Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Reviews: Brandreth, Calderon, Charteris, Duns, Keating, Rayne, Schenkel

Just one day left in May's competition - win a copy of Suffer the Children by Adam Creed. (There are no geographical restrictions on entrants.) Enter here.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website. The theme this week is historical crime:
New Reviews:

I review the audio book version of Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth (1889-90);

Laura Root reviews The Creator's Map by Emilio Calderon (WWII);

Rik Shepherd reviews The Best of the Saint: Volume One by Leslie Charteris (1930s);

Michelle Peckham reviews Free Agent by Jeremy Duns (1969);

Mike Ripley reviews A Small Case for Inspector Ghote? by H R F Keating (1964);

Amanda Gillies reviews Spider Light by Sarah Rayne (present day with flashbacks);

and Maxine Clarke reviews Ice Cold by Andrea Maria Schenkel(1930s).
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

International Dagger Speculation...

The shortlists for the CWA Daggers will be announced next month. As is customary on the eurocrime blog, here are the possible candidates for the International Dagger. The criteria for this category are:
Eligible books must be crime novels by the broadest definition including thrillers, suspense novels and spy fiction as long as the book was not originally written in English and has been translated into English for UK publication between June 1 2008 and May 31 2009.
Based on my database, here are the sixty-one titles I believe to be eligible. I have included the non European books that I know about, though there may be omissions of course. (Links are to Euro Crime reviews):
Boris Akunin - The Coronation
Boris Akunin - Pelagia and the Red Rooster
Selcuk Altun - Songs My Mother Never Taught Me
Karin Alvtegen - Shadow
Niccolo Ammaniti - The Crossroads
Jakob Arjouni - Chez Max
Xavier-Marie Bonnot - The Beast of the Camargue
Emilio Calderon - The Creator's Map
Andrea Camilleri - The Paper Moon
Martin Caparros - Valfierno: The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa
Jacques Chessex - Le Vampire de Ropraz
Philippe Claudel - Brodeck's Report
Giancarlo De Cataldo - The Father and the Foreigner
Pablo de Santis - The Paris Enigma
Hans Fallada - Alone in Berlin
Sebastian Fitzek - Therapy
Karin Fossum - Broken
Eugenio Fuentes - The Pianist's Hands
Jef Geeraerts - The Public Prosecutor
Michele Giuttari - A Death in Tuscany
Abdelilah Hamdouchi - The Final Bet
Thomas Hettche - What We Are Made Of
Paulus Hochgatterer - The Sweetness of Life
Arnaldur Indridason - Arctic Chill
Claude Izner - The Montmartre Investigation
Claude Izner - The Marais Assassin
Andrea H Japp - The Season of the Beast
Andrea H Japp - The Breath of the Rose
Mari Jungstedt - The Inner Circle (apa Unknown)
Hans-Werner Kettenbach - David's Revenge
Natsuo Kirino - Real World
Jan Kjaerstad - The Discoverer
Marek Krajewski - The End of the World in Breslau
Camilla Lackberg - The Preacher
Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire
Carlo Lucarelli - Via delle Oche
Henning Mankell - The Pyramid (The Wallander Stories)
Esteban Martin and Andreu Carranza - The Gaudi Key
Deon Meyer - Blood Safari
Manuel Vazquez Montalban - Tattoo
Gianluca Morozzi - Blackout
Jo Nesbo - The Redeemer
Hakan Nesser - Mind's Eye (apa The Mind's Eye)
Hakan Nesser - Woman with Birthmark
Saskia Noort - Back to the Coast
Leonardo Padura - Havana Fever
Jean-Francois Parot - The Phantom of the Rue Royale
Arturo Perez-Reverte - The Man in the Yellow Doublet
Carmen Posadas - Child's Play
Roslund-Hellstrom - The Vault
Andrei Rubanov - Do Time Get Time
Andrea Maria Schenkel - The Murder Farm
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - My Soul to Take
Teresa Solana - The Not So Perfect Crime
Mehmet Murat Somer - The Kiss Murder
Domenico Starnone - First Execution
Johan Theorin - Echoes from the Dead
Simone van der Vlugt - The Reunion
Fred Vargas - The Chalk Circle Man
Esther Verhoef - Close-Up
Tanguy Viel - Beyond Suspicion
Which 5 or 6 will make it to the shortlist? Based on the euro crime reviews above my suggestions are: Karin Alvtegen The Shadow, Niccolo Ammaniti The Crossroads, Hans Fallada Alone in Berlin, Stieg Larsson The Girl Who Played with Fire, Johan Theorin Echoes from the Dead and Fred Vargas The Chalk Circle Man.

Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life returns to ITV3

The bad news is that quirky cop show Life starring Damian Lewis has not been renewed but the good news is that here in the UK we still have the 21 episodes of series two to watch. The run begins on 3 June on ITV3 at 10pm. (Repeated on Friday 5 June at 9pm). The official ITV3 website is here but has not been updated yet for the new series.

Catch up with series one on DVD.

Review: Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders (audio book)

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth, narrated by Bill Wallis (Chivers Audio Books, 10 CDs, Sep 2008, ISBN: 9781405684613)

This is the first in what I've heard is a projected ten books series. Three so far have been published and the first two are available in audio book format.

I've been intrigued by these for a while but finally pushed myself to try one as Gyles Brandreth was a guest at Crime Fest this year (and will be the toastmaster next year).

In Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders the story is quite straightforward. In the first few minutes Oscar strides into a house on Cowley Street and finds the body of a young boy, his throat is cut and he is surrounded by candles. The boy, Billy Wood, is a friend of Oscar's. However Oscar does not report his finding for 24 hours and when he returns to the room, the body is gone. The police won't investigate without a body so it's up to Oscar and his friend and narrator of these books, Robert Sherard, to solve the crime.

The downside to this book, for me, is the lack of actual detection. Very little information is uncovered and yet half way through, Oscar says he knows the murderer. But then nothing much happens again until the last three discs. The story ends with a classic "gather the suspects in the drawing room" session but the denouement won't completely surprise crime fiction fans. On the positive side, and what has made me reserve the next book in the series, Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death, is Oscar and his milieu. Oscar is a fascinating creature, with an endless supply of witticisms and is friend to the great and the good, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry Irving and Millais. Listening to this book made me itch to learn more about these people and of course Oscar.

