Saturday, May 31, 2008

CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger Shortlist

The CWA/Duncan Lawrie Dagger shortlists are due to be announced next Tuesday but the Times has a sneak preview of the contenders for the main (ie the one with the biggest cash prize) Dagger. The nominees are...
The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
The Coroner's Lunch - Colin Cotterill
Blood From Stone - Frances Fyfield
Night Work - Steve Hamilton
What The Dead Know - Laura Lippman
A Vengeful Longing - R N Morris
So out of six, there are two women and three Americans.

Read Natasha Cooper's thoughts on each book in The Times.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Devil May Care on Audio

You can download the unabridged Devil May Care from Audible for £13.29. The added bonus is that it's narrated by the super suave Jeremy Northam.

More details and a sample of the narration can be found - here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost free Martina Cole book

Woolworths are giving away copies of Martina Cole's Broken when you hand in a voucher from Saturday's Daily Express. From Publishing News:
WOOLWORTHS IS LAUNCHING a promotion with the Daily Express from this Saturday (31 May) where it will sell featured titles for £2.99. 'Woolworths and the Daily Express recommends' will be announced in the front page of Saturday's issue, together with a voucher for a free copy of Martina Cole's Broken (Headline) to be collected from Woolworths branches. Future promotions will then be held every Friday with a half-page editorial feature on each title in the Express, while branches will promote the offer at the front of store. The first book at £2.99 will be Andy McNab's Crossfire (Corgi). The promotion has no fixed end date.

Death Message - TV Advert

Mark Billingham's seventh DI Tom Thorne book, Death Message, is out in paperback today.

Synopsis from
The first message sent to Tom Thorne's mobile phone was just a picture - the blurred image of a man's face, but Thorne had seen enough dead bodies in his time to know that the man was no longer alive. But who was he? Who sent the photograph? And why? While the technical experts attempt to trace the sender, Thorne searches the daily police bulletins for a reported death that matches the photograph. Then another picture arrives. Another dead man ...It is the identities of the murdered men which give Thorne his first clue, a link to a dangerous killer he'd put away years before and who is still in prison. With a chilling talent for manipulation, this man has led another inmate to plot revenge on everyone he blames for his current incarceration, and for the murder of his family while he was inside. Newly released, this convict has no fear of the police, no feelings for those he is compelled to murder. Now Tom Thorne must face one of the toughest challenges of his career, knowing that there is no killer more dangerous than one who has nothing left to lose.
Watch a sneak preview of the tv advert:

The eighth Tom Thorne book, The Life Thief, should be out in 2009 but a standalone, In The Dark, will be out in August.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Killer Year anthology to be published in the UK

From The Bookseller:
Catherine Burke, editor at MIRA Books, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in an anthology of thriller stories from Claire Roberts at Trident Media Group.

Killer Year, edited by author Lee Child, will be published in October in hardback, with a paperback to follow in May 2009.
You can read more about the anthology, here. Europe is represented by Ken Bruen as well as Lee Child.

OT: The Return of Rose to Doctor Who

The Rap Sheet and Confessions have the launch of Devil May Care well covered so I've indulged in another current obsession... The trailer for the second half of the current season of Doctor Who is online at the BBC's Doctor Who site and a familiar face is back, in style.

Marek Krajewski at the London Literature festival

The full programme for July's London Literature Festival is online at the Southbank Centre website. Crime writers aren't much in evidence. Marek Krajewski is appearing on the following panel:
Saturday 12 July 2008, 3.30pm

James Hopkin, Marek Krajewski and Joanna Pawluskiewicz discuss Poland as a setting for their fiction, and the cultural journeys that writers make between different countries. James Hopkins' Winter Under Water charts a cross-cultural love affair in an unfamiliar city. Marek Krajewski's Death in Breslau is the latest novel in his Eberhard Mock quartet. Joanna Pawluskiewicz is a hotly-tipped new voice whose fiction explores the Polish experience in the USA.
Read the Euro Crime review of Death in Breslau. Coming soon: an interview with Marek Krajewski at Crime Scraps plus his review of Death in Breslau for Euro Crime.

Also from the crime fiction world will be Julian Clary and Stella Duffy who will be in the Lavender Library session:
Tuesday 15 July 2008, 7.30pm

A special festival event celebrating queer literature. Julian Clary, Dave McAlmont, Andy Bell, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy, Paul Burston, Karen Mcleod and Rupert Smith champion their favourite books, and reveal how they've inspired their life and work.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon - publishing deal for YA books

From Publishers Lunch:
UK Children's
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's four bestselling YA novels (with nearly 3 million copies in print in Spain), PRINCE OF THE MISTS, MIDNIGHT PALACE, SEPTEMBER LIGHTS and MARINA, to Orion, in a pre-empt, by the Colchie Agency, on behalf of the Antonia Kerrigan Agency (UK rights, excl. ANZ).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Euro Crime News page updated

I've updated the News page again. Andrew Taylor's Bleeding Heart Square is garnering many good reviews. There are also links to interviews with Michael Bond, Christopher Brookmyre and Sebastian Faulks.

Where are they now...Gay Longworth

A couple of weeks ago when I was travelling back from London after meeting up with Petrona, I happened to see a fellow passenger reading a battered copy of Dead Alone by Gay Longworth and it got me wondering whether she was still writing.

