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)

Friday, May 19, 2017

CWA International Dagger 2017 - Longlist

The Longlist for the CWA International Dagger 2017 was announced tonight at CrimeFest.

The list includes two Petrona Award winners - Leif GW Persson and Jorn Lier Horst as well as several previous winners of the International Dagger: Andrea Camilleri, Pierre Lemaitre and Fred Vargas.
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)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear, May 2017, 350 pages, Allison and Busby, ISBN: 0749021802

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

Britain is at war. Returned from a dangerous mission onto enemy soil and having encountered an old enemy and the Fuhrer himself along the way, Maisie Dobbs is fully aware of the gravity of the current situation and how her world is on the cusp of great change. One of those changes can be seen in the floods of refugees that are arriving in Britain, desperate for sanctuary from the approaching storm of war. When Maisie stumbles on the deaths of refugees who may have been more than ordinary people, she is drawn into an investigation that requires all her insight and strength.

Running her own private investigation agency, Maisie has plenty of work coming in and is busy with current enquiries when she is approached at her home address by a lady known as Dr Francesca Thomas who explains that she wants to employ Maisie and her firm to try to prevent a murder from happening. Dr Thomas works for the Belgian Government and explains that several thousand refugees fled their country during the Great War and many had settled in the UK, changing their names if appropriate. One Belgian named Frederick Addens, was unfortunately found dead in St Pancras Station in early August, shot in the back of the head.

According to Dr Thomas, Scotland Yard were not too interested in spending a lot of time investigated the death of a foreign national, particularly at a time of heightened security because of the impending war. Dr Thomas said a Detective Inspector Caldwell at Scotland Yard was in charge of the case and Maisie has had dealings with him before. She wants Maisie to look into the case and she will pay all the expenses.

Maisie reluctantly takes up the case and asks her assistants, Billy Beale and Sandra Pickering at her Fitzroy Square, London W1 office address to look into various aspects of it immediately. Using all the skills that she has picked up in over ten years of investigations Maisie soon sets to work in solving this latest case. Maisie also has to look into a couple of other cases which are similarly quite complex but this adds to the enjoyment of this very gripping story.

Jacqueline Winspear is a very gifted author of historical mystery thrillers and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to review her latest work. I have read for review several of her previous books and consequently I appreciate the very detailed research that the author makes when plotting her stories. You really get a good sense of what daily life was like in the 1930s. This is a very high quality story with very good characterisation of Maisie, Billy and the other lesser characters which are so insightful that they just leap off of the page.

I enjoyed reading this story immensely and I do look forward to reading more of the highly intriguing adventures of Maisie from this very idiosyncratic and evocative writer. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, May 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The CWA & Libraries

I've recently had two press releases from the CWA regarding their connection to libraries. Firstly, the shortlist for the Dagger in the Library has been announced:

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. It is one of the most prestigious crime writing awards in the UK and previous winners include Elly Griffiths, Christopher Fowler, Sharon Bolton, Belinda Bauer, Alexander McCall Smith, Stephen Booth, Peter Robinson and Lindsey Davis.

The CWA, in discussion with its 2017 partners, The Reading Agency, revised the 2017 Dagger in the Library format so that, uniquely among crime-writing awards, only library staff were able to nominate authors. Nominations were received from 175 libraries across the UK and Ireland. The CWA worked with The Reading Agency, local libraries and the Crime Readers’ Association to promote novels from the longlisted authors to reading groups nationwide and feedback received from reading groups via Reading Groups for Everyone was a major factor in the judges’ shortlisting.
Here is the Shortlist:
Kate Ellis

Tana French

Mari Hannah

James Oswald

C J Sansom

Andrew Taylor
For more information about the authors, please visit:

The winner will be announced at a short reception to immediately follow the Bodies from the Library event at the British Library on Saturday 17 June, promptly at 5.30pm.

More details about Bodies from the Library and ticket information can be found here:

And secondly, Ruth Dudley Edwards has been appointed as the CWA's Libraries Champion:
The Crime Writers’ Association has appointed its first Libraries Champion, Ruth Dudley Edwards. Ruth and the CWA will work with libraries nationwide to support the public library network, promote the value of reading for people of all ages and from all backgrounds, and promote crime writing.

Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, said, “Ruth Dudley Edwards is the ideal person to lead this exciting initiative. The CWA already has strong links with libraries throughout the country. Our annual Dagger in the Library award has been highly prized for 20 years, and June sees National Crime Writing Month, with crime writers appearing at libraries throughout Britain, as well as our Alibis in the Archive conference at Gladstone’s Library, near Chester.

“Ruth is an award-winning crime novelist and writer of non-fiction, and her fearless journalism commands respect internationally. She will be a passionate and effective advocate for libraries and for the value of books in all communities.”

Ruth Dudley Edwards said: “I’m delighted to have this chance to build on the already close relationship CWA members enjoy with librarians throughout the United Kingdom. I’ve never met a crime writer who didn’t love libraries.”