This book is set in 1889 - 1890, the next one begins is 1892. Unless Oscar gets very busy, it seems that some the later books in the series will have to take place after Oscar's stay in prison.

Bill Wallis provides a compelling narration as always, switching from an English accent to Irish and Scottish accents faultlessly and he gives Oscar the flamboyance you'd expect.

The US title for this book is Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

The Euro Crime page with links to reviews and author website is here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OT: Doctor Who - news

Today brings news of extra appearances by David Tennant as Doctor Who.

Firstly, he'll be in episodes 5 and 6 of this autumn's series of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Secondly, there's to be another animated series:
The BBC has commissioned seven animated episodes, which will be around six minutes long and which will be accessible via the red button. They are also due to be aired on Children's BBC.

New addition to Enid Blyton's 'Secret' series

I have to confess my memories of this series are very vague. I remember the first one, The Secret Island but am unsure about the remaining four yet it seems unlikely that I haven't read them...

According to The Bookseller, a sixth in the series is to be published, written by Blyton fan, Trevor Bolton:
A sixth book is to be added to Enid Blyton’s Secret Series—the first book in the series to have not been written by the original author.

The Secret Series chronicles the adventures of Mike, Peggy, Nora, Jack and their friend Prince Paul. The new story The Secret Valley has been written by life-long fan, Trevor Bolton, who has never been published before.

Award Publications is to publish the new story in paperback on 1st June. The publication date will coincide with the publisher’s launch of the series in a revamped design in paperback. The series was previously only available from Award in hardback. The paperback version has been re-set and digitized and the point size has been made larger.

Bolton was 'discovered' when his manuscript of The Secret Valley was circulated around the Enid Blyton Society—of which Bolton is a member. They thought it warranted publication and forwarded it to Chorion, which holds the rights to Enid Blyton works.
Read the rest of the article, here and refresh your memory about the originals at this Enid Blyton site.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Crime Fest: Translators panel

Apologies for the murky photo. I have lightened it up a bit. Click on it for a 'better' look. From left to right, the panel members are:
Ann Cleeves, champion of translated crime fiction (especially Scandinavian), Tiina Nunnally who has translated Karin Fossum and Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, Don Bartlett, translator of Jo Nesbo and K O Dahl, Roz Schwarz, co-translator of Dominique Manotti and Reg Keeland (aka Steven T Murray) translator of Stieg Larsson's trilogy and many other Swedish crime novels.

(I hope I convey what was said reasonably accurately. I am paraphrasing but if I've missed anything or misconstrued something, please let me know.)
Firstly, good news for Harry Hole's many fans. The first one in the series The Snowman is to be the next one available in English and we have Don Bartlett to thank for bringing Jo Nesbo to publishers' attention and lobbying for a translation.

The panel were asked whether they ever turned anything work down. Don said possibly if it was too grisly and the panel agreed that they would turn a book down if they had no affinity for the book. Tiina said they didn't really have a lot of choice in what they were given to translate but she might turn it down if there was a child victim. She might lobby for a translation if she spots something. Roz added that she might turn down a piece of work if the deadline was too tight.

Scandinavian crime fiction is very popular in Germany so Reg said that he checked to see what was being translated. He contacted Camilla Lackberg's agent directly about translating her books.

The panel were asked whether they read the whole book before translating. Some did and some only read fifty pages before starting. Tiina said that she wanted it to be as much a surprise as when you read it for pleasure. Roz said she read the whole book and then did a draft into English and that's when the work begins. Don said he'd read through the whole book (Devil's Star I think) but then had to work on another book so had to reread it. He said that Jo (Nesbo) has a dry wit like the British and he sees Harry as a dry northerner.

Roz said it was important to keep to the spirit and voice of the original but especially with humour you can't always translate a joke at a certain place in the book so you use another joke a few pages later. Don added that you wonder how much of the original language to leave in eg do you translate the Norwegian police ranks?

Rather than translating from the original language, often the English translations will be used as a basis for a translation into another language eg Albanian.

Don enjoyed translating the novel The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen and Tiina was fond of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy and is currently awaiting the second book from Mikkel Birkegaard. Roz's favourite was The Star of Algiers by Aziz Chouaki and Reg said the Larsson trilogy was the best project he'd worked on. (He translated all three in just ten months.)

Don commented on the out of order translation of the Harry Hole series which began with no. 5 The Devil's Star then went back to no.3 The Redbreast thus ruining the internal arc in books 3 to 5. The Devil's Star had had big sales and that's why it was chosen and technically the books will stand-alone. K O Dahl's books are getting a similar treatment.
As you can see this was a very interesting discussion, well chaired by Ann. Roz is hoping to run a workshop at next year's Crime Fest where the participants will do a bit of translating themselves.

Crime Fest: Reviewers' Gallery

I must get a better camera for next year's Crime Fest. All my photos are very dark and the zoom/wideangle button doesn't work.

Here's a subset of the Euro Crime review team:

Maxine, Michelle, Amanda B and Norman (click on the photo for a better look)

Their reviews can be found here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Reviews: Barclay, Child, Forbes, Mills, Stock, Weeks

Just one week left in May's competition - win a copy of Suffer the Children by Adam Creed. (There are no geographical restrictions on entrants.) Enter here.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website. The theme this week is thrillers:
New Reviews:

A big welcome to New Zealand based writer/reviewer Craig Sisterson who joins the review team today. His opening review is of Alex Barclay's Blood Runs Cold;

Michelle Peckham reviews the paperback edition of Nothing to Lose by Lee Child;

Amanda Brown reviews the last of Colin Forbes's Tweed books - The Savage Gorge;

Book of the week is Mark Mills's The Information Officer reviewed here by Mike Ripley;

I review the audio book version of Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock (the audio version pre-dates the print version by about a month);

Maxine Clarke reviews the second in the Johnny Mann series by Lee Weeks: The Trafficked

and finally for a bit of non-euro crime, Amanda Gillies reviews Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

News page updated

Just a reminder to visit the Euro Crime News page, currently being hosted on Friend Feed. No registration required - it's just a page of links, like the old format, but is a lot quicker for me to update. (Which I did earlier today). Visit it here.

