Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood, January 2015, MIRA, ISBN: 1848453566

Death in Paradise is a successful BBC series in which a British police detective inspector has been sent to run the small police department on the Caribbean island of St Marie. Each week there is another baffling murder case to solve and each episode concludes with all the suspects gathered together in true Poirot-style fashion.

I'm a huge fan of this cosy series which will return to the television with a third iteration of the British Inspector, however A MEDITATION ON MURDER returns to the original DI, Richard Poole. Richard is as strait-laced as they come and wears a suit and tie in the oppressive heat and does not enjoy island life at all and especially sharing his beach-side cabin with a lizard, called Harry.

Richard and his team of Camille, Fidel and Dwayne are summoned to The Retreat as the co-owner, the self-styled Spiritual Guru Aslan, has been found dead in the Meditation Space, a Japanese building with thick paper walls. Five of Aslan's students were locked in the building with him and one, Julia, immediately confesses to Aslan's murder.

Richard is unconvinced that Julia is the guilty party and so the team continue to investigate Aslan and the five guests. Information is slowly uncovered about Aslan and some surprising connections to his guests mean that everyone had a motive to kill him.

As with the tv series, there is lots of recapping – going over “what do we know so far” but we do get to know a little more about Richard and he has a couple of escapades which wouldn't make it to the tv screen in the time limit of a one hour show.

I enjoyed this outing and will read the other two books currently available (with a fourth due in May 2018). I should say that the author, Robert Thorogood, is the creator of the show, so who better to write these unseen episodes. If you enjoy traditional mysteries and haven't seen the show or if you are a fan of the show then give this one a try.

Karen Meek, August 2017.

Friday, August 04, 2017

New Releases - August 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in August 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). August and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Anderson, Lin - Follow the Dead #13 Rhona MacLeod, forensic scientist, Glasgow
• Avdic, Asa - The Dying Game
• Black, Helen - Taking Liberties #7 Lilly Valentine, Family care lawyer
• Bonner, Hilary - Deadly Dance #1 DI David Vogel, Bristol
• Booker, Simon - Kill Me Twice #2 Morgan Vine, Journalist
• Bowen, Rhys - On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service #12 Lady Georgiana Rannoch ('Georgie'), 1930s Britain
• Buckler, James - Last Stop Tokyo
• Callaghan, Tom - A Summer Revenge #3 Inspector Akyl Borubaev
• Camilleri, Andrea - A Nest of Vipers #21 Inspector Montalbano, Sicily, Italy
• Cotterill, Colin - The Rat Catchers' Olympics #12 Dr Siri Paiboun, Laos
• Cross, A J - Something Evil Comes #4 Dr Kate Hanson, forensic psychologist, West Midlands
• Curran, Chris - Her Deadly Secret
• Cutts, Lisa - Buried Secrets
• De Cataldo, Giancarlo - Suburra (written with Carlo Bonini)
• Donoghue, Clare - The Night Stalker #4 DI Mike Lockyer, South-east London
• Douglas, Claire - Last Seen Alive (missed off July's list)
• Garnier, Pascal - Low Heights
• Gregory, Susanna - The Habit of Murder #23 Matthew Bartholomew, 14th Century physician, Cambridge
• Hannah, Sophie - Did You See Melody?
• Hardie, Mark - Truly Evil #2 DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell, Essex Police Major Investigation Team
• Hawkswood, Sarah - Marked to Die #3 Bradecote and Catchpoll, Worcestershire, C12
• Hoeg, Peter - The Susan Effect
• Horowitz, Anthony - The Word is Murder #1 Detective Daniel Hawthorne
• Howells, Debbie - The Death of Her
• Kray, Roberta - Dark Places
• Lelic, Simon - The House
• Lindgren, Minna - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Escape from Sunset Grove #2 Twilight Grove Trilogy
• MacNeal, Susan Elia - The Paris Spy #7 Maggie Hope
• McDermid, Val - Insidious Intent #10 Dr Tony Hill, Psychologist and DCI Carol Jordan, Yorkshire
• McGee, James - The Reckoning #6 Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner, Regency London
• McPherson, Catriona - The Weight of Angels
• Mitchell, Dreda Say - Blood Daughter #3 Flesh and Blood Trilogy
• Morton, Mandy - The Michaelmas Murders #5 The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency
• Oldfield, Mark - The Dead #3 Vengeance of Memory trilogy
• Petersen, Christoffer - In the Shadow of the Mountain #2 Konstabel Fenna Brongaard, Greenland
• Raabe, Marc - The Shock
• Ramqvist, Karolina - The White City
• Russell, Norman - An Oxford Scandal #3 Inspector Antrobus
• Sutton, William - Lawless and the House of Electricity #3 Campbell Lawless, Victorian Policeman
• Tope, Rebecca - Peril in the Cotswolds #15 Thea Osborne, House Sitter, Cotswolds
• Vargas, Fred - The Accordionist #3 Three Students Trilogy, France
• Webster, Jason - Fatal Sunset #6 Chief Inspector Max Camara, Valencia
• Weeks, Lee - Cold Revenge #6 DC Ebony Willis, London
• Whitaker, Chris - All The Wicked Girls
• White, Neil - From the Shadows #1 Dan Grant, Lawyer
• Wignall, Kevin A Fragile Thing

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Awards News: CWA Daggers 2017 – Shortlists

My internet wasn't actually fixed last Thursday as BT said it was. It took until Monday to be usable and then I was home 2 hours late yesterday due to the trains being off, so finally here are the Dagger 2017 Shortlists as per the press release:

CWA Daggers – Shortlists Announced

The Crime Writers’ Association announced the shortlists for this year’s Dagger awards for crime writing at an at an evening drinks reception held at Waterstones Piccadilly on Wednesday 26 July.

The CWA Daggers, which are the probably the awards crime authors and publishers alike most wish to win, are awarded every year in 10 categories. The Diamond Dagger in 2017 has already been announced as best-selling author Ann Cleeves, for a career’s outstanding contribution to crime fiction, and the Dagger in the Library winner has been announced as the very popular author Mari Hannah.

The shortlists are proudly sponsored by are kindly sponsored by Hazchem Network Ltd, the UK’s only palletised distribution network for Dangerous Goods, and by CrimeFest, the international crime writing convention, which will be held 17-20 May in Bristol in 2018.