Neil MacInnes, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, and Strategic Lead on Libraries, Galleries and Culture for Manchester City Council said: “I am delighted to welcome Ruth as the Libraries Champion and look forward to developing opportunities and programmes for SCL & public libraries to work with the CWA to promote reading and libraries.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Free TV Episodes on Amazon (II)

It's back - are repeating their offer of making the first episode available to "buy" for free, this time in 62 TV series - you can download as well as stream.

The list includes Scandi favourites such as Beck, Borgen, The Bridge, The Legacy, Occupied and additionally 1864, Modus, The Protectors, The Team and Follow the Money. Also included are: French series Braquo ; Israeli series Hostages; Polish series The Border; Belgian series The Outlaws and the Australian series The Code.

British series include Happy Valley, Hinterland, Luther, The Missing (II) and Shetland.

Browse the whole list on Amazon.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils tr. Charlotte Barslund

Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils translated by Charlotte Barslund, May 2017, 323 pages, Paperback, Arcadia Books, ISBN: 191135003X

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

Nora focused on the pictures on the wall behind him. They were copies, blown up to triple size. That in itself wasn’t frightening. What made the hairs on Nora’s arms stand up was that pretty much under every picture, there was a name. And underneath the name, the laconic message: Missing.

A coastal town, southern England.
A middle-aged African school teacher calmly drinks tea as he recounts massacre, rapes and mutilations to Danish foreign correspondent Nora Sand. He explains his part in these horrific acts as: “clearing cockroaches out of the kitchen”. Nora hides her disgust and leaves Pete to take carefully anonymous photographs of the informant. They take the coastal road back to London, stopping at a tiny fishing village for a walk on the beach to drain the poisons of the Rwanda story. In the village Nora spots a leather suitcase in a junk shop window; definitely one for her collection. The shop is open and the deal is done. When she reaches her tiny London flat, Nora dumps the case and drops into bed, exhausted.

The Crayfish, Nora’s boss at the Danish weekly Globalt, has never got to grips with time differences. So when he rings at 6.30 next morning, Nora staggers out of bed and trips over the suitcase in the middle of the floor. It falls open, spilling out a group of Polaroid photos which she hunkers down to examine: teenage girls, all in similar poses, looking straight at the camera, 1980s to 1990s by the fashions. One photo in particular catches her eye: this time two girls stand in front of a wall below a sign in Danish – Car Deck 2.

Nora is working on the Rwanda story when she is interrupted by the entryphone. Her old friend Andreas, now with the Danish police, now in London on a course, is now on her doorstep for their forgotten lunch date. He studies the Polaroid of the two girls, and spots a bracelet of lettered beads. An L? E or I? Over lunch they agree that something bothers both of them about the photo and Nora remembers a TV documentary about two Danish girls who went missing from a passenger ferry in the 1980s. They had been heading to England for a short trip as part of a group of teenagers from a care home. They vanished during the crossing, a backpack on the sun deck the only trace. Neither were seen again and the adults in charge of the group went on trial for negligence.

During Nora’s flying visit to Denmark for a family birthday, The Crayfish surprises her with permission to follow up on the story. She wastes no time in printing out copies of the Polaroid and raiding press archive resources, including re-examining the TV documentary on the missing girls. Andreas’ uncle arranges a meeting with a police colleague who had been part of the original investigation. He in turn is shocked by the Polaroid and immediately takes possession of it for Forensics. In keeping with her research Nora immerses herself in a book about British serial killers on her return flight. A photo halts her, a victim of serial killer William Hickley. A young woman stands against the backdrop of a wall just as in the Polaroids Nora found in the suitcase. The British police found the preserved tongues of at least fifteen victims whom they believed Hickley, or Bill Hix as he liked to call himself, had tortured and killed. Hickley was tried, found guilty and imprisoned, but to this day refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the bodies of his victims...

Danish news correspondent Lone Theils was based in London for 16 years. Now back in Denmark, she has written a debut crime novel that achieves just what she set out to do – combine her love of British crime stories with Nordic Noir. It introduces Danish journalist Nora Sand; her complex family relationships; her passion for investigative journalism and kick-boxing (shared with the author) and her hectic life which in this novel criss-crosses the North Sea between England and Denmark tracking her obsession with the idea that her second-hand suitcase and the photos it contained belonged to a notorious serial killer. En route she encounters police investigators in both countries who are still haunted by disappearances as well as the whereabouts of Hickley’s victims’ bodies. The case leads Nora to Scotland Yard and a list of missing girls from across Europe compiled by profiler Jeff Spencer’s team and then through the gates of a notorious prison and into the presence of the rarely interviewed killer William Hickley.

Translated from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund (translator of Gazan’s THE DINOSAUR FEATHER, Enger’s BURNED and more), FATAL CROSSING's pace quickly takes hold as the plot gains complexity (alongside Nora’s private life) and explores both the troubled past of the children from the care home in Denmark and the sedate and seemingly soft life of English seaside towns. (I did wonder if this complexity allowed a red herring to swim past me – but perhaps that was due to my lack of sleep as I read on through the night). Although lacking some of the objectivity that I like in my favourite Nordic Noirs, this is an accomplished and exciting crime novel. With a second Nora Strand book published in Denmark I hope there will be more from Lone Theils to satisfy those readers who like to travel with their crime-reading as well as those readers who like to stay at home – be they Danish or British.