If you like that, you'll love our crime and mystery room - here - where, if you do register with Friend Feed, you can add links and 'chat' with equally devoted crime fiction fans.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Website updates

I've made the following updates to the Euro Crime website today. I've also rearranged the side-bar a little and removed the 'Discussions' link as I wasn't keeping it up to date.
The Author Websites (783 sites) page has been updated. (This is a summary list of the authors' own home-pages)

The New Releases pages have been updated. (Also links to releases by year/type for 2008 & 2009)

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 1450 authors (7477 titles with links to 1497 reviews). (Accessible by name or nationality)

I've added new bibliographies for: Susanne Alleyn, Selcuk Altun, Andrew Barlow, Stephanie Barron, Carrie A Bebris, Mikkel Birkegaard, Sean Black, Alan Bradley, Ian Breckon, Frances Brody, Emilio Calderon, Javier Calvo, Rebecca Cantrell, Donato Carrisi, Jane Casey, Camilla Ceder, C S Challinor, Joanna Challis, Erskine Childers, Alan Clements, Rory Clements, Neil Coombs, Julie Corbin, Lauren Crow, Fay Cunningham, Saul David, Stephen Davison, Steven Dunne, Escober, Matias Faldbakken, Ann Featherstone, Charles Finch, Helen Fitzgerald, Rosemary Furber, Marc Gee, Matthew Glass, Rebecca Gowers, Steve Haberman, C S Harris, Paul Harris, Timothy Holme, C David Ingram, J Robert Janes, Margot Justes, Lars Kepler, Bill Kitson, Tom Knox, Giles Kristian, Janet Laurence, Paul Lawrence, Tobsha Learner, Frances Lloyd, Matt Lynn, Tom Macauley, Patrick Marrinan, James McCreet, Fiona McIntosh, Shirley McKay, China Mieville, Cyrus Moore, Ruth Newman, Llwyd Owen, Louise Pakeman, Richard Jay Parker, S J Parris, Sarah Pinborough, Simon Robson, Emile Rosales, Priscilla Royal, Fay Sampson, Andrew Saville, Mel/Melvin R Starr, Penny Sumner, Abbie Taylor, Rhys Thomas, Jon Trace, Alberto Vazquez-Figueroa, Dan Wells, Andrew Williams and Eve Zaremba.

Plus I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jane Adams, Boris Akunin, Lin Anderson, David Armstrong, Maureen Ash, David Ashton, Ray Banks, Jo Bannister, James Becker, Sam Bourne, Rhys Bowen, P J Brooke, Christopher Brookmyre, Nick Brownlee, Tom Cain, Colin Campbell, Duncan Campbell, Massimo Carlotto, Paul Charles, Alys Clare, Mary Andrea Clarke, Julian Clary, John Connor, Lesley Cookman, Natasha (NJ) Cooper, Sarah Cox, Adam Creed, Deborah Crombie, Clare Curzon, Judith Cutler, Elizabeth Darrell, David Stuart Davies, Lindsey Davies, Anna Dean, Giancarlo De Cataldo, David Dickinson, P C/Paul Doherty, Ruth/R S Downie, David Downing, Margaret Duffy, Carola Dunn, Marjorie Eccles, Ake Edwardson, R J Ellory, Gavin Esler, Geraldine Evans, Penelope Evans, Chris Ewan, Dick Francis, Guy Fraser, Nicci French, Inger Frimansson, Frances Fyfield, Michele Giuttari, Alan Glynn, Robert Goddard, J G Goodhind, Ann Granger, Clio Gray, Susanna Gregory, J M Gregson, Allan Guthrie, Steven Hague, Raymond Haigh, Richard Haley, M R Hall, Simon Hall, Sophie Hannah, Cora Harrison, Veronica Heley, Mandasue Heller, Matt Hilton, Anne Holt, Graham Hurley, Bill James, Andrea H Japp, Quintin Jardine, Michael Jecks, Katherine John, Jessie Keane, H R F Keating, Christobel Kent, Simon Kernick, Philip Kerr, Claire Kilroy, Patrick Lennon, Giulio Leoni, Kevin Lewis, Douglas Lindsay, Peter Lovesey, Sheila Lowe, Stuart MacBride, Barry Maitland, Dominique Manotti, Scott Mariani, Edward Marston, Faith Martin, Priscilla Masters, Ken McClure, Nigel McCrery, Andy McDermott, Russel D McLean, Catriona McPherson, Jenni Mills, Grace Monroe, Michael Morley, Amy Myers, Barbara Nadel, Hilary Norman, Martin O'Brien, Pamela Oldfield, Nick Oldham, Margie Orford, Jean-Francois Parot, David Peace, Caro Peacock, Michael Pearce, Andrew Pepper, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Anne Perry, Ann Purser, Sheila Quigley, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Stella Rimington, David Roberts, Peter Robinson, Luis Miguel Rocha, Betty Rowlands, Pauline Rowson, Simon Scarrow, Gerald Seymour, EV Seymour, John Paxton Sheriff, Roger Silverwood, Carol Smith, Mehmet Murat Somer, Roz Southey, Brian Thompson, M J Trow, James Twining, Cathi Unsworth, Martin Walker, Paul Waters, Camilla Way, Lee Weeks, Michael White, Neil White, Stella Whitelaw and Anne Zouroudi.

K O Dahl - The Last Fix (sneak peek)

K O Dahl's next book to be available in translation is The Last Fix, which is published on 4 June in the UK. Though it's the third to appear in English, it's the second in the 'Oslo Detectives' series. The Man in the Window is the third in the series and The Fourth Man is the fifth. All three books have been translated by Don Bartlett.

