Monday, November 30, 2009

Mehmet Murat Somer - Cover Opinions

After answering a question on rec.arts.mystery about the Hop-Ciki-Yaya series by Mehmet Murat Somer I went and had a look to see which were available in the US and found that these two had been published by Penguin USA. The covers are slightly (!) different to the Serpent's Tail ones...

The US on the left and the UK on the right. Which would make you more likely to pick the book up?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Reviews: Black, Downing, Haas, McCrery, Russell, Sussman

The closing date for the competitions is 23.59 on 30 November:

i)Win Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only)
ii)Win Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn (UK/Europe only)

Details on how to enter can be found on the Competition page

b) Here are the new reviews that have been added to the website today:
Amanda Brown reviews Murder in the Rue de Paradis by Cara Black which makes her want to revisit Paris;

Norman Price reviews David Downing's atmospheric Stettin Station set in Nazi Germany;

Michelle Peckham reviews Derek Haas's thriller, Hunt for the Bear;

Maxine Clarke liked Core of Evil by Nigel McCrery (nb. first published as Still Waters);

Amanda Gillies enthuses about Leigh Russell's debut novel, Cut Short

and Terry Halligan enjoyed The Hidden Oasis by Paul Sussman.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

International Dagger 2010

It's early days to be thinking of the short list for the International Dagger but I've had a couple of requests to list the "eligible" titles from the Euro Crime database.

The CWA website has not yet been updated for 2010 but based on last year, the criteria for this category will be that:
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 2009 and May 31 2010.
So based on my database, here are the fifty-nine sixty sixty-one titles I believe to be eligible, based on publication dates and a loose interpretation of the definition of "crime fiction". I have included the non European books that I know about, though there may be omissions of course. (Links are to Euro Crime reviews). As it's quite early it's possible more titles will be published before the end of May that I don't yet know about:
Boris Akunin - She Lover of Death
Selcuk Altun - Many and Many a Year Ago
Barbara Baraldi - The Girl With the Crystal Eyes
Tonino Benacquista - Badfellas
Mikkel Birkegaard - The Library of Shadows
Sergio Bizzio - Rage
Armand Cabasson - Memory of Flames
Andrea Camilleri - August Heat
Raphael Cardetti - Death in the Latin Quarter
Massimo Carlotto - Poisonville (with Marco Videtta)
Donato Carrisi - The Whisperer
Jacques Chessex - A Jew Must Die
K O Dahl - The Last Fix
Leif Davidsen - The Woman from Bratislava
Tim Davys - Amberville
Tom Egeland - The Guardians of the Covenant
Marjolijn Februari - The Book Club
Marcello Fois - Blood from the Skies
Karin Fossum - The Water's Edge
Eugenio Fuentes - At Close Quarters
Michele Giuttari - The Death of a Mafia Don
Juan Gomez-Jurado - Contract with God
Luigi Guicciardi - Inspector Cataldo's Criminal Summer
Petra Hammesfahr - The Lie
Anne Holt - Death in Oslo
Arnaldur Indridason - Hypothermia
Claude Izner - The Predator of Batignolles
Christian Jacq - The Judgement of the Mummy
Tove Jansson - The True Deceiver
Andrea H Japp - The Divine Blood
Mari Jungstedt - The Killer's Art
Andrey Kurkov - The Good Angel of Death
Camilla Lackberg - The Stonecutter
Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
Giulio Leoni - The Kingdom of Light
Henning Mankell - The Man from Beijing
Dominique Manotti - Affairs of State
Javier Marias - Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell
Petros Markaris - Che Committed Suicide
Patricia Melo - Lost World
Deon Meyer - Thirteen Hours
Zygmunt Miloszewski - Entanglement
Rita Monaldi & Francesco Sorti - Secretum
Jo Nesbo - The Snowman
Guillermo Orsi - No-one Loves a Policeman
Jean-Francois Parot - The Nicolas le Floch Affair
Arturo Perez-Reverte - Pirates of the Levant
Claudia Pineiro - Thursday Night Widows
Luis Miguel Rocha - The Last Pope
Santiago Roncagliolo - Red April
Emili Rosales - The Invisible City
Frank Schatzing - Death and the Devil
Andrea Maria Schenkel - Ice Cold
Bernhard Schlink - Self's Murder
Mehmet Murat Somer - The Gigolo Murder
Gunnar Staalesen - The Consorts of Death
Johan Theorin - The Darkest Room
Alberto Vazquez-Figueroa - Tuareg
Alberto Vazquez-Figueroa - Coltan
Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The Angel's Game
Juli Zeh - Dark Matter
The shortlist will be announced at CrimeFest in May.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spiral Series 3 and on

Who knows when it'll be on TV this side of the channel but a third series of Spiral has been filmed, this time with 12 episodes rather than 8.