Lynn Harvey, May 2017

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Review: Death of a Ghost by M C Beaton

Death of a Ghost by M C Beaton, February 2017, Constable, ISBN: 1472117247

I'm a huge fan of M C Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series set in the Highlands of Scotland, which has been running for over thirty years now. Though time stands still in terms of the characters' ages they do move with the times in terms of modern accoutrements such as iPhones.

In this latest outing, DEATH OF A GHOST, Hamish and his latest police sidekick/colleague Charlie are summoned by an ex-police superintendent who has bought a castle in the dismal and remote loch-side village of Drim. The former police bigwig, nicknamed Handy, has been hearing howling, “haunted”, noises from the disused tower attached to his historic home. Hamish and Charlie agree to spend a night in the tower to dispel the myth of a ghost.

What they find however is not an airy-fairy ghost but an honest to goodness dead body.

And so begins an investigation into the residents of Drim and uncovering their secrets and desires and along the way there are more murders.

As well as the murder enquiries, we catch up briefly with all of Hamish's previous colleagues who have spent a short while with him in his police station/home in Lochdubh and his former love-interests Priscilla and Elspeth make brief and slightly longer appearances respectively.

I dive into this series whenever I need a bit of light relief and a trip to beautiful countryside. This one caught me particularly off guard with the identity of the murderer. M C Beaton manages to keep this series fresh, despite it having over thirty entries and I always look forward to the next one. If you like one, you'll like them all.

British cozy crime is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment and if you like that sub-genre then why not start with the very first Hamish, DEATH OF A GOSSIP.

Monday, May 01, 2017

New Releases - May 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in May 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). May and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Adams, Pete - Ghost and Ragman Roll #4 DCI Jack Austin
• Arlidge, M J - Love Me Not #7 Helen Grace, Southampton Police
• Atherton, Nancy - Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse #22 Aunt Dimity
• Atkins, Lucy - The Night Visitor
• Binet, Laurent - The 7th Function of Language
• Brightwell, Emily - Mrs Jeffries Rights a Wrong #35 Mrs Jeffries
• Carol, James - The Quiet Man #4 Jefferson Winter
• Child, Lee - No Middle Name #1 Jack Reacher Short Stories
• Coates, Anne - Death's Silent Judgement #2 Hannah Weybridge, Journalist
• Cotterell, T A - What Alice Knew
• Dalton, Annie - A Study in Gold #3 Anna Hopkins, Oxford
• Dams, Jeanne M - The Missing Masterpiece #19 Dorothy Martin
• Dard, Frederic - The King of Fools
• de la Motte, Anders - Ultimatum (apa The Silenced) #2 David Sarac
• Dennison, Hannah - Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall #4 Kat Stanford
• Duffy, Margaret - Murders.Com #20 Major Patrick Gillard, MI5 & Ingrid Langley, author (ex MI5)
• Dugdall, Ruth - My Sister and Other Liars
• Duncan, Elizabeth J - Murder Is for Keeps #8 Penny Brannigan, Nail salon owner, North Wales
• Eccles, Marjorie - The Property of Lies #4 Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon, 1928
• Ellory, R J - Kings of America
• Fiorato, Marina - Crimson and Bone
• Friis, Agnete - What My Body Remembers
• Gregorio, Michael - Lone Wolf #3 Sebastiano Cangio, Italy
• Gustawsson, Johana - Block 46 #1 Roy & Castells
• Hawkins, Paula - Into the Water
• Henry, James - Frost at Midnight #4 DS Jack Frost, 1980s
• Indridason, Arnaldur - The Shadow District #1 Konrád, a former detective
• James, Peter - Need You Dead #13 Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, Brighton
• Jecks, Michael - A Murder Too Soon #2 Jack Blackjack, Tudor Era
• Kent, Christobel - The Day She Disappeared
• Khan, Vaseem - The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star #3 Inspector Chopra
• Linskey, Howard - The Search #3 DC Ian Bradshaw
• Logan, TM - Lies
• Longworth, M L - The Curse of La Fontaine #6 Verlaque and Bonnet, Aix-en-Provence
• Lyle, H B - The Irregular #1 Wiggins, 1909
• Mariani, Scott - The Babylon Idol #15 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• McGilloway, Brian - Bad Blood #4 Detective Sergeant Lucy Black
• Medina, Kate - Scared to Death #2 Dr Jessie Flynn, Psychologist
• Potzsch, Oliver - The Play of Death #6 Hangman's Daughter series
• Ridpath, Michael - Amnesia
• Roberts, Mark - Day of the Dead #3 DCI Eve Clay, Liverpool
• Rufin, Jean-Christophe - Checkpoint
• Runcie, James - Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love #6 The Grantchester Mysteries
• Russell, Leigh - Deadly Alibi #9 DI Geraldine Steel
• Russell, Michael - The City of Lies #4 Garda Detective Stefan Gillespie
• Shaw, William - Sympathy For The Devil #4 DS Breen and WPC Tozer, 1960s
• Shelton, Paige - Of Books and Bagpipes #2 Scottish Bookshop Mystery
• Sten, Viveca - Guiltless #3 Sandhamn Murders
• Theils, Lone - Fatal Crossing #1 Nora Sand, Journalist
• Tope, Rebecca - The Bowness Bequest #6 Persimmon Brown, Florist, Lake District
• Wilson, Andrew - A Talent for Murder
• Young, Felicity - A Donation of Murder (ebook only) #5 Dr Dody McCleland, the first female autopsy surgeon, Victorian London

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Reading Group thoughts on The Theory of Death

The gripping new crime novel in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman.

