Monday, October 31, 2011

The Silence - Trailer

I was recently invited to an early showing of The Silence, based on Jan Costin Wagner's novel Silence. Unfortunately I couldn't attend but it is now on at a couple of cinemas in London: the Odeon in Panton Street and the Greenwich Picture House. I'm not sure if it's on anywhere else at the moment.

Silence is the second book in the Kimmo Joentaa series but for the film the setting has been moved from Finland to Germany.

It's quite a gruelling read, which you can see from the trailer:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Reviews: Birkegaard, Briscoe, Child, Dugdall, Fleming, McCrery

Closing soon: October's Competition: Win a copy of Strangled in Paris by Claude Izner (UK only)

Here are this week's new reviews:
With the first of two books this week which may not be for the squeamish is Rich Westwood with his review of Mikkel Birkegaard's Death Sentence, tr. Charlotte Barslund;

Susan White reviews The Accused by Constance Briscoe her crime debut, already well-known as the author of the autobiographical Ugly;

Lynn Harvey reviews Lee Child's The Affair which takes Jack Reacher back to the beginning of his loner career;

Maxine Clarke reviews the CWA Award Winner, Ruth Dugdall's The Sacrificial Man;

Terry Halligan reviews James Fleming's conclusion to his Charlie Doig trilogy, Rising Blood

and Amanda Gillies reviews the second of the two books not for the faint-hearted: Nigel McCrery's Scream the third in the DCI Lapslie series set in Essex which is available in paperback.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by David Belbin, Alex Connor, Ruth Dugdall, Paulus Hochgatterer, Bill Kitson, Alexander McCall Smith, Alexander Soderberg, Dag Solstad, Ferdinand von Schirach and Tom Winship have been added to these pages this week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Event News: Crime Scene: Europe (NYC)

If you can't make the upcoming Crime Across the Continent event in London then perhaps you can get to New York's Crime Scene: Europe, an enticing collection of literary and film presentations between 15 and 20 November. I've been sent a shortened version of the press release:
Europe is in the midst of a crime wave—a surge of creative and innovative detective fiction that pays its respects to the traditions of noir while incorporating the psychological novel, the political thriller, and the border-crossings that reflect the increasingly globalized culture of the EU. The eighth annual New Literature from Europe Festival organized by eight European Cultural Institutes in New York, will present a series of readings and discussions in Manhattan and Brooklyn from November 15-17, 2011, with writers Caryl Férey (France), Zygmunt Miłoszewski (Poland), Ana Maria Sandu (Romania), Stefan Slupetzky (Austria), José Carlos Somoza (Spain), and Jan Costin Wagner (Germany), joined by U.S. guest author Dan Fesperman.

A special film series complements this year’s spoken word programs, featuring both adaptations of crime novels and new approaches to the genre that play with the conventions of film noir. Presented in collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image from November 18-20, 2011, the series ranges from Czech and Austrian films of the ‘40s and the early ‘50s rarely seen in the U.S., to contemporary productions from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Romania, including the critically acclaimed works Aurora by Cristi Puiu and The Double Hour by Giuseppe Capotondi. Authors Zygmunt Miloszewski and Jan Costin Wagner will be present to discuss film versions of their novels featured in the Festival.

All literary events are free and open to the public. For tickets for the film screenings, visit
You can read a longer version of the press release with authors bios here.

You can follow New Literature from Europe on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Empire & Clothing

I've very recently read Mark Kermode's The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex in which he devotes a whole chapter (and there're only 6 so it's a good portion of the book) to the plight of films not in the English language and those usually dreadful, misguided English-language remakes. He also asks, when was the last time you saw a "foreign language" film gracing the front cover of a film magazine like Empire. In the book he can't think of an example however he may have discovered once since, I don't know. He also complained how his announcing the BAFTA (for Film Not In The English Language) for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was cut from the BBC's programme as though it was of little interest.

Compare these points with the current cover of Empire and its coverage of "the film event of the year".

Plus I don't know what Dr K will think of Julian Sands' involvement.

Thanks to Petrona for the Empire cover suggestion.

And...just in from the Guardian... H&M have a new clothing range inspired by Lisbeth Salander:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Separated at Birth?

