, unfortunately), one of the guests is the formidable Evadne Mount, the bestselling author of countless classic whodunits. In fact, were she not its presiding sleuth, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" is exactly the type of whodunit she herself might have written."
Brief synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "Snow began to isolate the village and by the time the body in the vicarage was discovered, Byford was cut off altogether. A domestic murder - Chief Inspector Lloyd thought it would be an open and shut case but it turned out to be much more complicated."
This is the second of the Lloyd and Hill series and fans are eagerly awaiting the fourteenth, hopefully in 2007,
On Jill McGown's website she answers questions about the title change and the connection to Agatha Christie.
Monday, December 18, 2006
From the manufacturers website: "Climb aboard the luxurious train and become part of the famous murder mystery as you play the video game adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Famed game designer Lee Sheldon and AWE Games have teamed up once again to bring mystery adventure fans the second game in the Agatha Christie series.
Staying true to the novel, players will step on to the lavish, richly appointed train that departs Istanbul hurtling toward Paris. The train is filled with passengers, one of whom is the high profile Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. A passenger recognizes him, asks for protection, but is turned down. The next day that individual is found dead.
Players take on the role of Antoinette Marceau, a new character, who works alongside Poirot to investigate the savage murder. With a train filled of suspects, Antoinette will need every tip that she can garner from Poirot in order to pinpoint the killer."
David Suchet is Poirot (thankfully) though it doesn't look much like him and there is a surprise ending....
Or there's 'And Then There Were None', released earlier in the year.
Manufacturer's description: "Based on the best selling mystery novel of the same name, And Then There Were None allows players to immerse themselves in the rich world of Agatha Christie.
10 people, strangers to each other are invited to a lavish estate on a remote island. Through a recording their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer.Prepare to play the 11th character where only your detective wits can save you now."
On the website you can see a list of characters, scenes and links to a trailer for both games.
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "It is no ordinary Christmas at Lexham Manor. Six holiday guests find themselves the suspects of a murder enquiry when the old Scrooge, Nathaniel Herriad, who owns the substantial estate, is found stabbed in the back. Whilst the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered the locked room to commit this foul deed. For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, 'tis the season to find whodunit."
A fan based website for Georgette Heyer is here. Isn't the cover delightful?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
This week's updates on Euro Crime are:
1. The 'Reviews' page has been updated with reviews of :
'Raven Black' by Ann Cleeves , reviewed by Sunnie Gill and
'Looking Good Dead' by Peter James, reviewed by Maxine Clarke aka Petrona.
2. The 'Authors' (490 sites) page has been updated.
3. The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.
4.a) In 'Books' there are now bibliographies for 980 authors (5465 titles
with links to 851 reviews) - I've added bibliographies for the following:
Gilbert Adair, Rankin Davis, Brian McGilloway, Georges Perec, Matt Benyon
Rees, Luis Miguel Rocha, Philip Sington, William Sutton and Elizabeth
4.b) In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for:
Boris Akunin, Jo Bannister, Rhys Bowen, Kate Charles, Ake Edwardson, Roger Jon Ellory, Penelope Evans, Susan Hill, Lee/L M Jackson, Michael Jecks, Alison Joseph, Adrian McKinty, The Medieval Murderers, Denise Mina, Dreda Say Mitchell, Sarah Rayne, Rob/Robert Ryan, Chris Simms, Alexander McCall Smith and Martyn Waites.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "In December 1923, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher yields to the demands of her mother and the needs of her writing career and brings her family to an old Cornish estate for Christmas. The estate, occupied by the poor relations of the ancestral lord, has a rich history of lore, ghost stories, and festering resentments - some or all of which leaves them all trapped in a house with a corpse and a murderer."
You can read two short stories featuring Daisy here and here.
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "Christmas time in an isolated country house and, following a flaming row in the kitchen, there's murder inside. When a much disliked visiting servant disappears without trace after playing Santa Claus, foul play is at once suspected -- and foul play it proves to be. Only suspicion falls not on the staff but on the guests, all so unimpeachably respectable that the very thought of murder in connection with any of them seems almost heresy. When Superintendent Roderick Alleyn returns unexpectedly from a trip to Australia, it is to find his beloved wife in the thick of an intriguing mystery..."
Friday, December 15, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.com: "Dominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on a three-week Christmas holiday. Glad to escape his dreary London flat and a less-than-satisfying job as church curate, Dominic and his beloved wife, Clarice, set off for what they hope will be a lovely winter getaway.
Upon arrival, in the midst of a frigid, exceptionally snowy season, Dominic and Clarice are welcomed by warm, hospitable neighbors and enchanted by the cozy, inviting vicarage. Everything seems almost too perfect. Dominic’s only concern is how he will be received by the congregation, who hold the Reverend Wynter in such high regard. But as Clarice soon discovers, she and Dominic have much more dire matters to worry about. It turns out that the Reverend Wynter isn’t on holiday at all–and that something very sinister has transpired.
As a blizzard leaves Cottisham treacherously snowbound and the isolated village swirls with unsavory secrets, Dominic and Clarice suddenly find themselves in deadly danger."
