Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Reviews: Mike Ripley's crime file, crime express novellas 4 & 5, Brownley, Holt

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

In Mike Ripley's latest Crime File he reviews The Maze of Cadiz by Aly Monroe, Portobello by Ruth Rendell and The Murder Stone by Louise Penny;

I review the latest in the Crime Express novella series: The Okinawa Dragon by Nicola Monaghan and The Quarry by Clare Littleford;

Michelle Peckham reviews The Sins of the Children by James Brownley a series which features "Alison Glasby, first female crime correspondent for the Sunday Herald in London"

and Maxine Clarke recommends Norwegian author Anne Holt's The Final Murder (US: What Never Happens).
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Euro-Sleuths on BBC4 (including a Swedish version of "Wallander")

My dvd recorder's going to be flat out over the next few weeks as the continuity announcer before the beginning of last night's Maigret said that this was the first of three weeks of euro-sleuths on BBC4. Tonight we also have Wallander on BBC1, and tomorrow the second Maigret is on BBC4.

Next Saturday on BBC4 at 9pm, John Harvey presents a programme called Who is Kurt Wallander?:

John Harvey presents a documentary about writer Henning Mankell, Sweden's most popular author internationally and the creator of the Kurt Wallander detective series.

By examining Mankell's anti-hero Wallander, it reveals the hidden angst affecting present-day Sweden, a country with an excellent welfare system yet one which has suffered two shocking recent political assassinations. The film tries to grasp what Mankell's characters say about Sweden and how his books inform the rest of the world about Scandinavia's largest country.

(The programme is to be repeated several times over the weekend.)

Which is to be followed by the first part of Before the Frost starring Krister Henriksson as Wallander and the late Johanna Sallstrom as his daughter Linda:
New policewoman Linda Wallander is waiting for her first big case at Ystad police station and her father, Inspector Kurt Wallander, is getting on her nerves. When her childhood friend Anna mysteriously disappears she is thrown in at the deep end and soon needs her father's help on a fascinating and very dangerous investigation.
(Details of repeats and part 2 are not yet shown on the on-line schedule.)

UPDATE: Part 2 of Before the Frost is on BBC4 - Monday 8th Dec at 10pm.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Publishing Deals - Brandreth & Eastland

From Publishers Lunch:
Gyles Brandreth's next three untitled Oscar Wilde Mysteries, featuring Oscar Wilde as the sleuth aided by his real-life friend Arthur Conan Doyle, to Trish Lande Grader at Touchstone Fireside, for publication in 2010, by Ed Victor (NA).

Sam Eastland's THE EYE OF THE RED TSAR, for a series featuring a Finnish agent, once Chief Inspector, confident and 'eye' of Tsar Nicholas II; set in 1929 and the agent is released from Gulag under mysterious circumstances to complete a special assignment for the new red Tsar, Stalin, to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, by Jason Cooper at Faber and Faber (US).
The third 'Oscar Wilde' mystery by Gyles Brandreth will be published in May 2009. The UK title is Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile. See my earlier post about the changes in titles for the first two books.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More detail about the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency tv series

From Digital Spy:
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency will return to screens next year as a six-part series, the BBC has announced.

A feature-length TV pilot, directed by the late Anthony Minghella, aired in March to impressive ratings and positive reviews from critics.

Based on Alexander McCall-Smith's bestselling novels, the 60-minute episodes will follow the adventures of Botswana's only female detective Mma Ramotswe.

Jill Scott, Anika Noni Rose, Desmond Dube and Lucian Msamati will reprise their roles from the TV pilot. Survivors star Paterson Joseph is a new addition to the cast as Cephas Buthelezi, a rival detective to Mma Ramotswe.
Read the whole article, here.

Earlier on in the year it was reported that 13 hour-long episodes had been requested by HBO with the BBC having the UK distribution.

Torchwood: Border Princes - Audio Book Review

My thoughts on another Torchwood audio book. I've reviewed two others here.

Torchwood: Border Princes by Dan Abnett (April, 2007) BBC Audiobooks

I was very impressed with Dan Abnett's Everyone Says Hello and Border Princes is of an equally high standard.

