Wednesday, January 31, 2007
His previous two books, 'Involuntary Witness' and 'A Walk in the Dark', which feature Bari lawyer with a heart Guido Guerrieri, have been firm favourites of Crime Scraps, Petrona and Euro Crime.
Not wanting to wish one's life away, but roll on July...
US residents have a few more days to win a copy of a DVD of Irish crime series, 'Proof'.
Details of the prizes and how to enter can be found here
If you live outside of the UK and US, please check the competition page after the weekend as there'll be some competitions without geographical restrictions.
"What could be more fun on a winter Sunday afternoon than to gather round the wireless with the family to listen to the BBC? Especially when it's Radio 4 Book Club featuring our very own Val McDermid? Yes, at 4pm on Sunday February 4th (repeated on Thursday February 6th at 4pm) Val will be talking to host Jim Naughtie and an audience in Manchester about her landmark Gold Dagger-winning novel, The Mermaids Singing. If you can't pick up Radio 4, you can listen live at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/. And if you want to listen to it at a later date, it's available for a month via the Listen Again facility at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/bookclub/.
Val said, 'I was thrilled to be asked to take part in Book Club. I'm a great admirer of the show and of James Naughtie as an interviewer. I was a bit nervous beforehand, because you never know what sort of questions a live audience will throw at you. But we had great fun on the day, and I found it very interesting to revisit a book I wrote a dozen years ago. I hope you get the chance to listen to it, and that you will enjoy it."
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Synopsis: A dangerous game of cat and mouse is set in motion following the murder of a prominent Dutch politician. Tabloid photographer Jim de Booy, a crime scene witness, stumbles into an investigation that reveals a complex conspiracy, putting his life and the lives of everyone close to him at risk. Based on events surrounding the 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, May 6th is the final masterpiece by controversial director Theo van Gogh who was murdered before the film could be theatrically released.
View the trailer
Monday, January 29, 2007
From The Independent:
On Her Majesty's civil service
Whispers of excitement among Whitehall's calculator carriers following the publication of a civil service thriller. (A new sub-genre and not, on this occasion, an oxymoron.)
John Nightingale, a financial fraud bod in the Department for Work and Pensions, has spent sandwich breaks daydreaming his debut novel, The Sky Blue Parcel.
As expected from a man married to Caroline Slocock, the head of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Nightingale ensures his female sleuth is not confined to holding the evidence bags for a testosterone-charged protagonist.
Indeed, his Jane Charles bears a canny resemblance to James Bond's latest companion, the gutsy Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), in Casino Royale) - a female Treasury official charged with keeping tabs on the investigators, who subsequently becomes embroiled in espionage and extra-curricular intimacy.
The 'Vesper Lynd' reference intrigues me...
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "In a sensual region of France, a crime detective like no other...Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot of the Cavaillon Regional Crime Squad is called to an artist's retreat in Provence, a luxury hill-top hotel where a young woman, it seems, has been murdered. There are bloodstains, but no body. The mystery deepens as Jacquot begins his investigation. Among the guests are those who have both means and motive, with personal secrets, hidden agendas and their own dangerous liaisons to conceal. Some of these people are very powerful indeed, and none of them take kindly to Jacquot's probing questions. Looming over them all is a celebrated and reclusive artist whose masterworks are priceless, a monster who torments all those who seek to bask in his glory. When a summer storm isolates the hotel, and not one but two bodies are found, passions start to run high!"
Synopsis for Jacquot and the Fifteen: "Marc Dombasle is a successful businessman and multi-millionaire. He was also the captain of the French Rugby team that beat England at Twickenham twenty years earlier. To mark the anniversary of this celebrated victory, Dombasle organises a reunion for the members of the winning team. When Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot, who scored the winning try, receives his invitation to attend the party he is reluctant to indulge in past victories, but an old friend persuades him and he makes his way to the millionaire`s sumptuous Côte d`Azur home. But petty jealousies and past rivalries soon re-surface and when one of Jacquot`s old team-mates commits suicide in a pool-side cabana, his suspicions are aroused. Of the original fifteen players, only eleven of the team now remain alive. Is someone out for revenge?"
Carla McKay put both of the first two books on her favourite European reads for 2005.
The news page has links to reviews and articles from last week's UK press.
The authors page now lists 501 homepages.