Here are the Dagger shortlists for 2017. For brief descriptions of each book, please visit the website:

The CWA Gold Dagger

The Beautiful Dead (Bantam Press) by Belinda Bauer

Dead Man's Blues (Mantle) by Ray Celestin

The Dry (Little, Brown) by Jane Harper

Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

The Girl in Green (Faber & Faber) by Derek B. Miller

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

You Will Know Me (Picador) by Megan Abbott
The Killing Game (Bookouture) by J S Carol
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire (Myriad Editions) by Jules Grant
Redemption Road (Hodder & Stoughton) by John Hart
Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron
The Constant Soldier (Mantle) by William Ryan

The Pictures (Point Blank) by Guy Bolton

Ragdoll (Trapeze) by Daniel Cole

Distress Signals (Corvus) by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sirens (Doubleday) by Joseph Knox

Good Me, Bad Me (Michael Joseph) by Ali Land

Tall Oaks (Twenty 7) by Chris Whitaker


A Dangerous Place (The History Press) by Simon Farquhar

Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro's Cuba (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Stephen Purvis

The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage (Text Publishing)
by Anja Reich-Osang

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
(Bloomsbury Publishing) by Kate Summerscale

A Passing Fury: Searching for Justice at the End of World War II
(Jonathan Cape) by A. T. Williams

Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber Publishing) by Gary Younge

The CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger

The Devil's Feast (Fig Tree) by M. J. Carter

The Ashes of Berlin (No Exit Press) by Luke McCallin

The Long Drop (Harvill Secker) by Denise Mina

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

By Gaslight (Point Blank) by Steven Price

The City in Darkness (Constable) by Michael Russell

The CWA International Dagger

A Cold Death (4th Estate) by Antonio Manzini, Tr Antony Shugaar

A Fine Line (Bitter Lemon Press) by Gianrico Carofiglio, Tr Howard Curtis

Blood Wedding (MacLehose Press) by Pierre Lemaître, Tr Frank Wynne

Climate of Fear (Harvill Secker) by Fred Vargas, Tr Siân Reynolds

The Dying Detective (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, Tr Neil Smith

The Legacy of the Bones (HarperCollins) by Delores Redondo, Tr Nick Casiter & Lorenza Garcia

The CWA Short Story Dagger

The Assassination by Leye Adenle in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books)
Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

Murder and its Motives by Martin Edwards in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

The Super Recogniser of Vik by Michael Ridpath in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards

What You Were Fighting For by James Sallis in The Highway Kind (Mulholland Books) Edited by Patrick Millikin

The Trials of Margaret by LC Tyler in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

Snakeskin by Ovidia Yu in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books) Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

sponsored by Orion Publishing Group
For the opening of a crime novel from a writer with no publishing contract.

Strange Fire Sherry Rankin

The Reincarnation of Himmat Gupte Neeraj Shah

Lost Boys Spike Dawkins

Red Haven Mette McLeod

Broken Victoria Slotover

The winners of all the above CWA Daggers will be announced at the glittering Dagger Awards Gala Dinner to be held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 26 October. Ann Cleeves will be awarded the Diamond Dagger at the same occasion and Mari Hannah will be presented with the Dagger in the Library award. The after-dinner speaker will be Robert Thorogood, creator and writer of Death in Paradise, and master of ceremonies will be Barry Forshaw, the acclaimed crime fiction expert. Everyone is welcome to attend. For details and a booking form, please visit or email

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Internet Problems

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been away for a few days and returned to no phone or broadband. It's back now, just in time for me to go back to work!

With the the limited wifi service I could access sporadically, I managed to put a few links on the Facebook page.

I'll be posting the CWA Dagger shortlists,  as soon as I can. Lots to catch up on!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins

Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins, February 2017, 278 pages, Bloodhound Books, ISBN: 0995692696

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This nail-biting debut by Tana Collins introduces her detective, DCI Jim Carruthers, and heralds the arrival of another top-notch author of Scottish crime fiction. Set in a small town, called Castletown - that is roughly based on St. Andrews but still has an operational RAF base close by, the novel is a treasure trove of interesting locations that will hook in readers who are past and present residents of this unique university town and keep their attention right to the very last page.

The story starts with a particularly gruesome murder in the town, in a back alley. You are drip fed the fact that the victim is a young Welshman, a member of the RAF and knows his assailant, and also find out about the creepy person watching events unfold. That is all you find out. Even the police don't know much more but very soon this killing is upstaged by a car bomb and what looks like attempted murder. Theories abound but all centre on the fact that somebody doesn't like the intended victim’s opinions of the Welsh, particularly Welsh terrorist groups and those who are fighting for freedom. Carruthers, newly arrived in town, is thought to be out of depth on this case and outside help is drafted in, in the form of terror expert McGhee, who once tried to seduce Carruthers’ now ex-wife. There is no love lost between the men and tensions rise as his eyes fall on Andrea Fletcher; Carruthers’ extremely efficient and capable DS.

In their hunt for the intended victim, who has simply vanished, the would-be murderer, and a motive for this crime, as well as still trying to sort out first murder, Carruthers and Fletcher find themselves face-to-face with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday and have to join the dots to find out how everything is connected. They must hurry if they are to be successful as they are not the only ones looking for answers and, indeed, justice.

I loved this book! The story is captivating, well-written and has an ending that you can't see coming. Jim Carruthers is an extremely likeable cop, with enough personal trauma to make him interesting as well as good at his job. The prospect of more books about him and DS Fletcher, in their fight against crime in not-so-sleepy Castletown, is very exciting. In ROBBING THE DEAD Tana Collins has shown, extremely effectively, that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Extremely highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, July 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cover Theme - Flowers

A few recent(ish) covers with flowers on the front:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

BBC Radio 4 Drama: Foreign Bodies: Keeping the Wolf Out

I think this is a repeat but I missed it first time around. Listen now or download via the BBC Radio iPlayer app - a three parter called Keeping the Wolf Out. Available for the next 20 days, each episode is 45 minutes long.

Episode One - Behind the Wall

Special Investigator Bertalan Lázár returns in Philip Palmer's crime drama set in communist Hungary in 1963. Fighting the criminals is hard enough but there are other more sinister battles raging in higher places.

Parts two and three are Waiting by the River and Heroes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris

The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris, May 2017, 304 pages, Kensington Publishing, ISBN: 1496706544

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

London's East End, 1888: When darkness falls, terror begins...

The foggy streets of London's Whitechapel district have become a nocturnal hunting ground for Jack the Ripper, and no woman is safe. Flower girl Constance Piper is not immune to dread, but she is more preoccupied with her own strange experiences of late.

Clairvoyants seem to be everywhere these days. Constance's mother has found comfort in contacting her late father in a seance. But are such powers real? And could Constance really be possessed of second sight? She longs for the wise counsel of her mentor and champion of the poor, Emily Tindall, but the kind missionary has gone missing.

Following the latest grisly discovery, Constance is contacted by a high-born lady of means who fears the victim may be her missing sister. She implores Constance to use her clairvoyance to help solve the crime, which the press is calling "the Whitechapel Mystery," attributing the murder to the Ripper.

As Constance becomes embroiled in intrigue far more sinister than she could have imagined, assistance comes in a startling manner that profoundly challenges her assumptions about the nature of reality. She'll need all the help she can get--because there may be more than one depraved killer out there...