The book opens with the team expanded on the tv series by the inclusion of a new character, James Mayer, and goes straight into an 'end of the world scenario' with an alien artefact, the Amok, possessing whoever comes into contact with it before killing them. Even when the Amok is finally contained at the Hub, it soon exerts its influence over the team to get itself released. As well as the Amok, the team have to track down a salesman using alien technology to hypnotise home owners into buying double glazing as well as restraining a killer robot from another planet.

Meanwhile, another part of the story deals with the mysterious Mr Dine and his objective of protecting 'the Principal' which overrides all else, and on the personal side, Gwen rows with boyfriend Rhys and seeks solace with James.

Border Princes is action packed, the pace rarely letting up and includes several investigations that would take an episode each on the tv. Gwen, James and Jack carry most of the action with Tosh and Owen playing smaller roles and Ianto barely getting a line. Eve Myles narrates well though she doesn't mimic the other Torchwood actors' voices particularly closely so Jack sounds as Welsh as Gwen at times, rather than his normal American. But in the main you can tell who is speaking and she does have a lovely voice which can send a shiver down your spine.

I'm very glad I bought this - it was worth every penny.

The next Torchwood audio book release appears to be Torchwood: In The Shadows by Joseph Lidster, released in March 2009. Lidster was responsible for the abridgement of Border Princes and also wrote Lost Souls (review coming soon).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maigret on BBC4

The BBC4 programme schedule lists two episodes of the Maigret series starring Bruno Cremer to be broadcast next week. According to this website, Cremer filmed 55 episodes between 1991 and 2004. The two showing on BBC4 are nos. 49 and 50, filmed in 2004.

First up, is The Shadow in the Courtyard on Saturday, 29 November at 22.05:

Legendary French sleuth Maigret is called to the Place des Vosges, where the owner of a serum company has been found shot to death while seated at his desk. Behind him the unlocked safe lies empty and Maigret soon becomes convinced that the answer to the robbery and murder lies among the residents of the block of apartments.

And will be followed by Maigret at the Doctor on Monday, 1st December at 22.00:










Maigret travels to Neuilly to investigate the mysterious death of a servant girl who had been working at the home of a local doctor. The case takes a dramatic turn when the autopsy reveals a horrific cause of death and that the girl had been four months pregnant.


Each episode is 90 minutes long.

Georges Simenon wrote 75 full length books about Maigret plus some short stories. The twelth in the series is called The Shadow in the Courtyard but there isn't one called Maigret at the Doctor. If anyone know which book Maigret at the Doctor is based on, please do leave it in the comments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

OT: Foxy the Cat checks out Euro Crime

I've been working on my laptop downstairs recently and it has attracted a lot of attention from one ginger member of the household. Several times I've caught him sitting on the keyboard - alas uncaptured by the camera. This is the closest I've got.

Here's one cover I'll be covering up on the train...

The cover of Death in Breslau was fairly risqué but the cover of Marek Krajewski's follow-up, End of the World in Breslau is even more 'eye-catching':

From amazon.co.uk:The city of Breslau, which was the atmospheric heart of the first of Marek Krajewski's novels in English, "Death in Breslau", is as a Georg Grosz backcloth to the second of Criminal Counsellor Eberhard Mock's investigations into a series of seemingly unrelated murders in the late 1920s. While Mock searches for the key to the mystery which afflicts his department in records of crimes committed in the past, his young wife, neglected by his obsessive work, falls among perverse and shocking companions and into contact with a sect that preaches the imminent end of the world. Krajewski's novels are as original as they are disturbing.

Death in Breslau
which is set later than End of the World in Breslau is reviewed here and here on Euro Crime.

End of the World in Breslau is due to be published in March 2009.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Publishing Deal - Craig Russell

More details of a new series by Craig Russell have been revealed on BookBrunch:
Craig Russell, author of the Jan Fabel detective series for Hutchinson, has joined Quercus for a concurrent series set in Glasgow in the 1950s. The series will star Lennox, a private detective whose clients are not always on the right side of the law.