One of these is a British pop star and the other a well-known Swedish actor:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Event News: Crime across the Continent

On Friday 18 November there is a fabulously enticing day of lectures for anyone interested in translated crime fiction, at the British Library. One of Euro Crime's favourite translators will be speaking. Here's the programme:

This study day, organised by the European Studies department of the British Library, explores contemporary crime fiction from across Continental Europe.

The speakers will include academics, publishers, writers and translators. Among the topics covered will be crime fiction as a vehicle for social and political analysis, both contemporary and historical, and the part crime fiction has to play in the transmission of European cultures. The day is principally as a seminar for researchers but the contributions will appeal to an audience of specialists and non-specialists.


09:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-11:15 Beyond the whodunnit

Chair: Christopher MacLehose, MacLehose Press
Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (University College, London), Crime and Happiness: Scandinavian Crime Fiction and End of the Welfare State.
Aka Morchiladze, Crime fiction as device.
Angela Kimyongür (University of Hull), Dominique Manotti and the roman noir.


11:30-13:15 Looking back at history

Chair: Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen
Giuliana Pieri (Royal Holloway, London), Camilleri’s “historical” crime novels: Sicily, Italy and the Risorgiment.
Olga Sobolev (London School of Economics), Boris Akunin and the Rise of Russian Detective Genre.
Claire Gorrara (Cardiff University), Past crimes, present memories: French crime fiction and the Second World War.
Danusia Stok, The force of setting in the fiction of Marek Krajewski.


14:15-15:00 The Scandinavian Crime Fiction Phenomenon

Barry Forshaw, Through a Glass Darkly: Mankell, Larsson and Nesbø.


15:30-17:15 Translating cultures/languages

Chair: Ros Schwarz
Gary Pulsifer (Arcadia Books), EuroCrime in the wake of the Nordic Invasion.
Amanda Hopkinson (City University), Catalan cops and Spanish seductions: making crime pay.
Gunnar Staalesen and Don Bartlett (courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy), From Norway to Norfolk; author and translator in conversation.

I'm very tempted to go, though I worry I'll be out of my depth!

Book a place (the price is £20) via the British Library's website.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Website Updates - October

Unfortunately there won't be any new reviews this weekend as I'm not around but last night I refreshed the website and added extra countries to the bibliographies page. These country listings are based on the author's place of birth, rather than where they are now living or any new nationality they may have taken or the country they are writing about, which may be different to where they were born.

Website Update
State of play at 20.10.11:

  • The Bibliographies page now has more authors by 'Countries', plus I've removed the 'Eastern Europe' catch-all and put in the individual countries.

  • The Author Websites page now lists 906 sites.

  • The New & Upcoming Releases pages have been updated (added since last weekend: Tom Benn, Jane Casey, Michael J Malone, VM Whitworth and Felicity Young).

  • In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 1691 authors (8680 titles with links to 2090 reviews):

  • I've added new bibliographies for: Tom Benn, Philip Carter, Patrick Conrad, Dean Crawford, Bernhard Jaumann, Eva Joly & Judith Perrignon, Vilmos Kondor, Selma Lagerlof, Rosamund Lupton, Mark Mackay, Michael J Malone, D E Meredith, A D Miller, Mark Peterson, Sam Ripley, Norman Russell, Alex Sharp, Christopher Wallace, Jan Wallentin and V M Whitworth..

    I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Harry Bingham, S J Bolton, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Brett, Declan Burke, Jane Casey, Agatha Christie, Michael Cordy, Elisabeth J Duncan, Gordon Ferris, Elly Griffiths, Lucretia Grindle, David Hodges, Arlene Hunt, Maxim Jakubowski, P D James, Peter James, Tobias Jones, Mons Kallentoft, Christobel Kent, Barry Maitland, J D Mallinson, Liza Marklund, Glenn Meade, Zygmunt Miloszewski, Harri Nykanen, Martin O'Brien, Anne Perry, Matt Benyon Rees, Phil Rickman, Michael Ridpath, Jarkko Sipila, Anna Smith, Cath Staincliffe and Felicity Young.
    If you spot any errors or omissions do let me know.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Snow Angels - Cover Opinions

    This week's selection for "cover opinions" is the US and UK covers for James Thompson's Finland-set Snow Angels.

    So what are your thoughts on the US (LHS - complete with "If You liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you'll love this!" sticker)) and UK (RHS) covers? Which would entice you to pick the book up if you were not familiar with this title?