She'd written four books, most recently Dead Alone (2002) and The Unquiet Dead (2004) which were a series featuring DI Jessie Driver who is, according to the blurb from Dead Alone: "a fast-track motorbike-riding female cop with a colourful love-life, an attitude and more than a few resentful male colleagues".

My internet research turned up at least some of what she's written since 2004. Firstly she's (allegedly) ghost-written a couple of biographies: Next to You: Caron's Courage Remembered by Her Mother by Gloria Hunniford (2005) and Billie Piper's Growing Pains (2006). And secondly that she now writes women's fiction under the name Carrie Adams, having published The Godmother in 2006 and The Stepmother in 2007.

You can read more about those two books on the readthegodmother website.

Incidentally there's no mention of her past crime fiction life on that website but she does refer to it in the epilogue of The Godmother and explains how she got the idea for that book.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Reviews: Anderson, Cleeves, Ghelfi, Grytten, Knight and Templeton

Here are this week's new reviews and details of this month's competitions:

Latest Reviews:

Sunnie Gill reviews James Anderson's homage to the Golden Age mysteries, The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy calling it "jolly good fun";

Maxine Clarke reviews Ann Cleeves' sequel to the Dagger winning Raven Black - White Nights writing that "the book is wonderful to read";

Pat Austin didn't expect to like Brent Ghelfi's Volk's Game but she's now eager for the follow-up;

Maxine reviews yet another excellent Norwegian* book (*see Dahl, Fossum, Nesbo...): The Shadow in the River by Frode Grytten;

crimeficreader says that Bernard Knight's latest Crowner John mystery - The Manor of Death is "not to be missed"

and I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of The Darkness and the Deep by Aline Templeton which combines an involving plot with a superb narration from Cathleen McCarron.

Current Competitions (closing date 31 May)

Win a copy of Lost Souls by Neil White*

Win a signed copy of Spider by Michael Morley*

* UK/Europe only

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Guardian's Ian Fleming Quiz

The Guardian has an Ian Fleming quiz and I managed to get 007/10 even though I've only read one book so far. (A few lucky guesses helped). Try the quiz, here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - excerpt

The US edition of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is still a few months away (September) but you can have a peak at the intriguing prologue and first chapter on the Borzoi Reader site. It begins:
It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day – which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.
Read the rest of the excerpt, here.

Also read the Euro Crime review of the UK edition by Quercus which came out in January.

And if you can't wait until September then there's always the UK's The Book Depository which offers free shipping worldwide...

Website Updates

Updates to the Euro Crime website:

  • The Authors page now lists 643 author websites

  • The New Releases pages have been updated.

  • In Books there are now bibliographies for 1273 authors (6572 titles with links to 1215 reviews). I've added bibliographies for: Tom Bale, James Barrington, Ruth Brandon, P J Brooke, Chris Cleave, Jack Drummond, Alex Dryden, Giogio Faletti, Ian Fleming, Tom Gilling, Roger Granelli, James Green, Elly Griffiths, Iain Levison, Diane Wei Liang, Paul Nagle, Gary Newman, Maggie Orford, Kate Stacey and Roland Vernon.

  • In Books I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Lin Anderson, Tony Black, Andrea Camilleri, Barbara Cleverly, F G Cottam, Clare Curzon, Judith Cutler, David Dickinson, Paul Doherty, R J Ellory, Sebastian Faulks, John Francome, Sara Fraser, Robert Goddard, Simon Hall, Sam Hayes, David Hewson, Rupert Holmes, Declan Hughes, Bill James, Peter James, Quintin Jardine, Michael Jecks, Alison Joseph, Mari Jungstedt, Kevin Lewis, John Macken, Priscilla Masters, Grace Monroe, Andrew Nugent, Charlie Owen, Matt Benyon Rees, Ruth Rendell, Mike Ripley, David Roberts, Michael Robotham, Nick Smith, Mehmet Murat Somer, Rebecca Tope, L C Tyler and Fred Vargas.
  • Night Bus film premiere in London

    From the Bitter Lemon Press website:

    Davide Marengo's film of Night Bus is to be screened on June 6 and 7 in London at the Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London W6 ( The film is a fast-moving adaptation of the thriller by Giampiero Rigosi and stars Giovanna Mezzorgiorno, seen recently in Love in the Time of Cholera.

    Unfortunately this clashes with Crimefest, else I'd be interested. Read the Euro Crime review of the book, here.

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    New BBC Drama - Criminal Justice

    From Digital Spy:
    BBC One is making a new five-part crime thriller starring Ben Whishaw and Pete Postlethwaite to air this summer.
    Criminal Justice centres on Ben Coulter, who finds himself being prosecuted for murder after waking up in bed next to an attractive young woman who has been stabbed to death.

    Coulter, played by Whishaw (Perfume, I'm Not There), finds himself on a "rollercoaster ride" through the criminal justice system. Ending up in prison, he has to learn to survive alongside tough inmates including Postlethwaite's character, Hooch.

    The series is from award-winning writer Peter Moffat, whose credits include BBC productions Hawking and Macbeth.
    Read the whole BBC Press release...

