Thursday, January 31, 2008

Publishing Deal - new Irish crime writer

From Publishing News:
JULIA WISDOM AT HarperCollins pre-empted UK/Commonwealth rights to two thrillers by Irish debutante Aiveen McCarthy. The Insider, scheduled for next spring, introduces Dublin-based heroine Henrietta 'Harry' Martinez, a whiz computer hacker turned security pro who becomes entangled in her father's financial scams and finds herself the target of a psychopathic murderer. Wisdom, who bought from Laura Longrigg at MBA, describes it as “a breath-taking page-turner, painted on an international canvas”.

Justine Picardie's Daphne to be filmed

Again from Book2Book:
Bloomsbury Publishing is delighted to announce a film deal for Justine Picardie's forthcoming novel, Daphne, to be published in March 2008.

The option has been bought by Robert Fox, producer of the films - Iris, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal and executive producer of Closer and most recently the Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated Atonement. Daphne will be his next project.

Fox's family had ties with the Du Mauriers and as a child Robert himself visited Daphne at Menabilly, Fowey, the house that would go on to inspire so much of her writing. Justine Picardie is thrilled to have a producer so in tune with this book and its history.

Daphne is published on March 3rd 2008, priced £14.99.

Synopsis:

It is 1957. The author Daphne du Maurier, beautiful, famous, despairing as her marriage falls apart, finds herself haunted by Rebecca, the heroine of her most famous novel, written twenty years earlier. Resolving to write herself out of her misery, Daphne becomes passionately interested in Branwell, the reprobate brother of the Bronte sisters, and begins a correspondence with the enigmatic bibliophile Alex Symington as she researches a biography. But behind Symington's respectable scholarly surface is a slippery character with much to hide, and soon truth and fiction have become indistinguishable. In present-day London, a lonely young woman, newly married after a fleeting courtship with a man considerably older than her, struggles with her PhD thesis. Her husband, still seemingly in thrall to his brilliant, charismatic first wife, is frequently distant and mysterious, and she can't find a way to make this large, imposing house in Hampstead feel like her own. Retreating instead into the comfort of her library, she begins to become absorbed in a fifty-year-old literary mystery.

The last untold Bronte story, "Daphne" is a tale of obsession and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost, and love found. It is a beautiful, original novel from the acclaimed author of "Wish I May".

(OT) Doreen Tovey RIP

Book2Book reports the sad announcement of Doreen Tovey's recent death:
Summersdale Announcement

Doreen Tovey – author

(24th October 1918 – 13th January 2008)

It is, with great sadness, that we report the death of Doreen Tovey.

Over the years, Doreen Tovey's books gave so much pleasure to so many readers.

Full of gentle humour and heart-warming tales, her books described the adventures and antics of the cats (and other animals) with whom she shared her life in Somerset.

Doreen Tovey wrote more than a dozen books (which sold more than 120,000 copies in 10 countries) and she was also president of the Siamese Cat Club.

Her books were serialised in The People's Friend magazine and won her the devotion of many thousands of animal lovers in the UK and overseas. She will be greatly missed by her many, many fans.

"No-one writes about cats with more wit, humour and affection." The People's Friend

"Every so often, there comes along a book – or if you're lucky – books which gladden the heart." Cat World Magazine


Synopsis for A Comfort of Cats:
Tucked away in an idyllic corner of the West Country, you’d think Doreen and her husband Charles would be enjoying a peaceful life – but far from it. Their wily Siamese companions still keep them on their toes.

The Toveys are presented with a new problem when the local cattery closes down. Where will they leave Saska and Shebalu when they go on holiday? And so they buy a caravan to take the cats away with them, only to discover that packing up and leaving home is far from a holiday when seal-points are involved.

As Saska grows ever more boisterous, he develops monkey-like climbing abilities, a knack for opening doors and a somewhat inconvenient obsession with wool. With Annabel the self-willed donkey, Father Adams and a host of gossiping villagers, this is a beguiling tale to enchant and amuse.

I read several of these quite a few years ago when they were hard to track down. Along with the Cat Who books they made me hanker for Siamese cats but we have stuck to rescuing 'moggies' who are still characters in their own right.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clive Owen's next film

On this week's Film 2008, Clive Owen talks about his new film, The International which is set in Istanbul, Berlin, Madrid as well as New York.

From IMDB: The International centers on an obsessive Interpol agent (Clive Owen) who spearheads an investigation into one of the world's most high-profile and powerful banking institutions in an attempt to expose them for worldwide arms brokering, corruption and murder. Naomi Watts will play a Manhattan assistant district attorney who partners with the agent to take down the bank.

The International is directed by Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame and will be out in the US in August and the UK in September.

Watch Film 2008 online for the next 6 days here. The Clive Owen segment is 8 minutes in.

