Monday, January 15, 2018

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2017 - Lynn

Today it's Euro Crime reviewer Lynn's turn to reveal her favourite British/European/translated reads of 2017:

Lynn Harvey's favourite reads of 2017
2017 Top Five
In no particular order I give you my favourite Euro Crime reads of 2017, although I think one or two may have been published earlier.

Donna Leon – Earthly Remains (2017 Heinemann)
Donna Leon was one of my favourite early introductions to "European Crime" and I have always enjoyed her novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police and his wife Paola. In EARTHLY REMAINS Guido has reached crunch point with the system. Burnt out, he is ordered to rest and takes advantage of the chance of some isolation and reading on an island in the Lagoon. But Brunetti is Brunetti and sooner or later there is a death which he feels drawn to investigate. I really enjoyed this novel, its laguna setting and its insight into Brunetti's own past.
Donna Leon still has magic for me.

Frédéric Dard – Crush (2016 Pushkin Vertigo) Translated by Daniel Seton
I have never read Frédéric Dard before. A prolific French crime writer, friend of Simenon, he died in 2000. CRUSH is set in a grim industrial town in Northern France in the 1950s. It tells the story of 17 year old Louise who is fascinated by a wealthy American couple, the Roolands, with their glossy American car and totally alien lifestyle. Her fascination becomes obsession and the novel takes a dark route. A concise but gripping thriller, I read this in one sitting.

Leif GW Persson - The Dying Detective (2017 Black Swan) Translated by Neil Smith
Retired Chief of Police Lars Martin Johansson is in hospital recovering from a stroke when a chance encounter alerts him to a fact concerning an old investigation into the rape and murder of a child. The case's statute of limitations has expired. Nevertheless Johansson becomes determined to solve it. My first Leif Persson crime novel, I shall have to go retrospective.

Kati Hiekkapelto - The Exiled (2017 Orenda) Translated by David Hackston
Hiekkapelto's third "Anna Fekete" crime novel is set in Anna's home village in Northern Serbia rather than Finland. She is on holiday revisiting friends and family when she becomes a victim of a bag-snatch. The incident draws her deeper into an investigation of a death and then deeper into her own past.
I do my travelling in my crime reading and this was a captivating new landscape to explore.

Parker Bilal - Dark Water (2017 Bloomsbury)
I am a Parker Bilal fan, faithfully following the investigations of his Sudanese private eye, Makana, in his adopted country of Egypt. But this time Makana is drawn into an unfamiliar world of espionage as he is persuaded by a mysterious Englishman to escort an Iraqi scientist to safety from his hiding place in Istanbul. It's a case that once again brings Makana into contact with his own painful past.

And a sixth book for luck! And because this has become my "go to" Nordic Noir for Christmas and, yes, it is possible to re-read it and still be spellbound.

Johan Theorin - The Darkest Room (2010 Black Swan) Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Theorin's second novel in his Öland Quartet, Öland being an island off the Swedish coast large enough for its own community and towns but these days primarily home to vacationers and the elderly. Set in a bitterly cold mid-winter, this crime novel tells the stories of Katrine and Joakim who have come with their children to make a new home and renovate an isolated house near two lighthouses on the island's northern coast. Their plans are shattered by a death. What follows is a wonderful Christmas blend of snow, crime and creepiness. I had to add it to this list.

Happy New Year, best wishes and good reading for 2018.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

US Cozy Review: Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

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

Though it's not obvious from the cover this is set in a very cold and snowy January...

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend, August 2011, Berkley Prime Crime ISBN: 0425242757

Tempest in the Tea Leaves introduces Sunny Meadows who hails from a wealthy but domineering family who don't believe in her psychic abilities. She buys a reputedly haunted house in Divinity, New York State where she sets up her fortune-telling business. Her first client, however, the head librarian is much troubled and when Sunny reads her tea leaves she foresees the librarian's death.

Sunny gives the librarian some of her calming home-grown tea leaves to take away but after the librarian's departure she begins to worry. About an hour later she calls the police and she meets the ruggedly handsome Detective Mitch Stone for the first time.