    If you have read it, how well do the covers match the story?

    Read the Euro Crime review by Terry of Snow Angels.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    New Reviews: Brandreth, Cain, Franklin, Kallentoft, Leonard, Rimington, Smith

    October's Competition: Win a copy of Strangled in Paris by Claude Izner (UK only)

    Here are this week's new reviews:
    Susan White reviews Gyles Brandreth's fourth book featuring Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers (US title is Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders);

    Rich Westwood reviews Tom Cain's Dictator also the fourth in the series;

    Lynn Harvey reviews the fourth and last Adelia Aguilar from the late Ariana Franklin which is now out in paperback, The Assassin's Prayer (US title is A Murderous Procession);

    Maxine Clarke reviews the first in the Superintendent Malin Fors series from Mons Kallentoft: Midwinter Sacrifice, tr. Neil Smith;

    Terry Halligan reviews Peter Leonard's All He Saw Was The Girl, set in Rome;

    Lizzie Hayes reviews Stella Rimington's Rip Tide, the sixth in the Liz Carlyle MI5/6 series

    and Amanda Gillies reviews the first of Anna Smith's new series, The Dead Won't Sleep, set in Glasgow.
    Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

    Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by Gordon Ferris, Mons Kallentoft, Matt Benyon Rees, Michael Ridpath, Anna Smith and Jan Wallentin have been added to these pages this week.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Ellis Peters Historical Award - Shortlist

    Thanks to Crime Scraps, I hear that the Ellis Peters Historical Award Shortlist has been announced. Here are the six contenders, with links to reviews on Euro Crime:

    The Crime Writers’ Association has announced the shortlist for this year’s prestigious Ellis Peters Historical Award. The six books on the shortlist are:

    Rory Clements Prince (John Murray)
    Sam Eastland The Red Coffin (Faber & Faber)
    Gordon Ferris The Hanging Shed (Corvus)
    Andrew Martin The Somme Stations (Faber & Faber)
    RN Morris The Cleansing Flames (Faber & Faber)
    Imogen Robertson Island of Bones (Headline)

    CWA chair Peter James said: “Historical fiction remains as popular as ever and has seen the creation of some of crime writing’s most enduring characters. This year’s books continue that fine tradition.“

    The winner will be announced on November 30 at the Athenaeum in London.

    Read more about each book on the CWA website.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    More Ways to Own the Millennium Trilogy

    News of two new editions of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy have come my way this week. Firstly a press release from MacLehose/Quercus about this luxury edition which comes with a doodle:
    MacLehose Press are delighted to announce that a special, leather and stud bound, one-off boxed set edition of the MILLENNIUM TRILOGY will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on the 15th Dec to help raise money for Stieg Larsson’s magazine, Expo.

    The Boxed set includes the letter of rejection from the Joint Committee of Colleges of Journalism in Stockholm to applicant 493 [Stieg Larsson] and features a charming doodle by Stieg Larsson on the back of the letter.

    Part of the letter is visible in this recent Guardian article.

    You can read the whole Sotherby's press release (pdf) on the Euro Crime website.

    The second bit of news comes from Publishers Weekly regarding graphic novel versions of the three books:

    Working in conjunction with the estate of Stieg Larsson and the Hedlund Literary Agency, DC Entertainment and its Vertigo imprint will adapt Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy novels—the books have sold more than 60 million copies— into a series of graphic novels. Each book in the trilogy will be adapted into two graphic novel volumes available in print and digital formats. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo graphic novel volumes will be released in 2012 and graphic adaptations of The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nests will be released in 2014.

    Dan DiDio, copublisher of DC Entertaiment, parent company of DC Comics/Vertigo, said, “The intricate characters and stories Larsson created in the Millennium Trilogy are a perfect match for the graphic novel format, where we can bring Lisbeth Salander to life in entirely new, visually compelling ways.”