The new releases pages have been updated.
There's still time to enter the competitions: if you're in the UK win a copy of 'The Dead Hour' by Denise Mina, if you're in the US win a copy of a DVD of Proof.
I made a rambling post the other day about improvements to the bibliography section. In a nutshell each author now has their own page, listing their books in series order where appropriate, plus links to any reviews and to their home page where available, eg. Henning Mankell.
So far, three of his books have been translated into English, 'Jar City' ('Tainted Blood'), the Dagger winning 'Silence of the Grave' and 'Voices'. A fourth, 'The Draining Lake' will be out in August.
Bibliophile recently reviewed the Icelandic film of Jar City, Mýrin.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Read the complaint letter from Opus Dei sent to the BBC.
A snippet of which is:
"This portrayal is lifted from the Da Vinci Code, a book and film which claimed - against all evidence - to be based on fact. Despite strenuous and well-publicised objections at the time by the Catholic Church, and despite countless press reports into Opus Dei which found the organisation innocent of Dan Brown's depiction, the BBC chose to exploit this portrayal as if it were commonplace fact."
Friday, January 26, 2007
Eg from ezydvd.com.au:
Volume 3 (March 07)
The chap on Volume 2 is none other than recent Bond villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).
Unit One (orig. Rejseholdet) ran between 2001-2 and features a mobile task force that travels around Denmark helping local police solve crimes.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Friday 26 January 2007 11:30-12:00 (Radio 4 FM)
By Lynne Truss.
When a headless corpse is found on the ghost train on the Palace Pier, Steine puts the death down to natural causes. But can new policeman Twitten help Brunswick prove otherwise?
Inspector Steine ...... Michael Fenton Stevens
Mrs Groynes ...... Jan Ravens
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Also, at the top of the list is an option to view all authors within that letter at once eg http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/books/books_bib_A.html which is how it was before.
In either case, clicking on the author name will bring up a page with their bibliography and details of their homepage if available.
eg Catherine Aird's page
If an author has a pseudonym, then where the information is complete for that pseudonym, there will be a link to the other name. eg on M C Beaton's page there will be a link to Marion Chesney's.
The site now has bibliographies for over 1000 European/British authors so please come and look your favourite authors up. Suggestions welcomed for further improvements and/or 'frills'.
A 20-second spoof of Camberwick Green has been made by the BBC to promote series 2 of Life on Mars, and is being distributed virally for maximum exposure. In an inventive twist, the sequence will also be used in the show itself as part of a dream Sam has following drug treatment, used in the present to try to bring him out of his coma.
The show's marketing, which includes blanket coverage of all media outlets, maintains the retro theme by using the 1970s' BBC branding. At the end of the campaign the Ford Cortina Mark III used in the show will be auctioned, and proceeds donated to Comic Relief.
Watch the unusual trailer at Digital Spy...
US residents can win a copy of a DVD of Irish crime series, 'Proof'.
Details of the prizes and how to enter can be found here
If you live outside of the UK and US, please keep checking back as there'll be some competitions without geographical restrictions soon.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Barbara wrote a wonderful series starring Munch Mancini, former LA biker turned car mechanic. All the more startling really as they are based on the author's own experiences but toned down for publication. In the first one, 'No Human Involved' Munch is at a very low point and is accused of murder and as the series progresses her life begins to turn around. I've read the first five of the eight - I tend to stockpile my favourite authors - so I don't know how she ends up yet. Something to remedy, albeit with sadness.
The full list is:
No Human Involved
No Offence Intended
No Offence Intended
No Man Standing
An Unacceptable Death
In the UK Robert Hale has printed the later ones and they should be available in public libraries. Definitely worth reading in order if at all possible.