Part 1
The Girl on the Bridge

The Customer

There was something special about this customer, she was aware of that at once, even though he wasn't doing very much - that is to say she noticed the door open, but as the person in question went to the holiday brochure shelf instead of walking straight to the counter, Elise continued to do what she was doing without an upward glance. She sat absorbed in the image on the screen, trying to organise a trip to Copenhagen for a family of three while the mother on the telephone dithered between flying there and back or squeezing their car on to Stena Saga and taking the ferry crossing so that they were mobile when they arrived.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BBC4 Enid Blyton programme this autumn

From Digital Spy:

The BBC is producing three major one-off films about the careers of British icons Margot Fonteyn, Gracie Fields and Enid Blyton.

The films will premiere this autumn on BBC Four as part of a special drama season.

"These films are sympathetic but frank dramatisations of women in the spotlight and how their backstage lives play out," said BBC Four controller Richard Klein.

"Once again, BBC Four is championing strong dramas that seek to give insight into some of Britain's most famous artists, reflecting complex lives, conflicting pressures and very human behaviour."

Blyton will be played by Helena Bonham Carter, who stars alongside Matthew Macfadyen and Denis Lawson in the drama.

George Smiley on the Radio

BookBrunch reported today on the upcoming Radio 4 dramatisations of the George Smiley novels:
Radio 4 is dramatising John le Carré’s eight Smiley novels beginning this Saturday (23 May) with Call for the Dead. The dramatisations will run throughout 2009 and into 2010.

The transmission dates are: A Murder of Quality, Saturday Play 30 May; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Classic Serial 5, 12 and 19 July; The Looking Glass War, Classic Serial 20 and 27 September; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Classic Serial 29 November, 6 and 13 December; The Honourable Schoolboy, Classic Serial 24 and 31 January, 7 February; Smiley's People, Classic Serial April 2010; and The Secret Pilgrim, 2010.

Simon Russell Beale will play spymaster George Smiley, who first appears in Call for the Dead - published in 1961 as the Berlin Wall went up - as a security officer in The Department. In later books Smiley works for The Circus. He is described as a bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, deceptively ordinary, constantly cuckolded, morally perplexed and steel-trap-minded man, possessing "the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin".

John le Carré said: "Simon Russell Beale is unique. No living actor can match his understanding of language, or his interpretation of character. He will make a superb Smiley, and I feel deeply honoured."
Call for the Dead is on at 2.30pm Saturday 23 May for 90 minutes. The cast also includes Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron and Anna Chancellor. The Radio 4 programme information is here.

There is a 2008 interview with Simon Russell Beale at the National Theatre website all about books.

The queue for Gone Tomorrow...

I noticed today that Lee Child's Gone Tomorrow has 185 reservations on it at Birmingham Library. They don't come much more popular than that. J K Rowling and Martina Cole being the only real contenders. James Patterson's 8th Confession which has been out slightly longer (I think) has 127.

Review: Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper

Occasionally a non "euro crime" review book turns up in my parcel box and in this instance I knew that reviewer Amanda Gillies would probably enjoy it and she did...

Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper (21 May 2009, paperback, 416 pages, Arrow Books Ltd, ISBN: 0099534452)

This is a debut novel for Glenn Cooper and it is simply awesome! It starts out looking and feeling like another pretty much straightforward hunt for a serial murderer, but this couldn't be further from the truth. It follows three separate timelines and the hunt for the killer is only the very tip of the iceberg.

Set in New York, Las Vegas and, finally, Los Angeles, the 2009 section of the story is fast paced and full of tension. It centres on the lives of two former college room-mates after they meet up for a 25-year anniversary dinner. One of these, Will Piper, is a disgraced FBI special agent who just wants to make it to retirement with as little pressure, and as much alcohol, as possible. The other, Mark Shackleton works in computer security for Area 51 – the infamous, top secret, government facility that is supposedly involved in UFO research.

The second timeline is just post WWII and concerns a mysterious Anglo-American co-operation that sees Winston Churchill called in to assist with a very serious matter not long after his defeat in Parliament. He telephones Harry Truman with the news of a disturbing discovery and an urgent request for help. The consequences of their actions pave the way for the modern American security system, in order to bury a terrible secret that must never become general knowledge.

The earliest timeline starts some 1,400 years earlier and is, perhaps, the most disturbing of all. It is based in an abbey on the Isle of White and concerns the terrifying consequences of the birth of a seventh son of a seventh son on the 7th day of the 7th month in the year 777. This part of the story sets the rest of it in motion and triggers the horrifying murder spree in New York that Will Piper is called in to solve in 2009.

It takes the reader a while to work out what exactly is going on, but the fact that you manage to do so, or think you do, before all is revealed doesn't spoil things at all. Your self satisfaction is extremely short-lived as the very last page of the book leaves you with your mouth hanging open after an ending you had no idea was coming.

Extremely well-written, imaginative and captivating. The adjectives that could be used to praise this novel only end up sounding cheesy. I am extremely pleased with my timing for picking up this book – the Easter weekend meant that I could read it non-stop until it was done. Not only is Glenn Cooper a gifted and imaginative author, he is currently the CEO of a biotech company in Massachusetts and his accurate 'science speak' is a very welcome breath of fresh air.
Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.

The US edition will be published in July under the title of Secret of the Seventh Son.

You can read more about Glenn Cooper and his book(s) on his website at

More reviews by Amanda Gillies can be found on the Euro Crime review list page - just use the search function on your browser to find her name.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

(OT) Bought for the cover alone...(cats & crime)

The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse by Leann Sweeney, published on 5 May and is the first of a new series.

Synopsis: Recently widowed Jillian Hart is rebuilding a life for herself and her three beloved cats--Chablis, Syrah and Merlot--as a quilter in a small South Carolina town. The quilts she makes are for cats as smart, special, and sweet as her own, and business is thriving.

But when she returns from an overnight quilting show, she discovers Chablis sneezing--and since Chablis is allergic to humans, that can only mean one thing: Someone has broken into her house. When she realizes her Abyssinian Syrah is missing, Jillian suspects catnapping.

Spurred by Chablis and Merlot's mournful meowing, she investigates--and discovers more missing cats and a murder. Now she's got to save more than one cat in trouble--not to mention herself.

Publicity campaign for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

The Bookseller reports on the publicity campaign that Quercus will launch to promote final part of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and has exciting news about the film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:
Quercus imprint MacLehose Press has revealed its six-figure consumer-facing marketing plan for the third instalment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.