    “Stieg always liked comics and it will be exciting to see the unforgettable characters he created come to life on the comics page,” said Joakim Larsson, younger brother of the journalist and novelist, who died in 2004.
    And finally, here's the jacket of the US-film-tie-in edition which will be available from 27 October, the film is out 26 December:

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Review: Doctor Who: The Eye of the Jungle by Darren Jones (audio book)

    Doctor Who: The Eye of the Jungle by Darren Jones, read by David Troughton (AudioGO, July 2011, 2 CDs (1hr 30mins), ISBN: 9781408468159)

    In The Eye of the Jungle the Doctor takes Amy and Rory to the Amazonian jungle in 1827. Shortly after leaving the TARDIS they are surrounded by crocodiles. They are saved by Oliver Blazington, a mercenary/hunter who is there to capture animals for his boss Garrett who will subsequently exhibit them at London Zoo. However the locals are restless as domestic animals and people are disappearing and the priest's housekeeper refers to an "Eye" that seems to be involved.

    Needless to say, the time-travellers soon discover the Eye for themselves and must save themselves from a fate worse than death...

    This is an entertaining adventure, revealing the Doctor's empathy for not just humans but other animals too and he maintains his refusal to be used as a weapon by those who are taking the missing life-forms. I loved the fact that cd1 ended on a cliff-hanger worthy of classic Doctor Who tv episodes. Also that Amy and Rory don't require saving, rather the reverse.

    David Troughton, son of 2nd Doctor, Patrick, and who appeared himself in the 10th Doctor episode Midnight takes over the narration duties this time round. His Doctor doesn't sound much like Matt Smith but does sound similar to Clive Mantle's Doctor in The Coming of the Terraphiles; his Amy is a bit wobbly but he does get Rory's inflection down to a T. Impersonations, intended or otherwise, aside he does a good job with the story-telling.

    The sound-effects continue to improve. In the early days there was nothing, that was replaced by a smidge of music but now if someone drops something you hear a clang. They don't overpower the narrator this time round, which has been a complaint of mine before.

    The Eye of the Jungle is a solid adventure in this series of "exclusive" audio adventures. My personal favourite so far has been The Runaway Train narrated by Matt Smith and the least engaging has been, The Ring of Steel which though narrated well by Arthur Darvill, has a run-of-the-mill story. (NB. I still have a couple more to listen to.)

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Winners: CWA Awards (Gold, Fleming, Creasey), TV & Film Daggers 2011

    The winners of the second round of CWA Daggers were announced on Friday night. Quotes from the winners can be found on the press release and more information is available on the CWA's website. The TV and Film Dagger winners are also listed below.






    True Grit (Paramount Pictures) - WINNER
    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Momentum Pictures)
    Brighton Rock (Optimum Releasing)
    Source Code (Optimum Releasing)


    Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One) - WINNER
    Luther (BBC One)
    The Shadow Line (Company Pictures, BBC Two)
    Zen (Left Bank Pictures, BBC One)
    Vera (ITV Studios, ITV1)


    The Killing, (Arrow Films, BBC4) - WINNER
    Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
    Castle (ABC Studios, Alibi)
    Dexter (Showtime Networks, FX Channel)
    Spiral (Son Et Lumiere, BBC 4)


    Sofie Gråbøl for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC4) - WINNER
    Brenda Blethyn for Vera (ITV Studios, ITV1)
    Maxine Peake for Silk (BBC One)
    Olivia Williams for Case Sensitive (Hat Trick Productions, ITV1)
    Sue Johnston for Waking the Dead (BBC One)
    Kelly Reilly for Above Suspicion (La Plante Productions, ITV1)


    Idris Elba for Luther (BBC One) - WINNER
    Lars Mikkelsen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC4)
    Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
    Jason Isaacs for Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One)
    Rufus Sewell for Zen (Left Bank Pictures, BBC One)


    Rafe Spall for The Shadow Line (Company Pictures, BBC Two) - WINNER
    Bjarne Henriksen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4)
    Søren Malling for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4)
    John Lithgow for Dexter (Showtime Networks, FX Channel)
    Aidan Gillen for Thorne (Stagereel / Cité Amérique, Sky One)


    Ann Eleonora Jørgensen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4) - WINNER
    Kelly Macdonald for Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
    Ruth Wilson for Luther (BBC One)
    Amanda Abbington for Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One)
    Tara Fitzgerald for Waking The Dead (BBC One)

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Author to look out for - Dror Mishani

    There was a brief mention in Publishers Lunch (Publisher's Weekly) of a US deal for Dror Mishani's Missing File, the first in a new Israeli series featuring Inspector Abraham Abraham, which I believe will be in translation. More information is behind the paywall but it does seem that the UK rights have been bought, possibly by Picador.