It’s been almost a year since Greenbury’s last murder. Detective Peter Decker has been enjoying the slower pace of life in upstate New York … until two kids find a dead body in the woods.

Identifying the body takes Decker and his former partner Tyler McAdams into the cryptic world of mathematics at Kneed Loft College – a sphere of scheming academics, a beguiling student who sets her sights on McAdams, and a dangerous underworld.

It will take all of Decker’s wits and McAdams’s intellect to solve a twisted tale created by depraved masterminds, and then make it out alive…

A while back my F2F reading group won copies from the publisher,  of The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman.

I enjoyed the book and found it an easy read and rather wish I'd read the previous book in the series which (I think) introduced Decker's (annoying) young partner McAdams. 

Verbal comments from the group included:

Big Bang meets Diagnosis Murder.

Got bored with the maths.

Quite good - I like Faye Kellerman.

Kept you guessing.

Guessed quickly.

Like the small-town feel of the college setting.

Very readable.

[the student] was very irritating - what was Faye Kellerman thinking?

Glad that Peter Decker is still going.

and a handed in written review: Readable, formulaic, overlong. Flagged at times. Characters likeable enough but had no depth. Ending a little disappointing and predictable.

So a mixed response but overall the response was positive.

I'd like to thank the publisher (HarperCollins) for the books and thus the opportunity for the group to all read the same book. Usually, as we're library based, we have to go with a selection of titles to have enough copies to go round.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: The Body on the Doorstep by A J Mackenzie

The Body on the Doorstep by A J Mackenzie, August 2016, 288 pages, Zaffre, ISBN: 178576120X

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

The year is 1796. It is midnight on Romney Marsh, Kent, on England's south-east coast in the darkness of a new moon. Smugglers’ boats bring their illicit cargoes of brandy and tobacco from France to land on the beaches of the Channel coast. Suddenly, shots ring out in the night. The rector of St Mary in the Marsh, the Reverend Hardcastle opens his front door to find a young man dying on his doorstep and is lucky to avoid another shot himself.

The young man lives long enough to utter four words. "Tell Peter...mark...trace..."

What do those four words mean? Who is the young man? Where did he come from, and who killed him? Why, five minutes later, was a Customs officer shot and killed out on the Marsh? And who are the mysterious group of smugglers known as the 'Twelve Apostles', and where does their allegiance lie? When the rector investigates, aided by his faithful allies:- Mrs Amelia Chaytor, a local widow, and the young painter William Turner, he quickly finds himself involved in a world of smuggling, espionage...and danger.

This book was absolutely gripping in the historical details which were really fascinating and the one thing I was absolutely amazed about was the huge volume of alcohol that was consumed by the Reverend Hardcastle. He often drank a pint of claret with his breakfast and was sipping port or brandy all day long and getting through several bottles each day!! The joint authors say that people in the eighteenth-century drank, and not tea and coffee, but very large volumes of alcohol. They really drank. Not just trebles all round; beer for breakfast was not unusual among the lower orders, while those who could afford it might start the day with a tankard of claret, or even port. And throughout the remainder of the day, alcohol was consumed in vast quantities at all levels of society.

This was a really exciting and truly atmospheric historical mystery that had me transfixed from page one until the final conclusion. The plot was hugely imaginative and the characters were very believable. Whilst the rector and Mrs Chaynor investigate all the various clues to the mystery that they unearth, the plot twists one way and then goes off in another direction and the reader has no alternative but to read on and I just did not want this book to conclude but unfortunately it did and I only am comforted by the fact that further books are promised by these very talented new authors.

Because of the time that the story was set in when there were great worries that the French might invade and the modern appliances that we take for granted such as the internet, DNA, newspapers, TV and other modern conveniences were refreshingly absent at that time solving a crime was particularly difficult and word of mouth was extremely important. So the Reverend Hardcastle and his allies had great difficulty in their investigations and this made the story so much more interesting. I look forward to reading many more books in the future by this very exciting author.

Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2017.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Murderabilia by Craig Robertson

Murderabilia by Craig Robertson, March 2017, 432 pages, Simon & Schuster UK, ISBN: 1471156591

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

Another corker from Craig Robertson and covering a topic that is gruesome to say the very least. The central theme of the novel hovers around the unsavoury habit of collecting artifacts from murders – pieces of clothing, jewellery, hair, weapons. Even bricks from houses where murders took place. The list goes on and the prices paid can be astronomical. Robertson admits to having looked into this murky world as part of the research for his book. It is impossible to imagine what he found or, indeed, why people want to collect such things.

