Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Reviews: Fowler, Fox, Johnston, Russell, Sjowall & Wahloo, Vine

Here are this week's new reviews and the last chance to enter this month's competition:

Latest Reviews:

Amanda Brown is a convert to the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler, she reviews the latest, The Victoria Vanishes, writing that she "enjoyed it immensely";

I leave Europe to visit Sydney where I review Kathryn Fox's Skin and Bone which I hope is the first of a new series starring Kate Farrer;

With the book cover that recently launched a 1000 blog entries (well at least three) - Paul Johnston's The Soul Collector is reviewed by Geoff Jones;

Terry Halligan reviews the latest from Craig Russell The Carnival Master which is the fourth outing for Hamburg detective Jan Fabel;

Maxine Clarke reviews Sjowall and Wahloo's The Laughing Policeman which she says "is another example of the controlled brilliance of this superb set of novels"

and in the second of a two part look at the latest from Baronesses James and Rendell, Fiona Walker reviews The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell); check out her earlier review of The Private Patient by P D James.

Current Competition:

Win a copy of Our Lady of Pain by Elena Forbes*

* restrictions apply (ends 31 August)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mo Hayder's next book

Ritual was the first of the Walking Man series. According to, the follow-up, Skin, is scheduled for Feb 2010...

Both Euro Crime reviewers raved about Ritual, see here and here and on Mo Hayder's website you can download an article in which "Mo describes her thoughts about Jack Caffery, Ritual and the reason why she re-introduced him back into her latest novel".

Synopsis for Skin:
Barely a week has passed since the ending of Ritual, but for DI Jack Caffery and Sergeant Flea Marley life has not got any easier. The decayed body of a young woman has been found in the woods. All indications are that it's a suicide - but Caffery is not convinced. He is, however, supposed to be directing the high profile police-search for Misty Kitson, a B-list celebrity who has gone missing from a local health clinic. Plus he's becoming obsessed with Flea. In short, he is exhausted, over-worked and increasingly distracted. Flea is also distracted - but not by Jack. Something has jammed the lock of her car-boot. She can't open it - yet knows that what she will find inside will be very bad indeed. To make matters worse, someone is out there. Someone who can slip behind trees, under water or into people's houses where he watches from the shadows, unseen...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Favourite crime novels of the last century (a list)

I've copied this list from Danielle at A Work in Progress. It is "The 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century, as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online members (compiled in 2000)." I've bolded the meagre few I have read. Own is another matter... I think I've read the Doyle and Rendell on the list but am not sure so have left them alone.
Allingham, Margery. The Tiger in the Smoke
Ambler, Eric. A Coffin for Dimitrios
Armstrong, Charlotte. A Dram of Poison
Atherton, Nancy. Aunt Dimity's Death
Ball, John. In the Heat of the Night
Barnard, Robert. Death by Sheer Torture
Barr, Nevada. Track of the Cat
Blake, Nicholas. The Beast Must Die
Block, Lawrence. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes
Brand, Christianna. Green for Danger
Brown, Frederic. The Fabulous Clipjoint
Buchan, John. The 39 Steps
Burke, James Lee. Black Cherry Blues
Cain, James M.. The Postman Always Rings Twice
Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman
Carr, John Dickson. The Three Coffins
Caudwell, Sarah. Thus Was Adonis Murdered
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Connelly, Michael. The Concrete Blonde
Constantine, K.C.. The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes
Crais, Robert. The Monkey's Raincoat
Crispin, Edmund. The Moving Toyshop
Crombie, Deborah. Dreaming of the Bones
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss
Dickinson, Peter. The Yellow Room Conspiracy
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca
Dunning, John. Booked to Die
Elkins, Aaron. Old Bones
Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money
Finney, Jack. Time and Again
Ford, G.M.. Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?
Francis, Dick. Whip Hand
Fremlin, Celia. The Hours Before Dawn
George, Elizabeth. A Great Deliverance
Gilbert, Michael. Smallbone Deceased
Grafton, Sue. "A" is for Alibi
Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger's Drift
Grimes, Martha. The Man With the Load of Mischief
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs
Hiaasen, Carl. Tourist Season
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Hill, Reginald. On Beulah Height
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time
Himes, Chester. Cotton Comes to Harlem
Innes, Michael. Hamlet, Revenge
James, P.D.. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Kellerman, Faye. The Ritual Bath
Kellerman, Jonathan. When the Bough Breaks
King, Laurie. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Langton, Jane. Dark Nantucket Noon
le Carre, John. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
Lehane, Dennie. Darkness, Take My Hand
Leonard, Elmore. Get Shorty
Lochte, Dick. Sleeping Dog
Lovesey, Peter. Rough Cider
MacDonald, John D.. The Deep Blue Good-by
MacDonald, Philip. The List of Adrian Messenger
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill
Maron, Margaret. Bootlegger's Daughter
Marsh, Ngaio. Death of a Peer (aka Surfeit of Lampreys)
McBain, Ed. Sadie When She Died
McClure, James. The Sunday Hangman
McCrumb, Sharyn. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
Millar, Margaret. Stranger in My Grave
Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress
Muller, Marcia. Edwin of the Iron Shoes
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel
O'Connell, Carol. Mallory's Oracle
Padgett, Abigail. Child of Silence
Paretsky, Sara. Deadlock
Parker, Robert. Looking for Rachel Wallace
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas
Perry, Thomas. Vanishing Act
Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank
Peters, Ellis. One Corpse Too Many
Pronzini, Bill. Blue Lonesome
Queen, Ellery. Cat of Many Tails
Rendell, Ruth. No More Dying Then
Rice, Craig. The Wrong Murder
Rinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase
Robinson, Peter. Blood at the Root
Rosen, Richard. Strike Three You're Dead
Ross, Kate. A Broken Vessel
Rozan, S.J.. Concourse
Sayers, Dorothy. Murder Must Advertise
Sjowall & Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman
Stout, Rex. Some Buried Caesar
Tey, Josephine. Brat Farrar
Thomas, Ross. Chinaman's Chance
Todd, Charles. A Test of Wills
Turow, Scott. Presumed Innocent
Upfield, Arthur. The Sands of Windee
Walters, Minette. The Ice House
White, Randy Wayne. Sanibel Flats
Woolrich, Cornell. I Married a Dead Man