    Synopsis taken from the Liepman International Rights Catalogue:
    Sixteen-year-old Ofer, who left his home in Holon one morning on his way to school, disappeared without leaving a trace. Police inspector Abraham Abraham, guilt-ridden and determined to find the missing boy, is gradually consumed by the frustrating investigation that takes over his life. It seems that the more he finds out about the boy and his life, the further he gets from the truth. And only one man, Ofer’s older neighbour and private teacher Zeev Avni, has something to tell him. But will the neighbour’s strange story save the investigation before it’s too late?

    One to look out for I think...

    Sunday, October 09, 2011

    New Reviews: Bayard, Cotterill, Durbridge, Hannah, McDermid, Neville, Ohlsson & New Competition

    New Competition: Win a copy of Strangled in Paris by Claude Izner (UK only)

    Here are this week's new reviews:
    Amanda Gillies reviews Louis Bayard's The School of Night set in modern day, and Elizabethan England;

    Lynn Harvey reviews Colin Cotterill's Killed at the Whim of a Hat which is now out in paperback and she makes an unexpected comparison with a well-known US series...;

    I review the audio version of Francis Durbridge's Tim Frazer Again read by Anthony Head;

    Susan White reviews Sophie Hannah's Lasting Damage which is now out in paperback, and which reminded her of Barbara Vine's earlier work;

    Maxine Clarke reviews the new Tony Hill-Carol Jordan from Val McDermid, The Retribution;

    Terry Halligan reviews Stuart Neville's debut, The Twelve aka The Ghosts of Belfast (US) which he thought was brilliant and original

    and I also review the debut from Kristina Ohlsson: Unwanted, tr. Sarah Death which is gripping despite being a bit predictable.
    Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

    Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by Declan Burke, Patrick Conrad, David Hodges, Arlene Hunt, Eva Joly & Judith Perrignon, J D Mallinson, Zygmunt Miloszewski, Harri Nykanen, Sam Ripley and Norman Russell have been added to these pages this week.

    Win: Strangled in Paris by Claude Izner

    Euro Crime has 10 copies of Strangled in Paris by Claude Izner to giveaway. To enter the draw, just answer the question and include your details in the form below.

    This competition is open to UK residents and will close on 31 October 2011.
    Only 1 entry per person/per household please.
    (All entries will be deleted once the winner has been notified.)

    Why would anyone strangle a humble seamstress with no known enemies? When newly-married bookseller Victor Legris is asked to solve the murder of Louise Fontaine in the abattoir district of La Villette, he is initially baffled by the case. But as the investigation progresses, Victor, along with his assistant and brother-in-law Joseph, discovers that in belle-époque Paris young girls with no money or background are as ruthlessly preyed on as ever they were...

    Friday, October 07, 2011

    The Killing T-Shirts

    I've stumbled over these The Killing inspired t-shirts over at Den of Geek (where I read my Dr Who reviews!). Available in different colours and sizes, I'm tempted by the removal van one!
    Browse the range/order here.

    Philip Kerr's non Bernie Project

    Philip Kerr's latest and eighth Bernie Gunther book, Prague Fatale will be out later this month. He has another iron in the fire in the shape of writing a script for a Princess Diana bio-pic. From The Guardian:

    Producer Stephen Evans, whose previous credits include The Madness of King George and The Wings of the Dove, is planning a $50m film about the princess, and has hired Ken Wharfe, Diana's former head of private security, and her former private secretary, Commander Patrick Jephson, to provide authenticity. No one has yet been cast in the lead role, nor has a director been attached, but Evans has commissioned a script from crime novelist Philip Kerr.

    The project has been in development for two years, and apparently will focus on the difficult period of her life during her marriage to Prince Charles and their subsequent divorce in 1996 – but will not tackle her relationship with Dodi al-Fayed.