I don't know if there are any unpublished Munch books but what was to be the first in a new series is due out in April - 'Deadman's Switch'.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The biggest thrillers of all time - The Day of the Jackal and The Da Vinci Code - built their conspiracy plots around real historical events. So it was inevitable that the death of Princess Diana would get the same treatment. In July, the month before the 10th anniversary of the Paris crash, Transworld will publish The Accident Man by Tom Cain (the pseudonym of a "well-known investigative journalist"). The book stars an assassin who ordinarily targets "bad people", but who realises, after engineering a car accident, that he has been set up to murder the royal. The branch of Waterstone's at Harrods - the store owned by Dodi Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed - has not yet decided whether to stock the book.The Telegraph calls it a bad idea
Blurb: "A flight explodes in mid-air during take off near Washington DC. Later that day, as a shocked capital struggles to come to terms with the disaster, a diplomatic catastrophe envelops the British Embassy. A cat's cradle of tangled affinities and conflicting interests told through interlinking stories unfold as British Ambassador Mark Brydon slowly realises that he is being played by an invisible puppeteer with great power. A tightly plotted conspiracy thriller about the limits of diplomacy in a world where government has abdicated responsibility for war."Shown as a six parter on BBC1 last year, it's extremely complicated in a '24' way with Lucius Malfoy, I mean Jason Isaacs, as the British Ambassador. I had heard there might be a follow-up, I do hope so as there's so little homegrown quality drama made these days.
The US release date is 27th February.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The reviews uploaded today have a historical theme:
'The Elixir of Death' by Bernard Knight, reviewed by Terry Halligan.
This is the tenth in the 'Crowner John' series set in 12th Century Devon.
'Captain Alatriste' by Arturo Perez-Reverte (audio book), reviewed by Karen Meek. The first in a quintet featuring the dashing Alatriste (played by Viggo Mortensen in the recent Spanish film), set in Spain in the 16th Century.
'Messenger of Truth' by Jacqueline Winspear, reviewed by Sunnie Gill. The fourth in the Maisie Dobbs series, based in London during the 1930s.
The 'News' page has been updated.
The 'Authors' page has been updated with several new author homepages.
The 'New Releases' page gets longer.
There's a new competition:
As well as the current competition open to UK residents for a copy of the Edgar nominated, 'The Dead Hour' by Denise Mina, a new competition starts today. Open to US residents only, the prize is a DVD of the first series of the Irish crime drama 'Proof'. Links to clips and a trailer and how to enter can be found on the competition page.
Britain, 1964: a time when the line between the police and criminals has become increasingly blurred; when the proliferation of drugs is about to change the face of policing forever; when Britain's youth stand on the brink of a social and sexual revolution.Expect it on BBC1 in the Spring.
Inspector George Gently is one of the few good men at Scotland Yard, his sense of public duty an increasingly rare commodity in a police force where corruption is rife and unchecked.
But his relentless pursuit of notorious gangsters such as Joe Webster (Phil Davis, Bleak House) leads to the murder of Gently's beloved wife Isabella, a killing arranged by Webster himself in an act of revenge upon Gently.
When a grieving Gently learns of the murder of a young biker, Johnny Lister (Christian Cooke, Where The Heart Is), who was part of a Northumberland drugs ring, it has all the hallmarks of a Webster operation and he insists on being given the case, deciding it will be his last...
In Northumberland, George takes on the headstrong young Detective Sergeant Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, The Street) who is convinced that the prime suspect for Johnny Lister's murder is Ricky Deeming (Richard Armitage, Robin Hood), the charismatic leader of the Defenders biker gang.
But as the case grows ever more complex, Gently must decide if Bacchus can be trusted – hot-tempered and ambitious, could he too be drawn to the corrupt road taken by so many of his contemporaries? Or can Gently keep Bacchus's integrity intact?
As the case reaches its violent climax, Gently begins to feel that his brand of policing is needed now more than ever – and perhaps he is not ready to call this his last case after all...