In 2012, I had the good fortune to read for review one of the author's previous books THE ANATOMIST’S APPRENTICE an historical thriller set in 1780 which was about Dr Thomas Silkstone, an American surgeon from Philadelphia, who brings his skills from the US colonies to London. This was the first in a series of six books about Silkstone.

So having an appreciation of her enormous skill as a novelist I was very pleased to read her latest book which is also set in London and is the start of a new series, featuring Constance Piper.

The author has written another highly readable story which has an element of fantasy to entertain the reader and which makes it even more exciting. This was a story which I could not put down until the final conclusion. The author has done considerable detailed research to create a very believable impression of London of 1888, and I was very impressed with this but of course I remember her talent from previous books.

I found the story immensely gripping and fast moving and the pages just shot by in this extremely atmospheric story. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, July 2017

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Website Updates: July 2017

Yesterday, I updated the main files on the Euro Crime website. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK eg Emily Brightwell's Mrs Jeffries series which was published in the US in the 1990s (and on) is only recently published in the UK and so some of her books appear in the 2017 Historical list.*

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1065 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2485 authors (12452 titles of which 3048 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Tove Alsterdal, Sally Andrews, Asa Avdic, Federico Axat, Xiao Bai, R J Bailey, Simon Berthon, Simon Booker, Oliver Bottini, Benet Brandreth, Alex Caan, Vince Cable, Julia Chapman, Anne Coates, Daniel Cole, Liz Cowley & Donough O'Brien, Luca D'Andrea, Phillip DePoy, Claire Douglas, Alice Feeney, T P Fielden, Helen Fields, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Caz Frear, Jack Grimwood, JM Gulvin, Johana Gustawsson, Nell Hampton, Elodie Harper, Erin Hart, E V Harte, L V Hay, Elizabeth Heathcote, Elisabeth Herrmann, Nir Hezroni, Mark Hill, Jessica Jarlvi, Matt Johnson, Dirk Kurbjuweit, Peter Laws, Anna Legat, Paula Lennon, Jordi Llobregat, TM Logan Christopher Lowery, H B Lyle, Bonnie MacBird, Amneris Magella, & Cocco Giovanni Laura Marshall, Jon Michelet, J S Monroe, Tara Moore, Peter Morfoot, Alan Murray, Kristine Naess, Sarah J Naughton, Annemarie Neary, Carlene O'Connor, Laura Purcell, D M Quincy, Karolina Ramqvist, Amanda Reynolds, Matthew Richardson, Jenny Rogneby, Jean-Christophe Rufin, Mikel Santiago, Holly Seddon, Jan-Philipp Sendker, Abi Silver, Fiona Veitch Smith, Katherine Stansfield, Karen Lee Street, Plum Sykes, Lone Theils, MB Vincent, Lesley Welsh, Matt Wesolowski, Hanna Winter and David Young.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jane Adams, Lin Anderson, M J Arlidge, Jo Bannister, Fiona Barton, Quentin Bates, M C Beaton, Simon Beckett, Parker Bilal, Laurent Binet, Harry Bingham, Cara Black, Helen Black, Tony Black, Sara Blaedel, Sam Blake, Sharon Bolton, Hilary Bonner, Stephen Booth, Sam Bourne, Simon Brett, Frances Brody, Adam Brookes, Eric Brown, Fiona Buckley, Steve Burrows, Helen Cadbury, Tom Callaghan, Stella Cameron, Christoffer Carlsson, James Carol, Clare Carson, Alan Carter, Andrea Carter, Chris Carter, Joyce Cato, Steve Cavanagh, Kimberley Chambers, Clare Chase, Lee Child, P F Chisholm, Alys Clare, Tammy Cohen, Sheila Connolly, Julie Corbin, Colin Cotterill, Mason Cross, Sinead Crowley, Lisa Cutts, Annie Dalton, Frederic Dard, Lindsey Davis, Sandrone Dazieri, Maurizio De Giovanni, A A Dhand, Katerina Diamond, David Dickinson, Clare Donoghue, Margaret Duffy, Stella Duffy, Ruth Dugdall, Elizabeth J Duncan, Marjorie Eccles, Kate Ellis, Mark Ellis, Lyndsay Faye, Paul Finch, Nicci French, V M Giambanco, Robert Goddard, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Ann Granger, Clio Gray, Michael Gregorio, Isabelle Grey, Kate Griffin, Elly Griffiths, Patricia Hall, Simon Hall, Adam Hamdy, Kate Hamer, Lotte and Soren Hammer, C S Harris, Cora Harrison, Paula Hawkins, Alis Hawkins, Veronica Heley, Mick Herron, Matt Hilton, Hjorth-Rosenfeldt, Anne Holt, Jorn Lier Horst, Debbie Howells, Andrew Hughes, Graham Hurley, Graham Ison, David Jackson, Peter James, Michael Jecks, Ragnar Jonasson, Mons Kallentoft, M R C Kasasian, Emma Kavanagh, Lesley Kelly, Christobel Kent, Lars Kepler, Alanna Knight, Jens Lapidus, Stephen Leather, Simon Lelic, Pierre Lemaitre, Donna Leon, Minna Lindgren, Howard Linskey, Kate London, M L Longworth, Sheila Lowe, Stuart MacBride, A J MacKenzie, Barry Maitland, Michael J Malone, Henning Mankell, Scott Mariani, Edward Marston, Faith Martin, Colette McBeth, Rob McCarthy, Ken McCoy, Nigel McCrery, Brian McGilloway M J/Mel McGrath, Sophie McKenzie, Russel D McLean, Catriona McPherson, K T/Kate Medina, Elmer Mendoza, Dreda Say Mitchell, Lottie Moggach, Susan Moody, Steve Mosby, T F Muir, Abir Mukherjee, Julie Myerson, Fuminori Nakamura, Hakan Nesser, Chris Nickson, Nick Oldham, Leonardo Padura, Tony Parsons, Ben Pastor, Andrea Penrose, Anne Perry, Chris Petit, Oliver Potzsch, Marc Raabe, Caro Ramsay, Danielle Ramsay, Anne Randall, Matt Benyon Rees, Marnie Riches, Michael Ridpath, Mike Ripley, Mark Roberts, Peter Robinson, Michael Robotham, Pauline Rowson, Priscilla Royal, James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Michael Russell, William Ryan, Simon Scarrow, Mark Sennen, Sara Sheridan, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, J G Sinclair, Anna Smith, Jo Spain, Sally Spencer, Susie Steiner, Viveca Sten, Linda Stratmann, Martin Suter, Andrew/A D Swanston, S D Sykes, C L Taylor, Mike Thomas, E S Thomson, David/D B Thorne, Rebecca Tope, Simon Toyne, M J Trow, Antti Tuomainen, Helene Tursten, L C Tyler, Nicola Upson, Antonin Varenne, Luca Veste, Martin Walker, Alex Walters, Ruth Ware, Tim Weaver, Susan Wilkins, Timothy Williams, Laura Wilson, Robert Wilton, Jacqueline Winspear, Inger Wolf, Tom Wood and Anne Zouroudi.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Review: Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon, April 2017, 320 pages, Hardback, William Heinemann, ISBN: 1785151355

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

As the canal narrowed, they saw spoonbills ahead of them, waving their beaks from side to side in the mud as they searched for food. Instinctively the two men pulled in their oars and approached the birds silently, but one of them must have made a motion, for the two birds took wing and were gone in an instant.