Publishing Deal - A J Hartley

From Publisher's Lunch:
Shakespeare professor and author of Mask of Atreus and On the Fifth Day A.J. Hartley's WHAT TIME DEVOURS, bringing back his disgraced English teacher character to uncover the deadly mystery behind a lost Shakespeare manuscript, again to Natalee Rosenstein at Berkley, in a very nice deal, for publication in Winter 2009, by Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Demon from Dakar - blurb

Information has been scarce about the new book from Kjell Eriksson, The Demon from Dakar. I've managed to track down just these few lines in a Minotaur catelogue:
In Kjell Eriksson’s riveting new novel, his third to be published here in the United States, his series detective Ann Lindell finds that one of her leading suspects in a brutal murder investigation owns half of a fancy restaurant named Dakar. His partner has been killed, and everyone who works at the restaurant is under suspicion. And then more bodies turn up....

Another triumph, this unforgettable puzzle will cement Eriksson’s reputation among international crime writers.
The Demon from Dakar is published in the US on 29 April.

News page updated

I've added some more links to reviews and interviews in the UK papers to the News page.

Links include - two Guardian reviews of the new John Harvey book, Cold in Hand, and the Independent's interview of Andrea Canobbio.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Place of Execution to be televised

Val McDermid's A Place of Execution is a wonderful read and one I'd recommend to anyone. Now comes news that it is to be made into a three part tv series:
ITV has commissioned a new three part drama from the team behind Wire in the Blood.

Production will commence in April on A Place of Execution, based on Val McDermid's best-selling novel. Billed as a "taut psychological thriller", the drama "explores, exposes and explodes the borderline between reality and illusion in a multi-layered narrative that turns expectations on their heads".

It follows the story of a police officer who tells the story of an investigation into the disappearance of a 13 year old girl to a writer who subsequently discovers new evidence that "shatters the past and turns the world upside down".

Where are they now..Hannah March

Hannah March wrote five Georgian crime novels starring Robert Fairfax which were published between 1999 and 2001. The third one, A Distinction of Blood, was short-listed for the 2001 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger.

Since then Hannah (who is actually a he) seems to have forsaken the crime world. However, I discovered by chance that he is now writing historical fiction as Jude Morgan including the Jane Austen inspired Indiscretion and most recently An Accomplished Woman which is due out in paperback in a few days time.

Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
As a young woman, clever, self-reliant Lydia Templeton scandalised society by rejecting Lewis Durrant, the county's most eligible bachelor. Ten years later, Lydia has no regrets and, having concluded that matters of the heart need no longer trouble her, she is quite happy to remain unwed. But others still seek Lydia's advice on their love lives, and when her godmother implores her to take her young ward Phoebe's search for a suitor in hand, it's hard to refuse. In truth, the prospect fills Lydia with horror (especially as she must go to Bath of all places to do it), but poor Phoebe, having managed to promise herself to two men at once, rather needs her help. However, finding a solution to Phoebe's dilemma proves far trickier than anyone imagined. As affairs become increasingly tangled, Phoebe more muddled and Lydia's exasperation grows, the confirmed spinster finds that her own heart is not quite the closed book she thought it was!

I haven't read any Regency romances for quite a few years however all this period drama on tv has encouraged me to order this one at the library. I may even get round to reading it, you never know...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Reviews on Euro Crime

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

Latest Reviews:

Norman Price, Euro Crime's Italian expert recommends Massimo Carlotto's Death's Dark Abyss - another one of his short books that packs a punch;

Geoff Jones reviews the latest by the prolific author Peter Conway - Deserving Death recommending it to "anyone who likes an uncomplicated detective novel";

Maxine Clarke reviews the first of Martin Edwards' excellent Lake District series - The Coffin Trail calling it "an absorbing read";

Maxine found Hakan Nesser's The Return less compelling than the previous title, Borkmann's Point

and I review the Costa Award winning What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn - the word 'haunting' has been accurately used to describe this book and it is one that will linger in the mind well after the final page has been turned. I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Current Competition (closing date 31 January):

Win a copy of Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis (UK & Europe only)


(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Reviews delayed a bit...

Reviews are coming soon(ish) today. I'm running a bit late as we had a scenic ride to Redwings at Oxhill today. Whereas last time it was an 80km ride, today it was 90km (56 miles). Redwings is at location 3 on the map below. The ride went in a clockwise direction through Warwickshire's pretty scenery:


It was my fourth longest ride ever and as my mum might say "I'm nick nacky nooed".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ashes to Ashes - countdown to 7 Feb...

An article in The Telegraph today about Ashes to Ashes has the writers giving their point of view:
'We knew we couldn't have Sam Tyler, considering Life on Mars was all in his head,' Pharoah says. But early last year, he and Graham were travelling to London from their homes near Bath for a meeting with Kudos, the production company that had made Life on Mars. 'I remember vividly, we were on the train between Swindon and Reading and we had the idea: what if a senior female police psychiatrist was so obsessed with Tyler's suicide that somehow she gets in trouble in the present and her mind throws her back to a time and place that was incredibly important to her? Which was London in 1981, when her parents died in a car bomb. Then we got excited and giggling about television shows from the early 1980s. We were off then…'
as well as Philip Glenister on Gene Hunt:
'Gene Hunt sees Alex Drake, thinks he wants to shag her brains out, but knows he never will.' Glenister admits he is 'a bit defensive' about Gene, and was worried when he heard the one-liner that was issued to the press when the new series was announced last year: 'a cross between Miami Vice and Moonlighting'. He recalls thinking with a wince, 'Gene Hunt doesn't do romance.'
Read the whole article here and you can also read producer Beth Willis's diary written as the first few episodes were shot.