You can read more about the new series (in French) on this website. On the second page there's a comment about the success of the first two series, overseas, and says that's it's the first time the BBC has bought a French series since the 1960s and the realistic nature of the series strikes a cord with Britons (paraphrasing a bit, I hope correctly).

Engrenages (Spiral) as been so successful in France that three more series have been ordered.

The official Canal+ website for series 2 is here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Murder on Page Three

No, this has nothing to do with deaths of The Sun's glamour models but rather is the title of a book from a new-to-me author. Whilst searching the library catalogue for Elly Griffiths, I only put in Griffiths, Ell and the search also turned up Ella Griffiths and the titles Murder on Page Three and The Water Widow. Thinking they look like crime titles I had a closer look and lo and behold, much excitement ensues as it turns out they have been translated from the Norwegian...

I've only been able to get hold of Murder on Page Three so far, The Water Widow being out on loan (only 1 copy of each in the system). Her series characters are Oslo-based Detective Sergeant Rudolf Nilsen and his brother Detective Constable Karsten Nilsen.

Here are the front and back flaps (which are clear if you click on them) revealing a bit about the plot and the author.

Murder on Page Three was published in Norwegian in 1982 and in English in 1984 by Quartet Qrime. The translator is J Basil Cowlishaw.

The Water Widow was published in English in 1986 and I've also found reference to a short story collection called The Dead Don’t Steal and the title story was made into a Tales of the Unexpected episode in 1988.

Here're the first few paragraphs from Murder on Page Three:
Lucky was getting restless. He wanted to go out. Karin pretended not to notice; she was trying to think. The sheet of paper in her typewriter was as pristinely white as when she had inserted it over an hour ago.

"Make sure there's a murder in the first chapter," her publisher had said. "The best would be on page three."

She had objected that she wasn't a tailor, running up suits made to measure, at which he had laughingly countered with: "Maybe not, but you are Norway's Agatha Christie, and you have a reputation to keep up".
Here's the blurb from The Water Widow:
The case begins when a fifty-five-year-old shop assistant with a raging toothache visits the dentist. He's shown into the surgery by a tall woman dressed in widow's weeds, and is never seen alive again."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy - on audio

The final part of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, came out on audio book this month. All three books are now available as a set for £65 from Whole Story Audio Books.

(Shame about the prominent typo)

The books are narrated by Saul Reichlin.

Over at Petrona, Maxine splendidly summarises the three books.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Beautiful Dead - Arizona

I've just posted my review of Beautiful Dead (2) - Arizona by Eden Maguire over on my teenage blog.

This is a teenage crime/romance/supernatural mixture which I enjoyed. If you watch CSI you won't be too impressed with the book's medical examiner immediately classifying a death as suicide when there are multiple abrasions on the body, but that's from an adult's perspective rather than a teenager's I think.

My review can be found here.

My review of Book 1, Jonas, is here.

Win a copy of Arizona, here (ends 30 November 2009, UK only)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Reviews: Badoe, Kernick, La Plante, O'Brien, Somer, Twining

a) Two competitions are currently running:

i)Win Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only)
ii)Win Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn (UK/Europe only)

Details on how to enter can be found on the Competition page

b) Here are the new reviews that have been added to the website today:
Maxine Clarke reviews Yaba Badoe's debut novel, True Murder which, Maxine suggests, should appeal to fans of Ruth Rendell and Morag Joss;

Michelle Peckham reviews the latest from Britain's answer to Harlan Coben, Simon Kenick's Target;

Geoff Jones reviews the new DI Anna Travis book from Lynda La Plante, Silent Scream;

Jacquot's back: Terry Halligan reviews the return of French detective Jacquot in Martin O'Brien's Confession;