Jane Wood and Ron Beard bought UK and Canadian rights in three novels, starting with Lennox in 2009, through Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann. Wood said: "At Quercus we’re all fans of the Fabel novels and we couldn’t be happier that Craig Russell has joined us. The Lennox books are very different in tone and confirm Craig’s amazing range and skill as a crime writer."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Reviews: Burdett, Dobbs, La Plante, Sigurdardottir

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Laura Root reviews the third in John Burdett's Bangkok series - Bangkok Haunts calling it "a skilful sophisticated thriller";

Michelle Peckham reviews the new offering from Michael Dobbs - The Edge of Madness;

Geoff Jones enjoys Clean Cut by Lynda La Plante

and Maxine Clarke is enthusiastic about Last Rituals by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Euro Crime & Social Networking

Ages ago Maxine (aka Petrona) suggested I join Facebook so I finally took the plunge yesterday and signed up. I'm not sure what I'm doing (nothing new there!) but here's my profile should you wish to befriend me.

Maxine has also set up a crime and mystery room over on the friendfeed site which I love. As well as automatically updating with links to the latest blog posts from the members of the room, you can add a link to a newspaper article or review or another blog and on top of that you can comment on these things - in the friendfeed room as well as/or instead of in the blog comments. I'm probably not explaining this very well so do take a look and join us. Your favourite blogs are already there :-).

Friday, November 21, 2008

A change to the Euro Crime website

The Euro Crime website was set up to cover British and other European crime writers. The criterion being that the author had to have been born in Britain/Europe. A few other authors slipped through the net though - either they'd been a long-time resident in the UK (eg Kate Charles) or a simple mistake (me thinking they were English when they weren't eg Michael Robotham). Several emails from website visitors asking why Donna Leon (amongst others) wasn't on the site have led me to change my mind and relax the criterion to include those authors, though not born in Europe, who have a strong association with European crime fiction, such as Leon and Elizabeth George. At the moment there are only a handful of non European authors on the site but I plan to expand it over time.

The Bibliograpies pages now have an author's country of birth, where known eg Donna Leon, and the lists of authors, by country of birth, now include America and Australia.

I have also reorganised and retitled some of the side-bar links in the hope of making it more obvious what's behind each link.

Rupert Penry-Jones - Observer interview


Read a brief 'My Body & Soul' interview with the former star of Spooks in the Observer. Mr P-J is the male face of Austin Reed from whence the above photo came.

ITV's Whitechapel which also stars Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton as well as Penry-Jones is rumoured to be shown in January.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Publishing Deal - Tim Weaver

From BookBrunch:
Stephanie Bierworth has made her first acquisition since leaving Macmillan for Michael Joseph, buying Tim Weaver's debut CHASING THE DEAD as part of a two-book deal via agent Camilla Bolton of Darley Anderson Associates. "A terrifying psychological thriller" in the vein of Michael Marshall and Mo Hayder, it introduces readers to David Raker, ex-journalist and troubled missing persons investigator who is embroiled in a sinister chase when an old friend becomes convinced she's seen her dead son alive. Bierworth believes Weaver's is "one of those rare, spine-tingling thrillers that draws you in from page one, simply doesn't let you go and creates an atmosphere which stays with you for a very long time."

Book Related Board Games

About a year ago I mentioned Bookchase which according to their website:
Bookchase® is exactly what it says - a chase with books.

Bookchase® is also the world's first board game about books which comes with your own bookshelf, library card, bookshop, and your own set of tiny books to collect. First one to collect six books and head home wins! Simple really.

Bookchase® is a family game which can also be played by adults and is designed for anyone from 5 years upwards. Never read a book? - you could still win. Read all the books in the world? You could still lose. Dare you take the Bookchase® challenge?