Friday, January 25, 2008

(OT) Star Trek XI Trailer

Here's the first trailer for the new Star Trek film, due out at Christmas, complete with Spock voice-over.



It's bigger and better on the official film website. Though that's about all there seems to be on it so far...

New ITV Dramas

From the Guardian:

ITV1 will add a touch of the macabre to its schedule this autumn with a gruesome modern-day Jack the Ripper drama starring Rupert Penry Jones.

One of three three new dramas for the autumn season, Whitechapel stars Jones as Chandler, a media-savvy young detective who works with an eccentric "Ripperologist" to investigate a series of bloody copycat murders.

Phil Davies has been cast as his hard-worn partner Miles in the Carnival Films production.

This autumn will also see Sean Bean return as swashbuckling hero Sharpe, this time training up a ramshackle group of soldiers on a dangerous adventure through India.

ITV has cast Kevin Whately, Geraldine Somerville and Lesley Sharp in its third commission, The Children.

Scripted by Peak Practice writer Lucy Gannon, the tense thriller focuses on the murder of a young girl and questions complex modern family relationships.

Frank Tallis's Vienna Blood now available in the US

The trade paperback of the second of Frank Tallis's historical psychological crime novels, Vienna Blood has recently been published in the US.

Synopsis: In the grip of a Siberian winter in 1902, a serial killer in Vienna embarks upon a bizarre campaign of murder. Vicious mutilation, a penchant for arcane symbols, and a seemingly random choice of victim are his most distinctive peculiarities. Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt summons a young disciple of Freud - his friend Dr. Max Liebermann — to assist him with the case. The investigation draws them into the sphere of Vienna’s secret societies — a murky underworld of German literary scholars, race theorists, and scientists inspired by the new evolutionary theories coming out of England. At first, the killer’s mind seems impenetrable — his behaviour and cryptic clues impervious to psychoanalytic interpretation; however, gradually, it becomes apparent that an extraordinary and shocking rationale underlies his actions. . . .

Against this backdrop of mystery and terror, Liebermann struggles with his own demons. The treatment of a patient suffering from paranoia erotica (a delusion of love) and his own fascination with the enigmatic Englishwoman Amelia Lydgate raises doubts concerning the propriety of his imminent marriage. To resolve the dilemma, he must entertain the unthinkable — risking opprobrium and accusations of cowardice.

Read an excerpt on the Random House website.

A Glimpse of Quantum of Solace

CommanderBond.net have a very short video showing a bit of filming of Quantum of Solace. Go here to watch it (needs Quicktime).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bond and his Quantum of Solace (or not)

The new James Bond film is to be called Quantum of Solace, the title of an Ian Fleming short story.

On the BBC website, Daniel Craig has a go at explaining the title...

Craig said the cryptic title referenced how Bond's heart had been broken at the end of Casino Royale.

"Ian Fleming had written about relationships," he explained.

"When they go wrong, when there's nothing left, when the spark has gone, when the fire's gone out, there's no quantum of solace.

"And at the end of the last movie, Bond has the love of his life taken away from him and he never got that quantum of solace."

Craig said the new film would follow 007 as he goes out "to find the guy who's responsible".

"So he's looking for revenge, you know, to make himself happy with the world again.

"But it the title also alludes to something else in the film," he added.

The film is due for release on the 7 November and the story picks up just half an hour after the end of Casino Royale. Read more about the title, the Bond Girls and M at the BBC website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Geraldine McEwan giving up Marple

The BBC reports that:
Miss Marple star Geraldine McEwan has announced she is leaving the ITV crime drama, after more than three years playing the amateur detective.

The 75-year-old actress joined the show, based on Agatha Christie's crime novels, in 2003.

"It has been a marvellous experience to inhabit this role for the last few years," she said.

McEwan was the sixth actress to portray the character. Producers are now looking for her successor.

"It's been an absolute pleasure to work on Miss Marple since 2003, and I leave with fond memories." said McEwan.

Since making her debut as Miss Marple in The Body In The Library, McEwan has made 12 more films. Two of them will be broadcast later this year.
and from Digital Spy:
Mathew Prichard, the grandson of Agatha Christie and the chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, described McEwan as a "wonderful Miss Marple", saying: "I think she brought a humanity and playfulness to the role that worked beautifully in the context of the new approach we adopted for this ITV series.

"We will miss her - but are looking forward to seeing what new aspects of Jane Marple's character our new Miss Marple might be able to explore."

ITV and Marple rights owner Chorion will begin the search for an actress to take over the role next week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

BBC2 Crime Writing Series (for "celebrities")

Will the reality show madness never end...From Digital Spy:
Brendan Cole is to star in a new reality show which teaches celebrities to become crime writers.