Police headquarters, Venice.
The interview of a wealthy suspect – whether or not he gave pills to a young girl at a party – is being conducted in stifling heat. The girl subsequently died in hospital but that doesn’t seem to disturb their suspect. Commissario Brunetti hides his growing repugnance but is increasingly aware of officer Pucetti seated next to him, and of his reactions. What happens next is hard to describe but it is a pivotal point, an impetuous action or set of impetuous actions, starting with Brunetti shooting out his arm, groaning and then collapsing to the floor of the interview room.

In hospital later, Brunetti cannot tell whether his action had been a stalling device to protect a young man’s police career or a genuine medical crisis. But there is no doubting its effect on his wife Paola when she arrives at his bedside, leans close and demands, “What have you done now?” As Brunetti explains he comes to a realisation: that he is going to use the incident to step away from his police work and the stress of protecting himself and his staff from its psychological toll. Nevertheless he is uneasy when the hospital doctor agrees that two or three weeks break from his job is necessary. Now Paola and Brunetti must decide where he can obtain isolation and the image of rowing on the Laguna, as he had as a young man, comes to Brunetti. Paola reminds him of her family’s open invitation to stay at a relative’s small villa on the island of Sant ‘Erasmo. No children, no Paola; just Brunetti, the villa, its caretaker family and days of reading, rowing, eating and sleeping. At Police Headquarters, Brunetti’s frequently-used charade of feeble uselessness works well once more on his boss Patta. So, with a rigorously small suitcase packed with T-shirts, old jeans and his beloved Greek and Latin writings, Brunetti takes the ferry to the island of Sant ‘Erasmo where he is met by the caretaker Davide Casati and settled into the villa.

The following days accompanying Casati as he rows amongst the marshy islets and narrow tidal canals of the Laguna to check his beehives bring a kind of peace to Brunetti. They also put him in touch with his own past for Casati had known and rowed with Brunetti’s father. But Brunetti can also see that Casati is worried by something and oppressed by a sense of guilt. One hot day a fierce and sudden storm blows in whilst Brunetti is out cycling. Drenched, he manages to get back to the villa but next morning Casati’s daughter reports that her father did not return from rowing on the Laguna the day before.

An anxious and difficult search ends with finding Davide’s drowned body, floating beneath his upturned boat, his leg wrapped in the anchor rope. The death of this newfound friend haunts Brunetti and he cannot help but be drawn back searching for the truth of Casati’s death and the truth of his past.

With her Commissario Guido Brunetti books, American-born author Donna Leon has created a classic and long-running crime series; one that is not only enduring but is a detailed chronicle of Leon’s beloved Venice and a careful portrait of a marriage between classics-loving policeman Brunetti and his English Literature professor wife Paola. Followers of the series have got to know their two children, to sit at their table, eat their food and drink their wine. Brunetti's colleagues are equally familiar and established. Yet it is always possible to jump into individual books on their own terms. Donna Leon’s fine juggling act with the series’ back story adds richness and familiarity without rendering each novel indecipherable without knowledge of the previous one.

EARTHLY REMAINS itself reads as freshly and thoughtfully about contemporary life in Venice and the lives of its characters as earlier novels in the series. Brunetti has grown older and perhaps darker in his thoughts but Leon takes him away from the tourist-packed bridges and alleys of Venice and out into the city’s own setting, The Laguna. Painstaking pictures of each encounter with people, birds, islands and islets, ruined farm and villa, mirror the breadth and subtlety of Leon’s cool eye – despite writing, one feels, out of a personal passion about an environment and way of life rapidly disappearing. In EARTHLY REMAINS it seems as if this pause for a long cool look is what Brunetti himself may need in order to reconnect with his original passion for justice. Yes, good fortune smiles on him in the form of a wonderful place to recuperate, thanks to his wife’s wealthy family, and the almost supernatural cyber powers of the ever elegant Signorina Elettra coming to the rescue once again during the course of Brunetti’s investigation into Casati’s past. But a little bit of fortuitous escapism is necessary. Something needs to go right amidst a wider world of corruption, pollution, greed and personal tragedy where, as Leon has said of the current American administration vis-à-vis environmental protection – the foxes have been put in the hen coop.

Donna Leon is a marathon runner when it comes to crime series and in EARTHLY REMAINS, the twenty-sixth in her Guido Brunetti series, Donna Leon remains in peak form.

Lynn Harvey, July 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Blog Tour: Martin Edwards & The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

I'm very pleased to host a guest post from Martin Edwards today, to celebrate the release of his latest reference book on crime fiction. He follows up the hugely acclaimed The Golden Age of Murder (2015) with The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, my new study of crime fiction, is billed as a companion to the British Library’s amazingly popular series of Crime Classics. It’s certainly that, but I hope it’s also something more. The key is that word “story”. This book isn’t meant to be merely a collection of short monographs about interesting novels of the past. It doesn’t even discuss in detail the majority of the books that have been published by the British Library to date. What I set out to do was to explore the way in which the genre developed in the half-century that separates The Hound of the Baskervilles from the appearance of Patricia Highsmith’s brilliant debut Strangers on a Train.

When I published The Golden Age of Murder (Harper Collins) a couple of years back, I wasn’t sure how people would react to my rather elaborate narrative about the extraordinary men and women who created the Detection Club, and the wonderful books they wrote. I avoided an academic approach, partly because I’m not an academic. I’m an enthusiast, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the Golden Age detective fiction. So I was determined that there wouldn’t be any footnotes! My chapter end notes were meant to supplement the text and also, in many cases, be entertaining in themselves. Above all, I wanted to employ the techniques of the novelist to tell a story about the Golden Age.

Rather to my surprise, and much to my delight, it turned out that a good many people around the world not only shared my enthusiasm, but also found the approach I’d adopted an enjoyable means of learning about books that, in countless cases, had been long forgotten. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is very different from The Golden Age of Murder, but again I’ve tried to make use of my experience as a crime novelist to offer a few unexpected twists along the way as the narrative unfolds.

Because this is a British Library book, naturally the focus is on British books. But Eurocrime fans need not despair! I’m fascinated by the Golden Age detective fiction that was being written in languages other than English at the time when Conan Doyle, Christie, and company were at work. This interest has led to me to put together an anthology of classic crime in translation, Foreign Bodies, which the British Library will publish in the autumn. And my chosen hundred classic crime books include, for instance, Six Dead Men, by the Belgian author Stanislas-Andre Steeman. It’s been out of print for far too long, but it bears some uncanny resemblances to Christie’s And Then There Were None. Most interestingly of all, perhaps, it pre-dates Dame Agatha’s masterpiece by eight years.