Fred Vargas is another original. In Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Harvill Secker £11.99, pp400), first published in France three years ago, her doughty policeman, Commissaire Adamsberg, is sent to Quebec for training and discovers a serial killer has followed him. Before long, Adamsberg is on the run from the Canadian police, accused of murdering a young woman he has only just met. He believes he knows the true murderer, the fearsome Judge Fulgence, who may be responsible for nine other murders over a 60-year period and whose unusual weapon of choice is the trident. Vargas, who won last year's inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger, has a wonderfully offbeat imagination that makes each of her novels a refreshing delight.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
Gentleman and Players by Joanne Harris
The Dead Hour by Denise Mina - win a copy
Best Paperback Original
The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto - Euro Crime review
City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate
Best Television Episode Teleplay
Life on Mars - Episode One
Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay
Cracker: A New Terror
Messiah: The Harrowing
Secret Smile, based on the book by Nicci French
Best Motion Picture Screen Play
Casino Royale, based on a novel by Ian Fleming
Children of Men, based on a novel by P.D. James
The Simon & Schuster - Mary Higgins Clark Award
Bloodline by Fiona Mountain
The full list of nominees is here.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The full list:
- Kader Abdolah, My Father's Notebook (translated by Susan Massotty from Dutch; Canongate)
- José Eduardo Agualusa, The Book of Chameleons (Daniel Hahn; Portuguese; Arcadia)
- Niccolò Ammaniti, Steal You Away (Jonathan Hunt; Italian; Canongate)
- Javier Cercas, The Speed of Light (Anne McLean; Spanish; Bloomsbury)
- Edgardo Cozarinsky, The Moldavian Pimp (Nick Caistor; Spanish; Harvill Secker)
- Per Olov Enquist, The Story of Blanche and Marie (Tiina Nunnally; Swedish; Harvill Secker)
- Jenny Erpenbeck, The Old Child (Susan Bernofsky; German; Portobello)
- Faïza Guène, Just Like Tomorrow (Sarah Adams; French; Chatto & Windus)
- Vangelis Hatziyannidis, Four Walls (Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife; Greek; Marion Boyars)
- Ismail Kadare, The Successor (David Bellos; French; Canongate)
- Ma Jian, Stick out your Tongue (Flora Drew; Chinese; Chatto & Windus)
- Javier Marías, Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream (Margaret Jull Costa; Spanish; Chatto & Windus)
- Eva Menasse, Vienna (Anthea Bell; German; Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
- Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wizard of the Crow (the author; Gikuyu; Harvill Secker)
- Leonardo Padura, Havana Black (Peter Bush; Spanish; Bitter Lemon)
- Atiq Rahimi, A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear (Sarah Maguire & Yama Yari; Dari; Chatto & Windus)
- José Saramago, Seeing (Margaret Jull Costa; Portuguese; Harvill Secker)
- Elif Shafak, The Gaze (Brendan Freely; Turkish; Marion Boyars)
- Dag Solstad, Shyness and Dignity (Sverre Lyngstad; Norwegian; Harvill Secker)
- Linn Ullmann, Grace (Barbara Haveland; Norwegian; Picador)
I love listening to these books as for a start they are really witty and the pair have a great repartee and secondly there's a lot of information about London and its history. The plots tend to be convoluted, but I just enjoy the ride.
On the Clipper website you can listen to a sample which has Bryant explaining what 'Peculiar' means.
Synopsis: "The odd couple of detection - the brilliant but cranky Arthur Bryant and John May of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit - return in a tense, atmospheric new thriller that keeps you guessing right to the end. This time the detectives are up against a series of bizarre murders that defy human understanding - and a killer no human hand may be able to stop.
A mysterious stranger in outlandish Edwardian garb defaces a painting in the National Gallery. Then a guest at the exclusive Savoy Hotel is fatally bitten by what appears to be a marshland snake. An outbreak of increasingly bizarre crimes has hit London - and, fittingly, come to the attention of the Peculiar Crimes Unit."
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Not much blogging tomorrow as I'm heading to the Smoke (London) after work to meet the lovely Petrona.
"Children of Men" has won the University of Southern California's Scripter Award, the only honour that recognizes both the authors and screenwriters of a produced book-to-film adaptation.
Crime novelist P.D. James wrote the book, her 12th, in 1992. Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby adapted the screenplay for the movie, which was directed by Cuaron.
Clive Owen and Michael Caine star in the story of a world where women have become infertile. The acclaimed Universal Pictures has earned $22 million (11 million pounds) to date at the North American box office.
"(The screenwriters) took P.D. James' bracingly dystopic novel and crafted from it a film at once brave, subtle (and) shocking. This is writing and screenwriting of the highest order," said Howard Rodman, chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Writing Division.
The winners will be feted February 18 at a dinner on the USC campus. The other finalists were "The Devil Wears Prada," "The Illusionist," "The Last King of Scotland" and "Notes on a Scandal."
English libraries are attracting more visitors than ever before despite a fall in total expenditure on books, according to a new report.
There was a small rise of about 1% in the number of visits to public libraries - continuing a trend for increasing visits. The total number of visitors has risen 7.5% in total over the past five years. The number of computer terminals in public libraries has risen by 7% in the past year as libraries continue to expand their role into different forms of educational media.