The final book in the trilogy, entitled The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest, comes out in October. The publisher is expecting to run a tie-in promotion with the film of the first of the three novels, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which has already been released in Sweden. It is expected that the film will be released on a major scale in the UK this autumn, although a date has not been confirmed.

As with the previous two titles, MacLehose will be making use of social networking, by securing a further 10 million Facebook adverts, and the company is launching a consumer website, which will feature competitions, news on further editions and "all things Larsson" throughout the year. A book club may also be run through the site.

The campaign also includes a "major" broadsheet deal, which will centre around a special "Larsson Day", with features in the arts section, and banner advertising on the unnamed newspaper's website. There will be feature coverage and celebrity recommendations across national media and television.
Read the whole article here and also the Euro Crime reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been nominated for three Anthony Awards: Best Novel, Best First Novel and Best Cover Art (US cover). The winners will be announced at Bouchercon in October.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Closer re-opens on Channel 4 this weekend

I'm a big fan of The Closer which has already been shown on More 4. The second series is finally getting its terrestrial debut...but in the wee hours of the morning.

From the Channel 4 website:
C4 Sunday 24 May 2.55AM
C4 Tuesday 26 May 3.05AM
C4 Friday 29 May 3.00AM
C4 Saturday 30 May 2.50AM

Series one of The Closer is available on amazon for a mere £8.

Here's a promo clip from episode one of series four (not yet shown in the UK) which showcases some of the humour provided by Lt Flynn...

Michael Connelly - Radio 5 & Crime Fest interview

Last Thursday's Simon Mayo Book Review programme reviewed Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow and John Boyne's The House of Special Purpose. You can listen to Michael Connelly being interviewed as well as the glowing reviews of the panel on this website (podcast can also be downloaded) but don't hang around as the programme doesn't seem to be archived.

Michael Connelly (MC) was the international guest of honour at Crime Fest and was interviewed by Peter Guttridge (PG) last Saturday. Here are my notes:
MC said that he never used to reveal how long it took him to write his books as people assume speed detracts from quality. With some prodding from PG he said that The Poet took 3 months, The Scarecrow 6 months and a Harry Bosch novel 10 - 11 months.

MC is now finishing off a Harry Bosch novel (and according to the website it will be out in October) - called Nine Dragons, a third of it will be set in Hong Kong and it sets up several of the next books. Harry is now in his late 50s so is unlikely to be carrying the badge much longer. Mickey Haller, from The Lincoln Lawyer, will appear in one chapter of Nine Dragons. MC also said that he had sowed some seeds in earlier books which would allow him to write a prequel at some point and he discussed a couple of sub-plots he'd written but now wished he not closed off so quickly.

MC says he writes in the journalistic style ie succinct and to the point. A good day involves writing between 4 am and noon and he ensures that the story moves along by a minimum of one step a day. He will be writing Harry Bosch until he dies/stops writing.

MC's sister runs his website and there is some bonus material for The Scarecrow: twelve websites in the book can be accessed and also a bonus video. Rachel Walling does not appear in The Scarecrow for some pages, so the video shows what she was doing for that time. Two parts are now available and the last part will follow on 26th May. Each part is about 25 minutes long. MC did say that if you don't want to get a picture in your head of Rachel Walling then best to not watch the video.

In both interviews he also discussed the terminal state of the newspaper industry.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crime Fest Quiz Winners

Here are the euromonkeys, winners of the Quiz at Crime Fest last week, click on the photo to enlarge:

Rik, Carol and Ann Cleeves (and Mr Monkey):

Ann, Rafe McGregor and Martin Edwards (Donna is in the background):

Martin and Maxine:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crime Fest 2010 - special guests

Mark it in your calendar now: 20-23 May 2010 for Crime Fest 2010.

Authors already confirmed include...

M C Beaton
Natasha Cooper
Colin Dexter
Ariana Franklin
and Gyles Brandreth as toastmaster...

as well as John Curran, author of Agatha Christe and the Mystery of the Secret Notebooks which will include two previously unpublished Poirot short stories. It will be published in September. Read more about it here.

Martin Edwards should be back to defend his Mastermind title.

Some extra excursions/night events are being planned as well but they are hush hush at the moment...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crime Fest Awards - the winners are...

The Crime Fest Awards winners have been announced:
The Last Laugh

Christopher Fowler/The Victoria Vanishes

Audible Sounds of Crime

a) Abridged
tie between Stieg Larsson/The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Ian Rankin/Doors Open

Kate Atkinson/When Will There be Good News
The shortlists can be found here.

News from Crime Fest - quiz, Colin Dexter

If you read the Friend Feed Crime and Mystery fiction room then you'll already know that several familiar bloggers and euro crime reviewers were part of the winning quiz team on Thursday night. The "euromonkeys" were: Authors - Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards and Rafe McGregor, Bloggers - Maxine (Petrona), Me and Euro Crime reviewers - Rik and Carol. Photos to follow.

Also, overheard at Crime Fest is the good news that the next volume of the anthology, Best British Mysteries, edited by Maxim Jakubowski and due for publication in 2010 will contain a new short story by Colin Dexter featuring Inspector Morse. Other contributors include P D James and John Harvey.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crime Fest - Authors

The UK crime fiction convention season begins tomorrow, with Crime Fest 2009, in Bristol. Weekend tickets, daily tickets and also individual tickets for the guest of honour interviews can be bought. Several of the Euro Crime review team will be there (and me).

There are 73 authors and translators attending. I have read books by 25 of them plus I am currently reading or about to start books by two more of them. I own (as yet) unread books by a further 18 of them. Which means 28 of them, I've neither read nor own.