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Christopher Fowler's White Corridor on audio

The latest of Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May series to be made available on audio book, is White Corridor. Like its predecessors, Full Dark House, The Water Room, The Seventy-Seven Clocks and Ten-Second Staircase it's superbly narrated by Tim Goodman and I found this one to be the most humorous of the lot.

The premise behind the books is that John May and Arthur Bryant are two elderly detectives, way past retirement age who head up the PCU: The Peculiar Crimes Unit in an office above Mornington Crescent tube station. In the previous books, as well as the other PCU staff, London has been a major character. The books ooze arcane knowledge of the great city. This time though, the 'boys' are stuck in a snow storm and there's a suspicious death back at PCU HQ. It's up to the PCU's very own 'Diana Dors' to work out what's happened, guided by mobile phone conversations with Bryant and May whilst they track down a killer in the snow.

Yvonne Klein has already reviewed The White Corridor, for Euro Crime, and I agree totally with her. This is a series not to be missed either in print or on audio. I've checked the book out of the library to get a couple of quotes:

[May] had always prided himself on his ability to embrace change, and had at least retained a walking pace beside the growth of modern police technology, adopting new techniques as they arrived. Bryant, on the other hand, loitered several metres behind each development, and occasionally drifted off in the opposite direction.

and after finding themselves stranded in a blizzard (on their way to a Spiritualists' Convention):

"Look on the bright side, John. We've plenty of warm clothing in the back. You helped me pack all those outfits for the show."

If you think I'm sitting here dressed in a fig-leaf body stocking and a Protestant cleric's cassock, Arthur, you're sadly mistaken."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More New Tricks

From Digital Spy:
BBC One has confirmed that a sixth series of New Tricks is to air next year.

Filming on the old-timers cop show, which stars Amanda Redman alongside James Bolam, Dennis Waterman and Alun Armstrong, is expected to commence on a new run of eight episodes later this year in and around London. The fifth series wrapped its transmission run on Monday night, averaging 8.4m viewers and a respectable 35.8% share of the audience.

Carola Dunn blogs at Moments in Crime

Expat British author, Carola Dunn, is blogging this week at Moments in Crime. Her series features 1920s journalist Daisy Dalrymple who is of an aristocratic family but is trying to make her own way in the world. The 17th book in the series, Black Ship, is out in September.

Synopsis from It is 1925 and the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, her husband Alec Fletcher and their recent twins move to a new, large house on the outskirts of London. Set in a small circle of houses with a communal garden, it seems like the idyllic setting - that is, until a murder victim turns up under the bushes of the communal garden. Now rumours of bootleggers, American gangsters and an international liquor smuggling operation via black ships turn everything upside down. Alec, in his role as Scotland Yard detective, has been assigned to ferret out the truth behind the murder - but it is up to Daisy to find out who the dead man is, what his relationship with her new neighbours was, why he was murdered - and who it was who did him in!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

OT: Burn Notice on FX UK

There's been a lot of chatter on the DorothyL mailing list recently about this 'spy' series. My own interest in it is due to the fact that Michael "Stargate" Shanks will be guest appearing in series 2. An advert on FX has given the UK premiere date of 5th October. From the official Burn Notice website:

When spies get fired, they don’t get a letter from human resources.

They get BURNED...

This summer, USA Network presents the second season of Burn Notice, a sexy, action-packed original series starring Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, a blacklisted spy. Dumped in his hometown of Miami without money or resources, Michael struggles to put his life back together and find out why he's been burned. In the meantime, he uses his unique skills and training to help people in need ... mostly people who can't get help from the police.

Burn Notice also stars Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona, a beautiful ex-IRA operative who happens to be Westen’s ex-girlfriend. Bruce Campbell stars as Sam, Michael’s closest buddy in town, a washed up military intelligence contact who is keeping an eye on Michael for the Feds. Also starring is Emmy® Award-winner Sharon Gless as Madeline, Michael’s hypochondriac mother, who couldn’t be happier to have her boy back in town.