When the librarian is found poisoned by Sunny's tea leaves, Sunny becomes the number one suspect. In a remarkable twist though, the Mayor, who wants a speedy conclusion to the case, insists that Sunny partners Mitch in investigating the case to clear her name.

Much banter and awkward scrapes ensue as each tries to outdo the other whilst denying their obvious attraction to each other.

Sunny's house comes with an inhabitant – an eerie white cat who can be seen and touched but who doesn't eat or drink and appears and disappears at will. And proves himself very useful at times.

I enjoyed this book. I liked the sparky relationship between the two leads though some of it is a bit juvenile and some of Sunny's actions were downright dangerous. I did, though, guess correctly whodunnit nearer the end.

My only real nit-pick is that the cause of death as determined by the coroner is different to that given by the murderer and if the murderer is correct then Sunny would never have been much of a suspect in the first place.

Overall though, this was a light read in a new series to which I looked forward to returning. I have books two and three already, and there is a fourth plus a short story available on ebook.

Karen Meek, January 2018.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Audio Book News: Mistress of the Just Land

For fans of the Inspector McLevy radio series, there is now a (currently) two-book series featuring Mistress Jean Brash: Mistress of the Just Land (2016) and The Lost Daughter (2017) written by David Ashton.

Mistress of the Just Land, is currently 99p on kindle but the bonus is that the add-on Audible narration is only £2.99 and is narrated by "Jean Brash" herself, Siobhan Redmond.

Jean Brash, who first appeared in BBC Radio 4's Inspector McLevy mysteries, is a formidable woman in her prime. Once a child of the streets, she is now Mistress of the Just Land, the best bawdy-hoose in Edinburgh and her pride and joy. But a murder in her establishment could wreck everything.

New Year's Day - and through the misty streets of Victorian Edinburgh an elegant, female figure walks the cobblestones - with a certain vengeful purpose. Jean Brash, the Mistress of the Just Land, brings her cool intelligence to solving a murder, a murder that took place in her own bawdy-hoose.

A prominent judge, strangled and left dangling, could bring her whole life to ruin and she didn't haul herself off the streets, up through low dirty houses of pleasure and violent vicious men - to let that come to pass. The search for the killers will take Jean back into her own dark past as she uncovers a web of political and sexual corruption in the high reaches of the Edinburgh establishment.

A young boy's death long ago is demanding justice but, as the body count increases, she has little time before a certain Inspector James McLevy comes sniffing round like a wolf on the prowl.

Jean may be on the side of natural justice but is she on the side of the law? Or will the law bring her down?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2017 - Laura

Today it's Euro Crime reviewer Laura's turn to reveal her favourite British/European/translated reads of 2017:

Laura Root's favourite reads of 2017 (in no particular order)
The Dry by Jane Harper.
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.
A Traitor in the Family by Nicholas Searle.
The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson
The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt translated by Joel Agee (Pushkin Vertigo edition)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Radio News: Angstrom on Radio 4

Starting tonight at 6.30pm on Radio 4, four-parter Angstrom, a spoof of Scandinavian crime stories...

A comedic Scandinavian detective yarn starring Matthew Holness, written by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris.

Knut Angström is a brooding, alcoholic, maverick Swedish detective from the tough streets of Oslo. Following the death of his wife, he is posted to the Njalsland peninsula where he becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine murder (or possibly not-murder) case which bears an eerie similarity to the Askeladden killings - a case from his distant past.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2017 - Terry

Today it's Euro Crime's historical crime fiction expert Terry's turn to reveal his favourite British/European/translated reads of 2017:

Terry Halligan's favourite reads of 2017

The Paris Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery) by Susan Elia MacNeal

Thrilling mystery uncovering intrigue in 1942 Paris.

The Body In The Ice by A J MacKenzie

Gripping historical mystery set in 1796 Romney Marsh.