Evidence from the report suggests the more libraries invest in books, the more the public borrows; a 7% increase in children's books added to the shelves was supported by a 3% increase in their lending.
The culture minister, David Lammy, said: "Books and the written word remain at the heart of the public library service, and rightly so, but local libraries offer much more than that. Local authorities disregard their importance to communities at their peril."
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "England, 1235, and Brother Petroc is living a simple life as a novice monk. Struggling to keep his soul fairly clean and worrying most about resisting the local girls, he inadvertently stumbles headlong into vicious trap. Framed by a sinister Templar Knight for a brutal murder of a church official and accused of the theft of a priceless relic, he is forced to run for his life. But when his best friend Will is killed by the chasing knight, Petroc's flight becomes a quest for restitution. Trusting his fate to an enigmatic relic-hunter and scoundrel, he must dodge the long arm of the church and somehow get to the bottom of everything that has happened to him. He must find out how his fate is entwined with that of the sacred object and get revenge on the man who wrecked his life - all the while avoiding the pitfalls and perils of love for a beautiful Greek princess..."
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Thursday 18 January
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
We continue our dramatisations of Alexander McCall Smith's enormously successful and popular series of novels set in Botswana.
Written and dramatised by Alexander McCall Smith. A series of plays adapted from the fifth and sixth books in Smith's hugely popular series set in Botswana. 1: How to Handle Men Through the Application of Psychology. Precious Ramotswe, owner and founder of The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, sets out to release her fiance, Mr JLB Matekoni, from a terrifying obligation. Meanwhile, a new case comes into the agency and the ladies find themselves on a love quest.
Mma Ramotswe …. Claire Benedict
Mma Makutsi …. Nadine Marshall
Mr J.L.B. Matekoni …. Joseph Marcell
Monday, January 15, 2007
Author Dorothy Cannell was born in the UK but has been living in the US for many years. No author website that I can find but here's an article about her, from a couple of years ago.
Brief synopsis from amazon.com:
"The formerly plump girl turned Thin Woman may now be happily married and a mother, but she hasnt lost her wit, her weakness for romance, or her knack for landing herself in trouble. With her irreverent sidekick and charwoman, Mrs. Roxie Molloy, at her side, Ellie has not only solved a crime or two, but has read every Gothic romance she can find and has begun introducing a young cousin, Ariel, to the finer points of the genre."
My Mother Was a Bank Robber and Other Stories
The Dope Priest
There's all sorts now on the WTD website including 'Mel's mystery' about the pendant, the 'Interactive Evidence Wall' and of course 'All About Eve', the latest pathologist.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
If you're quick you can catch her at:
WATERSTONE'S GUILDFORD HIGH ST
Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 7:00PM
Tickets £3, available from the branch and redeemable against a purchase of the promoted title at the event. The creator of Inspector Lynley will be reading from and signing copies of the latest book in the series. Further details: 01483 536366
Murder One's latest newsletter announces: "A reminder that Elizabeth George will be signing WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER on the 25th over lunch time. Reserve a copy now."
I don't know whether she's doing any more 'events'. Her official website appears to have expired. It was http://www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com/.
The new reviews this week are: 'Voices' by Arnaldur Indridason, reviewed by Karen Meek and 'The One From The Other' by Philip Kerr, reviewed by Yvonne Klein.
Plus we have Euro Crime's contributors (in 2006) choice of top four/five favourite European reads in 2006.
Traditionally crime fiction comes into its own early in the New Year.You can still listen to the whole programme and the books mentioned are listed here.
To mark the imminent avalanche of titles Mariella invites three of the stars of the genre, Barbara Nadel, Qui Xiaolong and Karin Alvtegen to nominate their top fictional detectives.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Summary from amazon.co.uk: "In Self's Deception, private investigator Gerhard Self receives a request to track down the daughter of Herr Salger, the Assistant Secretary of Bonn, who's been absent from her translation classes at the university. Repelled by the pomposity of the government official, he rejects the case. But an insistent letter--and five thousand marks--changes his mind. After discrete interrogations at her school and her former residences, and a quick survey of the local hospitals, it turns out she washed up at a psych ward where he's told she had fallen out of a window earlier that week and died. Self suspects that this may be a lie, and soon decides that one of the doctors is covering for her. As his investigation takes a sinister turn he realises that his quarry may have been involved in a terrorist incident--but a terrorist incident that the government seems intent on covering up. With the woman still missing, and a growing suspicion that the client who hired him may not actually be Herr Salger at all, Self finds himself embroiled in a dark and complex conspiracy that reaches to the very top of government. But with his plentiful supply of Sweet Aftons, and his cat Turbo to talk to (as well as the realisation that the young lady he is searching for is not without her own charms) Self sets out on his latest adventure with his inimitable blend of cynicism and charm."
"Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. A professor of law at the University of Berlin and a practising judge, he is the author of the major international best-selling novel The Reader as well as several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Bonn and Berlin."
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Scandinavia continues to provide a fertile landscape for crime writers and the latest to join the fold is Mari Jungstedt. Her debut novel Unseen is the first of a projected series set on the island of Gotland in the Baltic and follows the cat and mouse game between a serial killer and the authorities at the height of the holiday season. There's an icy, dispassionate grip to Jungstedt's writing that recalls Henning Mankell, although one does wonder whether the genre is starting to reach saturation point.Comments welcomed on whether the genre is getting saturated. Can one have too many Scandinavian writers translated into English?
At the other end of the scale is The Third Heaven Conspiracy, a thickly atmospheric historical thriller by the Italian author Giulio Leoni set in pre-Renaissance Florence. A conspiracy to turn a church into a university that involves the new Pope as well as all manner of witchcraft pricks the interest of young poet Dante Alighieri in a literary mystery that's more The Name of the Rose than The Da Vinci Code.
Meanwhile, in Quebec, Commissariat Adamsberg finds himself personally involved in a series of linked murders committed over a 50-year period in Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by Fred Vargas with the result that he soon finds himself on the run. A dense, complicated, exciting novel from one of the more interesting crime writers around.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Louise Anderson - Perception of Death
Unfortunately the follow-up keeps getting pushed back. Currently it'll be out in 2008, 4 years after PoD. And the ending of PoD leaves you breathless for the next one.
Ann Cleeves - Raven Black
I reviewed this for Mystery Women for the next newsletter. It's the Dagger winner and I've not heard a bad word said about it. A whodunnit set on Shetland
[Sunnie Gill reviewed the print version recently for Euro Crime.]
Karin Fossum - Don't Look Back
I meant to review this but didn't. It's a fabulous book, and the narrator David Rintoul has a gorgeous voice. Unfussy prose, well developed characters, a taxing whodunnit and an ambiguous ending. I've just listened to the next one and I do hope to review that though I didn't enjoy it as much as DLB.
[Reading matters has a longer review.]
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
To programme what has now become the finest Crime Writing Festival in the world is a great responsibility, but also a great pleasure, and with a tenure of only one year, the decision as to who will take over the role once your time is up is a very important one. Yes, of course a “safe pair of hands” is crucial – just ask Andrew Flintoff – but it is vital that each successive chair will take the Festival further; will oversee growth, bring a fresh perspective and raise the bar even higher, so that writers, publishers and readers will continue to flock to a festival that is unrivalled anywhere.
This is what the programming chair must take on, and there could be nobody more ideally suited to the task than Natasha Cooper.
Daphne – as those fortunate enough to be her friends call her – is not only one of the most accomplished crime writers in the country, but she is one of the most popular figures in the literary community as a whole. She is as adored as she is respected, and, under her chairmanship, the programme for the 2007 festival is shaping up to be the best yet.
So what makes the ideal Programming Chair?
Daphne’s writings about crime fiction make it clear that she sees this genre as one that must continue to develop. She is a fresh thinker; bubbling with ideas and initiatives and her programme for this year’s festival will most certainly reflect this.
Daphne is hugely “clubbable”, and not in the baby seal or Pete Doherty sense of the word. This quality will go a long way towards creating the Festival’s uniquely warm and welcoming atmosphere and I can think of no writer who better unites readers and writers which is what makes the Theakston’s Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival so special.
And, of course, there also needs to be a degree of steel. Anyone who has read any of Daphne’s wonderful Trish Maguire novels will not need to be told that there is a darkness and a determination lurking beneath that charming exterior, and when you’re dealing with the pressures of putting a large festival together, not to mention the miscellaneous demands of stroppy crime writers (suites, drugs, limousines etc), this is a quality that cannot be underestimated!