MURDERABILIA continues Robertson’s series featuring crime photographer Tony Winter and his detective girlfriend Rachel Narey. Tony lost his job with the police in the last book and is now trying his hand at journalism. Getting a lead for a good story is not proving to be particularly successful for him and he doesn’t feel cut out for the job. But then, one morning, a body suspended from a bridge in Glasgow city centre shocks the early commuters and the whole city finds itself reeling. The deceased is the son of a high profile politician and Tony’s photograph of the pile of clothes left neatly folded beneath the body proves to be an instant media hit. Narey, now pregnant, is removed from the case and, much to her disgust, made to endure forced bed rest after collapsing at work. She must stay calm at all costs to keep her baby safe but staying out of things proves to be too difficult for her – especially with her nemesis Denny Kelbie brought in to save the day.

Close scrutiny of Tony’s photo soon reveals that not everything is as it should be. Key pieces of clothing are missing from the pile and pretty soon they appear for sale on a somewhat dodgy website. Armed with her laptop and going out of her mind with boredom, Rachel starts to dig and is soon out of her depth in the Dark Web, shocked at what she finds. She sends Tony to do her investigating and both of them are soon caught up in a world where murder is a collectible art and people seem to be willing to pay very high prices for their coveted prize. Rachel, drawn in by the irresistible lure of the objects she finds, is soon buying murderabilia. But her questions have been noticed and it is not long before somebody is watching her closely as well. Can she and Tony solve the case before it is too late or will her fate end up being the same as that of Sharon Tate, who was infamously murdered when pregnant, and is now haunting her dreams?

An absorbing and engrossing book, this is one of Craig Robertson’s finest works. It has so many twists and turns that you must stay on your toes to keep up but the ever-increasing pace, that winds up slowly then reaches a screaming crescendo, will keep you up at night to find out what happens. I have read all of Craig Robertson’s books and am always delighted to be asked to review another one. He is a talented wordsmith and I am enjoying watching him develop his craft.

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, April 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Some New Amateur Sleuths

Here are some British traditional mysteries published this year, that I'm looking forward to reading. The first two are historicals and the last two are modern day and all are first in series (though I'm not sure if A Dangerous Crossing is actually a standalone.).

The Riviera Express by TP Fielden published in February 2017 by HQ.

Gerald Hennessey – silver screen star and much-loved heart-throb – never quite makes it to Temple Regis, the quaint Devonshire seaside town on the English Riviera. Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington, the loss of this great man throws Temple Regis’ community into disarray.

Not least Miss Judy Dimont –corkscrew-haired reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express. Investigating Gerald’s death, she’s soon called to the scene of a second murder, and, setting off on her trusty moped, Herbert, finds Arthur Shrimsley in an apparent suicide on the clifftops above the town beach.

Miss Dimont must prevail – for why was a man like Gerald coming to Temple Regis anyway? What is the connection between him and Arthur? And just how will she get any answers whilst under the watchful and mocking eyes of her infamously cantankerous Editor, Rudyard Rhys?

A Dangerous Crossing by (Tamar/Tammy Cohen writing as) Rachel Rhys, published in March 2017 by Doubleday.

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

Date with Death by (Julia Stagg writing as) Julia Chapman, also published in March, by Pan.

Samson O'Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency while he fights to clear his name. However, the people of Bruncliffe aren't that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating Agency, afloat - as well as trying to control her wayward Weimaraner dog, Tolpuddle. Then when Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn, and soon he discovers a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah's agency.

With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, the two feuding neighbours soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. But working together is easier said than done . . .

The Prime of Ms Dolly Greene by (Daisy Waugh) writing as E V Harte publishing in September by Constable.

In the heart of South West London, just a short stroll from the Thames, lies an enclosed and overgrown bike path and a single row of cottages. Its name is Tinderbox Lane. Foremost among the Lane's hotpotch of loyal residents is professional Tarot reader, Dolly Greene: divorced and permanently broke, she shares her tiny house with her 21-year-old daughter Pippa.

When, one stiflingly hot summer's day, Dolly reads the cards for the voluptuous and highly-sexed Nikki, her usually professional patter is interrupted by a sudden vision - a flash of Nikki's face, covered in blood and bruises. Death hangs over the magnificent Nikki - but there is an etiquette to reading Tarot and Dolly will not talk of murder to her client.

A few days later when the body of a battered woman is washed up by Chiswick Bridge, Dolly is haunted by the belief that Nikki's time may have come. . . but can she be sure? How far is Dolly prepared to go to act on her intuition? And will Sergeant Raff Williams, the officer assigned to investigate the murder, think Dolly's hunch insane?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Awards News: Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2017 - Longlist

It feels like summer's on its way when the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year longlist appears!
From the press release:
Now in its 13th year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017.
We are delighted to share with you the 18 titles that have made their way onto this year’s longlist!

Mark Billingham - DIE OF SHAME
Christopher Brookmyre - BLACK WIDOW
Sabine Durrant - LIE WITH ME
Mick Herron - REAL TIGERS
Val McDermid - OUT OF BOUNDS
Craig Robertson - MURDERABILIA
David Young - STASI WOLF

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 20 May, followed by a seven-week promotion in libraries and WHSmith stores nationwide from 1 June.