My thanks are due to Karen Meek for hosting this guest post. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be travelling around the blogosphere, talking about different aspects of the book, and of classic crime. Here’s a list of all the stops on my blog tour – and in the final post, I’ll list the top 30 bestsellers in the Classic Crime series over the past twelve months:

Wed 28 June – Lesa’ Book Critiques -
Thurs 29 June – The Rap Sheet -
Fri 30 June – Pretty Sinister Books -
Sat 1 Jul – Confessions of a Mystery Novelist (interview) -
Sun 2 Jul –Euro Crime -
Mon 3 Jul – Tipping My Fedora -
Tue 4 Jul – Desperate Reader -
Wed 5 Jul –Clothes in Books -
Thu 6 Jul – Emma’s Bookish Corner -
Fri 7 Jul - Random Jottings -

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is published in the UK on 7 July by the British Library, and in the US on 1 August by Poisoned Pen Press.

Many thanks to Martin and The British Library for this post.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

New Releases - July 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in July 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). July and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Beck, Haylen - Here and Gone
• Berthon, Simon - Woman of State
• Bilal, Parker - Dark Water #6 Makana, former police inspector, Cairo
• Booth, Stephen - Dead in the Dark #17 Detectives Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, Peak District
• Bourne, Sam - To Kill the President
• Brett, Simon - Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen #8 Brother and sister sleuths, Blotto and Twinks
• Brookes, Adam - The Spy's Daughter #3 Philip Mangan, Journalist
• Burrows, Steve - A Shimmer of Hummingbirds #4 Inspector Domenic Jejeune, Saltmarsh, Norfolk
• Cohen, Tammy - They All Fall Down
• Corby, Gary - Death on Delos #7 Nicolaos, the ambitious son of a minor sculptor, Ancient Greece
• Dahl, Arne - Watching You #1 Detective Sam Berger
• De Giovanni, Maurizio - Glass Souls #8 Commissario Ricciardi, Naples, 1930s
• Dhand, A A - Girl Zero #2 Detective Harry Virdee, Bradford
• Duffy, Stella - The Hidden Room
• Fields, Helen - Perfect Prey #2 DI Luc Callanach, Edinburgh
• French, Nicci - Sunday Morning Coming Down #7 Frieda Klein, Psychotherapist
• Gordon-Smith, Dolores - The Price of Silence
• Griffin, Kate - Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow #3 Kitty Peck, Victorian London
• Hay, L V - The Other Twin
• Heley, Veronica - Murder for Nothing #18 Ellie Quicke, widow, London suburbs
• Leather, Stephen - Light Touch #14 Dan Shepherd, SAS trooper turned undercover cop
• Lemaitre, Pierre - Three Days and a Life
• MacBird, Bonnie - Unquiet Spirits #2 Sherlock Holmes Adventure
• Marshall, Laura - Friend Request
• Martin, Andrew - Soot
• McCoy, Ken - A Long Way Down #2 DI Sep Black
• McGrath, Mel - Give Me the Child
• McPherson, Catriona - Dandy Gilver and a Spot of Toil and Trouble #12 Dandy Gilver, Society Sleuth, 1920s Scotland
• Moggach, Lottie - Under the Sun
• Moody, Susan - Quick on the Draw #3 Alex Quick
• Neary, Annemarie - The Orphans
• Oldham, Nick - Headhunter #3 Steve Flynn
• Quincy, D M - Murder in Mayfair #1 Atlas Catesby, Regency London
• Rees, Matt Benyon - The 7th Threat #2 Dominic Verrazzano
• Reynolds, Amanda - Close to Me
• Richardson, Matthew - My Name Is Nobody #1 Wilde and Vine
• Ripley, Mike - Mr Campion's Abdication #4 Albert Campion
• Robinson, Peter - Sleeping in the Ground #24 Insp. Alan Banks, Yorkshire
• Robotham, Michael - The Secrets She Keeps
• Roslund & Hellstrom - Three Minutes #7 Detective Inspector Ewert Grens
• Rowson, Pauline - Lost Voyage #3 Former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services Officer, Art Marvik
• Scarrow, Simon - Playing With Death (with Lee Francis)
• Seddon, Holly - Don't Close Your Eyes
• Sheridan, Sara - Russian Roulette #6 Mirabelle Bevan (retired Secret Service), 1950s
• Silver, Abi - The Pinocchio Brief
• Sinclair, J G - Walk in Silence
• Svensson, Anton - Made In Sweden Part 2: The Sons
• Sykes, S D - City of Masks #3 Oswald de Lacy, 14C Kent
• Thomas, Mike - Splinter #2 DC Will MacReady, Cardiff
• Weaver, Tim - I Am Missing #8 David Raker, Missing Persons Investigator
• Welsh, Louise - No Dominion #3 Plague Times Trilogy

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scandi books to look out for

Here are a couple of books with Scandinavian settings which, won't get flagged in my next Petrona Award eligibles list, as either not in translation (1) or not yet published in the UK (2):

1. When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi, available in ebook at the moment with a hardback release scheduled for September. Jessica Jarlvi is Swedish but is writing straight into English.

When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife's secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she's lying silent in a hospital bed...

2. Alexandra Dahl, born in Oslo, is half Norwegian, half American and currently lives between London and Sandefjord. Her novel, The Boy at the Door, set in Sandefjord, has been bought by Berkley in a two-book deal. Described thus: ... a respectable mother's encounter with a strange child who appears from nowhere throws her peaceful Scandinavian suburb where nothing bad ever happens into a dense and shocking web of lies (Publishers Lunch). Berkley is a US publisher but fingers crossed for a UK release.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TV News: Dicte's back

The second series of Dicte will start on More 4 at 9pm on 7 July. The DVD will be available 7 August.

Divorced crime reporter Dicte Svendsen (Iben Hjejle, High Fidelity) has returned with daughter Rose to her hometown of Aarhus where she is trying to escape the past and build a new future. Contacted by her father who hasn't spoken to her in years, a sudden and tragic turn of events finds her investigating a prostitution ring, diamond smuggling and a hit-and-run that not only links them all but will bring the unknown, the unpredictable and the deadly into the lives of both Dicte and police investigator John Wagner. Football hooliganism and match-fixing, sado-masochism and murder, missing children and a mother's lost love, Dicte is not afraid of taking risks, sometimes straying on the wrong side of the law and often risking every relationship in her life to get to the truth. These five gripping tales told over ten episodes are drawn from the crime novels of bestselling Danish author Elsebeth Egholm. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

US Cozy Review: Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee

Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.

Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee, January 2016, Kensington Publishing ISBN: 1496700627

Death Crashes the Party is the first book in the Liv and Di series set in Dixie, Tennessee. Liv is a party planner, and her friend Di is a postal worker.

Liv is planing an anniversary party for a difficult client and when she goes into their garage to inspect the freezer she finds not one but two bodies! The bodies are brothers, one of whom worked for Liv's husband's haulage firm.

With the various police agencies putting pressure on her husband and her father-in-law regarding possible smuggling activities, Liv decides she need to help clear the family name.

What I particularly like about this new series is that Liv and Di actually do some real life investigating. They follows suspects and even break and enter to steal surveillance footage and a diary (in two separate instances). The story is well paced with plenty of activity in its sub 300 pages and the main characters are likeable. There are even a few party planning tips at the end of the book. I was possibly slightly predisposed to like this book as I'm slowly working my way through the engaging Hart of Dixie tv series but I think I would have liked it anyway! It reminded me of the cozies I used to read a few years ago where the main characters actually did detecting rather than waiting for information to come to them.

There are currently two available sequels, It's Your Party, Die If You Want To and One Fete in the Grave, which I very much look forward to reading.

Karen Meek, June 2017.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Awards News: Dagger in the Library Winner; McIlvanney Prize Longlist

The winner of the Dagger in the Library was announced on Saturday, From the press release.
The winner of the CWA 2017 Dagger in the Library has been revealed: Mari Hannah.

The winner was declared at a reception at the British Library on Saturday 17 June by Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA. Martin said: ‘At a time when the CWA is expanding its support for public and independent libraries, I am delighted to congratulate Mari. Her DCI Kate Daniels books, set in the North East, are tremendously popular and we know they’re eagerly devoured by library goers and book groups. Congratulations also to the quintet of superb shortlisted authors: Kate Ellis, James Oswald, Tara French, CJ Sansom and Andrew Taylor on reaching the shortlist stage of what is a highly competitive award.’

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. In 2017 the CWA worked alongside The Reading Agency to involve book clubs and reading groups, via Reading Groups for Everyone, in reaching the shortlist and winner stages. However, the Dagger in the Library is unique among crime-writing awards in that only library staff are able to make the original author nominations.

Mari will also be honoured at the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner in London on October 26 – tickets are now available from
The McIlvanney Prize longlist has just been announced:

‘In what is shaping up to be a record-breaking year at Bloody Scotland (we sold twice as many tickets on our first day as last year), I’m pleased to see so many of the highlights of the 2017 programme featured on this longlist. It’s also brilliant to see a few debut novels on there slugging it out with the more established names. I certainly don’t envy our judges the task of picking a winner from this excellent crop of crime novels’
Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland, June 2017

‘I went to Bloody Scotland and I was just knocked out....this event was so friendly, so supportive I was honestly overwhelmed’
William McIlvanney – speaking on BBC Scotland, 2012

Last year the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award was renamed the McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney who established the tradition of Scottish detective fiction. His brother Hugh McIlvanney OBE, came to Stirling to present the prize to Chris Brookmyre who won it for Black Widow. The book went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and is currently on the shortlist for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Prize to be announced at the Harrogate Festival next month.

Ever a step ahead, Bloody Scotland today announce the longlist for this year’s McIlvanney Prize. The winner will be announced at the opening reception at Stirling Castle on Friday 8 September (6.30-8.30pm) and followed by a torchlight procession – open to the public - led by Ian Rankin on his way down to his event celebrating 30 years of Rebus. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The longlist which has been chosen by an independent panel of readers and features 6 male and 6 female writers, established authors and debut writers, small Scottish publishers and large London houses, is released today:

Lin Anderson – None But the Dead (Macmillan)
Chris Brookmyre – Want You Gone (Little, Brown)
Ann Cleeves – Cold Earth (Macmillan)
Helen Fields – Perfect Remains (Harper Collins)
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds (Little, Brown)
Claire MacLeary – Cross Purpose (Contraband)
Denise Mina – The Long Drop (Random House)
Owen Mullen – Games People Play (Bloodhound)
Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil (Orion)
Craig Robertson – Murderabilia (Simon and Schuster)
Craig Russell – The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid (Quercus)
Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends & Implicate People (Thomas & Mercer)

The judges will be chaired by Director of Granite Noir, Lee Randall, comedian and crime fiction fan, Susan Calman and journalist, Craig Sisterson who between them cover three continents. The finalists will be revealed at the beginning of September and the winner kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.

Previous winners are Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Free Kindle Book - Under a Black Sky by Inger Wolf

Under a Black Sky by Danish author, Inger Wolf and translated by Mark Kline, is currently free on UK and US Kindle.

I believe this to be the sixth book in the Daniel Trokic series however it is currently the only one available in English. Back in 2012, the previous book, Evil Water, was made available as an ebook but I cannot find it available now.

Anchorage, Alaska: A prominent Danish volcano scientist, Asger Vad and his wife and son, are found shot on the outskirts of the city.

The killer has placed the victims around a table on which there is a doll house with four small dolls and a pile of volcano ashes. However, one person is missing at the table.

The Family’s 11-year-old daughter has disappeared from the house, and a massive search starts. Has she run away, or did the killer take her? Also, what secrets do the family keep?

Inspector Daniel Trokic is sent to Alaska to participate in the investigation. He teams up with the half native detective Angie Johnson, and their hunt for an insane killer and the missing daughter begins.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - the Trophy is Home

Only a few weeks ago, at CrimeFest, Gunnar Staalesen was announced as the winner of the 2017 Petrona Award for WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

The Trophy itself was subsequently shipped to Mr Staalesen's home in Norway and I'm pleased to announce that it has just arrived. Here are a couple of photos of the author with his prize, plus its resting place in a central position in his living room. As well as the Trophy, Mr Staalesen also won a complimentary pass from the organisers of CrimeFest for next year's event, which he will be taking up.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