Today, I was pleased to see it for sale in my local Waterstone's bookshop along with...Harry Potter Cluedo (aka Clue (US)):















Dark magic has been performed at Hogwarts. A fellow student has vanished from the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—and it is up to you to solve the mysterious disappearance. Play as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna or Neville and try to discover who did it, what spell or item they used, and where the student was attacked. Was it Draco Malfoy with a Sleeping Draught in the Owlery? Move around Hogwarts making suggestions— but watch out. Wheels on the board actually move to reveal secret passages, hidden staircases, and even the Dark Mark. Think you’ve gathered all the facts you need? Go to Dumbledore’s office to make your final accusation to win the game. Players 3-5, Ages 9+


Online prices start at £19.99 for the Harry Potter edition of Cluedo but several outlets appear out of stock. There was just one copy left in Redditch Waterstone's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Four more George Gently episodes

From Digital Spy:
The BBC has commissioned four new George Gently dramas to air next year.

Based on Alan Hunter's Inspector Gently book series, the new films will focus on veteran Scotland Yard detective George Gently (Martin Shaw) and his partner John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) as they solve crimes in '60s Northumberland.

Peter Flannery and Mick Ford will co-write the four instalments.

"The joy of writing the Gently stories lies in the period and the place," said Flannery. "The place because it's where I grew up; the period for the same reason, plus it gives me a chance to write about a country on the cusp of change.

"Each issue I look at at the heart of a crime - abortion, sexuality, youth gangs, child abuse, race, terrorism - was seen differently in the early '60s compared to today. As L. P. Hartley said, 'The past is another country. They do things differently there'."

Another Awards Shortlist for Child 44

The Costa Book Awards 2008 shortlists have been announced and of particular interest to crime fiction fans is that the Man Booker Prize longlisted Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith has been shortlisted for the First Novel Award. The full shortlist is:
First Novel Award
Poppy Adams - The Behaviour of Moths
Sadie Jones - The Outcast
Jennie Rooney - Inside the Whale
Tom Rob Smith - Child 44
What the Costa judges said about Child 44:

"This gripping, unputdownable thriller is an exciting new addition to the genre."

Karen Chisholm concluded her Eurocrime review:

"there's been considerable research into the background of CHILD 44, but the book doesn't read as a research tome - it reads as a story of fear, manipulation, power struggles, petty jealousy, brutality, cruelty, madness, loss, survival and humanity."
Read the whole review, here.

All the categories and nominees for the Costa Book Awards 2008 can be found on the website.

Monday, November 17, 2008

OT: Doctor Who - Christmas Special preview

The first two minutes of this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special were shown as part of Children in Need on Friday and can now be (re)watched on the Children in Need website.

You can also watch the a video of the prize winners of a trip behind the scenes of the Torchwood/Doctor Who film set.

Crime series set in Birmingham (UK)

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog may have seen that I've listed Maureen Carter's Bad Press as my current read and recently her previous book Hard Time. This is not just because I had a review copy of Bad Press but also because Maureen is giving a talk at Mere Green Library at 11am on Wednesday (a few spaces left if anyone wants to come btw). I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Maureen at my crime reading group when her debut book, Working Girls was first published in 2001. A slight hiatus ensued but since joining Creme de la Crime publishers in 2005, she has produced a book a year, Bad Press being the fifth. Her series stars the feisty, gobby DS Bev Morriss. Her bibliography and links to reviews of her books (written by esteemed reviewer Sharon Wheeler) can be found here. (I'm enjoying these books enormously as well!)

Maureen joins a select band of authors who set their books in the 'perceived to be' unfashionable/unsaleable-market setting of Birmingham. As far as I know the only crime authors to set a series in Birmingham are:

Valerie Kershaw who wrote a five book series featuring a radio presenter (published between 1993 and 2000)

Judith Cutler who wrote two series set in Birmingham, published between 1998 and 2003, one with an amateur sleuth and another with a policewoman. (She is probably the best well known of the local crime writers, based on my library experience).

Plimmer and Long - an ex-cop and ex-con who co-wrote a two book series between 2000 and 2001.

and

Chris Collett who began a series in 2004 featuring policeman Tom Mariner which stands at four books so far, with a fifth due next year. (Tom Mariner has many female fans in my reading group!)