The hyper-links take you to the author's page on the Euro Crime website which lists the bibliography with links to reviews and the author's homepage (if available).
Don Bartlett (translator of eg Jo Nesbo)
M.C. Beaton
Cara Black
Stephen Booth
Gyles Brandreth
Simon Brett
Alison Bruce
Declan Burke
Colin Campbell
Cassandra Clark
Mary Andrea Clarke
Ann Cleeves
Michael Connelly
Judith Cutler
David Stuart Davies
Ruth Downie
Marjorie Eccles
Martin Edwards
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Kate Ellis
Chris Ewan
Jane Finnis
Meg Gardiner
Dolores Gordon-Smith
Ann Granger
Peter Guttridge
Steven Hague
M.R. Hall
John Harvey
Kaye C. Hill
Suzette A. Hill
Matt Hilton
Roger Hudson
Declan Hughes
Maxim Jakubowski
Bill James
Paul Johnston
Alison Joseph
Reg Keeland (translator eg Stieg Larsson)
Janet Laurence
Adrian Magson
Edward Marston
Andrew Martin
Priscilla Masters
Keith McCarthy
Brian McGilloway
Pat McIntosh
Jenni Mills
Aly Monroe
Donna Moore
R.N. Morris
Steve Mosby
Helen Mulgray & Morna Mulgray
Margaret Murphy
Håkan Nesser
Tiina Nunnally (translator of eg Karin Fossum as Felicity David)
Andrew Pepper
Sheila Quigley
Caro Ramsay
Sarah Rayne
Linda Regan
Pauline Rowson
Ros Schwartz (translator of eg Dominique Manotti)
Claire Seeber
E.V. Seymour
Zoë Sharp
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Andrew Taylor
L.C. Tyler
Sue Walker
Michael Walters
Kevin Wignall
Anne Zouroudi

Review: Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock (audio book)

Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock, narrated by Paul Panting (Whole Story Audio Books, June 2009, ISBN: 1407437011, 9 CDs)

This audio book version of Dead Spy Running will be available on 1 June, nearly a month before the print version. Quite a coup for Whole Story Audio Books and a noteworthy event. Like Stephen Fry, I am a big fan of audio books and leapt at the chance to have a review copy and I wasn't disappointed with the result.

Dead Spy Running is the first of a trilogy and the central character is MI6 agent Daniel Marchant. Daniel's father, a former head of MI6, was forced out of his job under a cloud of suspicion and died shortly afterwards. Daniel has been suspended pending an investigation into his father's activities to see if he was indeed a traitor. Daniel wants nothing more than to clear his father's name.

The book starts with Daniel and his fellow agent/girlfriend entering the London Marathon where Marchant's professional instincts kick in and he spots a fellow runner wearing a belt that could contain explosives. The runner soon confirms that he must run above a certain speed or the bomb will detonate.

When Daniel saves the day, he expects to be treated rather more as a hero than a suspect. And yet the Americans want to 'debrief' him, treating him as hostile. Daniel's boss, Fielding, aka "the Vicar" agrees to release Daniel to the CIA so long as he is returned alive and does not leave British soil.

Daniel's globe-trotting is about to begin, with the CIA ignoring Fielding's order and taking him on a rendition flight to Poland. Poland is soon followed by an MI6 assisted flight to India and Daniel begins to close in on the truth as to what his father's unexplained actions were all about, whilst all the while trying to avoid re-capture by the Americans and ultimately preventing one of the most shocking terrorist attacks of all time.

Dead Spy Running is 'edge of the seat' listening; from the very possible sounding Marathon scenario at the beginning of the book to the tense final set piece in India, the pace doesn't sag and includes a (rather too) memorable water torture scene along the way. The Indian setting was particularly well evoked. What I especially enjoyed was all the inside information about the relationships between MI5, MI6, CIA and also about what goes on in the MI6 building (aka Legoland), both the business side and the other snippets such as - does the MI6 boss actually have a butler?

Dead Spy Running is well written and just flows along. I was absolutely hooked and would have gone straight onto the next book, were it available. If you've enjoyed Stella Rimington's Liz Carlyle series then you'll love Dead Spy Running.

Narrator Paul Panting gives a marvellous performance, especially his world-weary Daniel, as well as whole host of other different accents and voices.

You can listen to a ten minute extract on the Whole Story Audio Books page.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Butterfly in Jar Cover (2)

Three months ago I posted several book covers which all had a butterfly in a jar on them. I've spotted another one...

Books published in 2008 & 2009

I've recently added a few more links to the new releases page. These provide lists of euro crime books published in the UK in 2008 and 2009. I've also got separate lists for anthologies, first novels, historical and translated titles:
Published in the UK in 2008
(ALL, Anthology, First Novel, Historical, Translated)

Published in the UK in 2009
(ALL, Anthology, First Novel, Historical, Translated)
(The links on the author's name go to their website, the links on the titles go to a review.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Library of Shadows - sneak peek

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard and translated by Tiina Nunally will be published in paperback on 4 June. This is the author's first book.

Blurb: Imagine that some people have the power to affect your thoughts and feelings when you read, or they read a book to you. They can seduce you with amazing stories, conjure up vividly imagined worlds, but also manipulate you into thinking exactly what they want you to. When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Jon has not seen his father for twenty years since the mysterious death of his mother. When Luca's death is followed by an arson attempt on the shop, Jon is forced to explore his family's past. Unbeknown to Jon, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret. It is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers, who have maintained a tradition of immense power passed down from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. Now someone is trying to destroy them, and Jon finds himself in a fight for his life and those of his new friends.

Opening line: Luca Campelli's wish to die surrounded by his beloved books came true late one night in October.

Click on the widget below to view a 43 page extract.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

OT: A very pleasant afternoon

As is traditional in our household, Sundays mean new reviews on the website and a 2 mile walk to the nearest Costas. Today it was followed by a visit to see the new Star Trek film, followed by a vegetable balti.

And to cap it off the swifts have arrived in Redditch. This is the first time I've spotted them this year, but they may have arrived earlier. Probably takes them a bit longer to arrive in the centre of the country.

New Reviews: Airth, Bolton, Cleeves, Gardner, Martin, Nesser, Ramsay

May's competition is now up and running - win a copy of Suffer the Children by Adam Creed. (There are no geographical restrictions on entrants.) Enter here.