Created and written by Matt Nix, Burn Notice combines the best of the action/thriller elements with surprising humor and an iconic new breed of spy.

Sherlock Homes: Nemesis (PC Game)

The Sherlock Homes: Nemesis game has been out since May but it only came to my attention when I read a review at the weekend in one of the Saturday supplements (can't find an online link).

The Game: After coming face-to-face with the mythical Cthulhu in his previous adventure on PC (“The Awakened”), Sherlock Holmes confronts Arsène Lupin, the gentleman-burglar made famous by the literature series penned by French writer Maurice Leblanc. Arsène Lupin, whose exploits are enjoyed by millions of readers throughout the world, provides the perfect foil for Holmes as he attempts to pull of the ultimate heist.

This battle of wits between the most famous detective of all time and the world's greatest thief takes us to late 19th century London. Arsène Lupin is a young French burglar at the beginning of a glittering career, who comes to town with one goal - defy Scotland Yard and Sherlock Holmes. He states that he will steal five objects of immense value in five days from prestigious sites such as the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tower of London and even Buckingham Palace! Sherlock Holmes must use all his daring and ingenuity to avoid a terrible humiliation for England.

Read more about it and other Holmes games available at the official website.

Monday, August 25, 2008

XX writing as Enid Blyton

I suppose now that Sebastian Faulks was credited as 'writing as Ian Fleming' for Devil May Care, the floodgates are open for all manner of possibilities. Though this sort of thing has been going on covertly for yonks eg the 'new' Virginia Andrews, but publishers can now be more open should they wish. The BBC website has an update on the relaunch of the 'Enid Blyton' brand:

Some of Enid Blyton's most popular characters will make a return in a set of 20 new books, her estate has said.

The Famous Five, The Faraway Tree and Malory Towers will all feature in the books to be released over two years.

Chorion, which owns the rights to the characters, said the books would "remain true to Blyton's classic storytelling style and values".

In the first, The Famous Five's Survival Guide, they try to solve The Mystery of the Royal Dragon of Siam.

Chorion said the book would be "packed full of stolen treasure, problem-solving, traps and traitors".

In September, The Faraway Tree will return for the first time since 1951.

New stories from The Wishing-Chair, Malory Towers and The Secret Series books will be available in 2009.

Read the whole article on the BBC site.

Blyton was recently voted the UK's best loved writer.

There are some very unusual 'Enid Blyton' titles listed on amazon, including:

The Case of the Cactus, the Coot, and the Cowboy Boot: WITH The Case of the Seal Who Gets All Up in Your Face
The Case of the Gobbling Goop: WITH The Case of the Surfer Dude Who's Truly Rude

These are in the '5 on the case' series I've mentioned before.

Foyle's Peace?

Much buzzing on the blogs (eg Random Jottings) that Foyle's War is returning as Foyle's Peace. The Daily Mail has the following to say:
The final episode of Foyle’s War may have ended conclusively with the characters celebrating VE Day – but it seems the much-loved ITV1 drama is set for a post-war revival.

In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, star of the show Honeysuckle Weeks reveals that Foyle’s War has given way to a new series entitled Foyle’s Peace.

Honeysuckle, who plays driver Samantha Stewart to Michael Kitchen’s Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, said: ‘I have the contracts so they’ve got quite far with it and, although I haven’t seen scripts, the idea is that it’ll be set after the Second World War.
Details of the new show have yet to be finalised, but Michael Kitchen is expected to reprise his role and Foyle’s peacetime exploits are likely to feature Sam more prominently.

Yet, according to Honeysuckle, in spite of the popularity of her character, her fee will remain the same.

She said: ‘My fee is not going up one bit. I’m a bit nice. I think I should be more of a prima donna.

‘But they probably won’t be able to afford Julian Ovenden any more because he has made a huge hit series in America [Cashmere Mafia], so they’ll have to pay him an awful lot of money or Sam will probably get dumped again.’
Read the whole article on the Daily Mail site.

Now, can anything be done about reinstating the axed Inspector Lynley mysteries?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Reviews: Becker, Chattam, Hudson, James, Montalban, Wilson

This is my 1000th post on the blog, hard to believe!

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

Latest Reviews:

Amanda Gillies is very taken with James Becker's The First Apostle calling it an "utterly spellbinding book" and one you should seek out;

I was very disappointed with The Cairo Diary by Maxim Chattam which has both logistical and linguistical faults;

Guest reviewer Rik Shepherd takes a look at Death Comes by Amphora by Roger Hudson which is set in Ancient Athens; he finds the background information can swamp the plot at times;

In the first of a two part look at the latest from Baronesses James and Rendell, Fiona Walker reviews The Private Patient by P D James; check back next week for her review of The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell);

Mike Ripley reviews Tattoo by Manuel Vazquez Montalban the second in the Pepe Carvalho series which has just been published in English for the first time

and Maxine Clarke reviews Laura Wilson's Stratton's War which she calls "an excellent book: a fully rounded novel of London in the Blitz in the summer of 1940".