I review the latest in one of the more unusual crime fiction series: The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer, tr. Kenneth Dakan

and Amanda Gillies reviews the most recent in James Twining's Tom Kirk Art Thief series: The Geneva Deception.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

OT: Fox in a Box IV

A while ago I posted some photos of Foxy in his penthouse suite, atop a tower of fruit boxes. The fruit boxes were returned to Tesco, except for one and guess who's suddenly decided to sleep in it! He looks a bit disgruntled with the lowly position:

Bits and Pieces (2)

One or two things I've discovered this week:
July 2010 is looking good for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction with new series entries from Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Karin Fossum plus a debut novel from Camilla Ceder. More 2010 Scandinavian crime fiction can be found on my amazon list.

Richard Armitage is filming Chris Ryan's Strike Back. The six part series is due to be broadcast in spring 2010 on Sky.

David Morrissey is to play Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne. Mark reports on Facebook that "the TV series is in production and will probably be on screen in late Autumn next year..."

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Draining Lake audio book

My review of the audio-book version of The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason, tr Bernard Scudder and narrated by Saul Reichlin is now online at Whole Story Audio Books.

My review is here.

There are also two reviews of the print book on the Euro Crime website - here and here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Solve The ABC Murders on the DS

Already out in the US, Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders DS game will be out in the UK on the 20th.

As easy as A...B...C?

Agatha Christie’s A.B.C Murders tells the story of Captain Hastings and Hercule Poirot as they attempt to solve a series of bizarre murders committed by an elusive madman.

Going off the simple clue of the A.B.C railway guide left at the scene of each crime, Hastings and Poirot follow the leads to Andover, Bexhill, Churston, and Doncaster trying to apprehend the killer before the next crime is committed.

He soon realizes a serial killer is on the loose, murdering his victims in alphabetical order, leaving an ABC Railway Guide beside each body and playing a dangerous game with Hercule Poirot. He alerts Poirot in advance of the locations of the murders, but Poirot always arrives too late. Intrigued by the psychopath’s mind and methodology, Poirot travels the length and breadth of England - determined to track down this ruthless killer.


* Live through a modern classic for the first time on the Nintendo DS.

* Solve the crime in multiple ways, and then solve it again!

* Complete mind-bending puzzles!

* Use your Investigator’s Journal to record clues and notes.

* Collect hidden notes found in-game that contains unique facts about Agatha Christie or one of her characters.

Watch the trailer:

Having been disappointed with some recent mystery DS games, I'd appreciate some feedback on this one.

The Wings of the Sphinx - sneak peek

The eleventh in Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series, The Wings of the Sphinx, will be published on 29 December by Penguin USA. The UK edition will be out in June 2010.


What ever happened to those early mornings when, upon awakening, for no reason, he would feel a sort of current of pure happiness running through him?

It wasn't the fact that the day was starting out cloudless and windless and shining bright with the sun. No, it was a different sensation, one that had nothing to do with his meteoropathic nature. If he had to explain, it was like feeling in harmony with all of creation, perfectly synchronized with a great stellar clock precisely positioned in space, at the very point that had been destined for him since birth.

Bullshit? Fantasy? Maybe.

But the indisputable fact was that he used to have this feeling rather often, whereas now, for the last few years, it was so long, nice knowing you. Gone. Vanished. In fact, nowadays early mornings very often inspired a feeling of refusal in him, a sort of instinctive rejection of what awaited him once he was forced to accept the new day, even if there were no particular hassles awaiting him in the hours ahead. And the proof of this was the way he acted upon emerging from sleep.

Translated by Stephen Sartarelli

(NB. typed in by me from an uncorrected proof and may not resemble the finished product.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's being and been published?

As well as the reviews page being updated every week on the website, I also update the forthcoming/new releases pages (by author, by date) so you can see what's coming out in the next few months or more.

Now also available is a breakdown of books published in the UK during 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each year's output is also available in the following categories: first novel (debut), historical, translated, anthology. I'm adding more information to the database so earlier years can be produced though the priority is upcoming titles.