If anyone knows of any more series set in Birmingham (looking at you Martin E :-)) then do please pop them in the comments.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wallander - BBC Interviews Branagh & Mankell

The BBC Press office now shows that the first of the three Wallander films, Sidetracked, is due to be shown on the 30th November between 9 and 10.30pm. A related press release also contains interviews with Kenneth Branagh, who is playing the title role, and Henning Mankell, the author of the best-selling series.

A couple of snippets:
To KB:
What did you enjoy about the role?

"The world that Wallander lives in is a raw world where people have to deal with terrible news and with the death of loved ones in terrible circumstances. Wallander is very self-aware and perceptive and intelligent about human behaviour.

"For me, this is more of a straight part as Wallander's character does not have all the same eccentricities that would normally appear in these types of stories."

To HM:
What do you think of the British Wallander?

"I saw the tape of the show and I liked it enormously. I liked it because they had showed Wallander's warmth and also that the director and producers had gone in their own direction to create something that was completely new."

What crime drama do you enjoy?

"I really dislike characters like Poirot and Miss Marple as they never change – they are the same from the beginning to the end of the story. You and I are different each day because of what happens to us and that is how I write about Wallander and my characters.

"My readers are always looking forward to seeing what direction Wallander will go in next."
Read the whole article, here.


Synopsis of Sidetracked:

In this first film, Sidetracked, a girl is seen wandering alone in a rapeseed field. Inspector Wallander is called to investigate. Before his eyes, the girl douses herself in petrol and burns to death – the event is both shocking and baffling for Wallander. A hunt for the girl’s identity begins.

On the home front, Wallander, recently estranged from his wife, has moved into his own place. Linda, his grown-up daughter, is keeping an eye on her dad as he adjusts to bachelor life. Wallander’s relationship with his own father, Povel, is difficult and, as it becomes clear that Povel’s health is in decline, Wallander strives for a reconciliation with him.

Meanwhile, Wallander’s workload soars as three apparently motiveless murders are committed. The victims are all male: a former minister of justice, a small-time criminal and a rich playboy. All are viciously killed, their scalps inexplicably taken. Wallander and his team investigate, determined to discover who the killer is and how these murders are connected.

WhereDunnit has further information about Ystad and the Wallander tours you can take there.

New Reviews: Cain, Clark, Larsson, Monroe

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Paul Blackburn reviews the second in the Accident Man series by Tom Cain - The Survivor (sounds like one for Bond/Bourne fans);

Amanda Brown goes back to the 14th Century in Cassandra Clark's Hangman Blind the first in a new historical crime series;

Maxine Clarke catches up with Swedish lawyer Rebecka Martinsson in Asa Larsson's third book, The Black Path

and Norman Price is very disappointed with Aly Monroe's The Maze of Cadiz.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spooks - tie novels (Adam Carter)

The third of the tie-in personnel files for Spooks was released yesterday. The first one was about several of the Spooks team, the second focused on Harry and the third is all about Adam Carter:

Synopsis from amazon:
First we learnt about their backgrounds from their personnel files, then we learnt how Harry Pearce really feels about the world we live in from his secret diary. Now, learn further secrets about the crack MI5 team, otherwise known as the Spooks, in this brand new and exciting title from Headline.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PDSA Pet Pawtraits Calendar - Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley)

Nathaniel Parker of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries is one of twelve celebrities posing with a beloved pet for the 2009 PDSA Pet Pawtraits calendar. The cost of the calendar is £4.99 and can be bought via the PDSA website and PDSA shops.

You can preview the rest of the photos on the Daily Mirror website.