You can read an excerpt on the Random House webage. The other Christmas novellas are: 'A Christmas Journey', 'A Christmas Visitor' and 'A Christmas Guest'.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Star in the next Tom Kirk adventure
Always wanted to be a master thief, a deadly assasin or femme fatale?? Well here's your chance!
All you need to do to make your guest appearance between the pages of the next Tom Kirk adventure, is sign up to the jamestwining.com newsletter (click button below) to be entered into the Prize Draw on 31 December 2006.
The lucky winner will be selected at random and will then have the opportunity to have one of the characters in the book named after him or her, as well as have sight of early drafts of the manuscript.
You just need to sign up for his newsletter and the full rules and a link are here on his website.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Lesley Horton's book, which I've mentioned recently, came out on 1 Dec from Orion.
Is it just me or is there a certain similarity to the covers?
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk of 'Why We Die':"When Tim Whitby checks into a hotel, he's not intending to check out again - but then he meets Katrina Blake, a woman in need of rescue. When Arkle, Baxter and Trent inherit the family business, they're not planning on making a go of it - there are quicker ways of getting rich, if you're not squeamish about the violence involved. And when Zoe Boehm agrees to track down the masked men who robbed Harold Sweeney's jewellery shop, she's hoping to pay off the taxes she's avoided. She's not expecting to wind up in a coffin. But Arkle has a crossbow; Tim has a life that's run out of purpose, and even battered Katrina has her secrets. And death, like taxes, can't be avoided forever."
Synopsis from amazon.com: "On her latest case, wisecracking Private Investigator, Helena Handbasket, is faced with a lot of tough questions. Did Robin Banks have a hand in the theft of Evan Stubezzi's jewels? And if so, was the hand one of those packed in ice in the freezer box that was delivered to his brother, Owen? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or are all those handless corpses with scarlet fish sewn into their chest cavities purely coincidental? What shoes should you wear for a meeting with a killer? Why does her next-door neighbour smell of cheese? Which of her true loves is her real true love? And, more importantly, is there anything in the fridge for dinner? Can our man-loving, cocktail-loving, food-loving, not-so-very-intrepid heroine answer these questions-any of them-without leaving a cliché unturned?"
'Go to..' is published by Point Blank and you can read the Prologue aka (Why The Hell Isn't This Called Chapter One?) here.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I do enjoy WtD even if the plots are usually incomprehensible and ultimately deliver less than they promise and Trevor Eve's character, Boyd, is terribly annoying.
No announcement yet for when the 2007 episodes will be shown.
The BBC produces another press release for Ruby in the Smoke, which will be on BBC1 on 27 December at 8.30pm. The follow up, The Shadow of the North, will be shown later in 2007.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
competition to win one of six copies of Martyn Waites' new Joe Donovan book, 'Bone Machine', out in the UK in January. (There are no geographical restrictions and the closing date is 31 Dec 2006.)
Enter here: Competition
The 'Reviews' page has been updated with reviews of :
'The Main Chance' by Colin Forbes - his and Tweed's penultimate novel. Reviewed by Karen Chisholm.
'Lawless' by Alexander McGregor - the first fiction outing for a Scottish
journalist who had a best seller writing about Dundee's true crime.
The 'New Releases' pages have also been updated.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Synopsis of 'A Bitter Chill' from her website: "In late December 95 AD, Roman settlers in Britannia are preparing to celebrate Saturnalia, a midwinter festival of eating, drinking, and fun-and-games. Innkeeper Aurelia Marcella's plans for a peaceful holiday are shattered when her brother brings bad news. An enemy in Rome is trying to destroy her family by spreading rumours that they are plotting against Caesar. To add to her troubles, the mansio is menaced by a gang of native criminals operating a protection racket, and a party of rich, demanding travelers arrive to stay. Their quarrels and violence spill over into Aurelia's household, and the Saturnalia banquet, highlight of the festival, culminates in tragic death. Aurelia's sister Albia is one of the chief suspects.
This second book in the series takes Aurelia from the quiet countryside to the busy new garrison town of Eburacum (York,) where she must contend with conspirators and crooks, and face personal danger to protect her sister and help her brother. If she fails, her family will lose not just their mansio, but their lives."The competition is here. The deadline is GMT Sunday 17th December and I don't think there are any geographical restrictions.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
"Behind closed doors, every family has its secrets. The Ingleby family must look to theirs when Diane Ingleby is shot after a family outing. DI John Handsford and DS Kahlid Ali are called in to investigate and it soon emerges that Diane's husband, Maurice, is widely suspected to be the money behind the local branch of the BNP. He's been on the receiving end of threats before, and it seems his wife might have been caught in the middle. It's a sensitive case, and Handsford and Ali are joined by trainee DC Parvez Miah - son of an influential local Muslim community leader. But when Aisha, Miah's wife, is found badly beaten, it seems that the Inglebys may not be the only family with skeletons in the cupboard. Tension mounts as accusations fly from all sides with the approach of the local elections - but everyone is silent where it matters most. Is it shame, honour, or old-fashioned fear that's keeping everyone quiet? Handsford and Ali must find out before another woman is silenced - permanently."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
'Carte Blanche' by Carlo Lucarelli (Europa Editions) has a lighter blue cover than shown and is not only striking but the cover is a stiff cardboard with flaps. (I don't know the technical term I'm afraid!)