    Child 44 shortlisted for Desmond Elliott prize

    Also courtesy of Publishing News:
    CHILD 44 BY Tom Rob Smith is the William Hill 1/2 favourite to win the inaugural Desmond Elliott Prize, worth £10,000. Published in the UK by Simon & Schuster, it has appeared in 22 countries - though the novel, about a Stalin-era serial killer, is banned in Russia. Three film offers are on the table, including one from Ridley Scott. The other novels in contention are Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking), with odds of 2/1, and Sunday at the Cross Bones by John Walsh (Fourth Estate), which is 3/1.
    According to the Desmond Elliott Prize website:
    The Desmond Elliott Prize is a new biennial prize for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott.

    Charismatic, witty, and waspish, Elliott lived his life with sparkle. He drank only champagne, always crossed the Atlantic on Concorde and lunched at Fortnum and Mason. His office was in Mayfair and he had houses in St James’s and on Park Avenue. Desmond Elliott’s ethos to support new writers will live on in the shape of the prize.

    When choosing the winner, a panel of 3 judges will look for a novel which creates a “buzz”, a book with “word of mouth” appeal. In addition, the judges will look for the following qualities:

    * a novel which is a page-turner but which makes you pause for thought
    * an intelligent book with broad appeal
    Child 44 is the only crime novel of the three and is reviewed on Euro Crime here.

    More Publishing Deals

    Publishing News has news of some recent publishing deals, including the recent deal made to L C Tyler:
    Antonia Hodgson has bought world rights to Things Ain't What They Used to Be, “a hilarious, personal and evocative trip through the Seventies and Eighties” by “one of our best-loved actors”, Philip Glenister (Life on Mars and Cranford). Publication is scheduled for November.

    Macmillan New Writing is discovering some genuine talent: following Brian McGilloway's success, Pan Macmillan has signed a three-book deal with L C Tyler, whose Herring Seller comic crime series has won many admirers. The second in the series, Ten Little Herrings, is set at a philatelists' convention in France.

    At Bitter Lemon Press, Francois von Hurter has bought WEL rights in a number of projects, including Rabia (Rage) by Argentine bestseller Sergio Bizzio. The deal was concluded via Mercedes Casanovas Agencia Literia, and a movie is already in production, with Bizzio co-scripting.

    News page update on Euro Crime website

    I managed to devote some time to updating the website last night. Both the News page and Events page have been updated.

    I plan to refresh the bibliography pages tomorrow.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Colin Dexter appearing at Malvern Theatre

    Malvern Theatre is hosting an audience with Colin Dexter on the 10th June at 7.30pm.
    Author Colin Dexter will talk about his best-known creation, Inspector Morse. He will explain how Morse was adapted for TV and tell us what John Thaw was really like.
    To book tickets (£10) online, visit the Malvern Theatre website.

    Fictional Crime in Redditch

    My current town of residence, Redditch, has been in the news a bit too frequently of late as there have been some suspicious deaths/murders, most recently this one, but it's rare to find the town mentioned in fiction. Agatha Raisin did make it to the Alex' Hospital in one of her cases but I've just discovered a whole book set here, albeit in 1826 - a long, long time before Redditch as a 'new town' was considered!

    The book in question is Sara Fraser's The Resurrection Men, the second in the 'Thomas Potts' historical mystery series and is published by Severn House.

    Synopsis: It is 1826, and in the town of Redditch in Worcestershire, Thomas Potts, reluctant Parish Constable, battles to keep the peace. With the notorious ‘Needle Pointers’ up in arms at the news of a cut in their rate of pay, and a mysterious criminal gang, known as the ‘Rippling Boys’, robbing, murdering and body-snatching with impunity, gentle, timid Tom has his work cut out . . .

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Copycat Cover Syndrome strikes again

    Kim from the excellent Crimethrutime website has tipped me off to a new author for my database - Gerri Brightwell who has recently published a Victorian mystery - The Dark Lantern - in the US. As soon as I saw it, I recognised the cover...

    Read more about The Dark Lantern on the Random House website and my review of Maisie Dobbs for Over My Dead Body.

    L C Tyler - publishing deal

    Maxine (aka Petrona) has pointed me in the direction of L C Tyler's announcement about the continuation of his Herring Seller's Apprentice series. From the Macmillan New Writers blog:
    I decided to wait until the ink was dry(ish) on the paper before announcing anything but, as one or two of you know, Macmillan have agreed to publish the next three books in what will be my "Herring Seller" series. This announcement has been held up mainly by my touching belief that I could negotiate a contract as well as any agent - something that has probably ensured that the ink remained good and wet for several weeks longer than planned. (A tip for those of you also without agents, by the way - the Society of Authors will give you good, prompt advice on your contract, draft by draft - it's well worth joining, just for that.)

    The books are scheduled to appear in August 2009, 2010, 2011. The first is provisionally entitled Ten Little Herrings.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    New Reviews: Downing, Goodwin, Hayder, Macken, Somer & Young

    Here are this week's new reviews and details of the latest competitions (a second competition for UK/Europe residents has been added this week).