(Photo: Scarlet Page)

Publishing Deals - Nick Stafford & Patrick Mercer

Some recent rights deals reported by BookBrunch:
To Charlotte Clerk and Jon Riley at Quercus, world rights in Nick Stafford's first novel ARMISTICE. The novel is about a young soldier's death in the First World War, and about his fiancee's efforts to find out whether he was killed by friendly fire. For publication on Armistice Day 2009; the agent is Clare Conville at Conville & Walsh.
and
To Susan Watt of HarperCollins, a Bernard Cornwell-style trilogy set in the Crimean War. TO DO AND DIE, the first of the trilogy, will be published in 2010 and opens with a regiment embarking for and fighting in the savage battles of what's regarded as the first modern war. Watt believes that "Patrick Mercer's writing takes the reader straight into the heart of battle, with all the courage and the cowardice, and also gives a compelling picture of the soldier's life, the cold, the comradeship, the food and the feuds and the fear of crippling injury or death". Mercer spent 20 years in the Army and commanded a battalion in Bosnia before becoming Today's Defence Correspondent. The MP for Newark and Retford is represented by Natasha Fairweather of A P Watt

Euro Crime cited on The Outcast

It's long been a secret hope of mine that a quote from a review written for Euro Crime will be used on the front/back/inside of a book and very excitingly, it has come to pass. The new book by Michael Walters, The Outcast, the third in the Inspector Nergui series, features a quote from Maxine's review of The Adversary on the back of the jacket. (Read the rest of her review, here.)




Synopsis: Ulaan Bataar bakes in the heat of an unseasonably hot summer as it prepares to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Mongol Empire. But the city is facing a series of unexpected crises - an apparent suicide bomber shot down by police in Suuk Bataar Square, a dead body in the City Museum re-enacting an incident from ancient Mongolian history, an explosion at a political rally, and yet another body found murdered nearby. For Doripalam, now boss of the Serious Crime Team, the crises are growing increasingly personal. As he struggles to keep control of his own personal and professional life, one of his own team is arrested.Solongo, Doripalam's wife is facing her own challenges and finds herself entangled with murder and with the fugitive officer. Worst of all, Nergui, now an influential figure in the Ministry of Security, appears to be pursuing an agenda all of his own. The roots of all this trouble lie in the past - in the history of the Mongol nation, as well as in the more recent legacies of the communist state. As the sun beats down, a chilling figure emerges - a figure from Nergui's past, an outcast, who has returned to exact revenge, both on Nergui himself and on the nation that rejected him.

An excerpt of The Outcast can be read on Michael Walters' website.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Colin Dexter & Cryptic Crosswords

A BBC programme on cryptic crosswords which is available now on iplayer and repeated on the tv on Sunday:

A look at the world of cryptic crosswords, offering up the secrets of these seemingly impenetrable puzzles.

Crossword setter Don Manley, AKA Quixote, reveals the tricks that compilers use to bamboozle and entertain solvers using a crossword he created especially for the programme.

We also find out why Britain became home to the cryptic crossword, how a crossword nearly put paid to the D-Day invasion and why London Underground is elevating the crossword to an art form.

Author Colin Dexter explains why Inspector Morse loved his crossword, Martin Bell reveals how his father became the first crossword setter of the Times without ever having solved one and the crossword editor of the Daily Telegraph opens up her postbag.

Also sharing their enthusiasm for cryptic crosswords are actors Prunella Scales and Simon Russell Beale, Val Gilbert of the Daily Telegraph and Jonathan Crowther, AKA Azed of the Times.

Get the new Stephen King novel first at Waterstone's, London

From Hodder:
We have teamed up with Waterstone's for publication of Stephen King's new collection of stories JUST AFTER SUNSET. It's published on Thursday 13th November ... but Waterstone's Trafalgar Square will have copies on sale exclusively from 4.15pm on Wednesday 12th November.

This is the only store in the UK that will have copies before publication!

Also, the first ten people to buy JUST AFTER SUNSET will bag themselves a free DVD of the animated short story 'N' from the book.