    Read the whole article here.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011

    Competition Winners March 2011 - September 2011

    Here are details of who won what in the last few months' Euro Crime competitions:

    March 2011

    The 5 winners of a signed copy of Complicit by Nicci French were:

    Claire Butler
    Simon Gibson
    Diane Moston
    Alison Shinn
    Gemma Wyatt

    The 5 winners of a copy of From the Dead by Mark Billingham were:

    Johannah (from Slough)
    Victoria Boland
    Mathew Harvey
    Nicky Stevens
    Richard Whittington

    April 2011

    The 5 winners of a set of Van Veeteren novels by Hakan Nesser were:

    Sharisse de Silva
    Rosie Dharamsi
    Graham Nichols
    Carol Phile
    James Spicer

    The 6 winners of a copy of Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin were:

    Lisa Ellison
    Lynda Jones
    Elizabeth Osbourne
    Lynda Sanderson
    Karen Watson
    Paul Witney

    May 2011

    The 5 winners of a copy of Stagestruck by Peter Lovesey were:

    Melissa Hall
    Roma Pearshouse
    Kerry Sabel
    Tina Smith
    Laura Westwood

    June 2011

    The winner of a set of books by S J Bolton was:

    Paul Holt

    July 2011

    The 5 winners of a set of 3 books by Armand Cabasson were:

    Janine Atkin
    Jennifer Bell
    Amy Hobbs
    James Holyland
    Hazel Rush

    No competitions in August and September 2011

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    Review: Tim Frazer Again by Francis Durbridge (audio book)

    Tim Frazer Again by Francis Durbridge read by Anthony Head (AudioGO, September 2011, ISBN: 9781408469682, 2 CDs (2hr 20 mins))

    I've previously reviewed an audio book featuring Francis Durbridge's famous creation Paul Temple: Paul Temple and the Madison Mystery in which a writer turns sleuth in the upper end of society. Tim Frazer's isn't quite so high-brow.

    Frazer is an engineer who has recently begun working for a secret police/Government department. In this, his second case, he is sent to Amsterdam to shadow Barbara Day. Barbara Day recently ran over and killed a British agent, Leo Salinger, on one of her regular trips to Amsterdam. Was it an accident of something more sinister?

    Frazer carries out his assignment and makes an impression. So much so, that when he is back in London he gets embroiled in Barbara's personal and professional life, and when he finds a dead body in her living room, things become quite tricky for him. Even when Frazer has completed his task of finding out whether Salinger was involved in shady dealings or not, he can't let the mystery rest and carries on to the bitter end risking his heart and his life...

    This is a complicated story with many twists and turns which kept me hooked. It's action-packed with fights, dangerous men, and a hidden baddie who instils mortal fear in his underlings. Written in the 1960s we see the quaint use of telephone boxes rather than disposable mobile phones. I really enjoyed
    Tim Frazer Again and Buffy and Merlin's Anthony Head narrates very well with a variety of convincing accents and a low breathy voice for Barbara Day. He also plays Tim Frazer in 2010's The World of Tim Frazer and I'll be looking out for his Paul Temple audio books too.

    Monday, October 03, 2011

    Recorder Reminder - Romanzo Criminale

    I didn't realise my Sky package included Sky Arts until a few days ago and annoyingly just missed the opportunity to record the original Insomnia but I am in time to set my Sky+ for the series of Romanzo Criminale which starts tomorrow night at 9pm on Sky Arts:

    Set in Rome during the 1970s, Romanzo Criminale (Crime Novel) is based on the award-winning film of the same name which tells the true story of the Banda della Magia, the prolific and bloodthirsty crime family in Italy who were responsible for some of the most violent crimes the country had ever seen.

    Romanzo Criminale first burst into the world as a gut-wrenching crime novel by Roman judge, novelist and scriptwriter Giancarlo De Cataldo. After becoming a cult novel in Italy, it was turned into a hit feature film which was the recipient of countless awards including an Italian Golden Globe. The series was also a huge success in Italy, with critics praising it as “The only Italian series of which we can be proud,” while leading newspaper La Stampa called it “the best television series ever produced in Italy.”

    Political murders, spectacular bombing and high-profile kidnappings, the story is set in the violent underworld of Rome, a patchwork of petty gangs and small-time crooks where one young man, known only as The Lebanese, dreams of rising to the top of the pack. As he proves himself through a series of brutal crimes, he makes valuable connections among corrupt cops and politicians, and in the Secret Service, which seeks to enlist the gang to destabilize the government and provoke a right-wing coup.

    Pitted against the world of women, drugs, gambling and clubs of The Lebanese and his cohorts is the young idealistic police inspector Nicola Scialoja. Seemingly the one man not in the pay or pocket of the Mafia or the corrupt State, Scialoja is determined to bring the ferocious gang to justice, whatever the cost to himself or to the rules of the law.