The Strictly Come Dancing regular will join former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie and four other stars in BBC Two's Murder Most Famous.

The group will be given writing tasks while being taught how to solve crimes with help from psychologists and police.

Best-selling author Minette Walters has signed up to be a mentor on the show and will have the power to oust a celebrity at the end of each day.

The winner will pen their own crime novel to be published by PanMacmillan on next year's World Book Day.

Murder Most Famous will air on BBC Two over five afternoons in March.
I had assumed the Cole being referred to in the Digital Spy headline was Martina!

Monday, January 21, 2008

European Authors nominated for Edgar Awards

The nominees for the 2008 Edgar Awards were announced a few days ago. British/European interests are as follows:

Best Novel

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
Priest by Ken Bruen

Best First Novel By An American Author
In the Woods by Tana French. (hands up who knew she was born in Vermont and not Ireland?)

Best Paperback Original
Who is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall

Best Television Episode Teleplay
"Yahrzeit" - Waking the Dead, Teleplay by Declan Croghan & Barbara Machin

The full list of nominees is here.

Ashes to Ashes..coming soon to BBC1



The BBC is gearing up for the launch of Ashes to Ashes (the 'sequel' to Life on Mars) in February. The trailer was shown before last night's Messiah and a BBC webpage is already up. You can watch the trailer here.

Even though the show's not even started yet, the press reviews have begun...The Times isn't too impressed. Digital Spy also give their verdict (a contrary opinion to The Times).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Reviews and Updates

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

Latest Reviews:

Maxine Clarke reviews The Dark Eye by Ingrid Black - a book which starts well but ultimately disappoints;

Maxine is also disappointed with the debut novel from Elena Forbes - Die With Me and gives the writer a tip for the next book...;

Terry Halligan rose to the challenge of the monumental girth of Elizabeth George's What Came Before He Shot Her and enjoyed it enormously;

I took on the minuscule girth of the middle part of the amazing De Luca series by Carlo Lucarelli - The Damned Season - a short book but with a lot packed into it

and Laura Root reviews Frank Tallis' Fatal Lies and finds it continues his high standard.



Other Website Updates

The News page has been updated.

The Authors page (a list of author homepages) now has 608 entries.

The New Releases pages have been updated.


Current Competition (closing date 31 January):

Win a copy of Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis (UK & Europe only)


(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

News page - updated again

I've added some more links to reviews in the UK papers to the News page.

Links include Joan Smith's review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in the Sunday Times and the review of Death at Dawn by Caro Peacock in The Times.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gadding about this week (Quercus & Crimini)

This has been the week for book launches. Last Tuesday, Maxine and I attended the launch of Quercus' MacLehose imprint. The first offering from which was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Ali (who took this photograph) has already comprehensively written up the proceedings on The Rap Sheet.





Then on Thursday we were off to the launch of Crimini, a collection of Italian noir short stories from Bitter Lemon Press. The short stories have been turned into a tv series also called Crimini and the evening began with a short clip from Diego Da Silva's entry, set in Naples. Then the bulk of the night was a panel of Crimini editor, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Frances Fyfield and Maxim Jakubowski. In a short intermission, the beginning of Romanzo Criminale was shown (De Cataldo wrote the book and was heavily involved in the film).

I took a few notes which are a bit disjointed:

Crime fiction is a relatively new genre in Italy. Carlo Lucarelli is considered the doyen of the genre. A second Crimini collection is planned with some new authors.

De Cataldo chose the authors for Crimini by asking his friends. He was later asked why there are no female authors in the collection but couldn't really answer that. Maxim stated that his forthcoming Rome Noir would have stories from three female writers, though, De Cataldo pointed out, only one is actually a crime writer.

Frances Fyfield said that American crime fiction taught her that you can have humour in a crime novel and she gave the example of Carl Hiaasen.

De Cataldo is a judge (and married to a lawyer "it happens") and Fyfield is a prosecutor. She said she felt priviledged to see other people's stories and always wanted to finish the stories off. Different professions would have led them to write different stories.

De Cataldo asked the Crimini authors to choose a place, a city and link it to the story, to the land. Camilleri - "the noble father" - said he couldn't write a Montalbano story as he'd written too many already. The book shows a very different side to the clich├ęd view of Italy.

For the tv series, to much audience amazement, the authors and screenwriters collaborated and agreed on how the story was to appear on screen. A character in Marcello Fois' story had to be changed from a politician to a manager. The tv series was well received critically and a second series is planned.

After the intermission, the discussion moved on to Romanzo Criminale. The Director's cut has 40 more minutes. The DVD was more successful than the film, all over Europe.

De Cataldo has written a follow-up to Romanzo Criminale with two of the characters from the original book. He has edited his original 700 pages to 350. Women have more importance in this one.

Neither book is available in English. Maxim said that the size of the Romanzo Criminale book and the current economics of publishing translated fiction were to blame.