    Latest Reviews:

    Laura Root reviews David Downing's Silesian Station writing that it is "a thoughtful, sensitive thriller";

    Norman Price reviews the second in the Yashim, Ottoman Detective series by Jason Goodwin: The Snake Stone which it seems is a rather impressive follow-up to the Edgar winning The Janissary Tree;

    Fiona Walker calls Mo Hayder's Ritual "a complete triumph" and that it is "certainly the best British crime novel I've read so far this year";

    Maxine Clarke thinks that Trial by Blood by John Macken is one for action fans rather "than for those who like a lean plot with strong characters";

    I take a look at recent Euro Crime interviewee, Mehmet Murat Somer's The Prophet Murders

    and Kerrie Smith provides the low down on Felicity Young's Harum Scarum a police procedural set in Perth (Australia) (the author was born in Europe but now lives and sets her books in Australia).

    Current Competitions (closing date 31 May)

    Win a copy of Lost Souls by Neil White*

    Win a signed copy of Spider by Michael Morley*

    * UK/Europe only

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    More Waking the Dead & Silent Witness

    From Digital Spy:
    BBC One dramas Waking the Dead and Silent Witness will return for new series next year, the corporation has confirmed.

    Filming for a new five-part run of police drama Waking The Dead will begin this year, with Trevor Eve (DI Boyd) among the returning cast members.

    BBC One has also ordered five new episodes of Silent Witness in addition to six that will air later this year.

    "We are delighted to announce Waking The Dead and Silent Witness are set to return to BBC One in 2009 to grip audiences with more bold, original stories," said Kate Harwood, head of drama series and serials.

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott - now out in paperback

    While the days whittle down until the new Indiana Jones film (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is out, there's still time to read beforehand, Manda Scott's The Crystal Skull which is now out in paperback. Euro Crime reviewer Pat Austin called it "a seriously good thriller by a top class writer". Read her full review here.

    There's a separate website for The Crystal Skull, where the offerings include an extract and interview, iPod competition and a game.

    New Competition for May

    I've an extra competition running for the second part of May. Avon are giving away 4 copies of Lost Souls by Neil White.

    Enter the competition here (UK/Europe residents only).

    From Darcy to Bond and back to Darcy (via Fossum)

    I like to put on the blog the cover of what I'm reading or listening to but I haven't been able to find an image of the audio book cover of my current listen: Octopussy by Ian Fleming which is narrated by David Rintoul.

    I've long been a fan of David Rintoul's narration skills as he is absolutely fabulous in his interpretation of Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer series, including He Who Fears the Wolf and When the Devil Holds the Candle.

    Whilst I was trying to find a cover I came across a casting coup equivalent to Colin Firth playing Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones's Diary. Mr Darcy's Diary by Maya Slater is also narrated by David Rintoul and David Rintoul played Mr Darcy in the BBC's 1980 production of Pride and Prejudice.

    You can watch a fuzzy snippet of Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul in that version of Pride and Prejudice on You Tube.

    This version of Pride and Prejudice is available as Region 1 (US) but the Region 2 is in German though an amazon poster says that you can play it in English.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    New Doctor Who audio book read by David Tennant

    A friend of mine kindly lent me The Resurrection Casket, a recent freebie in the Radio Times, which is one of three Doctor Who audio books issued in 2006 which were narrated by David Tennant, each lasting about two and a half hours. I've now got my mitts on The Stone Rose, thanks to the library, but no luck yet with The Feast of the Drowned.

    I was very impressed with The Resurrection Casket which would make an exciting tv episode with its killer monster (Kevin), pirates and robots. The banter was just like in the tv show and it was well narrated by David Tennant (except for perhaps his impression of Rose!).

    So, I was pleased to see that David Tennant has recorded a new title, which has been available as a download for a month now but has recently come out on cd.

    Synopsis: The Doctor and Donna face monstrous insects and a ruthless robot exterminator in this thrilling, exclusive audio story, read by David Tennant. The TARDIS is lost in battle on a distant planet. When the Doctor sets off in pursuit, Donna is left behind, and finds herself accepting a commission in the Pioneer Corps. Something is transforming soldiers into monstrous beetles, and she could be the next victim. Meanwhile, the Doctor steals a motorbike and stages a jailbreak. Well, how hard can it be to find the TARDIS, rescue Donna, and negotiate a peace? But that's before the arrival of a brutal and remorseless mechanical exterminator, bent on wiping out the insects. It may be that nothing can stop it, because this robot's solution for the infestation is very simple: kill everything.

    (NB. currently have it for £4.)

    Crime fiction posts will resume shortly!

    OT: The X-Files: I Want to Believe - trailer

    The trailer for the new X-Files film is online at, where there's also a few piccies in the gallery.

    And yes that is Billy Connolly in the trailer.

    The US release date is 25 July and for the UK, it's 1 August.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    M C Beaton - Publishing Deal

    M C Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series will continue for at least another four books. Amazon already lists Death of a Witch for February 2009 and from Publisher's Lunch:
    M.C. Beaton's DEATH OF A VALENTINE, DEATH OF A CHIMNEY SWEEP, and DEATH OF A DOCTOR, three new titles in the Scottish Highland mysteries series featuring policeman Hamish Macbeth, to Celia Johnson at Grand Central, by Barbara Lowenstein at Lowenstein-Yost.
    I've recently reviewed her latest, Death of a Gentle Lady.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Queen Vargas and Adamsberg the First

    Fiona Walker alerted me yesterday to the fact that are listing a new offering from Fred Vargas for February 2009 - The Chalk Circle Man.