Current Competition:

Win a copy of Our Lady of Pain by Elena Forbes*

* restrictions apply (ends 31 August)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Secret becomes Memory

Just another warning about a title change. Philippe Grimbert's Secret (UK) was published as Memory in the US. The film of the book is called Un Secret and will be available on R2 DVD on 6th October.

Synopsis (of the book): Based on the author's own family history and already a colossal best-seller in Europe, UK readers are now being let in on the story of a family haunted by the secrets of their past: an illicit love affair, a lost child, and a devastating betrayal dating back to the Second World War. "The day after I turned fifteen, I finally discovered what I'd always known..." Growing up in post-war Paris the sickly only child of glamorous, athletic parents, the narrator invents for himself a make-believe brother - older, stronger, and more brilliant than he can ever be. It is only when the boy begins talking to an old family friend that he comes to realise that his imaginary sibling had a real predecessor: a half-brother whose death in the concentration camps is part of a buried family secret that he was intended never to unearth.

The official film website is here.

Watch the sub-titled trailer below:

New Scandinavian crime titles for 2009

Apart from The Girl Who Played With Fire, what have we got to look forward to in the way of new titles from our favourite Scandinavian authors in 2009?

Well, I've started an list which has the titles listed so far - here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BBC to remake The Thirty-Nine Steps

From The Guardian:

One of the centrepieces of the BBC's Christmas schedule will be a feature-length adaptation of The Thirty-nine Steps, the spy thriller later turned into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, "reimagined" for the Jason Bourne generation.

The BBC is set to unveil its plans for the new version, which will star Spooks actor Rupert Penry-Jones, today before filming begins in Scotland next month.

An instant hit on its publication in 1915, John Buchan's novel features a restless adventurer, Richard Hannay, who meets a man who claims to be a spy. When he finds the man murdered in his flat, Hannay flees for Scotland, where he becomes entangled in a conspiracy which not only threatens his life but could lead to an invasion of Great Britain.

The BBC said the new version would be closer to the book than Hitchcock's 1935 film version starring Robert Donat.

"With this adaptation we wanted to stay faithful to the spirit and period of the book, but asked the writer, Lizzie [Mickery], to feel free to reimagine it for a modern audience more familiar with James Bond and Jason Bourne," said producer Lynn Horsford.

The Girl Who Played with Fire - mini extract

The second part of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, will be out in January. Meanwhile the cover art is available along with a synopsis plus I have a brief extract lifted from a print copy of The Bookseller magazine from last November:

Extract: She lay for several minutes looking at the narrow strip of light above the door. Then she moved and tried to feel how tight the straps were. She could pull up her knees a bit, but the harness and the foot restraints grew taut immediately. She relaxed. She lay completely still, staring at nothing.

She waited. She fantasized about a gasoline can and a match.

She saw him drenched with gasoline. She could physically feel the box of matches in her hand. She shook it. It rattled. She opened the box and selected a match. She heard him say something but shut her ears and didn't listen to the words. She saw the expression on his face as she moved the match towards the striking surface. She heard the scraping sound of sulphur against it. It sounded like a drawn-out thunderclap. She saw the match burst into flame.

She smiled a hard smile and steeled herself.

That was the night she turned thirteen.

(caveats - any typing errors are my own and this was probably from the proof copy and may not be the final version.)

Synopsis: Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her anywhere. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, will not believe what he hears on the news. Knowing Salander to be fierce when fearful, he is desperate to get to her before she is cornered and alone. As he fits the pieces of the puzzle together, he comes up against some hardened criminals, including the chainsaw-wielding 'blond giant' - a fearsomely huge thug who can feel no pain. Digging deeper, Blomkvist also unearths some heart-wrenching facts about Salander's past life. Committed to psychiatric care aged 12, declared legally incompetent at 18, this is a messed-up young woman who is the product of an unjust and corrupt system. Yet Lisbeth is more avenging angel than helpless victim - descending on those that have hurt her with a righteous anger terrifying in its intensity and truly wonderful in its outcome.

and finally, do read the Euro Crime review of the first book in the trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Publishing Deals - White & Franklin

From Publisher's Lunch:
Jenny White's third book in the KAMIL PASHA historical mystery series, set in Istanbul in the 1890s, about Armenian terrorists striking at Ottoman institutions, to Amy Cherry at Norton, by Al Zuckerman at Writers House (World).

Ariana Franklin's MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH, Book 4, featuring a 12th-century CSI, to Rachel Kahan at Putnam and Laura Shin at Penguin Canada, for publication in Spring 2010, by Helen Heller at Helen Heller Agency.
Ariana Franklin's third Adelia book, Grave Goods, is out in March (in the US).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


On Sunday I made one of my twice yearly trips to Hay on Wye and this is what I bought:

(If you click on the photo the titles become legible!)

The haul mostly comprises translated crime fiction from a while ago, a few books by Australian authors and some other odds and s*ds.