There was some good news though, a tv series in collaboration with SKY began shooting last week. Different to the book and film but related somehow to Romanzo Criminale (I didn't catch that bit). It will be quite violent and viewers must be over 14.

De Cataldo also mentioned Quo Vadis, Baby? which started as a book, went on to be filmed and is now a tv series.
Details of the Crimini tv series can be found on the Italian tv channel RAI site and there are some videos and film stills. The video of the 'behind the scenes' is also viewable on YouTube. Also on YouTube is a clip from the Rapidamente episode (though I think this is just the scenes with Gabriella Pession!). The episodes are also available on Italian DVD but (not surprisingly) there aren't any English subtitles.

Is it too much to hope that BBC4 or Channel 4 will buy and subtitle the Crimini series...?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Website Update

I've updated the News page with links to recent reviews of Euro Crime titles (including two more of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and articles in the UK press.

The Importance of Being Consistent

Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde series has just been published in the US. Whereas the UK title was Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders the US title is Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance.

You can read an excerpt from book 1 at the Simon and Schuster site.

The second book in the series also suffers the same fate. Due out in May, the UK title is Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death and in September, the same book will come out in the US as Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder.

I really can't see why the titles need to be changed, both pairs of titles seem equally 'cozy'.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just a few links...

The first part of Benjamin Black's fifteen part The Lemur is in the New York Times.

Heatseeker Reviews gives her opinion of Death at Dawn by Caro Ramsay (aka Gillian Linscott).

Crime Scraps has set a fiendishly difficult Winter Quiz...

and

Detectives Beyond Borders is the latest host of the Carnival of the Criminal Minds.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Review: 7th Heaven by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

I can't say that I've read much James Patterson; I really enjoyed Jack and Jill and both the Alex Cross films with Morgan Freeman but I hadn't read any of the Women's Murder Club series until I received a review copy of 7th Heaven.

Patterson is well known for his style of many short chapters and this one's no exception: 125 chapters in 376 pages, but for a slow reader like myself, I at least feel that I'm making quick progress.
The Women's Murder Club comprises Lindsay (police detective), Yuki (assistant district attorney), Claire (medical examiner) and Cindy (crime reporter) and as well as being best friends, their paths cross professionally during the two cases that need to be solved in 7th Heaven.

The first case is one dear to Lindsay's heart. The unsolved disappearance of Michael Campion, the sickly son of a former California Governor, is a high profile mystery, one that touched the hearts of all California and the rest of the US due to the young man being on tv, being so brave. An anonymous tip-off leads the police to a young prostitute who after much questioning confesses that Michael died on her and that she got her boyfriend to come over and cut the body up, later disposing of it in another town. Once 'lawyered up' however she retracts her confession but the case goes to trial and Yuki is the prosecutor.

The second case involves a pair of young men, robbing and burning down wealthy households with the owners still inside, the only clue they leave being cryptic messages in Latin inside a book.

Are the two cases related? Will they catch the arsonists? Will Yuki win her trial and where's the body of Michael Campion?

All these questions are answered and the suspense is kept high until the final pages. 7th Heaven is written in a brisk and clear style which hurts your arm more than your brain. I enjoy a good plot and this one qualifies in that category, in the main. I was less keen on the arson plot as the motivation for such terrible acts was very weak, however the Michael Campion plot was very intriguing with an interesting courtroom battle occurring for most of the book. As to the characters though, for one thing very little is provided on appearance; I mostly got that Lindsay and Cindy are blonde, Yuki has Japanese features and Claire is big and pregnant. Whether you get more descriptions in the earlier six books, I couldn't say. Lindsay and Yuki get most attention in this outing and are more fleshed out. Perhaps earlier books deal with the other two in more depth.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed it and would certainly read more of this series and rather regret not having already read the earlier ones.
7th Heaven was released yesterday. You can get better descriptions of the four women plus an interview with James Patterson at the new UK website.

The Women's Murder Club is now an ABC tv show, so maybe we'll see it on these shores at some point.

Borders online sans Amazon

Currently Borders online is linked to amazon.co.uk but not for much longer. According to today's Book Trade News...:
Gardners have been appointed as the fulfilment partner for the new Borders.co.uk website currently under construction pending a launch in March 2008. In addition to the fulfilment of orders for the entire range of physical books and audio books, Gardners will be providing the fulfilment for E-Books and Audio downloads from their new Digital Warehouse.

Geoff O'Neill, Head of Supply Chain for Borders UK Ltd commented, "Whilst Borders is a relatively late entrant into the online books market, we believe that in partnering with Gardners we will benefit from their many years of B2C experience and enable Borders to more quickly establish a significant presence in the market."
Gardners is "Britain's leading book wholesaler".

Monday, January 14, 2008

Messiah V - BBC1 20th January at 9pm

Marc Warren has taken over from Ken Stott (Rebus) as the lead detective.




From the BBC Press release:
Messiah returns to BBC One with Marc Warren (Hustle) heading up a new team on the hunt of a sadistic and meticulous killer in a story that is as dark and entertaining as ever.