You can access this information off the forthcoming/new releases pages.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Umbrella-d Women in Gate (cover theme)

I spotted the cover on the right in Waterstone's yesterday and knew it was familiar:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Reviews: Braddon, Brownley, Cooper, Peace, Robinson, Staalesen

Two competitions are currently running:

i)Win Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only)
ii)Win Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn (UK/Europe only)

Details on how to enter can be found on the Competition page

Here are the new reviews that have been added to the website today:
Terry Halligan reviews another in Atlantic Books Classic Crime series: Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon;

Michelle Peckham reviews A Picture of Guilt by James Brownley which is the first in the Alison Glasby, journalist, series;

Maxine Clarke reviews the first of N J (Natasha) Cooper's Karen Taylor series, No Escape which is set on the Isle of Wight;

Amanda Gillies reviews David Peace's 1974, the first part of the Red Riding Quartet, which is now available in hardback from Quercus;

Geoff Jones reviews Peter Robinson's latest short story collection, The Price of Love

and Maxine also reviews the new Varg Veum from Arcadia: The Consorts of Death by Gunnar Staalesen, tr. Don Bartlett.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Sleepy Sunday (for some)

Foxy showing off his flexibility again:

Reviews to follow later today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bits and Pieces

A few things I've learnt recently:
Bernard Knight is writing a second series along with his 12th Century Crowner John series. The first book is called Where Death Delights and is set in 1955. It'll be published by Severn House next February.

Nigel McCrery's Still Waters has just been published in paperback under the title Core of Evil.

Michael Morley is now also writing as Jon Trace and his first book under this name is The Venice Conspiracy out in February.

There's a special Taggart v Rebus confrontation on Children in Need next Friday.

The current podcast for Simon Mayo's Book Review show features Black Water Rising by Attica Locke and Judgement and Wrath by Matt Hilton.

On Radio 4's Open Book programme on Sunday 15 November at 4pm, Mariella Frostrup talks to Frances Fyfield.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My E-Reader and Me

A few weeks ago I indulged my not-so inner Trekker and splashed out on a silver Sony Touch E-Reader. Two of the main reasons for buying it were:

a) the fact that my eyes aren't as good as they were and there are 5 print size settings on the Touch.

b) the hope, perhaps naive, that some of the review copies for euro crime and my teenage fiction blog could be received as e-books rather than print books. Like most bibliophiles my house is overrun with books. It's more like a library with the odd bit of furniture.

The E-Reader is gorgeous and I'm enjoying reading on it. The text looks lovely and clear and the ability to increase or decrease the print size depending on eye-tiredness is as useful as I'd hoped it would be. The epub book I bought I read on the second setting, medium and the pdf review copy I'm currently reading is on the third setting, large.

I've only made a tentative enquiries about e-book review copies to a couple of publishers and one was positive and the other less-so. (I wonder if e-review copies could be sent to promote the paperback editions, if not the hardback editions?) It's early days yet I think. Only a few days ago Simon and Schuster (US) announced an e-galley grab programme. (I just need to get a contact there...)

One useful site I discovered via Twitter is NetGalley which is an intermediate between publishers and readers. You put in a request for e-review books and wait to see if you get them. So far, I've requested and received one for my teenage blog. There are some euro crime type titles available including a couple from Poisoned Pen Press.

As to buying e-books, so far I've found that W H Smiths are cheaper than Borders and Waterstone's but the same titles aren't always available on all the sites. A website I haven't yet tried but which has some US authors I'm interested in is Smash Words and ultimately they should have the Inger Frimansson titles we've reviewed recently.

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise reports back on her recent (International) Kindle purchase.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Le Crime Est Notre Affaire

The French Film Festival is currently running in some venues in the UK. (See here for which cinemas are taking part.) It finishes on 20 December.

One of the films on offer is 2008's Le Crime Est Notre Affaire (Crime is Our Business) in which Agatha Christie's married sleuths, the Beresfords, return:

The latest adventures of Belisaire and Prudence Beresford, adapted stylishly from Agatha Christie, find the pair enjoying peaceful days in their château but Prudence is bored and longs for a crime.

Bringing back most of the cast and crew from his two previous Christie yarns,
By the Pricking of My Thumbs and Towards Zero, writer-director Pascal Thomas adds another instalment to a consistently entertaining series.

Based primarily on the short story
The House of Lurking Death, which appeared in the author's 1929 collection Partners in Crime, but also including shades of 4:50 From Paddington, Thomas brings back that uncanny duo Prudence (Frot) and Belisaire Beresford (Dussollier), last seen Sherlocking together in Thumbs.