(Martin Edwards's blog is having an impact on my purchases :-))

Monday, August 18, 2008

Michael Gregorio at the ICI

The following event featuring Michael Gregorio is on 11 September at 6.30pm at the Italian Cultural Institute (London) and is free, but booking ahead is required:
The ICI presents the international bestsellers Critique of Criminal Reason and Days of Atonement (Faber & Faber), a series of historical mystery novels set in 19th century Prussia where the philosopher Immanuel Kant plays a substantial role.

Maxim Jakubowski, writer, journalist and expert of noir fiction, makes a welcome return to the ICI to introduce Daniela De Gregorio and Michael Jacob, the two halves of the author Michael Gregorio.

The authors will illustrate the challenge of writing as a couple, especially when one is a fiery Italian and the other a diehard Englishman.

Euro Crime reviewer Norman Price said of Days of Atonement: "When you are able to read a 444 page book in only a couple of days it is usually a sign of an engrossing and enjoyable read, and this is the case with DAYS OF ATONEMENT. This novel is all about immersing the reader in the historical period, and keeping you guessing till the end with its many red herrings."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Reviews: George, Indridason, Leon, Medieval Murderers, Nesser, Taylor

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

Latest Reviews:

Kerrie Smith reviews honorary Brit, Elizabeth George's Careless in Red which she says is long but necessarily so;

Maxine Clarke reviews The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason which is now out in paperback, calling it "a satisfying mystery novel by a superb author";

Norman Price reviews honorary European, Donna Leon's The Girl of His Dreams and finds it a return to form;

Terry Halligan reviews the latest from The Medieval Murderers (who have expanded to include C J Sansom) - The Lost Prophecies - finding it the best of the three he's read so far;

I review the first in the Van Veeteren series by Hakan Nesser - The Mind's Eye - which is a fun, quick and slightly bizarre read

and Geoff Jones reviews The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor which he finds lacking in the crime department.

Current Competition:

Win a copy of Our Lady of Pain by Elena Forbes*

* restrictions apply (ends 31 August)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

News page update

The Euro Crime website News page has now been updated. The Guardian reviewers have been busy...

June and July's Competition Winners

Here are the winners of June's Euro Crime competition (and the correct answer):

Prize=A copy of Death on a Branch Line by Andrew Martin
Which one of the following authors also has a series revolving around the railway?
b) Edward Marston


Joanne Bell
Barry McQueen
Michelle Pierce
Fiona Waterworth
Christine West

Here are the winners of July's Euro Crime competitions (and the correct answers):

Prize=A copy of Blood Lines by Grace Monroe
Grace Monroe is the pseudonym of Linda Watson-Brown and Maria Thomson. Which one of the following authors is also a team of two?
b) Nicci French


Jane Hope
Helen Jackson
Steph Leigh
Pam Young

Prize=A copy of The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin
Which one of the following authors does not write a series set in Istanbul?
b) Craig Russell


J. E. Johnson, USA
Mike Lenton, UK
Linda Newman, Canada
Dave Newton, UK
Norah Sinclair, UK

Enter this month's competition here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Unshelved comic strip

I'm catching up with my reading of the library-centric Unshelved comic strip which I've neglected for a few months. I'm up to July and the 8th July edition made me chuckle. Read it here.

An Infinite Series?

Ann Purser's cozy-ish Lois Meade series has already been through the days of the week ie Murder on Monday, Terror on Tuesday, Weeping on Wednesday, Theft on Thursday, Fear on Friday, Secrets on Saturday and Sorrow on Sunday and now her adventures continue in Warning at One which will be out next month in the UK and November in the US. It's my impression, which may be horribly wrong, that this series is more popular in the US than at home in the UK.

Synopsis: Lois Meade is back...The tenants in Lois' investment property, a terraced house in Tresham, have come up and left because of the old man next door's pet rooster, an early riser with a very piercing voice. Lois despairs of finding new tenants, and is relieved when her elder son Douglas gets a new job in Tresham and asks to rent the property on Gordon Street.But peculiar things are happening on Gordon Street: the local grocery store was recently robbed, and odd comings and goings are happening in the home of Mrs Blairgowrie, the elderly woman who claims to be blind. When the old man and pet rooster are found dead under mysterious circumstances, Lois' son seems to be inexplicably tied up with the events and it takes all of Lois' investigative skills to ferret out the truth...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barbara Vine's Birthday Present

The release date of The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine is just two weeks away in the UK (March in the US) but you can read an extract on the Penguin site to get into the mood.

Synopsis: It’s late spring of 1990 and a love affair is flourishing: between Ivor Tesham, a thirty-three year old rising star of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, and Hebe Furnal, a stunning North London housewife stuck in a dull marriage. What excitement Hebe lacks at home, however, is amply compensated for by the well-bred and intensely attractive Tesham – an ardent womanizer and ambitious politican.

On the eve of her twenty-eighth birthday, Tesham decides to give Hebe a present to remember: something far more memorable than, say, the costly string of pearls he’s already lavished upon her. Involving a fashionable new practice known as ‘adventure sex’, a man arranges for his unsuspecting but otherwise willing girlfriend to be snatched from the street, bound and gagged, and delivered to him at a mutually agreed venue...