A tradition has evolved whereby the outgoing chair nominates his or her successor.
There was only ever one name on my list.
I was delighted when Natasha Cooper accepted the invitation and I know, that under her chairmanship, the 2007 Harrogate Crime Writing Festival will be the best yet.
As well as a few standalones, she also wrote three books about ex policeman, Birdie Linnet early in her writing career. The first of the Birdie Linnet books is 'Healthy Body' which revolves around a French naturist centre and is reviewed here from a naturist's perspective.
If anyone can tell me if Gillian Linscott's still writing, please do drop me a note in the comments.
UPDATE Dec. 2007: Gillian Linscott is now writing as Caro Peacock.
Monday, January 08, 2007
NB. 'The Redbreast', though translated after 'The Devil's Star' is the 3rd in the Harry Hole series whereas 'The Devil's Star' is the fifth.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
December Crime File. Also this week there's a review of the paperback of 'The Cipher Garden' by Martin Edwards by new reviewer Geoff Roberts as well as my take on 'Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand' by Fred Vargas.
Other updates include:
The 'Authors' (492 sites) list of author homepages continues to grow.
The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.
Last month's 'Competition' winners have been announced.
In 'Books' there are now bibliographies for 986 authors (5534 titles with links to 857 reviews) - I've added bibliographies for the following: A C Baantjer, Elena Forbes, Georgette Heyer, Suzette A Hill, Ian Morson and Hugo Rifkind.
In 'Books' I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Sam Bourne, Tom Bradby, Kjell Eriksson, Jasper Fforde, Barry Maitland, Amy Myers, Julia Navarro, Andrew Pepper, Ann Purser, R T Raichev and Cathi Unsworth.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
'The Tinner's Corpse' has been condensed to an hour and you can listen to it via the Radio 4 website for the next seven days.
It seems that Bernard Knight's homepage has disappeared but Wikipedia (as ever) can help. Knight is also one of The Medieval Murderers - which comprises Mike Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden, and Chris Sansom - whose third collaboration will be published in April.
Addendum: Here's Bernard Knight's new homepage. (With thanks to It's a Crime!)
The Rap Sheet also reports reveals that John Harvey has won the Cartier Dagger Award. Full details here
It's a Crime! reviews Fred Vargas's 'Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand' (Look out for the Euro Crime review tomorrow) and Andrew Taylor's 'Naked to the Hangman'.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Andrea Camilleri - Excursion to Tindari
Gianrico Carofiglio - A Walk in the Dark
Olive Etchells - Footprints of the Devil
Dominique Manotti - Dead Horsemeat
Fred Vargas - The Three Evangelists
About 1/3rd of my reading in 2006 was of European crime in translation and included five of the nominees for the International Dagger, three of which are in the above list.
...has acquired an author whom it believes is set to join the ranks of British crime-writing greats.I'm surprised they didn't throw a reference to Dalgleish in there too...
Publisher Sue Freestone has taken on Elena Forbes, a former investment banker whose debut Die With Me will introduce readers to DI Mark Tartaglia and pathologist Fiona Blake. The novel is set in the London suburb of Barnes, which in Forbes’ hands is “as vivid as Morse’s Oxford”, while Tartaglia has “the charisma and complexity of a Rebus or Wexford”.
The book is part of “a very decent” two-book deal, and independent TV production company Windfall, which is pitching a documentary about the making of a bestseller, is filming Forbes as she goes through the editorial process.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Audio books are set to be revolutionised by a tiny card that can store up to five lengthy novels on a phone.I like the sound of this as I'm always running out of tapes/cds when on the train.
The card can be slotted into a mobile phone, dispensing with the need to carry up to six CDs for an audio version of a book. The technology, originally developed to store music, will be released this year by Nokia.
One title that will be available is the bestselling Looking Good Dead, by the British thriller writer Peter James. He said: “I think this will revolutionise storytelling . . . with this, you can wander off into the park, lie down and listen to a book.”
Nokia is introducing the technology initially with James’s German publisher, S Fischer Verlage. His publisher in Britain, Macmillan, is in talks for a British version. Annual sales of audio books have reached about £71 million in Britain and £435 million in America.