Monday, November 10, 2008

James Bond's Hand

The weather here in Cannes has been lovely for the last three days, hitting 22.5C this morning. We are leaving for Paris tomorrow - just before the rain returns to the area. There is a tradition of handprints of famous film types near the Palais des Festivals though none seem very recent unless we missed them. I found at least one of euro crime interest:



I couldn't get my other half to pose (you can see the handprints in the floor):



A view of Cannes Bay from the old town:

European Film Awards 2008 - Nominees

From the European Film Academy:
EUROPEAN FILM 2008

IL DIVO, Italy
written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino

ENTRE LES MURS (The Class), France
directed by Laurent Cantet
written by Laurent Cantet, François Begaudeau & Robin Campillo after the novel of François Begaudeau

GOMORRA (Gomorrah), Italy
directed by Matteo Garrone
written by Maurizio Bracci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, UK
written and directed by Mike Leigh

EL ORFANATO (The Orphanage), Spain
directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
written by Sergio G. Sánchez

WALTZ WITH BASHIR, Israel/France/Germany
written and directed by Ari Folman

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2008
Laurent Cantet for ENTRE LES MURS (The Class)
Andreas Dresen for WOLKE 9 (Cloud 9)
Ari Folman for WALTZ WITH BASHIR
Matteo Garrone for GOMORRA (Gomorrah)
Steve McQueen for HUNGER
Paolo Sorrentino for IL DIVO

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2008
Hiam Abbass in LEMON TREE
Arta Dobroshi in LE SILENCE DE LORNA (Lorna’s Silence)
Sally Hawkins in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
Belen Rueda in EL ORFANATO (The Orphanage)
Kristin Scott Thomas in IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T’AIME (I’ve Loved You So Long)
Ursula Werner in WOLKE 9 (Cloud 9)

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2008
Michael Fassbender in HUNGER
Thure Lindhardt & Mads Mikkelsen in FLAMMEN & CITRONEN (Flame & Citron)
James McAvoy in ATONEMENT
Toni Servillo in GOMORRA (Gomorrah) and IL DIVO
Jürgen Vogel in DIE WELLE (The Wave)
Elmar Wepper in KIRSCHBLÜTEN - HANAMI (Cherry Blossoms)

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2008
Suha Arraf & Eran Riklis for LEMON TREE
Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano for GOMORRA (Gomorrah)
Ari Folman for WALTZ WITH BASHIR
Paolo Sorrentino for IL DIVO
The winners will be presented during the Awards Ceremony on 6 December in Copenhagen.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holiday Reading - Crime Express

I slipped into my rucksack, the two latest Crime Express novellas from Five Leaves: The Okinawa Dragon by Nicola Monaghan and The Quarry by Clare Littleford, numbers 4 and 5 in the imprint. I've blogged about the first three novellas, (by John Harvey, Stephen Booth and Rod Duncan) here and reviewed them on the Euro Crime website, here.

Jack deals in cardboard, selling expensive and rare gaming cards to rich collectors. He makes plenty of money, travelling the world. He meets millionaire Henri, the man who has everything. Well, almost everything. Henri wants the elusive Okinawa Dragon, a one-off card given to a Japanese businessman who refuses to sell. A plan is hatched, and Jack is soon on his way to Osaka to complete Henri’s collection. There is only one way to get hold of something somebody doesn’t want to give.


A frightened phone call from her young daughter sends Jenny Carter into the darkness of Quarry Woods, seventeen years after she swore she’d never return. What she finds there triggers a journey back to a horrific event in her own childhood – an event which now threatens the present.

Bookwitch also reviews Claws by Stephen Booth and the Crime Express concept, here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

OT: Yes We Can-nes

We've been promising ourselves a trip on the Nice-Digne-les- Bains line, the last two times we've stayed down here and finally we made it. It's a 7 hour round trip which takes you 150 km into the hilly country NW of Nice. When we got back to Nice, a mere 30 minute journey took us to Cannes where we are staying for 4 nights. We don't intend to get on a train tomorrow!
Digne-les-Bains Station and our train

Var Valley (taken from the train)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

OT: Avignon-TGV station

We were unaware that there was a national train strike until we reached Nice but it could explain why our train from Brussels to Nice was terminated at Marseilles. Those of us heading to the south coast were told to get off at Avignon-TGV station and wait for the next TGV, 1.5 hrs later. The station is a beautiful structure and has a decent bookshop (click on piccies below to see in more detail). (The roof was leaking in parts and the wi-fi out of action until January - so it did feel like Britain !). We managed to squeeze into the cafe for a cafe creme and then when the train came it was a double length double decker, allaying any fears of having to stand for 3 hours.