Set amidst an age of IRA bombings, the first Gulf War, and sleazy politics, The Birthday Present is the gripping story of a fall from grace, and of a man who carries within him all the hypocrisy, greed and self-obsession of a troubled era.

UPDATE: Read the Euro Crime review of The Birthday Present.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Starbucks Crime Events in Germany

From the Bookseller:
Starbucks in Germany is staging a Mystery Festival Coffee & Crime programme of events this autumn, consisting of 11 readings in nine cities.

In cooperation with Swiss publisher Diogenes, the events take place from 17th September to 7th October and will feature six mystery authors and an audiobook narrator, reports the Shelf Awareness blog. Another 125 German Starbucks will feature works by authors and information about the readings.

At the readings, book sales will be handled by local bookstores; Starbucks is not selling any of the Diogenes titles.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Copycat(ish) Covers

Jo Nesbo's The Devil's Star came out in 2005 (and this paperback cover in 2006) and The Soul Collector by Paul Johnston will be out in September.

The publisher, MIRA, explains how The Soul Collector's cover came about.

Paris Noir - version 2

Last November, Paris Noir, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, was published by Serpent's Tail. This November, Akashic are releasing their own Paris Noir:

From Akashic website: All original stories from Paris' finest authors, all translated from French.

Brand-new stories by: Didier Daeninckx, Jean-Bernard Pouy, Marc Villard, Chantal Pelletier, Patrick Pecherot, DOA, Herve Prudon, Dominique Mainard, Salim Bachi, Jerome Leroy, Laurent Martin, and Christophe Mercier.

Twelve short stories, twelve points of view, twelve neighborhoods of the same town, and finally, twelve pieces of the same puzzle.

Paris Noir takes you on a ride through the old medieval center of town with its intertwined streets, its ghosts, and its secrets buried in history. You'll cruise Paris with its nightclubs full of mysterious beauties who seem to have a lot to hide. You'll meet a driver with a big heart who decides to save a beaten prostitute by all means necessary, a politician knowing too much living his lasts moments in a French brasserie full of cigarette smoke, old and tired mobsters settling scores in Pigalle on Christmas Eve.

But Paris Noir is not only an homage to the crime genre, to Melville and Godard, it's also an invitation to French fiction. Besides the crime world, we discover the everyday people: a waiter who goes on a search after his best client disappears; a lunatic living on rue de la Sante, the only street in Paris where you can find a prison, a psychiatric hospital, and the traces of onetime resident Samuel Beckett; and a young beauty who believes she will be the next big star of a reality-TV show.

Crime, gunfights, twisted love stories, and shattered dreams, Paris Noir offers an explosive and poetic cocktail. Contrary to what certain people say, France is not Old Europe and Paris is certainly not a museum.

OT: Christopher Judge Interview (link to)

Just to get you in the mood for tonight's UK premiere of Stargate: Continuum, Blockbuster has an interview with Teal'c (Christopher Judge).

The article concludes with the good news:
I have just one more question to ask of Judge, a firm-fan favourite and having spent a few minutes with him I can certainly see why. On the subject of Stargate, is he in it for the duration? As long as there's a Stargate, will there be a Teal'c? Rising to leave, Judge shoots me a final smile, nodding his head with typical enthusiasm. "As long as they want me."
Read the whole interview here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Reviews: Fitzek, Gordon-Smith, Jego, Jones, Nadel, Rankin

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

Latest Reviews:

Mike Ripley reviews the German best-seller - Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek which is full of tension and twists;

I review the second in the 1920s Jack Haldean series by Dolores Gordon-Smith - Mad About the Boy?

Norman Price reviews The Sun King Rises by Yves Jego and Denis Lepree and finds it doesn't live up to its Dumas aspirations;

Amanda Gillies reviews the disappointing The Last Straight Face by Bruce Kennedy Jones and Eric Allison - a collaboration between a former criminal and a journalist - which she finds predictable and tension-less;

Laura Root reviews the latest in the Francis Hancock series by Barbara Nadel - Ashes to Ashes - and she finds Hancock to be "one of the most personable and fully-realised amateur sleuths that I have read about"

and Maxine Clarke reviews Ian Rankin's penultimate Rebus: The Naming of the Dead.

Current Competition:

Win a copy of Our Lady of Pain by Elena Forbes*

* restrictions apply (ends 31 August)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

OT: Doctor Who Audio Book review

Continuing with my occasional reviews of Doctor Who/Torchwood audio books, next up is The Nightmare of Black Island, written by Mike Tucker and read by Anthony Head. As well as appearing in the episode School Reunion, Anthony Head is also the voice of Doctor Who Confidential and this exposure serves him well in his portrayal of Rose and the Doctor.