With Belisaire now retired from the secret service and the couple living tranquilly in the stunningly photographed Rhône-Alpes region, bored Prudence is just dying for a new crime to solve. Her wish is soon granted when visiting Auntie Babette (Annie Cordy in an engaging cameo) arrives on a train, on which she claims to have witnessed a murder.

The trailer below shows the first few minutes of the film:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Publishing Deal - Hallie Rubenhold

From today's BookTrade, details of a series which sounds rather fun:
Transworld has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in THE CONFESSIONS OF MRS LIGHTFOOT, WITH SOME ADVICE FOR WOMEN IN GENERAL, the first in a trilogy of novels, in 3-book deal for an undisclosed sum. The author, Hallie Rubenhold, is an authority on the 18th Century.

'An utterly riveting, edge-of-your-seat, series featuring an 18th century heroine, Henrietta Lightfoot: courtesan, adventuress, spy and erstwhile murderess. It had all of us here hooked. With potential to become a really popular series, this is a female Flashman who can show the chaps a thing or two, while deliciously rollicking through one of the most interesting and dashing periods in history. Rubenhold will be a major author for us for the future' [says Transworld]

Transworld will publish the first book in Spring 2011.

New Margaret Rutherford biography

I'm afraid this one had passed me by until copies started appearing on the reservation shelf at work. Margaret Rutherford: Dreadnought with Good Manners by Andy Merriman was published in September by Aurum Press:

She was one of our most idiosyncratic actresses, appearing in such thoroughly English classics as Blithe Spirit, The Importance of Being Earnest, Passport to Pimilico, I’m Alright Jack and four Miss Marple films. For this new biography - the first in over 25 years - Andy Merriman has interviewed scores of people who knew Margaret Rutherford. The result is an immensely compassionate and sometimes shocking portrait of an eccentric, vulnerable, naïve, lovable woman, generous to fault, who delighted audiences with some of the finest comic performances of any British actress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Publishing Deal - Giorgio Faletti

I mentioned I Kill a few days ago but the news is that Constable & Robinson have signed a second book from Giorgio Faletti:
Constable & Robinson has signed a two book deal with Italian thriller writer Giorgio Faletti.

The first title, I Kill, will be published in June 2010, with the second book I am God scheduled for UK publication in 2011.

“Faletti is a phenomenon on the continent, where he sells in the millions. [...] thrilled to be publishing what is a major talent for the English-speaking market for the first time.”

Read the whole article here.

Upcoming titles from Simon & Schuster

The new catalogue (January-June 2010) from Simon and Schuster (UK) has arrived and the titles appropriate to "Euro Crime" are:

Neil Cross - Captured


Michael Dobbs - The Reluctant Hero
Sarah Rayne - House of the Lost


Bruno Hare - The Lost Kings


Jeremy Duns - Free Country
Bernard Knight - A Plague of Heretics
Craig Robertson - Random


Rebecca Frayn - The Art of Self-Deception

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cover Theme - Insects

This US edition of Cora Harrison's The Sting of Justice will be published in December, Venom by Joan Brady is out in February 2010. Matt Rees's The Bethlehem Murders set the trend back in 2007.

Philippa Gregory thriller to be televised

From today's Bookseller:
Philippa Gregory's contemporary thriller The Little House is to be made into a two-part drama for ITV1.

The story focuses on the life of Ruth, a young mother who struggles with postpartum depression and the unresolved feelings she has about the deaths of her parents when she was a child; her career-minded husband Patrick and his parents Elizabeth and Frederick.

Independent production company TXTV will film the drama in May and June 2010.
Read the whole article, here.

Sherlock Holmes - trailer

The release of Sherlock Holmes the movie, Guy Ritchie style gets ever closer (UK release is Boxing Day). Here's a 2 minute trailer:

What do you think?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Reviews: Genelin, Guthrie, Joensuu, Le Fanu, O'Byrne, Rimington

Three competitions are currently running:

i)Win a copy of Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz (US only, closes 9 Nov)
ii)Win a copy of Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only)
iii)Win a copy of Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn (UK/Europe only)

Details on how to enter can be found on the Competition page

Here are the new reviews that have been added to the website today:
Norman Price reviews Siren of the Waters by Michael Genelin the first of a series featuring Slovakian detective Jana Matinova;

Amanda Gillies enjoys Allan Guthrie's Killing Mum a novella in the Crime Express range;

Maxine Clarke reviews Finnish author Matti Joensuu's To Steal Her Love;

Laura Root reviews the Gothic sounding classic Wylder's Hand by J Sheridan Le Fanu;

Michelle Peckham reviews The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure by Michael O'Byrne and says it's of interest to non-writers as well

and Terry Halligan reviews the latest from former MI5 head Stella Rimington - Present Danger.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Don Bartlett: Interview of a Translator (part 3)

Parts 1 and 2 of the interview with translater Don Bartlett, can be found here and here.