The impressive new cast also includes Marsha Thomason (Lost) and Daniel Ryan (The Street) along with Nina Sosanya (Sorted), Niall Macgregor (Dalziel And Pascoe) and Rory Kinnear (Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk To Finchley).

In Messiah's fifth outing, a killer is intent on communicating a stark message to the world. It's a story inspired by prophecies from the world's three major religions.

Executive Producer, Robert Cooper feels that it's the rigorous attention to detail and creative storytelling that make this a classic Messiah tale.

He adds: "It's the ambition and scale of what powers the centre of the story – the biggest moment in the world's history – and how what it reveals is absolutely relevant to the world now."

It's also a personal story exploring the lives and troubled histories of the team trying to put an end to the nightmare.

Harry Bradbeer thinks this is central to creating an engrossing and believable story. He says:

"What you want – above all – is for your audience to be engaged in the characters, to care for them. And to be drawn into their fate."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Reviews

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

Latest Reviews:

Declan Burke reviews Saturday's Child by Ray Banks writing "Ray Banks offers us a glimpse of what Samuel Beckett might have read like had he turned his hand to crime fiction";

Fiona Walker reckons The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr is every bit as good as Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, (so look out for that one on the International Dagger shortlist);

Maxine Clarke adds another Swedish author to her list of favourite writers after reading Unseen by Mari Jungstedt;

and she also enjoyed The Simian Curve by Mark Lalbeharry - a London based police procedural with a science angle

and Pat Austin gets the read she's long been waiting for with Manda Scott's The Crystal Skull which could be her 'read of the year'.



Current Competition (closing date 31 January):

Win a copy of Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis (UK & Europe only)


(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Favourite Audio Books - 2007

Last year, like 2006, I listened to 14 audio books so clearly a top ten is out of the question, however two of them came out with an 'A' grade:
Michael Dibdin - Back to Bologna
Barbara Nadel - A Passion for Killing
The narrators are respectively, Michael Tudor Barnes and Sean Barrett. Along with these two narrators I'd also recommend Tim Goodman (Bryant & May series by Christopher Fowler), Maggie Mash (anything) and David Rintoul (Inspector Sejer series by Karin Fossum).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Website Updates

Last night I updated the News page and also added Daily Mail crime reviewer, Carla McKay's top 5 Euro reads of 2007 to the top 2007 reads as rated by Euro Crime reviewers page. her choices were:
Carla Banks - Strangers
Mark Billingham - Death Message
Peter James - Not Dead Enough
Natasha Mostert - Season of the Witch
Ian Rankin - The Naming of the Dead

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ken's going to be busy...

Not only was it recently announced that Kenneth Branagh is to play C J Sansom's Shardlake then news comes via Digital Spy that he's also taking on the role of Kurt Wallander:
Kenneth Branagh has landed the role of a Swedish detective in a new BBC drama series.

The actor-director will play Kurt Wallander in the £6m production, based on the novels of Swedish writer Henning Mankell.
The 47-year-old will film three 90-minute episodes of Wallander, which is set in the town of Ystad in the Scandinavian country.

He told Broadcast magazine: "Wallander is a wonderfully complex and compelling character and I am excited to be playing this fascinatingly flawed but deeply human detective."

Producer Andy Harries said: "This is more than just a detective series. It's fantastic drama, great stories and an absolutely beautiful setting. Visually these films are going to be very strong. Ken Branagh is perfect for the title role."

The books depict Wallander as a detective in his fifties who is beset by problems including a failed marriage, excessive alcohol consumption and diabetes. He was sued for brutality during his early career and has been known to break the rules when he feels the situation demands it.
and from The Stage:
Each 90-minute episode is an adaptation of a different book from the Kurt Wallander Mysteries. The three chosen for the BBC series are One Step Behind, Firewall and Sidetracked.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Forthcoming Book Lists

Well buoyed on by the success of forthcoming Scandinavian crime/mystery novels, I've created a couple more list on amazon.co.uk for French and Italian crime novels coming soon to a bookshelf near you:

Forthcoming French Crime novels in 2008 (amazon.co.uk)

Forthcoming Italian Crime novels in 2008 (amazon.co.uk) - a bit short at the moment but I'll add to it as I hear of more titles.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sally Lockhart on DVD

I walked into W H Smiths this morning and almost collided with the display of empty DVD boxes of the two Sally Lockhart 'mysteries' which have been released today in a box set. I imagine that explains why neither episode has been repeated (strange for the BBC...**).

Amazon.co.uk and Play.com have the set for a shade under £13. DVD details from amazon:

DVD Description
This DVD includes two BBC adaptations - Ruby in the Smoke and Shadow in the North - from a series of novels by the award-winning author, Philip Pullman. The stories follow the courageous and vibrant young heroine, Sally Lockhart, played here by award-winning actress, Billie Piper, who is a 16-year-old sleuth in the Victorian era.

The first dramatization, was transmitted in December 2006 (to over 7 million viewers); the second, The Shadow in the North, aired on 30 December 2007.