OT: Nice-ly Arrived

After a long journey, made even longer by a train strike, we've arrived in Nice in the pouring rain. After some food I hope to upload some pictures from the day. Wi-fi (pronounced wee-fee in French) is free in France unlike in Belgium (last night's stop-over!).
I wish I'd brought more books though...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Publishing Deal - Mario Reading

From BookBrunch:
To Ravi Mirchandani at Atlantic, WEL rights in THE NOSTRADAMUS PROPHECIES, a debut thriller by Mario Reading. Mirchandani believes it is "wonderfully readable, a page-turning commercial thriller which takes one not only into the world of Nostradamus but also - fascinatingly - into a gypsy world I knew nothing of. The book is a real departure for Atlantic." The agent is Oliver Munson of Blake Friedmann, and translation rights have been sold in 12 countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and Japan; more deals will be finalised in the wake of Frankfurt.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monkeys, Skulls and Crosses - online game

From BookBrunch:

Penguin is teaming up with TV channel Crime & Investigation Network to launch an online crime game, Monkeys, Skulls and Crosses. The game is scripted by Michael Morley, author of the Penguin thriller Spider.

The game puts users into the role of detective, interviewing suspects, inspecting the crime scene and hunting for clues in order to solve a murder case. It will be advertised on the CI channel.

CI Marketing Director James Pestell said: "It has been great to work with a fantastic publishing brand and prolific author who are committed to using digital to get closer to their readers."

Christmas present idea for a DS owning adult...

Released in the UK on the 7th November is Professor Layton and The Curious Village for the Nintendo DS. (I'm not sure which is the UK cover, but it might be the sober one on the right).

Manufacturer's description:

Nominated as one of the top handheld games of the year by the 2007 Japanese Game Awards, Professor Layton and the Curious Village sets players loose in a Victorian dream world as you and your guide, Professor Layton, explore a quirky Victorian village where everything is a puzzle.

Something is Odd in St. Mystere
In the curious village of St. Mystere, townsfolk speak to each other in riddles, lock their doors with sliding puzzles and hide their secrets within brainteasers. When the wealthy Baron Augustus Reinhold passes away, his will reveals a hidden treasure in the village of St. Mystere. Unable to locate the treasure themselves, the baron's family calls upon renowned puzzle expert Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, for help. Upon the pair's arrival, their search for the treasure is interrupted by the suspicious death of another member of the Reinhold family. Now with two mysteries on their hands, Professor Layton and Luke must work their way through the village's many puzzles, riddles and brainteasers to find the truth.

How to progress through the game
The storyline and puzzles are tightly integrated, so that as you explore the world and progress through the adventure, you will encounter more and more puzzles.


* As Professor Layton, players tackle more than 130 puzzles as they unravel the mysteries of the village. Challenges range from mazes and riddles to logic and sliding puzzles, many of which are new for the North American release. Touch-screen controls make working through puzzles a snap for players of all skill levels, and as a special bonus new puzzles are available weekly for download for the first six months following game release via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.


* Unlike other puzzle-driven titles, Professor Layton is the first to offer a story, cast of characters and style that are just as strong as the game play. Fully voiced animated scenes bring the story to life, while the funny and eccentric villagers and the classic, hand-drawn art provide a stylish charm that will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Reviews: Brooke, Lewis, Rimington, Ripley

The following reviews have recently been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Guest reviewer Sharon Wheeler reviews Maloney's Law by Anne Brooke;

Maxine Clarke and Terry Halligan review Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis, here and here respectively. Bad Traffic is one of fifty titles selected for the Spread the Word campaign;

Norman Price reviews Dead Line by Stella Rimington the fourth novel starring MI5 agent Liz Carlyle

and Laura Root reviews the latest Angel book from Mike Ripley - Angels Unaware.

There won't be any new reviews added next weekend as I shall be away in France. (I've almost chosen which books to take...) Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.