Jo Nesbø and Don Bartlett have been short-listed for the CWA International Dagger for The Redbreast (2007) and The Redeemer (2009).

EC: Which Scandinavian crime authors would you like to see published in English?

DB: I have always been a big fan of Dan Turell. A larger than life Danish writer who died in 1993 at the age of 47. He wrote ten crime stories with great style, wit and warmth.

EC: What are you working on now? (What do we crime fans have to look forward to and will you be doing the rest of the Gunnar Staalesen books as it was reported that Arcadia intend to publish all of them...)

DB: At present I am about to start the next Jo Nesbø, THE LEOPARD. Who knows what will happen with the other Staalesen books? Of course I hope the series will go from strength to strength.

EC: Do you like to read crime fiction (that you're not translating)? - And if so which authors do you enjoy?

DB: Yes, I like reading crime fiction, and there are plenty of good books around. Looking at my pile, I can see recent reads have been Ann Cleeves, Teresa Solana, George Pelecanos, John Harvey…

EC: If you could have written one book which would it be?

DB: One? Philip Kerr’s Berlin trilogy? Does that count? Don’t know. I don’t have dreams of that kind.

EC: Thank you so much for your time Don and also thanks to Crime Scraps for the accompanying photos.

I wrote up the "translators panel" that Don was on at CrimeFest along with Ann Cleeves, Tiina Nunnally, Roz Schwartz and Reg Keeland (aka Steven T Murray) and it's on the blog here.

You can now also listen to the discussion via an mp3 file. (Other panels are available on this CrimeFest page.)

You can read reviews of some of the books that Don's translated, via the Euro Crime website bibliography pages for: K O Dahl, Jo Nesbø and shortly, Gunnar Staalesen.

(NB. These bibliography pages will also help you read the books in their original publication order, (in so much as they are available) rather than translation order. This is rather important for Jo Nesbø's books.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Competition Reminder: Sheer Folly

Competition reminder. Residents of UK and Europe can win a copy of Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn.

Details of how to enter can be found on the competition page along with details of two further competitions.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Don Bartlett: Interview of a Translator (part 2)

Part 1 of the interview with esteemed translator Don Bartlett, can be found here.

EC: I believe you brought Jo Nesbø to UK publishers' attention (for which we are truly grateful). Did you have a hand in bringing K O Dahl to Faber's attention?

DB: I saw Jo (Norwegian), Håkan Nesser (Swedish) and Leif Davidsen (Danish) at a very amusing crime debate in Copenhagen. Afterwards I contacted Jo’s publisher and read everything he had written, so I was ready to enthuse when asked to write a reader’s report. And to give my opinion when Christopher Maclehose was negotiating to buy two books in Oslo. I had heard K O Dahl was being sold to Faber, so I contacted them and applied to be the translator. I had read all of Dahl’s books and was keen.

EC: You mentioned at CrimeFest that you saw Harry as a northerner with a dry sense of humour, how do you characterise the main characters from Dahl and Staalesen's books?

DB: Gunnarstranda and Frølich (Dahl) are two quirky characters, each strong in his own way, not the most coherent team, but effective. Gunnarstranda is widowed, older, grumpy, easily teased by a confident woman. Frølich is single at times, younger, a willing worker, always thinking about sex. You can smile with or at both of them. Varg Veum (Staalesen) is gentle, worldly-wise, divorced, with a strong moral sense. Staalesen is soft hard-boiled crime! Neither author is short of humour.

EC: [The million dollar question] Why do you think Scandinavian crime fiction is so popular in Britain at the moment?