    The lovely publicists at Harvill have advised me that this is in fact the first in the Adamsberg series (and I believe first published in French in 1996 as L'Homme aux Cercles Bleus).

    Currently translated in the Adamsberg series are nos 2,3, 5 and 6:

    Seeking Whom He May Devour (2004) #2
    Have Mercy on Us All (2003) #3
    Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (2007) #5
    This Night's Foul Work (2008) #6

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Philip Glenister interviewed by the BBC

    There's a seven minute interview with Philip Glenister, star of Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and Cranford (see left), over on the BBC News website.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    New Reviews: Beaton, Dahl, Lennon, Rygg, Sjowall & Wahloo and Wells

    Here are this week's new reviews and details of the latest competition.

    Latest Reviews:

    I get to review the latest in the Hamish MacBeth series, Death of a Gentle Lady by M C Beaton, which is the 24th in the series but Constable are reprinting all the earlier ones at quite a rapid rate for those who have yet to become addicted;

    Norman Price reviews the newly translated The Man in the Window by K O Dahl who like his fellow Norwegian Jo Nesbo has had his fifth book (The Fourth Man) translated before his third... Norman writes that Dahl is "one of the ever growing group of excellent Nordic crime fiction authors available in English";

    Amanda Gillies reviews the second in the Tom Fletcher series by Patrick Lennon, Steel Witches, who, like Jim Kelly, sets his books in Cambridgeshire and both authors also appear to incorporate extremes of weather in their plots. Amanda calls it "a very fine piece of work";

    Back to Norway and Maxine Clarke reviews the first of two books featuring Igi Heitmann, The Butterfly Effect saying that it "is a wonderful book;

    Karen Chisholm helps out with Euro Crime's quest to review all ten of the Martin Beck books by Sjowall and Wahloo by reviewing the fourth (and some say the best) in this classic series, The Laughing Policeman

    and Maxine provides a second opinion on Shirley Wells' Into the Shadows a book I enjoyed immensely and which Maxine says is "perfect for whiling away a wet Sunday afternoon".

    Current Competition (closing date 31 May)

    Win a signed copy of Spider by Michael Morley*

    * UK/Europe only

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Doctor Who meets Agatha Christie trailer

    The trailer's now online for next week's episode of Doctor Who where he gets to meet Agatha Christie.

    Watch it here.

    The episode, The Unicorn and the Wasp, will be on at 7pm next Saturday.

    Friday, May 09, 2008

    The Chameleon's Shadow out in paperback

    The latest title from Minette Walters, The Chameleon's Shadow, is now out in paperback.

    The PanMacmillan website has a longish extract. I couldn't put it down when I read it earlier this year.

    Sister Agnes on the Radio

    Frrom Book2book:
    Detective-nun, Sister Agnes, the heroine of Alison Joseph's popular crime series will be brought to life in a radio drama for BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour!

    Celebrated actress Anne Marie Duff (best known for her roles in Shameless and The Virgin Queen and married to actor James McAvoy) will be starring in the role of Sister Agnes. The radio crime-story Sister Agnes Investigates was specially written for Women's Hour by Allison & Busby author Alison Joseph and adapted from her book Shadow of Death (out now in paperback, £6.99). The 5-part mini-series will be broadcast the week of May 19th, every day Monday to Friday at 10.45am and repeated at 7.45pm on BBC Radio 4.

    About the author: Alison Joseph first worked as a presenter on a local radio station and then for Channel 4. She later became a partner in an independent production company and one of its commissions was a series presented by Helen Mirren about women and religion. Now an accomplished novelist, her Sister Agnes series so far comprises eight books, the latest two Darkening Sky and Shadow of Death published by Allison & Busby, with a ninth book, A Violent Act, due out in hardback this autumn 2008. Alison also writes original radio drama and has previously adapted novels for BBC Radio 4, including the award-winning production of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. She has also published various short stories. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

    Bibliography so far for Alison Joseph, can be found here.

    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Complete Campion on DVD

    The complete set of episodes starring Peter Davison as Margery Allingham's Albert Campion will be available on DVD (R2) on 12 May.

    Investigating foul play in the stately homes of 1930s England, assisted by his manservant Magersfontein Lugg, Campion rarely misses a clue or fails to find a motive. Well connected in both the underworld and the aristocracy, his horn-rimmed spectacles and exceptional mind that can solve even the most heinous crime. Featuring episodes: Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, The Case of the Late Pig, Death of a Ghost, Sweet Danger, Dancers in Mourning, Flowers for the Judge and Mystery Mile. Special Features include: Subtitles; Cast Filmographies; A Margery Allingham Biography; Campion Bibliography and Picture Galleries.

    Mehmet Murat Somer - the Euro Crime Interview

    The Prophet Murders by Mehmet Murat Somer is published today by Serpent's Tail and the author has kindly answered a few questions posed by Euro Crime.

    The Book

    Synopsis: Something’s gone seriously wrong in Istanbul - a killer is on the loose, and transvestites are being murdered, the modus operandi becoming increasingly bizarre with each death. Our protagonist – fellow transvestite, nightclub owner and glamour puss extraordinaire downs her lipstick and ups the ante in the search for the religious nut. Not an easy task with the pressures of everyday life - investigations have to be slotted in between leg and chest waxes and rotating lovers.