The Ruby in the Smoke
Sally, recently orphaned, is alone and being hunted by an assassin. With her new friends - young photographer Frederick and quick-witted street child Jim - she must discover her father's killer. Facing them is an unseen, murderous opponent and at the heart of it all, the deadly, blood-drenched secret of the ruby in the smoke.

The Shadow in the North
Once again Pullman's much-loved and fearless heroine Sally Lockhart 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.

**The Shadow in the North can be watched on the BBC iPlayer site for 3 more days only.

New Soho Imprint

Good news for American fans of British crime fiction as Soho Press are to publish some Constable and Robinson titles under their own imprint Soho Constable. From Publisher's Weekly:
Soho Press is launching a new mystery imprint this spring called Soho Constable. Set to start publishing in April, the imprint will be releasing mysteries just published across the pond by British house Constable & Robinson. The books, both historical and modern-day mysteries set predominantly in England and Scotland, are by such authors as Barbara Cleverly, R.T. Raichev and Roberta Kray.

While some of the imprint's authors were previously published in the U.S. by Carroll & Graf, Soho Constable will be releasing new titles by the writers, explained Soho Press publisher and editor-in-chief Laura Hruska. Hruska added that the print runs for the books will vary, ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 depending on the popularity of the writer. With plans to do what Hurska dubbed a "substantial list" each season--the second list will include nine titles--Hruska noted that the imprint will also, in the future, release some classic mysteries; the second list, for example, will include Peter Lovesey’s Sergeant Cribb series. Among the titles on the first list are Reconstruction by Mick Herron and The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh.
Maybe they'll also print A Darker Side (out in May) - the book following my current read from Constable and Robinson, Into the Shadows, by Shirley Wells, set in the Lancashire Pennines. (I had to abandon The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz after 50 pages as it wasn't working for me! Great UK cover though.)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year Reviews

Here are this week's new reviews and details of January's competition:

Latest Reviews:

I review The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri which isn't one of the stronger ones in my opinion but still a good read;

Maxine Clarke reviews what could be the stand-out translated crime novel of the year: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson;

Donna Leon uber-fan, Norman Price, gives his verdict on Suffer the Little Children;

If Maxine's review of The Mystery Writer by Jessica Mann doesn't entice you to read it, then nothing will

and Pat Austin feels that Grace Monroe's Brodie McClennan series has potential, based on Dark Angels, once they get the Dan Brown nonsense out of their system.



Current Competition (closing date 31 January):

Win a copy of Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis (UK & Europe only)


(geographical restrictions are in brackets)

Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2007

I've asked all the contributors to Euro Crime to choose their five favourite European reads of 2007 and I've now put that information together (with five from my whittled list of ten) here. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank: Pat Austin, Declan Burke, Karen Chisholm, Maxine Clarke, Crimeficreader, Sunnie Gill, Terry Halligan, Geoff Jones, Yvonne Klein, Carla McKay, Norman Price, Mike Ripley, Laura Root and Fiona Walker for their hard work which allows me to upload five new reviews every week.

Summarising the results, the most mentioned titles are:
3 votes:
Gianrico Carofiglio - Reasonable Doubts
Arnaldur Indridason - The Draining Lake (plus one vote for Voices)
Brian McGilloway - Borderlands

2 votes:
Colin Cotterill - The Coroner's Lunch
Karin Fossum - Calling Out for You (plus one vote for Black Seconds)
Reginald Hill - The Death of Dalziel
Gene Kerrigan - The Midnight Choir
John Lawton - Second Violin
Stuart McBride - Dying Light
Ken McCoy - Hammerhead
Jo Nesbo - The Devil's Star
Jo Nesbo - The Redbreast
Stef Penney - The Tenderness of Wolves
Ian Rankin - Exit Music (plus one vote for The Naming of the Dead)
Matt Rees - The Bethlehem Murders
Fred Vargas - Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand
Jan Costin Wagner - Ice Moon
Carla Banks, Ken Bruen and Andrea Camilleri also received two votes but for different titles.
See the breakdown by reviewer - here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Can you have too many books?

I always enjoy Lucy Mangan's column in the Guardian but last weekend's should hit the spot with my fellow bibliophiles. I'm quoting some of the relevant paragraphs but it's worth reading the whole article to read about a unique filing system!

Oh, thank God. What a relief! And just at the last moment, too... I had, you see, been about to insert my absolute, final, will-be-accomplished-if-it-kills-me list of New Year's resolutions into the laminating machine. I would thereby have been committing myself irrevocably to a promise postponed for several years - namely, not to buy any more books until I've finished reading the ones arrayed along the Read Next shelf, piled up in the fireplace and stacked semi-neatly on the floor of the sitting room, study, bedroom and kitchen. And on the stairs. And under the bed. You get the idea. Lots of books. Unread.
Saving me this year from taking unwanted vows is a line I came across in Nick Hornby's The Complete Polysyllabic Spree from Gabriel Zaid's So Many Books!, in which Zaid says that "the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more".
In 2008 I'm gonna get cultured. Or at least stop thinking of my unread books as needless extravagance, overindulgence, inexcusable surplus and start revelling in living amidst such splendid confusion, with so many worlds at my fingertips. And in the fireplace. Either way, this will require that my acquisitive instincts continue to be indulged, not denied. Starting, of course, with Mr Zaid's gloriously exculpatory tome.
I've bought/acquired three books so far in 2008 and ordered another one. I use the library heavily but cannot imagine not increasing my book collection over the year...can you?