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

Mike Ripley reviews the eagerly awaited third book in the 'John Madden' series from Rennie Airth, - The Dead of Winter - and answers the question as to whether it can live up the stunning first part, River of Darkness?;

I review the audio book of Sacrifice by S J Bolton, (review posted on this blog);

Maxine Clarke reviews Ann Cleeves' third part of her 'Shetland Quartet' - Red Bones - and calls it "an excellent, absorbing, slow-burn of a book";

Paul Blackburn reviews John Gardner's Moriarty which fills in some of the back-story to Holmes' famous nemesis;

Geoff Jones reviews the latest in the "steam detective" series from Andrew Martin - The Last Train to Scarborough;

Maxine also reviews the paperback edition of The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser saying she "cannot recommend this book highly enough"

and Pat Austin reviews Caro Ramsay's follow-up to Absolution - Singing to the Dead.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Review: Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire (YA)

Eden Maguire is a British author who spends part of the year living in the US. This book, which is for young adults, appears to be her first. The second book in the series is due out in October and the third and fourth (and final I assume) will be out in 2010.

Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire (YA) (April 2009, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340988614)

I spotted this title in Books Time magazine which is supplied to libraries with their delivery of books and I was fortunate to snap up the first (and only so far) copy in the Birmingham Library system. I have since been recommending it to colleagues and a short waiting list has begun.

The main character is Darina, a sixteen/seventeen year old whose boyfriend Phoenix has recently died from a knife wound in a fight. Phoenix is the fourth of Darina's peers to die in the last year, the other three being: Jonas in a motorcycling accident, Arizona by drowning and Summer by gun-shot wound. All apparently accidents.

Darina is heartbroken and finds herself drawn to the same spot a few miles from home, where the unbelievable happens - she sees Phoenix and the others, apparently alive and well. Is she delusional or are they real?

I don't want to give too much away so I'll just say that Darina is about to get some relief, at least temporarily, from her grief and she will be investigating the deaths of her classmates.

Beautiful Dead 1 does take a while to get going but once I got about a third of the way in I was dipping into it at every opportunity. It has a mystery angle - why did Jonas crash? and a romance between a couple who, in theory at least, do not have a future together - there's more than a similarity to the relationship between Bella (human) and Edward (vampire) in Twilight. It's quite a serious book which shows how grief affects people and what it can drive them to do. I'm very interested in seeing where Eden Maguire takes this series and especially what she decides to do in the final book.

The official Beautiful Dead website is here (nb. it gives more of the plot away than I do).

(Cross-posted to Teenage Fiction for All Ages.)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Richard & Judy Death Knell

It's been confirmed today that Richard & Judy show will cease in July. From The Bookseller:
Richard and Judy's chatshow on UKTV channel Watch is to end on 3rd July, six months before the end of the original contract, because of poor ratings. But Cactus TV said it was in "advanced talks" with "media partners" about the future of the Book Club, saying it "hopes the Book Club will continue beyond UKTV". This year's Summer Read will continue as normal from 13th May.
Hopefully the Book Club will continue... The Book Club has made several Euro Crime authors much better known eg R J Ellory, Simon Kernick and Andrew Taylor.

Review: Sacrifice by S J Bolton (audio book)

Sacrifice by S J Bolton, read by Vivien Heilbron (Chivers Audio Book, Jan 2009, ISBN: 9781405647809, 12 CDs)

Obstetrician Tora Hamilton moves with her husband Duncan to his birth-place of Shetland, both starting new jobs. She takes her beloved horses with her but unfortunately one dies, and it is when she is burying him (illegally) in her garden that she discovers the body of a young woman, wrapped in linen.

The main police officer in charge, tries to play down the find and does not seem to be treating it seriously even when the post mortem reveals extensive mutilation of the body, including the carving of Viking runes on the body. The crucial point for Tora is that the woman had given birth days before her death.

Tora is not happy about the situation and uses her position at the hospital to try and trace the woman even though she is warned off by both colleagues and family. Her only ally is DS Dana Tulloch with whom she has a prickly relationship.

Tora diggers herself deeper into trouble and as she does so, Sacrifice becomes a full-blown thriller with near death experiences, chase sequences and going it alone into enemy territory.

Though it took me a few disks to get into Sacrifice, by the fourth one I was engrossed. It is peopled by several strong female characters, whom you can root for, as they try to get to the bottom of seemingly impossible crimes. The setting of the Shetland Islands is well utilised and brought to life. I found the plot, though based on local legends, slightly outlandish, but if you can suspend disbelief then you're in for an exciting ride. My only slight quibble is that the ending is perhaps a bit happier than you would expect given what's gone before.

Scottish actress Vivien Heilbron provides a splendid narration, her clipped English accent matching well with Tora's no-nonsense approach. (Incidentally, she is married to one of my favourite narrators, David Rintoul).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

More Wallander for Branagh...

The Guardian is reporting today that three more episodes of Wallander have been commissioned:

Three further novels, Faceless Killers, The Fifth Woman and The Man Who Smiled, will be filmed, with the drama shot on location in the Swedish town of Ystad once again.

BBC1's new Wallander adaptations, which will see Branagh reprise his role as the moody detective Kurt Wallander, created by Swedish novelist Henning Mankell, will be filmed this summer.

Read the whole article, here.

The first series of Wallander won a BAFTA for "best drama series" and is available on DVD (episodes are: Sidetracked, Firewall and One Step Behind).

The order of filming seems to take the same random approach as the translation to English did. The books were written in the order:

Faceless Killers
The Dogs of Riga
The White Lioness
The Man Who Smiled
The Fifth Woman
One Step Behind

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Face of Jack Reacher?

Simon Mayo's Book Review podcast on 23 April reviewed Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. The reviewers were joined by Lee and he dropped a few nuggets of info:

Though he is careful not to describe his main character Jack Reacher (other than large and invulnerable) in the books his mental image of Reacher is rugby star, Lawrence Dallaglio (pictured below).

One of the books has been scripted and there's the possibility of a film in the next couple of years.

One of the actors that keeps being linked with Reacher is Hugh Jackman:

One of the next two or three books will revisit Reacher's past in the same way as The Enemy did.

The only other person he could think of who wrote a series with some books in 3rd person and some in 1st was Barbara Kingsolver.