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.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Review: The House With No Rooms by Lesley Thomson

The House With No Rooms by Lesley Thomson, September 2016, 480 pages, Head of Zeus, ISBN: 1784972231

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

In the baking hot summer of 1976 a young girl, Chrissie, is reluctantly having botanical art lessons with Mr Watson who works at Kew Gardens. The lessons have been arranged by her father, a taxi driver, who wants her to have the best chances in life. He enrols her in a private school where she meets new friends, Bella and Emily, and as she tries to equal their backgrounds and lifestyles, she soon finds her stories are growing out of control and pretends that Mr and Mrs Watson are her parents and that she lives in their big house. One day as she waits for her friends, she sees a woman being murdered, but the body disappears.

In November 2014, Stella Darnell owns a very successful cleaning company which has just won the contract to clean at Kew Gardens. Before his death, her father was a senior police detective and Stella and her close friend Jack, have had some success in solving mysteries in their spare time. Jack is a train driver, as well as working as a cleaner for Stella's company. He is also jealous of Detective Superintendent Cashman's close connection with Stella. Cashman was a friend of Stella's father and feels that it is his duty to look after her. Early one morning when cleaning one of the galleries at Kew on her own, Stella finds the body of a man.

The two strands of the story, 1976 and 2014 are told side by side. For most of the book, I felt as if I was reading two separate stories and found the experience annoying. I think that if an author adopts this sort of device then they need to ensure that some of the connections are clear enough to pick up, otherwise it is easy for the reader to lose track of the various strands. For me, the book only came alive, when I started to recognise and understand the connections between the characters and this was quite late in the story. I haven't read this author before, but I will be reading another since I did like the characters and this encourages me to give the author another chance.

Susan White, April 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Review: Dark Asset by Adrian Magson

Dark Asset by Adrian Magson, January 2017, 256 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727886991

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

This author never ceases to amaze me with the high quality of his writing even though he is currently researching and preparing two main series of books. There is this series with Marc Portman and also the 'Cruxys Solutions Investigations' series the last one named THE BID which was published in paperback in February 2017.

Marc Portman's latest assignment is providing back-up for a French intelligence agent sent to recover a hard drive from one of the most dangerous cities on the planet: Mogadishu in Somalia. What he hasn't been told is that the device records secret negotiations between two leading western nations and a hard-line terrorist organisation responsible for killing thousands of innocent people.

When the decision is taken to abandon the talks, anybody in the know immediately becomes a target to be silenced.

And Portman finds himself at the top of the list...

This book was non-stop action and suspense. Portman has to go into the centre of this highly dangerous city to meet a French agent who is supposed to have a hard drive with highly dangerous data on it. Unfortunately, the rendezvous building he goes to is under siege by very unfriendly people and Portman finds the agent but he has been shot and killed.....

It is a book that once started it is almost impossible to put down and I was up until quite late at night before I finally reached the very gripping conclusion.

The main attraction I have in reading this author's work is that the stories are completely unpredictable, in the middle of this one I remember thinking - what is going to happen next? And having no idea at all except that whatever it is will be highly imaginative and take the story in a fresh direction entirely.

This very exciting and sensationally well plotted creation rushes on to its final dramatic conclusion. I have had the privilege of reviewing many of this author's books and I hope to read yet more of this very gifted author's stories, whether it is in this new series or any of the previous ones or completely in a new direction soon. If you want to start reading an exciting book that is exceedingly difficult to put down once started then buy this one. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2017.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Publishing Deal - Susanne Jansson

[I discovered this a bit belatedly]..from The Bookseller:
In the Mire, the atmospheric Swedish debut which prompted a Europe-wide frenzy for rights at last week's London Book Fair, has been snapped up by Hodder & Stoughton after a three-way auction.

Crime and thriller publisher Ruth Tross bought British and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, as part of a two-book deal and will publish In the Mire by Susanne Jansson on the Mulholland list in early 2019.

[] "eerie" thriller, about two women who are forced to confront “buried horrors of the past” in a mire in rural Sweden []
It's also been snapped up in the US. From Publishers Lunch Weekly [with a bit more about the plot]:
Susanne Jansson debut IN THE MIRE, following a young biologist who returns to the rural town where she grew up in order to make up with her traumatic past, only to get pulled into the hunt for a serial killer who draws inspiration from the Iron Age when people buried their human sacrifices in peat bogs - a natural ecosystem that preserves bodies for thousands of years, to Grand Central.