Of course like some of my fellow travellers (well usually the young ones) I'll feel obliged to play it at full volume through the speaker so that everyone can hear...:-)
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
"The title of the third Young Bond book was revealed today by Young Bond author, Charlie Higson. Double or Die, the title of the latest book in the super selling Young Bond series, was chosen by the fans in an unprecedented nationwide ballot. Double or Die is published by Puffin Books tomorrow, Thursday 4th January, at £6.99.
Thousands of Young James Bond fans voted for their favourite of three given titles, devised by the author Charlie Higson: Double or Die, N.E.M.E.S.I.S. or The Deadlock Cipher. This is the first instance that readers have decided the title of a book."
From the MI6 News webpage which has all the details.
From the Random House website: "Julia Navarro is a well known Madrid-based journalist who is currently a political analyst for Agencia OTR/Europa Press and a correspondent for other prominent Spanish radio and television networks and print media, including a weekly column for Tiempo magazine. Bantam Dell will publish the English translation of her second novel, The Bible of Clay, in Spring 2008."
Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "The Brotherhood Of The Holy Shroud" is the explosive international bestseller that mixes fact and fiction to tell the riveting story of one of the world's most controversial relics, the Turin Shroud - believed by millions of the faithful to bear the likeness of Christ - and the desperate race to save it from those who will stop at nothing to possess its legendary power. A fire at the Cathedral of Turin and the discovery of a strangely mutilated body attract the attention of Italy's special Art Crimes Department, for the fire is only the latest in a troubling series of arson attacks and break-ins at the cathedral which houses the famous shroud. Department chief, Marco Valoni leads a team of top investigators in a race to solve a crime certain to shock the world: someone is planning to steal the Holy Shroud. Spanning centuries and continents, from the storm-rent skies over Cavalry, through the glories of Byzantium and the intrigue and treachery of the Crusades, "The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud" is a provocative page-turner of the highest order - one that will challenge you to believe."
You can read an excerpt here.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Want to help script the last Ellie Quicke book?I've read the first three and I enjoyed the first one very much and the second two almost as much.
Murder of Identity is published in hardback in December 06, and is the 8th in the Ellie Quicke series. The publishers would like to have just one more book to round off the series in 2007. The main storyline is already agreed, but I would welcome suggestions from readers as to the fate of Ellie’s dreadful daughter, Diana. What would you like to see happen to her? Ought she to reform? Or marry again – and if so what sort of man would take her on?
The only thing I know for certain is that she is not the next murder victim, as I think death is too good for her.
Please go to my contact page and let me know what you think.
My comments at the time: "A smooth read with a likeable main character. Ellie Quicke, recently widowed has been spending lots of time staring out her back window which faces the church. Her brain is befogged by grief and tablets. Unfortunately the killer of a local bad boy leaves the body in the church and is convinced that Ellie saw something. What follows is an account told by Ellie and sidebars from two would be assassins who naturally make a hash of it. Ellie has been sheltered from life by her husband but now she sets out to experience life. Recommended."
One thing to note is that despite the covers these books are set in a London suburb rather than in a country village.
Monday, January 01, 2007
The Independent reports that:
he is to reprise his role in I, Claudius for a whole new audience. The series, to be aired by BBC Radio in January, will see him return to the pivotal role in what was widely considered to be one of the greatest pieces of TV drama after a gap of 30 years.Not content with one iconic figure, Jacobi will star as Charles Dickens (and a tramp) in the murder-mystery film, 'The Riddle', set to be released in the Spring.
The revamped eight-part serialisation has been staged for BBC Radio 2 and will be broadcast from 12 January. Though the 1976 TV version - which also starred Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed and John Hurt - combined Graves's 1934 novel and its sequel, Claudius the God, the radio revival will stick solely to the first book.
Plot outline from IMDB: "A journalist investigates a series of murders that follows the discovery of an unpublished novel by Charles Dickens in the cellar of an old Thames-side-pub. Gradually he becomes obsessed with unraveling a century-old murder in the pages of the manuscript. Only when he has done so, with the help of a mysterious beach-combing tramp who stalks the Thames foreshore, is he able to solve the modern murders."
The downside of 'The Riddle' is that Vinnie Jones is the journalist! Mel Smith also features as well as Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Flemyng. You can watch a trailer here.