    Luckily she’s the perfect investigator: she knows everyone on the scene, her maitre d’ is the biggest gossip in town, her web skills are rivaled only by the most nerdy computer geek and she’s very, very persistent.

    As the killings accelerate, our girl struggles against the odds in her pursuit - after all, everyone knows that running in stilettos and a black leather cat-suit is hell ! Can she end the slaughter without breaking a nail?

    The Author

    Mehmet Murat Somer was born in Ankara in 1959. After graduating from university, he worked for a short time as an engineer, and for an extended period as a banker. Since 1994, he has been a management consultant, conducting corporate seminars on management skills and personal development. When not working out in the hammam, he writes books in the Hop-Ciki-Yaya series, of which there are now 6.

    The Interview

    EC: The Prophet Murders is the first of your books to be published in English. Is it the first in the series? In a nutshell, what is it about?

    MMS: The order of the books is a strange story. I wrote The Kiss Murders first, but here in UK and in Turkey The Prophet Murders was published first. So, publishing wise, it is the first of the series. In a nutshell, The Prophet Murders is a crime caper set in Istanbul. The hero is a transvestite detective. By day computer wizz, handsome man, corporate consultant and a skillful hacker; by night hip-underground club owner, glamorous and sexy transvestite, amateur sleuth with an Audrey Hepburn alter-ego.

    EC: Where did the idea for the main character come from?

    MMS: Two reasons really. First, I believe the media presentation of transvestites is usually negative. They are presented as either slapstick fun material or potential criminals by the media, in bad films and books. For example see the freak transvestite character in The Silence of the Lambs. As a result transvestites are perceived by many as potential criminals, doomed to be street hookers but nothing else, with almost no moral values. I don't agree with this attitude at all. So I wanted to create a likeable, intelligent, witty, refined, well educated hero/heroine with "positive skills". Not the typical, stereotypical drag-queen. Therefore I furnished him/her with contrasting and considerable talents… Plus lots of knowledge and warm wit. Hence I created, I believe, the first transvestite detective.

    And the second reason was to create a marketing niche in the presence of many straight, and the few gay /lesbian detectives of crime fiction.

    EC: So far you've written six Hop-Ciki-Yaya books as well as the 'Champagne' trilogy. What are you writing at the moment? Do you have plans for more Hop-Ciki-Yaya books?

    MMS: Yes, I am working on another Hop-Ciki-Yaya adventure. As long as there will be readers and interest, I will produce more Hop-Ciki-Yayas.

    EC: Who are your favourite authors (and why)?

    MMS: So many with all different reasons. Honore de Balzac is my all time favourite. With his novels he creates a complete panoramic picture of France in his time. A major character from one of his books might have a cameo appearance in another. I like this.

    Patricia Highsmith, especially her Ripleys and Those Who Walk Away, I've read and will read over and over.

    Naturally Orhan Pamuk! Besides his My Name is Red being one of my favourite books, I believe the Nobel prize Orhan Pamuk won, opened the international door for Turkish writers, including me.

    Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, Ingrid Nöll… Many more! In fact there is huge list of acknowledgements at the end of The Prophet Murders, as someone said the "the longest acknowledgements in Turkish literature."

    EC: Which other Turkish crime novels would you love to see translated into English?

    MMS: Alper Canıgüz is my present favourite. Very young one. He only has two books so far, but I find him brilliant. And Perihan Mağden! Although she is not a classical crime author, her recent book (Escape) gave me more chills and thrills than most crime novels.

    EC: What do you think about the English crime writers who set their books in Istanbul such as Barbara Nadel and Jason Goodwin? Do you read their books?

    MMS: I enjoyed reading them, their oriental perceptions. Although I would say they are quite different: respectively 'contemporary' and 'Ottoman Turkey'. The historical settings of Jason Goodwin are charming since I am also a historical novels aficionado. Top of my list is occupied by Mary Renault, Mika Waltari and the historical novels (Julian) of Gore Vidal.

    EC: What can we expect in the second in the series, The Kiss Murders...

    MMS: A lady-like transvestite named Buse (i.e. Kiss in Turkish) is murdered. My hero tries to solve the case. Radical nationalists and their political party is in the background. You can expect more joy, more fun, more giggles and a page turner like The Prophet Murders.

    Many thanks to Mehmet Murat Somer for answering my questions and Benjamin Usher for arranging it.

    UPDATE: The Euro Crime review of The Prophet Murders is now available here.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Crime Quiz on Penguin website

    Just for a bit of fun, there's a 2008 Crime Quiz on the Penguin UK website. I got 8/10. US readers may struggle with the UK TV questions (3 & 4).

    More quizes can be found on their website, here.

    Michael Morley interview on Penguin's website

    This month's competition prize is a signed copy of Spider by Michael Morley. Enter the competition here.

    On the Penguin website, there's an interview with Michael Morley which touches on the research he did for Spider which is about the hunt for a serial killer in Tuscany.

    The hero is Jack King and the author has already begun the third Jack King book.

    Louise Anderson's next book

    I'm not the only one eagerly awaiting Death's Sister, the follow-up to 2004's Perception of Death. Due to some family problems there's been a huge delay, the latest release date was February 2008 which has come and gone. However on the Val McDermid forum, a new date of June has been said with some confidence. Fingers crossed!