Monday, April 03, 2017

New Releases - April 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). April and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Arlen, Tessa - A Death by Any Other Name #3 Lady Montfort, Edwardian Era
• Beck, Haylen - Here and Gone
• Beckett, Simon - The Restless Dead #5 Dr David Hunter
• Bjork, Samuel - The Owl Always Hunts at Night #2 Holger Munch & Mia Kruger, Oslo Police
• Blake, Sam - In Deep Water #2 Detective Garda Cathy Connolly, Dublin
• Bolton, Sharon - Dead Woman Walking
• Brookmyre, Christopher - Want You Gone #8 Jack Parlabane
• Brown, Eric - Murder Take Three #4 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Buckley, Fiona - A Deadly Betrothal #15 Ursula Blanchard, an Elizabethan lady
• Bussi, Michel - Don't Let Go
• Chisholm, P F - A Clash of Spheres #8 Sir Robert Carey, 16th Century
• Clare, Alys - The Devil's Cup #17 Abbess Helewise and Sir Josse d'Acquin, 12th Century England.
• Connolly, John - A Game of Ghosts #15 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine
• Corbin, Julie - What Goes Around
• Corbin, Julie - Now That You're Gone
• Cotterell, T A - What Alice Knew
• Cross, Mason - Don't Look For Me #4 Carter Blake, USA
• Dahl, K O - Faithless #7 Gunnarstranda and Frolich, Oslo Police
• Davis, Lindsey - The Third Nero #5 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• Daws, Robert - The Poisoned Rock #2 Detectives Sullivan and Broderick
• de Muriel, Oscar - A Mask of Shadows #3 Frey & McGray, Edinburgh, 1880s
• Finch, Paul - Ashes to Ashes #5 Detective Mark 'Heck' Heckenberg
• Gray, Clio - Burning Secrets #2 Scottish Mysteries
• Grey, Isabelle - The Special Girls #3 Detective Grace Fisher, Essex
• Gulvin, JM - The Contract #2 John Q Mystery
• Gunn, Alastair - The Keeper #3 DCI Antonia Hawkins, London
• Gutfreund, Amir - Last Bullet Calls It
• Hall, Simon - Justice Mirror #8 Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen & TV Crime reporter Dan Groves, Devon
• Hamalainen, Karo Cruel is the Night
• Hammer, Lotte and Soren - The Lake #4 Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen
• Hampton, Nell - Kale to the Queen #1 Kensington Palace Chef
• Harris, C S - Where the Dead Lie #12 Sebastian St. Cyr, Regency England
• Harrison, Cora Beyond Absolution #3 Reverend Mother Aquinas, Cork, 1920s
• Harrison, Cora - The Cardinal's Court #1 Hugh Mac Egan, Tudor Era
• Hawkins, Alis - None So Blind #1 Harry Probert-Lloyd, 1850s, Wales
• Hayes, Terry - The Year of the Locust
• Hezroni, Nir - Three Envelopes
• Hill, Mark - The Two O'Clock Boy #1 DI Ray Drake
• Hilton, L S - Domina
• Jackson, David - Hope to Die #2 DS Nathan Cody, Liverpool
• James, Ed - What Doesn't Kill You #3 DI Fenchurch, London
• Kavanagh, Emma - The Killer On The Wall
• Kelly, Erin - He Said/She Said
• Kerr, Philip - Prussian Blue #12 Private Detective Bernhard Gunther, 1930s Berlin
• Lapidus, Jens - Stockholm Delete #4 Stockholm Noir
• Legat, Anna - Nothing to Lose #2 DI Gillian Marsh
• Lehtolainen, Leena - Before I Go #7 Detective Maria Kallio, Helsinki
• Leon, Donna - Earthly Remains #26 Commissario Guido Brunetti, Venice
• London, Kate - Death Message #2 DS Sarah Collins
• MacBride, Stuart - A Dark So Deadly
• Malliet, G M - Devil's Breath #6 Max Tudor, Vicar
• Malone, Michael J - Dog Fight
• McIntyre, WHS - Good News, Bad News #2 Best Defense
• Meyrick, Denzil - Well of the Winds #5 DCI Daley
• Minato, Kanae - Penance
• Morfoot, Peter - Fatal Music #2 Captain Darac, Nice, France
• Nadel, Barbara - Bright Shiny Things #5 PI Lee Arnold and his assistant, Mumtaz Hakim. East End London
• Nakamura, Fuminori - The Boy in the Earth
• Nesbo, Jo - The Thirst #11 Detective Harry Hole, Oslo, Norway
• Padura, Leonardo - Heretics #6 Lt Mario Conde, Cuba
• Parsons, Tony - Die Last #4 Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, London
• Pembrey, Daniel - Night Market #2 Henk van der Pol
• Perry, Anne - An Echo of Murder #23 Inspector Monk
• Randall, Anne - Torn #3 DIs Wheeler and Ross, Glasgow
• Shelton, Paige - Of Books and Bagpipes #2 Scottish Bookshop Mystery
• Smith, Anna - Death Trap #8 Rosie Gilmour, Crime Journalist, 1990s
• Thomson, Lesley - The Dog Walker #5 Stella Darnell

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Win: A Pass to CrimeFest 2017

CrimeFest have kindly donated a pair of weekend passes to the upcoming event in Bristol on 18-21 May 2017.

Each pass includes admittance to all panels and interviews Thursday to Sunday, as well as a delegate goody bag and a programme, and is worth £195.

2017's featured guest authors include Ann Cleeves, Anthony Horowitz and Peter Lovesey.

The competition will close on 14 April 2017 at 11.59pm.
There are no geographical restrictions on entrants.
Only 1 entry per person please.