DB: We don’t seem to be overly open to translated fiction in Britain, so this crime wave is a welcome surprise. Some good Scandinavian writers established themselves (Mankell etc) thanks to an enterprising publisher and that created a taste for more. Scandinavia is both exotic and not so very different from here, and it’s modern, hi-tech. The best Scandi crime fiction has a strong sense of place, evocative writing, thinking characters, an interest in the fabric of society and our lives today, the ‘why’ of crime rather than the ‘how’. It has adapted solid models in a relevant, personal way. And, of course, there is a merry band of dedicated crime fiction bloggers at large who tell everyone how good it is.

EC: Are translators more appreciated these days?

DB: Yes, I think things are changing for the better. You only have to look at THE INDEPENDENT reviews to see that. Or crime fiction websites.

To Be Continued...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Don Bartlett: Interview of a Translator (part 1)

At CrimeFest in May, the Euro Crime representatives (Maxine pictured left, Norman and myself*) got to spend a few minutes with the very affable Don Bartlett, perhaps best known to crime fiction readers as the translator of Jo Nesbo's and K O Dahl's books, from the Norwegian to English.

(*He had already picked us out from the audience at the translation panel as the "crime bloggers" so not sure what that says about us :)).

Don has very kindly agreed to answer some questions about himself and his work:

EC: Britain's not known for its language skills - generally speaking people know a smattering of French, German or Spanish at best, so what led you to languages?

DB: I have always been interested in language and reading. At school we had French and German language assistants. They were fun, despite having to be with us, so that motivated me. What has happened to language assistants by the way? I stayed with a German family for a week, hitch-hiked around northern Europe in the holidays and had a German girlfriend.

EC: Your CV is very impressive: offering translations from German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Spanish. Your recent work has mainly been from the Norwegian, do you prefer Norwegian or is that where the work is?

DB: I was recommended by David McDuff to read Norwegian crime fiction and it started from there. Norwegian literature punches above its weight, I like it and for me that is where the work is.

EC: Did you always have plans to be a translator, or is this an unexpected career path?

DB: Unexpected. The organisation where I was working centralised and those of us on the edge knew what was coming. I had felt I needed to get back to foreign languages and so I started doing something about it, translation courses, etc.

EC: With the Gunnar Staalesen series, the earlier books have had different translators. Do you read the other translations and try and match the tone/style or just focus on the original words?

DB: I have read one earlier translation, and of course I have read the other books by Staalesen. I decided it made more sense to take THE CONSORTS OF DEATH on its own terms.

EC: You're the current translator for three series written by male authors (Dahl, Nesbo, Staalesen). Would you like to translate a female author's books in the future or is the gender of the author irrelevant to your work?

DB: I started with Pernille Rygg. Shame she didn’t develop a series! I think the books come first. Not sure that translators have much choice over the direction of their work anyway.

To Be Continued...

Romanzo Criminale on BBC4

BBC4 strikes again. They are the 'go to' tv channel for international crime fiction in the UK. Unfortunately they don't have a lot of competition but I'm grateful for what they do show. Tomorrow they have the tv premiere of Romanzo Criminale at 22.30 and it is repeated on Sunday, 8 Nov 2009 at 01:30.

Inspired by a true story, an epic crime thriller which follows a gang's wave of violence, terror and corruption from the 1970s to 1990s. When childhood friends Ice, Dandy and Lebanese kidnap a rich man for a huge ransom they decide to spend their profits on taking over Rome's criminal underworld.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

New Reviews: Auswaks, Brandreth, Byrnes, Frimansson, Hayes, Nesbo & New Competitions

Three new competitions have been added to the website this week:

i)Win a copy of Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz (US only)
ii)Win a copy of Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire (UK only)
iii)Win a copy of Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn (UK/Europe only)

Details on how to enter can be found on the Competition page

Here are the new reviews that have been added to the website today:
Rik Shepherd reviews Sherlock Holmes in Russia, edited and translated by Alex Auswaks and finds it's not what he was expecting;

Terry Halligan is pleasantly surprised by Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile;

Amanda Gillies is disappointed with The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes;

Maxine Clarke reviews The Shadow in the Water by Inger Frimansson (the sequel to Good Night, My Darling);

Michelle Peckham reviews A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes the second of his medical examiner series set in the US

and Maxine also reviews The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo (nb. coming interview with Jo Nesbo's translator Don Bartlett).
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.