New Releases - June 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). June and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Barton, Fiona - The Child
• Billingham, Mark - Love Like Blood #14 DI Tom Thorne, London
• Bingham, Harry - The Deepest Grave #6 DC Fiona Griffiths
• Black, Benjamin - Prague Nights
• Black, Cara - Murder in Saint Germain #17 Aimee Leduc, Paris
• Bonda, Katarzyna - Girl at Midnight
• Burke, Stephen - The Reluctant Contact
• Carlsson, Christoffer - Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend #3 Leo Junker, Police Officer
• Carson, Clare - The Dark Isle #3 Sam
• Carter, Alan - Marlborough Man #1 Nick Chester, New Zealand
• Clements, Rory - Corpus #1 Thomas Wilde, 1930s
• Crowley, Sinead - One Bad Turn #3 Sergeant Claire Boyle, Dublin
• Drinkwater, Carol - The Lost Girl
• Fraser, Hugh - Malice #3 Rina Walker, 1960s
• Giambanco, V M - Sweet After Death #4 Detective Alice Madison, Seattle
• Granger, Ann - Rooted In Evil #5 Inspector Jess Campbell & Superintendent Ian Carter, Cotswolds
• Harper, Elodie - The Binding Song
• Hjorth-Rosenfeldt - The Silent Girl #4 Sebastian Bergman, Psychological profiler
• Holt, Anne - Offline (apa Odd Numbers) #9 Hanne Wilhelmsen
• Hurley, Graham - Aurore #2 Wars Within
• Jarlvi, Jessica - When I Wake Up
• Kasasian, M R C - Dark Dawn over Steep House #5 The Gower St Detective, Victorian era
• Kelly, Lesley - The Health of Strangers
• Li, Winnie M - Dark Chapter
• Marston, Edward - The Circus Train Conspiracy #14 Det. Insp Colbeck, Scotland Yard, mid 19th Century
• McBeth, Colette - An Act of Silence
• Meyer, Deon - Fever
• Mouron, Quentin - Three Drops of Blood and A Cloud of Cocaine
• Muir, T F - The Killing Connection #7 DI Andy Gilchrist & team, St. Andrews
• Mukherjee, Abir - A Necessary Evil #2 Captain Sam Wyndham, Calcutta, 1919
• Naess, Kristine - Only Human
• Ohlsson, Kristina - Buried Lies
• Penrose, Andrea - Murder on Black Swan Lane
• Ramsay, Danielle - The Last Cut #1 DS Harri Jacobs, Newcastle
• Sennen, Mark - The Boneyard #6 DI Charlotte Savage
• Seskis, Tina - The Honeymoon
• Staalesen, Gunnar - Wolves in the Dark #18 Varg Veum, PI in Bergen, Norway
• Steiner, Susie - Persons Unknown #2 Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, Cambridgeshire
• Swallow, James - Exile #2 Marc Dane
• Sykes, Plum - Party Girls Die in Pearls #1 Oxford Girl Mystery
• Thorne, D B - Troll
• Toyne, Simon - The Boy Who Saw #2 Solomon Creed
• Tremayne, Peter - Night of the Lightbringer #26 Sister Fidelma
• Tyler, L C - Herring in the Smoke #7 Ethelred Tressider, author & Elsie Thirkettle, agent
• Walker, Martin - Templars' Last Secret #10 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Ware, Ruth - The Lying Game
• Welsh, Kaite - The Wages of Sin #1 Sarah Gilchrist, Victorian Era, Scotland
• Wood, Tom - The Final Hour #7 Victor, Assassin

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway, May 2017, 336 pages, Corsair, ISBN: 1472151305

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

A complex mixture of homophobia and racism in the Greenaway Estate, somewhere in Northern Ireland, provides the story for this fourth book from McGilloway, featuring DS Lucy Black. The book starts with a sermon from Pastor Nixon railing against homosexuality, and suggesting that homosexuals should be stoned, and is swiftly followed by the discovery of a body of a man, with his head bashed in by a rock, who turns out to have been homosexual. Alongside this, DS Black and her partner Tom Fleming, are called to the house of the Lupei family, Romanian immigrants, who have had the sign ‘Romans out’ painted on the side of the house. While they are there, Mrs Lupei gives them a leaflet that is being handed out on the Greenway Estate, which refers to Brexit, the chance to get rid of immigrants, and the statement ‘local housing for local people’. Clearly this is a family under threat, and Lucy is worried about potential escalation. Sprinkled into the mix are ‘legal highs’, drugs being sold by someone, with the claim that someone in the Lupei family is involved in selling drugs, strongly denied by Mr and Mrs Lupei. And of course, in the background is the ever-present history of Northern Ireland and the ‘troubles’.

It’s an interesting complex story, characterised by the reluctance of almost everyone involved refusing to talk, or give any information out that might help the police, which makes life difficult for Lucy and Tom, and this reluctance leads to further violence. There are the usual few blind alleys and then an eventual resolution that brings all the threads together, without too many surprises.

The backstory, is that Lucy’s mother is a senior police office, who left her with her father when she was just 8 years old, but as Lucy’s mother uses her maiden name, very few people actually know that the two are related, and Lucy wants to keep it that way. She blames her mother for the family breakup, and remains fiercely loyal to her father, who is now in a care home, suffering from dementia. Lucy is living in her father’s house, and has a lodger called Grace, a street girl that she offered a home to, at the end of the previous book, and is finally coming to terms with her father’s disease. Gradually throughout this story, there is also a softening in relations between Lucy and her mother, which is interesting to watch. However, apart from this, there is almost no other personal backstory of any kind, in contrast to earlier books in the series, and I found this a little disappointing.

The main focus of the book is then directly on Lucy and Tom and their efforts to uncover who is behind the killing of the (initially) unidentified man, and those behind the targeted attacks on the Lupei family. Without giving too much away, there is somewhat of a mixed message about ‘Brexit’, immigrants, and possible links to drugs, which I found somewhat uncomfortable. However, Lucy is strong in her support of the Lupei family, making efforts to help them get rehoused away from the Greenway Estate, where they will be safe. There are sympathetic noises towards the homosexual issue, where it seems particularly difficult for members of the ‘macho’ male community, to openly admit that they are gay, and Lucy determinedly challenges Pastor Nixon on his homophobia. Lucy is a strong, likeable, detective and Tom works well as a sensible, level headed foil to her more headstrong approach. Overall, the book has strong lead characters, a complex story with some surprises, and an interesting mix of prejudices that drive the plot.

Michelle Peckham, May 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Awards News (III) - Theakstons 2017 Shortlist

And finally, the Theakston 2017 Shortlist was also announced on Saturday. From their website:

Six Suspects Announced on the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award Shortlist

The shortlist for crime writing’s most wanted accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.

The most prestigious prize in the crime genre is now entering its 13th year. The shortlisted six were whittled down from a longlist of 18 titles published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback between 1 May 2016 and 30 April 2017.

The 2017 Award is run in partnership with title sponsor T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.

Essex-based writer Eva Dolan returns to the shortlist for the second year; Tell No Tales was shortlisted in 2016. Her follow-up After You Die is the third book from the author BBC Radio 4 marked as a ‘rising star of crime fiction’. Shortlisted for the CWA Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, her debut novel Long Way Home, was the start of a major new crime series starring two detectives from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit.

Mick Herron’s espionage thriller, Real Tigers, is the third in his Jackson Lamb series. It received critical acclaim, with The Spectator saying the novel ‘explodes like a firecracker in all directions’. The series is based on an MI5 department of ‘rejects’ – intelligent services’ misfits and screw-ups, featuring anti-hero Jackson Lamb. Herron’s writing was praised by critic Barry Forshaw for ‘the spycraft of le Carré refracted through the blackly comic vision of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.’