    Sunday, October 02, 2011

    New Reviews: Billingham, Burke, Chance, Christie, Larsson, Magson, Rayne, Sharp, Stark & Competition

    And the reviews are back! A slightly longer break than I'd anticipated due to family matters but 9 new reviews follow below plus a very short-term competition to win tickets to meet actors from The Killing (Danish version) at The Scandinavia Show next Sunday. I have 4 tickets to giveaway, just enter a few details in this form.

    Here are this week's (globe-trotting) reviews:
    Geoff Jones reviews the tenth in the Tom Thorne series by Mark Billingham, Good as Dead;

    Laura Root reviews Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the Twenty-First Century edited by Declan Burke an "anthology of essays and short stories centred on Irish crime writing";

    Lynn Harvey reviews Alex Chance's second thriller, now out in mass market paperback Savage Blood which she describes as "Denis Wheatley meets Dan Brown";

    I review the audio version of two recently unearthed Hercule Poirot stories by Agatha Christie: The Capture of Cerberus & The Incident of the Dog's Ball which are read by David Suchet;

    Maxine Clarke reviews the long-awaited fourth book in translation by Asa Larsson: Until Thy Wrath Be Past, tr. Laurie Thompson which Maxine sums up in one word: "brilliant";

    Terry Halligan reviews the second in Adrian Magson's 1960s France-set DI Rocco series, Death on the Rive Nord and he hopes for more in the series;

    Amanda Gillies praises highly Sarah Rayne's latest psychological thriller, What Lies Beneath now out in paperback;

    The first of two books set in the US written by UK authors is Alex Sharp's Driver: Nemesis, set in New Orleans; it's based on a computer game and written pseudonymously by an "English thriller writer" and reviewed here by Rich Westwood

    and the second is Oliver Stark's 88 Killer, his second book set in New York City and which Michelle Peckham found "absorbing".
    Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here.

    Saturday, October 01, 2011

    Review: The Capture of Cerberus & The Incident of the Dog's Ball by Agatha Christie read by David Suchet

    Hercule Poirot in The Capture of Cerberus & The Incident of the Dog's Ball by Agatha Christie read by David Suchet (AudioGo, September 2011, ISBN: 9781408468593, 2 CDs (1hr 25 mins))

    Some background information taken from the back cover:
    In 2004, a remarkable archive was unearthed at Agatha Christie’s family home, Greenway – 73 of her private notebooks, filled with pencilled jottings and ideas. Hidden within this literary treasure trove were two rare, never-before-published short stories, discovered by archivist John Curran and published in his book ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making’.

    ‘The Capture of Cerberus’ was intended to be the twelfth in her collection of Poirot stories, ‘The Labours of Hercules’, but she eventually rewrote it, keeping only the title.

    ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’, probably written in 1933, was reworked as the novel ‘Dumb Witness’ (1937) with a different murderer and motive.

    Review: In The Capture of Cerberus, Hercule Poirot is in Geneva. The Second World War is looming and he wishes that people would be passionate about peace rather than fighting. A meeting with the fascinating Countess Vera Rossakoff leads him to investigate a case for a German man who cannot believe that his son assassinated an important leader. Poirot must find the truth for him.

    The Incident of the Dog's Ball Poirot appears in a more typical investigation, when he receives a very delayed letter in the post from an elderly lady who is troubled. When Poirot and Captain Hastings go to visit her, they are too late - she has died. The companion inherits, cutting out the two heirs. Was the death natural causes, or murder?

    A fabulous coup for AudioGO, getting the actor
    who is Poirot to narrate these two rediscovered stories. David Suchet has a compelling natural voice and of course can perform the necessary accents and voices well (with the exception of the oddly Welsh sounding Russian one given to Vera Rossakoff). In The Capture of Cerberus gives a glimpse into life as tension grew in Europe and is a rather different tale than you might expect from the author associated with vicarages and stately homes. In this one Poirot plays more of a central control figure, getting others to do the leg-work, rather than getting out himself. The Incident of the Dog's Ball, which is a few minutes longer than the other story, is a cut down version of a typical Poirot investigation - you may be able to solve the case before Poirot, just.

    With the number of new Suchet/Poirot/Christie episodes on the tv running low, as most have been filmed now, I'm very grateful for these additional two stories which I enjoyed listening to.