The Nightmare of Black Island
starts off rather nastily and extremely creepily with the death of a tourist who has recently arrived in a small coastal Welsh village which has an abandoned light-house on a small black-rock island. The man doesn't get much fishing in before he's mauled to death by a 2 metre tall monster. Rose is sleeping in the TARDIS and is able to 'see' this event in her dream. The Doctor guides the TARDIS to the outskirts of the village but when the pair head through the woods to the village proper, they are set upon by not just one monster but a whole variety of peculiar and deadly forms.

Reaching safety in the shape of a local pub, they discover the trouble began when a local man, Nathanial Morton, returned and set up a nursing home. The Doctor and Rose visit the home then getting nowhere, they separate; the Doctor visits the light-house and Rose returns to spy on the home. The Doctor finds a space-craft on the island but he leaves it too late and the monsters return trapping him there, whilst at the home, Rose doesn't avoid detection and gets captured. The duo will need the assistance of the villagers - to first, free the time-travellers and then to help eradicate the monsters and allow the children to sleep peacefully at night once more.

Aside from the beginning with all the monsters this story feels like it could easily be filmed for tv and would make an exciting two parter, but equally it has the feel of the classic Doctor Who episodes of the 70s where the story was split into 4, 6 or even 8 parts. The Doctor and Rose are well written and feel consistent with the tv portrayal. Not too surprising as the author worked on series 1 and 2 in the visual effects department.

Though Anthony Head states, in the not to be missed interview at the end of disc 2, that he doesn't do impersonations he gets the speech patterns correct and provides a flavour of the accents of the Doctor and Rose so that you do hear the tv actors' voices. He also does well with the remaining characters and he has a lovely, warm voice for the straight narration. To date he doesn't appear to have narrated any more - but I'd certainly be keen to listen to them if he did.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Potter Prequel Phenomenon

The inclusion of J K Rowling's short story about Harry Potter's father and Sirius Black in a postcard collection called What's Your Story? is sending the book flying off the shelf. The story was available online a while ago on the Waterstones site but though the official version is not now viewable, you can still read the story and see the original writing on this unknowable wiki page.

Read more about the What's Your Story? collection on the Waterstones website.

Get Robert Harris's The Ghost for £1.49

August's choice for the Metro Book Club is The Ghost by Robert Harris and you can buy it from for £1.49 (plus P & P)(conditions apply)

Synopsis: Britain's former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project - a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his distinguished new client has secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him - secrets with the power to kill.

Download chapter one, here.

OT: The Clone Wars trailer

The US release date for the animated feature film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is the 15th August. I'm not sure about the UK date. You can watch the trailer and various other videos on

The cartoon versions of several of the main characters, including Anakin and Obi-Wan, are voiced by different actors to the films.

Publishing Deal - Jeremy Duns (2)

First the UK rights and now the US rights have been snapped up according to Publishers Lunch:
Jeremy Duns' FREE AGENT, set between London and Nigeria during the Biafran War, about an MI6 agent on the run as a suspected KGB double-agent and intent on tracking down the only woman he ever loved whom he has thought dead for the past 24 years, to Kathryn Court at Viking, in a pre-empt, by Joe Veltre at Artists Literary Group, on behalf of Antony Topping at Greene & Heaton (US).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Marple news - 'Why Didn't They Ask Evans?'

From Digital Spy:
Veteran actor Richard Briers and Bottom's Rik Mayall are to join Julia McKenzie in the third instalment of the latest Agatha Christie's Marple series.

'Why Didn't They Ask Evans?' follows the mystery sparked when a dying man utters the words of the episode's title in his last moments. Penned by Patrick Barlow, the two-hour film sees Miss Marple on the hunt for clues once again.

Harry Potter stars Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood) also appear in the drama. They are joined by Rafe Spall (He Kills Coppers), Warren Clarke (Dalziel and Pascoe), Samantha Bond (James Bond) and Helen Lederer (Absolutely Fabulous).

Tudors star Natalie Dormer, Doctor Who's Georgia Moffett and Skins actress Hannah Murray complete the cast.

What's in a title?

The curse of the pesky title change strikes again:

The new Isabel Dalhousie from Alexander McCall Smith is out in September in the US as The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday and will appear in the UK in October as The Comfort of Saturdays:

The second in the Burren series from Cora Harrison was published in May in the UK as Michaelmas Tribute but will appear in the US in September as A Secret and Unlawful Killing (which seems a bizarre name to me when you think about it...)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Competition

Win a copy of Elena Forbes's new book, Our Lady of Pain. Details on how to enter are on the Competition page (conditions apply).

OT: Stargate Continuum - Trailer 2

Less than a week to wait until the UK tv showing of Stargate Continuum (Sky One, next Tuesday at 8pm) and the long awaited return of Jack O'Neill. A second trailer is now available at Gateworld:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Publishing Deal - James Twining

From The Bookseller:
HarperFiction has signed a new two-book deal with The Double Eagle author James Twining for a “good six figure sum”. Editorial director Wayne Brookes bought UK and Commonwealth rights, including Canada, from Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown. The books, as yet untitled, will be published in 2010 and 2011.