The current Book Review podcast (covering The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith and Heartland by Anthony Cartwright, with Joel Morris, Boyd Hilton and Stella Duffy) can be listened to or downloaded at the BBC website. It's possible that earlier editions can be retrieved via iTunes (or similar)...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Win: Suffer the Children by Adam Creed

There are no geographical restrictions on entrants to this month's competition, in which you can win a copy of Suffer the Children by Adam Creed which is published on 7 May in hardback. Suffer the Children introduces London cop, DI Will Wagstaffe aka Staffe.

The details on how to win a copy can be found on the Euro Crime website.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Monday Afternoon

Staffe raises his head as high as he can, sucks in the Underground air. He is pushed from behind and his chest rubs up against the head of a raven-haired woman as they shuffle towards the escalator. She curses in an eastern tongue and he wants to apologise, but knows it isn't warranted, nor will it accomplish anything.

Judgement is scheduled for 14.00. He tries to push into the left-hand line but there is no gap. A group of teenage malevolents jostles through against the flow, leaving a sweet pall of solvents. He holds his breath as he takes a half step on to the moving escalator, waits, then breathes deep, and pictures Judge Burns; the events of the past two days in court. His nerves tighten and Staffe tries to calm his rushing blood. He makes sure the case papers are wedged tight into the pit of his arm and doe sup the collar of his shirt. The top button presses against his Adam's apple as he swallows. He tightens his tie right up.

The new Inspector George Gently episodes

The first of four new Inspector George Gently episodes, starring Martin Shaw as GG, was shown last night on BBC One. The four episodes are:
Gently with the Innocents

Gently in the Night

Gently in the Blood

Gently Through the Mill
Clicking on the above episode titles will take you to the BBC press release for that episode which contains a detailed plot outline plus some backstage trivia and/or filming locations in Ireland.

A full list of the Gently novels by Alan Hunter, can be found here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New Reviews: Baker, Burdess, Campbell, Fallada, Seeber, Smith

Keep an eye out for details of May's competition, coming very soon...

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

Firstly, in case you missed it, Crimeficreader's review of John Baker's Winged With Dead was uploaded earlier this week;

Terry Halligan reviews the third of Wendy Burdess's historical mysteries, A Criminal Affair, which has a highwayman known as the "Courteous Criminal"(!);

Maxine Clarke reviews Karen Campbell's After the Fire and concludes with "I'm very much looking forward to reading more by this talented, thoughtful author";

Book of the week is Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin, written in 1947 but only published in translation this year and is reviewed here by Norman Price who writes that it "was a privilege to read this brilliant novel";

Maxine also reviews Lullaby by Claire Seeber - a psychological thriller with Martina Cole-ish overtones

and Laura Root reviews Tom Rob Smith's follow-up to Child 44, The Secret Speech calling it "a remarkable meld of history, politics and thriller".
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

News page updated

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was testing using FriendFeed as a way of keeping the News page listing up to date in a much more timely manner. FriendFeed has been reorganised this week but I'm getting to grips with the changes! I've just added links to the latest reviews - there's been a bit of a dearth of reviews in the main UK papers (thank goodness for blogs and review websites). I've also included links to an interview with Matt Hilton and Mike Ripley's appreciation of H R F Keating.

Click on the links on the FriendFeed Euro Crime News page.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Free Agent by Jeremy Duns (extract)

The first part of Jeremy Duns' trilogy of Cold War spy novels, Free Agent, will be published in the UK next week (July in the US). Here's a look at the first chapter:

Chapter 1

Sunday, 23 March 1969, Hampshire

As I edged the car onto the gravel, the front door of the house swung open and Chief's steely grey eyes stared down at me.

'What the hell took you so long?' he hissed as I made my way up the steps. But before I could answer, he had turned on his heels.

I followed the sound of his slippers gently slapping against the floorboards, down the dark oak-lined corridor. I knew from years of working for him that the best thing to do when he was in this sort of mood was not to react - his gruff tone usually gave way quite quickly, and more often than not he ended our sessions treating me like the son he'd never had. So I resisted the temptation to tell him I had driven up in record time, and instead hung my coat on one of the hooks in the hallway. Then I walked into the living room and seated myself in the nearest armchair.

It had been a while since I'd last visited Chief out here, but little had changed. There were a couple of porcelain birds I didn't remember, and a new bois clair bookcase that looked similar to the one he had in his office. But the framed photographs on the piano, the portrait of his father above the mantelpiece and the golf bag propped against the fireplace were all still in place. A selection of books and papers were spread across a garish Turkish carpet at the foot of one of the armchairs, and a sideboard within easy reach was home to a telephone, an inkwell and what looked like a half-eaten egg sandwich. He still hadn't learned to cook since Joan's death, it seemed.

I imagined him nibbling the sandwich as he had barked down the telephone at me less than two hours earlier. He had refused to give any hints as to what he wanted to discuss, and I was naturally intrigued. What could be so urgent that it couldn't wait for tomorrow's nine o'clock meeting? One possibility that had nagged at me all the way from London was that he had somehow found out I was seeing Vanessa and was so furious he wanted to sack me on the spot.

I thought back over the day. Had I been careless somewhere? We had visited a small art gallery in Hampstead in the morning but there hadn't been another soul in the place apart from the owner, and after that we had spent the entire afternoon at her flat, pushing the sheets to the bottom of the bed. Then I'd headed to mine for a quick shave and change of clothes. We had arranged to meet at Ronnie Scott's at midnight: there was a hot young group from the States she wanted to see. But then the call had come through, with the request to come and see him at my 'earliest convenience'.

It wasn't convenient at all, of course. Vanessa and I rarely had a whole weekend together, and it had taken careful planning - perhaps not careful enough, though.

Read on here.

Glass Key 2009 Nominees

The Glass Key 2009 nominees have been announced, This post details the nominees and a bit about each book. Information about how the books are chosen can be found on the site and Janet at Mystery Fanfare summarises the list here.

Two of the authors, Arnaldur Indridason and Johan Theorin, have been translated into English and the books they've been nominated for will be available in English later this year: Hypothermia (September) and The Darkest Room (July) respectively.