    Synopsis: After her brother, Leland, was committed to an institution for the insane, for a series of brutal murders, Erin Paterson thought that she might have, a little more time to devote to her law practice in Glasgow.

    But when a murder is committed in the United States, a murder that has all the trademarks of her brother's homicidal mania, Erin's always vulnerable peace of mind is threatened once again.

    And when the man she was closest to, Paul Gabriel - investigative journalist and an ex-policeman - also disappears in America, an anguished call from his daughter, sets Erin off on a dark trail to uncover a world, she would have preferred to leave undisturbed.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    New Titles for May

    The following titles are published for the first time in May. One has its premiere in the US but the rest are UK publications. This is taken from Euro Crime's Future Releases by month page which currently goes up to 2010:
    Bannister, Jo - Closer Still, #8 Brodie Farrell

    Bonnot, Xavier-Marie - The First Fingerprint, #1 Police Captain Michel de Palma, Marseille

    Brandreth, Gyles - Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death (apa Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder), #2 Oscar Wilde

    Brophy, Grace - A Deadly Paradise, #2 Commissario Alessandro Cenni, Umbria

    Cabasson, Armand - Wolf Hunt, #2 Captain Quentin Margont, early 1800s

    Campbell, Aifric - The Semantics of Murder

    Connolly, John- The Reapers, #7 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine

    Dahl, K O - The Man in the Window, #3 Gunnarstranda and Frolich, Oslo Police

    Drake, Nick - Tutankhamun, #2 Rai Rahotep, Chief Detective, Thebes Division, Ancient Egypt 1800 BC

    Esler, Gavin - A Scandalous Man

    Evans, Geraldine - Death Dues, #11 Insp. Rafferty and Sgt.Llewellyn, Elmhurst, Essex

    Faulks, Sebastian - Devil May Care (writing as Ian Fleming)

    Ferris, Gordon - An Unquiet Heart, #2 Danny McRae, PI in post WW2 London

    Fuentes, Eugenio - The Pianist's Hands, #3 Ricardo Cupido, private detective

    Gash, Jonathan - The Faces in the Pool, Lovejoy

    Gordon-Smith, Dolores - Mad About The Boy?, #2 Jack Haldean, 1920s

    Harrison, Cora - Michaelmas Tribute, #2 Mara, Judge, Tudor Ireland

    Hill, Suzette A - Bones in the Belfry, #2 Revd Francis Oughterard

    Hinchcliffe, Sally - Out of a Clear Sky

    Jardine, Quintin - Aftershock, #18 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh

    Keating, H R F - Inspector Ghote's First Case, #25 Inspector Ghote, Bombay, India

    Levison, Iain - Dog Eats Dog

    Littleford, Clare - The Quarry (Crime Express Novella)

    Lucarelli, Carlo - Via delle Oche, #3 Inspector De Luca, Italy in 1945

    MacBride, Stuart - Flesh House, #4 DS Logan McRae, Aberdeen

    Monaghan, Nicola - The Okinawa Dragon (Crime Express Novella)

    Morley, Michael - Spider

    Mosby, Steve - Cry for Help

    Oldham, Nick - Screen of Deceit, #9 DI Christie

    Parker, Michael - The Devil's Trinity

    Simms, Chris - Hell's Fire, #4 Det. Jon Spicer, Manchester

    Slade, Nicola - Murder Most Welcome

    Somer, Mehmet Murat - The Prophet Murders,#2 Hop-Ciki-Yaya, transvestite, nightclub owner, Istanbul

    Story, A M - Straws Upon the Surface, #3 Amos Cotswold, local district councillor

    Taylor, Andrew - Bleeding Heart Square

    Templeton, Aline - Lamb to the Slaughter, #4 Detective Inspector Marjory Fleming, Scotland

    Wells, Shirley - A Darker Side, #2 Jill Kennedy, Forensic psychologist & DCI Max Trentham, Lancashire

    Westbrook, Kate - The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling, #3 Miss Moneypenny

    White, Neil - Lost Souls

    News-page updated

    There seems to have been quite a lot of crime fiction related reviews and interviews in the press these past ten days. Links to them have been added to the News page of the website.

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Reissue of Death of a Blue Lantern

    First published in 1994, Christopher West's Death of a Blue Lantern is being reissued this month by Allison & Busby.

    Synopsis: Beijing, People's Republic of China. Inspector Wang of the Public Security Bureau is expecting a pleasant and well-earned night out at the People`s Opera House. Instead, he finds himself face to face with a murder victim. A victim who has slipped through the hands of even China's relentless system of mass surveillance.

    Wang's search for answers takes him into the underworld of the Chinese capital, into the secret, sinister world of Communist Party politics, and out to the ancient caves of Huashan, where a killer`s secret awaits discovery.

    Christopher West wrote four books in the Inspector Wang series, the last one, The Third Messiah, was published in 2000. West says on his website:
    This was the final novel in the quartet. I hugely enjoyed writing it, and it was well published, in the UK and America. My agent wanted more… But I felt this was a good place to stop. So many series lose quality, become more far-fetched or, worse, repetitive. I like the old showbiz adage ‘quit while you’re winning’. So I did.
    There's more background information to each book on the author's website.