“I’m very excited to be carrying on my fabulous relationship with James,” said Brookes. “From the moment I read the first words of The Double Eagle, I have been enthralled and entertained by the adventures of former art thief Tom Kirk, and now I have two more to get my teeth into. James was the first author I acquired for Harper Fiction and I can’t imagine a year without the escapades of Tom Kirk.”
(James Twining's bibliography)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Reviews: Hill, McCoy, Monroe, Theorin, Tursten, White

Here are this week's new reviews:

Latest Reviews:

After seeing Suzette A Hill at CrimeFest in June, I knew I had to try her series which features 'talking animals'. The first one in the series is A Load of Old Bones and didn't disappoint though most of the story is in fact told by a human;

Terry Halligan reviews the latest in the 'Mad' Carew series from Ken McCoy: Loser calling it an "enjoyable, hard to put down book";

Pat Austin, really, really didn't like Blood Lines by Grace Monroe but managed to finish it out of public duty to the rest of us;

In contrast, the pressure's being applied, first by Maxine, and now by Norman Price to find the time asap to read Johan Theorin's Echoes from the Dead - Norman writes that it was "the most gripping crime fiction novel I have read so far this year";

Maxine Clarke's now up to date (for the moment) with the English translations of Helene Tursten's Inspector Huss series with the latest, The Glass Devil, in which Huss spends a lot of time in England

and Amanda Gillies enjoys the second book from Neil White: Lost Souls and finds it as good as his debut, Fallen Idols.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Titles out in August

The following titles are published for the first time in August. A couple of titles have their premiere in the US but most are UK publications. This is taken from Euro Crime's Future Releases by month page which currently goes up to 2010:
Atkinson, Kate - When Will There Be Good News?, #3 Jackson Brodie, Retired PI

Barrington, James - Timebomb, #4 Paul Richter, British Agent

Billingham, Mark - In the Dark

Bourne, Sam - The Final Reckoning

Brookmyre, Christopher - A Snowball in Hell

Carter, Maureen - Bad Press, #5 Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss, Birmingham

Cookman, Lesley - Murder by the Sea, #4 Libby Sarjeant, middle aged actress/investigator, Kent

Cordy, Michael - The Source

Cotterill, Colin - Curse of the Pogo Stick, #5 Dr Siri Paiboun, Laos

Cutler, Judith - Shadow of the Past, #2 Tobias Campion, Parson, 1810

Doherty, P C/Paul - Nightshade, #16 Hugh Corbett

Elliot, Lance - Murder Plot, #1 Dr Lance Elliot, 1975

Ellis, Kate - Seeking the Dead, #1 Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet, Eborby

Fitzek, Sebastian - Therapy

Forbes, Elena - Our Lady of Pain, #2 DI Mark Tartaglia and his team, London suburb of Barnes

Francis, Dick - Silks (with Felix Francis)

Francome, John - Final Breath

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

Gray, Clio - Envoy of the Black Pine, #3 Wigbert Stroop, early C19th

Hawes, James - My Little Armalite

Hendy, Paul - Who Killed Simon Peters?

James, Bill - In the Absence of Iles, #25 DCS Harpur and ACC Iles

Johnston, Paul - The Soul Collector, #2 Matt Wells

Lewis, Kevin - Fallen Angel, #1 DI Stacey Collins

Lindsay, Douglas - Lost in Juarez

Martin, Esteban & Carranza, Andreu - The Gaudi Key

Montalban, Manuel Vazquez - Tattoo, #2 Detective Pepe Carvalho, Barcelona

Pepper, Andrew - Kill-Devil And Water, #3 Pyke, Bow Street Runner/Crook, Victorian Era

Pollard, Tony - The Minutes of the Lazarus Club

Posadas, Carmen - Child's Play

Robinson, Peter - All the Colours of Darkness, #18 Insp. Alan Banks, Yorkshire

Rocha, Luis Miguel - The Last Pope

Rubanov, Andrei - Do Time Get Time

Russell, Craig - The Carnival Master, #4 Detective Jan Fabel, Hamburg

Scarrow, Alex - October Skies

Seeber, Claire - Bad Friends

Smith, Carol - Twilight Hour

Vine, Barbara The Birthday Present

In Bruges DVD (R2) - own it soon...

In Bruges will be available on R2 DVD on the 11th August:

Synopsis: Bruges, the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travellers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray and Ken, it could be their final destination; a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks. Very much out of place amidst the gothic architecture, canals, and cobbled streets, the two hit men fill their days living the lives of tourists. Ray, still haunted by the bloodshed in London, hates the place, while Ken, even as he keeps a fatherly eye on Ray's often profanely funny exploits, finds his mind and soul being expanded by the beauty and serenity of the city. But the longer they stay waiting for Harry's call, the more surreal their experience becomes, as they find themselves in weird encounters with locals, tourists, violent medieval art, a dwarf American actor shooting a European art film, Dutch prostitutes, and a potential romance for Ray in the form of Chloë, who may have some dark secrets of her own. And when the call from Harry does finally come, Ken and Ray's vacation becomes a life-and-death struggle of darkly comic proportions and surprisingly emotional consequences.

Watch the trailer and clips on the In Bruges website.