More George Gently

The George Gently programme repeated last night, supposedly set in the North-East (though the books are set in East Anglia!) was actually filmed in Ireland: Dublin and Wicklow. Having a look for filming locations, I stumbled upon the Irish film board website which indicates two more episodes are planned:

GEORGE GENTLY – Episodes 2 & 3
After the success of Episode 1 entitled GENTLY’S LAST CASE, which was shot on location in Dublin last Christmas, this BBC TV series is to come back to Dublin to shoot Episodes 2 & 3. Directed again by Ciaran Donnelly and produced by Element, this 1960’s detective series stars Martin Shaw as Inspector George Gently, one of the few good men at Scotland Yard where corruption is rife and unchecked. The series is set at a time when the line between the police and criminals has become increasingly blurred; when the proliferation of drugs is about to change the face of policing forever; when Britain’s youth stand on the brink of a social and sexual revolution. Episode one entitled GENTLY’S LAST CASE shot on location in Dublin in early ’07 and was very well received when it screened on the BBC.
You can watch George Gently online for six more days on the BBCiplayer (not sure if there are geographic restrictions and you may need to use IE).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

George MacDonald Fraser RIP

George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels has died aged 82. From his obituary in The Independent:
The novelist George MacDonald Fraser, author of the popular Flashman series of adventure stories, has died after a long battle against cancer.

The 82-year-old former soldier worked as a journalist for The Herald newspaper, then known as The Glasgow Herald, for many years.

He also wrote screenplays and a memoir of his experiences as an infantryman in the Burma campaign, but it is for his semi-historical novels based around Sir Harry Flashman that MacDonald Fraser will be best remembered.

The Flashman series is based on the bully character of Thomas Hughes' Victorian classic Tom Brown's Schooldays grown up and serving as an officer in the Army, fighting, drinking and womanising his way around the British Empire.

Each of the novels purports to come from packets of faux-autobiographical notes –the Flashman Papers – discovered in the 1960s. When the first instalment of these entirely fictional memoirs, created by MacDonald Fraser, first appeared in the US in 1969, around a third of its 40 reviewers believed they were a genuine historical find. One reviewer said that the works were "the most important discovery since the Boswell Papers".

Although many found Flashman's 19th-century racism and sexism distasteful, the books sold in huge numbers and MacDonald Fraser was praised for his attention to historical detail. He published the final book in the series in 1994.

Catherine O'Flynn wins Costa prize

After being short and long-listed for every literary prize going, Catherine O'Flynn's 'What was Lost' has won the 2007 Costa first novel award. From the Guardian:

All disheartened, kicked-in-the-teeth aspiring novelists should take heart: after being rejected by 14 literary agents, the 15th said yes, and former postwoman Catherine O'Flynn yesterday made off with one of the year's most prestigious literary prizes.

Her novel, What Was Lost, was named winner of the 2007 Costa first novel award after being longlisted but not winning the Booker and the Orange prize and being shortlisted for the Guardian's first book award. O'Flynn said: "I hope it does give people hope. It's very hard to get published and it's hard if you go in there with this burning ambition. I didn't have that, I was protected by my natural pessimism."

The judges described What Was Lost, based around the endless corridors and CCTV world of a city shopping centre, as an extraordinary book. "A formidable novel blending humour and pathos in a cleverly constructed and absorbing mystery."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top Ten for 2007

I'll be publishing the Euro Crime reviewers' top 5 European reads of 2007, as soon as I've put the page together. In the meantime, here are my top ten reads from last year which happen to be all European. I do read mostly European books so I suppose it makes sense!
Rounding the Mark - Andrea Camilleri
The Scent of the Night - Andrea Camilleri
The Serbian Dane - Leif Davidsen
The Princess of Burundi - Kjell Eriksson
Calling Out for You! - Karin Fossum
The Chinaman - Friedrich Glauser
The Exception - Christian Jungersen
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson (published 2008)
The Devil's Star - Jo Nesbo
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo
(The links are to my personal reviews, though the other titles have been reviewed on Euro Crime. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo review will be up next weekend.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Which books are you looking forward to in 2008?

I've been updating some of the reference pages on Euro Crime: Discussions, Events, Links and Shops and have just uploaded the revised 'forthcoming titles pages' - ordered by author or by month.

From the Winter/Spring months, I'm particularly looking forward to reading:

(the very long awaited) Death's Sister by Louise Anderson
White Nights by Ann Cleeves
The Spoke by Friedrich Glauser
The Mesmerist's Apprentice by L M Jackson
The Ice Princess by Camilla Leckberg
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson

So which new titles are you looking forward to reading?