Lie With Me, the psychological thriller by Sabine Durrant was a Richard and Judy book pick. Durrant, also a feature writer, is a former assistant editor of The Guardian and former literary editor at The Sunday Times. Full of violent twists, her roguish charmer, Paul Morris, a once acclaimed author now living off friends and feeding them lies, is invited on a Greek holiday and events take a sinister turn. The Guardian praised it as a ‘thriller worthy of Ruth Rendell or Patricia Highsmith.’

Susie Steiner is also a former Guardian journalist. Her first crime novel introduces Detective Manon Bradshaw, working on the high profile missing person’s case of Cambridge post-grad Edith Hind, daughter of Sir Ian and Lady Hind. Can DS Manon Bradshaw wade through the evidence before a missing person inquiry becomes a murder investigation? Missing, Presumed, was a Sunday Times bestseller, a Richard & Judy pick and was praised for its stylish, witty and compelling writing.

Chris Brookmyre
beat stiff competition to win the Scottish crime book of the year award with his novel, Black Widow, a story of cyber-abuse, where ‘even the twists have twists’. It features his long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she had been given the novel as an early Valentine’s Day present by her husband, declaring it ‘brilliant’.

Val McDermid, acknowledged as the ‘Queen of Crime’ has sold over 15m books to date. Her latest number one bestseller, Out of Bounds, features DCI Karen Pirie unlocking the mystery of a 20 year-old murder inquiry. The book is her 30th novel.

The shortlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers and members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee.

The titles will now be promoted in a seven-week promotion in over 1,500 libraries and WHSmith stores nationwide throughout June and July.

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, alongside a public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 14 July at

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 20 July on the opening night of the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. They’ll receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

It’s also been announced that the awards night will honour Lee Child. The Jack Reacher creator will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.

Awards News (II) - Petrona & CrimeFest Awards

Last Saturday, in the early evening at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest in Bristol, the following winners were announced:

Winner of the Petrona Award 2017 was Gunnar Staalesen for Where Roses Never Die translated by Don Bartlett. (Watch the whole presentation ceremony here).

Audible Sounds of Crime Award
WINNER: Clare Mackintosh for I See You, read by Rachel Atkins (Hachette Audio / Isis)

eDunnit Award
WINNER: Laura Lippman for Wilde Lake (Faber & Faber)

H.R.F. Keating Award
WINNER: Barry Forshaw for Brit Noir (Pocket Essentials)

Last Laugh Award
WINNER: Mick Herron for Real Tigers (John Murray)

Best Crime Novel for Children (08 – 12)
WINNER: Robin Stevens for Murder Most Unladylike: Mistletoe and Murder (Puffin)

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (12 – 16)
WINNER: Simon Mason for Kid Got Shot (David Fickling Books)

Awards News (I) - Dagger Longlists

So many shortlists, longlists and winners were announced over the weekend, I'm going to break it up into several posts.

Firstly we had the CWA Dagger Longlists:


A Cold Death - Antonio Manzini tr. Antony Shugaar (4th Estate)
A Fine Line - Gianrico Carofiglio tr. Howard Curtis (Bitter Lemon Press)
A Voice In The Night - Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli (Mantle)
Blackout - Marc Elsberg tr. Marshall Yarbrough (Black Swan)
Blood Wedding - Pierre Lemaitre tr. Frank Wynne (Maclehose Press)
Climate Of Fear - Fred Vargas tr. Siân Reynolds (Harvill Secker)
Death In The Tuscan Hills - Marco Vichi tr. Stephen Sartarelli (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Bastards Of Pizzofalcone - Maurizio De Giovanni tr. Antony Shugaar (Europa Editions)
The Dying Detective - Leif G W Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday)
The Legacy Of The Bones - Dolores Redondo tr. Nick Caister & Lorenza Garcia (Harper Fiction)
When It Grows Dark - Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press)


The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer
Dead Man’s Blues - Ray Celestin
The Girl Before - J P Delaney
Desperation Road - Michael Farris Smith
Little Deaths - Emma Flint
The Dry - Jane Harper
Spook Street - Mick Herron
Sirens - Joseph Knox
Ashes of Berlin - Luke McCallin
The Girl in Green - Derek B. Miller
A Rising Man - Abir Mukherjee
Darktown - Thomas Mullen

Ian Fleming Steel

You Will Know Me - Megan Abbott
Kill the Next One - Frederico Axat
The Twenty Three - Linwood Barclay
The Killing Game - J S Carol
The Heat - Garry Disher
A Hero in France - Alan Furst
We Go Around in the Night Consumed By Fire - Jules Grant
Moskva - Jack Grimwood
The One Man - Andrew Gross
Redemption Road - John Hart
Spook Street - Mick Herron
Dark Asset - Adrian Magson
Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly - Adrian McKinty
The Constant Soldier - William Ryan
The Rules of Backyard Cricket - Jock Serong
Jericho’s War - Gerald Seymour
The Kept Woman - Karin Slaughter
Broken Heart - Tim Weaver

John Creasey - New Blood

The Watcher - Ross Armstrong
The Pictures - Guy Bolton
What You Don’t Know - JoAnn Chaney
Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
Sunset City - Melissa Ginsburg
Epiphany Jones - Michael Grothaus
Distress Signals - Catherine Ryan Howard
Himself - Jess Kidd
Sirens - Joseph Knox
Good Me, Bad Me - Ali Land
The Possessions - Sara Flannery Murphy
Tall Oaks - Chris Whitaker

Endeavour Historical

The Devil’s Feast - M.J. Carter
The Coroner’s Daughter - Andrew Hughes
The Black Friar - S.G. MacLean
The Ashes of Berlin - Luke McCallin
The Long Drop - Denise Mina
A Rising Man - Abir Mukherjee
Darktown - Thomas Mullen
By Gaslight - Steven Price
The City in Darkness - Michael Russell
Dark Asylum - E.S. Thomson

Shortlists for the Daggers will be announced later in the summer and the winners will be announced at the Dagger Awards dinner in London on 26 October, for which tickets will be available shortly. Visit for more information.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Winner

Announcing the winner for:

The 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year

On 20 May 2017, at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest, Bristol, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The winner was WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

The trophy was presented by last year's winner Jørn Lier Horst.

As well as the trophy, Gunnar Staalesen receives a pass to and a guaranteed panel at next year's CrimeFest.

The judges's additional comments on WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE:
Gunnar Staalesen has long been the finest Nordic novelist in the private-eye tradition of the American masters. WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE is both a coruscating and ambitious novel from the veteran writer, and a radical re-working of his customary materials - perhaps the most accomplished entry in the long-running sequence of books about Bergen detective Varg Veum.
The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

Watch the live recording of last night's presentation:

Gunnar thanking his translator Don Bartlett:

Barry Foshaw (judge), Gunnar Staalesen, Karen O'Sullivan (publisher), Don Bartlett (translator), Sarah ward (judge), Kat Hall (judge)