To enter the competition, please send the answer to the question below, along with your name and address to
Who won the 2016 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year?
The winner of the 2017 Petrona Award will be announced at the Gala Dinner (tickets available separately).

Keep up to date with Euro Crime by liking the Facebook page

Friday, March 31, 2017

Copycat (or at least very similar) Cover

The LHS came out in 2013, the RHS, 2015 (ebook only).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - the Shortlist

From the press release which was embargoed until 7.30am today:

Outstanding crime fiction from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award

Six outstanding crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

They are:
THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 20 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 18-21 May 2017.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist and the shortlisted titles:

“It was difficult to choose just six crime novels for the Petrona Award shortlist this year, given the number of truly excellent submissions from around the Scandinavian world. Our 2017 Petrona Award shortlist testifies to the extremely high quality of translated Scandi crime, with authors from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden making expert use of police investigations, psychological thrillers, private eye novels and historical crime fiction both to entertain and to explore pertinent social, political and historical issues. We are extremely grateful to the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.”

THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

Finnish police detective Anna Fekete returns to the Serbian village of her birth for a holiday, but is pulled into an investigation that throws up questions about her own father’s death decades earlier. As well as exploring the complexities of Fekete’s identity as a Hungarian Serb who has made her life in Finland, this accomplished novel looks with insight and compassion at the discrimination faced by Roma people, and the lot of refugees migrating through Europe.

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

Lars Martin Johansson, a retired Swedish Police Chief, suffers a stroke after a lifetime of unhealthy excess. Frustrated by his physical limitations and slow recovery, he is drawn into investigating a cold case, the murder of nine-year-old Yasmine Ermegan in 1985. Expertly plotted and highly gripping, The Dying Detective features characters from a number of other crime novels by the author, but succeeds brilliantly as a standalone in its own right.

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

Former TV presenter Allis takes up the post of housekeeper and gardener at a house on a remote fjord. But her employer is not the old man she was expecting, and the whereabouts of his wife are tantalisingly unclear. Isolated from other villagers, Allis and Sigurd’s relationship becomes progressively more claustrophobic and tense. A haunting psychological thriller and study in obsession that is perfectly complemented by the author’s beautiful, spare prose.

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

Yrsa Sigurđardóttir is as adroit a manufacturer of suspense as any writer in the Nordic Noir genre, as this standalone thriller comprehensively proves. Why Did You Lie? skilfully interweaves the stories of a policewoman whose husband has committed suicide, a work group stranded by hostile weather on a remote lighthouse, and a family whose American guests go missing. A compelling exploration of guilt and retribution, which builds to a nerve-jangling finale.

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

Grieving private detective Varg Veum is pushed to his limits when he takes on a cold case involving the disappearance of a small girl in 1977. As the legal expiry date for the crime draws near, Veum’s investigation uncovers intriguing suburban secrets. In what may well be the most accomplished novel in a remarkable series, the author continues to work in a traditional US-style genre, but with abrasive Scandi-crime social commentary very much in evidence.

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

This multilayered novel tells the story of how a crime is triggered following the chance meeting of two people in a lawyer’s office. While the narrative can be seen as a tragic individual story, it also takes on larger historical dimensions as it unfolds. Set in Helsinki in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, The Wednesday Club offers an insightful exploration into the legacy of the Finnish Civil War, and the rise of German and Finnish fascism in the present.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Update

The Petrona Award team met recently to discuss the shortlist for the 2017 Award and the results of the discussion will be revealed tomorrow (30 March 2017).

The winner will be announced on 20 May 2017 at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest in Bristol.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith

Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith, August 2016, 400 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 1784294799

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

It is always an immense pleasure to be sent the latest Rosie Gilmour book to review. I love the way this feisty journalist gets her teeth into things and brings people to justice. She cares about more than just the perfect story and because of this people trust her to help them when there is nowhere else to turn.

Her creator, Anna Smith, is an award-winning journalist herself and has worked in many places in the world over the course of her career. KILL ME TWICE is her seventh book to feature Rosie Gilmour.

This time Rosie is caught up in the murky world of heroin addiction as she fights to protect two people who are hiding so that the truth will come out. A stunning young model has thrown herself off the top of a building and the celeb world is in shock at her apparent suicide. Unbeknown to those with the most to hide, this “suicide” is witnessed by another tortured soul: Milly Chambers - a former politician’s wife - who also has plans to end her life that day. She hides unseen as the young woman is brought up onto the hotel roof, fights for her life and is thrown off the building. In terror Milly runs but it is not long before she needs Rosie’s help to stay safe from her husband and others who would wish her harm.

In previous books Rosie has put her own life on the line for her witnesses. It seems as if this book is no exception as she is given a beating or two and threatened for knowing too much. There is also the issue of the secret that connects the heroin addict with the model; a story that could send sales of her paper though the ceiling. Just as long as she survives to tell the tale!

Anna Smith writes nail-biting prose that will keep you up late. It is always impossible to guess the ending and you are never disappointed. If you like feisty female lead characters, then you are going to love Rosie Gilmour. KILL ME TWICE reads well as a stand-alone but is even better if you've read the others in the series first.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2017