Synopsis from Europa Editions website:
"April, 1945. The last days of the Salò Republic. A brutal murder on the “good side of town” lands Commissioner De Luca in the middle of a hornet’s nest where the rich and powerful mix drugs, sex, money and murder."
'A Most Dangerous Woman' by Lee Jackson, writing as L M Jackson.
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
"'It was said that she had the good manners of a respectable upper servant but was far too young to have been pensioned; that she spoke as if she had received an education, but knew the coasters' slang as if she were born-and-bred to it; and that she not only had no husband - which was a commonplace on Leather Lane - but seemed never to have possessed one.' When the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens her Dining and Coffee Rooms upon the corner of Leather Lane and Liquor pond Street, her arrival amongst the poor market-traders is a nine-days' wonder. Few doubt that she has a 'past'; but no-one can possibly predict how it will return to haunt her. When an old friend is brutally murdered by the unlikeliest of assailants, Sarah Tanner is the only witness. Unable to turn to the police, she reluctantly finds herself drawn back into the dark underworld of the Victorian metropolis. Assisted by unlikely friends, dogged by the criminal machinations of 'the greatest gamester, felon, villain, swindler, and scoundrel in London', she must unravel a web of treachery and deceit, that takes her from the gaming hells of Regent Street to the suburban heights of Upper Holloway; from the slums of St. Giles to the fast-flowing waters of the Thames. Relying on her wits, trading on her past, Sarah Tanner risks gambling her own life upon a desperate quest for justice and vengeance."
'Carte Blanche' is already available but we'll have to wait until April for 'A Most Dangerous Woman'.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
"Enid Blyton's Famous Five adventures are being turned into a Disney cartoon series.Full article here.
A British company, Chorion, is working with a French animation firm to make the series which will première in the UK in 2008.
A spokesman said the series was still popular around the world and every generation of children "deserved" to be entertained by the Famous Five.
The Famous Five children (and dog) are, aside from Noddy, perhaps the most famous of Blyton's characters.
Julian, Dick, Anne and George, with their dog Timmy, typically used their school holidays to chance upon a mystery which led to a chase and adventure.
It might mean scrambling through caves and smugglers' tunnels or exploring a remote island to unmask criminals in their work.
Whatever the obstacles, the team always found time to stop for a picnic which would typically include ginger beer.
Indeed, if the term "lashings of ginger beer" has become a catch-phrase for mocking Blyton's characters, they have delighted generations with their courage and sense of fair play.
A spokesman for Chorion told the Daily Telegraph the cartoon characters would not use old-fashioned terminology, but the adventures would remain true."
Let's hope the figures look better than those on the recent covers of the Secret Seven series:
Crime Scraps reviews Massimo Carlotto's 'The Master of Knots',
International Noir Fiction reviews 'The Dead Hour' by Denise Mina.
Material Witness reviews Peter Robinson's 'Strange Affair' and comments on why the language feels slightly off at times.
Reading matters reviews 'Don't Look Back' by Karin Fossum.
Monday, December 04, 2006
"I warned you, Jemima Shore, things up here are seldom all they seem ... The body of a young man has been found floating in a pool on a remote island in the Scottish Highlands. It just happens to be the island that TV reporter Jemima Shore has rented for a holiday ... a holiday that is rapidly falling apart. Confronted with a foreboding stone house, a bitter family feud and cryptic warnings from locals Jemima begins to regret her choice. It is only when another body is found tangled in weeds in the river she begins to realize she has become caught up in something very dark indeed. As she tries to fight her attraction to a suspect, Jemima struggles to work out just who she can trust. In this lonely spot it seems that nobody is quite as they first appear ..."
Antonia Fraser hasn't published any detective stories since 1994 and is much more famous as an historical novelist - the recent Kirsten Dunst film was loosely based on her biography of 'Marie Antoinette'.
Friday, December 01, 2006
*There is a huge waiting list for this in the library - currently 147 reservations for 51 copies.
"In just four years, the Theakston’s Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival has become the largest crime-writing event of its kind in Europe. 2006 was no exception and saw audiences rise by 24% from 2005, once again attracting writers and enthusiasts from all over the world to the many sell-out events. This year sees a new venue, a growth in the programme and the very best crime authors around, including Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Harlan Coben and our 2007 Programming Chair Natasha Cooper.
2007 heralds an important change of venue for the Festival. Following a tremendous amount of customer feedback the 2007 event will be held at the beautifully refurbished Crown Hotel situated in the centre of the picturesque spa town of Harrogate, and I am pleased to announce that this will now be our home until 2009.
Booking has now opened for all ticket and accommodation packages – call 01423 562303 for tailor made packages and rates."