    New Reviews

    Here are this week's new reviews and details of the new competition.

    Latest Reviews:

    In the latest Crime File from Mike Ripley, he reviews The Manor of Death by Bernard Knight, Murder's Immortal Mask by Paul Doherty, A Killing Frost by R D Wingfield and Dog Eats Dog by Iain Levison;

    Norman Price reviews the paperback release of Cross by Ken Bruen saying that "If you haven't read Ken Bruen yet then you are missing some the finest crime fiction being written today";

    Maxine Clarke reviews Black Seconds by Karin Fossum, which has also just come out in paperback, and believes it's even better than Calling Out for You/The Indian Bride;

    Terry Halligan reviews the latest in the award winning series by Ariana Franklin, The Death Maze which was released in the US as The Serpent's Tale;

    Maxine also reviews the second in the Gotland set series from Mari Jungstedt, Unspoken calling it "a great read"

    and new reviewer Eve Olsen is less than impressed with Julia Navarro's The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud with its cardboard characters and lack of research.

    Current Competition (closing date 31 May)

    Win a signed copy of Spider by Michael Morley*

    * UK/Europe only

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    Books reviewed in April (on Euro Crime)

    A round-up of what we reviewed in April: (read more reviews on the review page on the website):
    BECKETT, SIMON - Written in Bone
    CHANCE, ALEX - The Final Days
    CHILD, LEE - Bad Luck and Trouble
    COOPER, NATASHA - A Greater Evil
    FOWLER, CHRISTOPHER - Ten-Second Staircase (audio book)
    GUTHRIE, ALLAN - Savage Night
    HILL, REGINALD - A Cure For All Diseases
    HILL, SUSAN - The Risk of Darkness
    HOLT, ANNE - The Final Murder
    HUGHES, DECLAN - The Dying Breed
    JACKSON, L M - The Mesmerist's Apprentice
    KERR, PHILIP - The One From The Other
    LIANG, DIANE WEI - The Eye of Jade
    LEON, DONNA - The Girl of His Dreams
    MCGILLOWAY, BRIAN - Gallows Lane
    MARR, CHRIS - The Lady of the Manor
    PAROT, JEAN-FRANCOIS - The Chatelet Apprentice
    SAMPSON, CATHERINE - The Pool of Unease
    SMITH, TOM ROB - Child 44
    STANLEY, MICHAEL - A Carrion Death
    WALKER, MARTIN - Bruno, Chief of Police
    WINGFIELD, R D - A Killing Frost
    May's reviews will begin this bank-holiday weekend.

    ITV3 - Crime Thriller Awards

    From Digital Spy:
    ITV3 is planning a crime drama-themed season culminating in its first Crime Drama Awards ceremony.

    In the run-up to the autumn event the channel will air six programmes profiling authors including Colin Dexter, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid and P.D. James.

    The shows will be followed by television dramas based on their books, such as Inspector Morse, Wire in the Blood and Rebus.

    Viewers will vote for their favourite author while other awards will cover film, television and novels.

    "The ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards, and the preceding crime thriller season, are the perfect way for ITV3 to cement its reputation as the home of great storytelling and, in particular, great crime thrillers," said ITV and CITV controller Emma Tennant.

    "I look forward to hearing which characters, series and novels are the nation's favourites, culminating with the ITV3 viewer's choice award for the top crime author."
    Read the official announcement, here.

    James Bond Radio Drama

    Radio 4 have lined up a fabulous cast for a radio drama to be broadcast on 24 May. James Bond is played by Toby "Mr Rochester" Stephens and Dr No by David "Poirot" Suchet.

    From BBC news:
    Actor Toby Stephens, who played villain Gustav Graves in Die Another Day, will play James Bond in the first full radio adaptation of Dr No.

    Poirot star David Suchet will play villain Dr No in the Radio 4 adaption, being broadcast on 24 May to mark 100 years since author Ian Fleming's birth.

    The station will also air a documentary following Fleming's niece's attempts to find out more about her uncle.

    The two programmes are of a season honouring the Bond creator.

    In James Bond, The Last Englishman, Professor David Cannadine argues that the Bond novels have played a key role in shaping England's national self-image.

    Radio 4 will also re-run Amis, Amis and Bond, featuring writer Martin Amis talking about his father's obsessive interest with Bond and Fleming's writing.

    Published in 1958, Dr No was Fleming's sixth Bond novel, and four years later became the first to be made into a film.

    It sees Bond sent to Jamaica to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two of his colleagues.

    The Radio 4 adaptation's cast also includes Samuel West, John Standing, Martin Jarvis and Peter Capaldi.

    £5 off at Waterstones online

    Aimed at Sky customers but it seems possible that anyone could take advantage of this offer:
    Sky customers can receive a £5 discount on all books during May when they spend £25 or more at

    Don’t forget to enter the voucher code 'S22008' in the promotional code box.

    Online transactions only.
    Go here for more information (nb. this page crashes my Mozilla but works ok in IE).

    BookPage - Interview & Reviews

    The latest edition of BookPage has an interview with Tom Rob Smith plus reviews of The Demon of Dakar by Kjell Eriksson, Silesian Station by David Downing and The Lost by Roberta Kray.