The Outcasts Of Time by Ian Mortimer

From the grip of the Black Death of 1300 through to 1942 with time travel jumps every 99 years.

Shadow Play by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

The body of smartly dressed businessman turns up in a dirty car workshop. DI Bill Slider investigates...

The Last Hours by Minette Walters

1348, the Black Death turns up in Dorset but is avoided in a particular estate...

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Releases - January 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in January 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). January and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Adams, Jane - Fakes and Lies #12 Naomi Blake, blind ex-police officer
• Ahnhem, Stefan - Eighteen Below #3 Fabian Risk
• Archer, Ursula P - Strangers (with Arno Strobel)
• Armstrong, Ross - Head Case
• Bailey, R J - Nobody Gets Hurt #2 Sam Wylde, Close Protection Officer
• Blaedel, Sara - The Stolen Angel #6 Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Blaedel, Sara - The Running Girl #5 Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Bottini, Oliver - Zen and the Art of Murder #1 The Black Forest Investigations
• Broadribb, Steph - Deep Blue Trouble #2 Lori Anderson
• Bruce, Alison - I Did It for Us
• Camilleri, Andrea - The Pyramid of Mud #22 Inspector Montalbano, Sicily, Italy
• Carver, CJ - Know Me Now #3 Dan Forrester
• Chambers, Kimberley - Life of Crime
• Charlton, Karen - Plague Pits & River Bones #4 Detective Lavender and Constable Woods
• Clements, Rory - Nucleus #2 Thomas Wilde, 1930s
• Croft, Elle - The Guilty Wife
• Dean, Will - Dark Pines #1 Tuva Moodyson, Sweden
• Deegan, James - Once A Pilgrim
• Dolan, Eva - This is How it Ends
• Fields, Helen - Perfect Death #3 DI Luc Callanach, Edinburgh
• Giordano, Mario - Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord #2 Auntie Poldi, Sicily
• Gray, Clio - Hidden Pasts #3 Scottish Mysteries
• Hawksley, Humphrey - Man on Ice
• Hilton, L S - Ultima #3 Maestra series
• Hingley, David - Traitor #3 Mercia Blakewood
• Holland, Jane - Forget Her Name
• Kallentoft, Mons - Zack (with Markus Lutteman)
• Kallentoft, Mons - Earth Storm #8 Superintendent Malin Fors, Linkoping
• Knight, Alanna - Murder Lies Waiting #9 Rose McQuinn, Lady Investigator, late 19thC, Scotland
• Koch, Emily - If I Die Before I Wake
• Kurbjuweit, Dirk - Fear
• Mark, David - Scorched Earth #7 Detective Sergeant McAvoy of Humberside CID
• May, Peter - I'll Keep You Safe
• O'Donovan, Gerard - The Long Silence #1 Tom Collins, 1920s Hollywood
• Oswald, James - The Gathering Dark #8 Detective Inspector McLean, Edinburgh
• Owen, Nikki - The Girl Who Ran #3 Project trilogy
• Peacock, Caro - The Killing Site #9 Liberty Lane, Victorian Era
• Raybourn, Deanna - A Treacherous Curse #3 Veronica Speedwell, adventuress and butterfly hunter, Victorian London
• Rhodes, Kate - Hell Bay #1 DI Ben Kitto
• Robertson, Craig - The Photographer #6 DS Rachel Narey, Glasgow
• Rowland, Laura Joh - A Mortal Likeness #2 Miss Sarah Bain, Victorian Era
• Sargeant, Rachel - The Perfect Neighbours
• Seymour, EV - Final Target #2 Josh Thane
• Seymour, Gerald - A Damned Serious Business
• Siger, Jeffrey - An Aegean April #9 Former Athens police chief Andreas Kaldis & local police chief Tassos Stamatos, Mykonos
• Slimani, Leila - Lullaby
• Spain, Jo - The Confession
• Svensson, Anton - Made In Sweden Part 2: The Sons
• Templeton, Aline - Human Face #1 DI Kelso Strang
• Tudor, C J - The Chalk Man
• Vaughan, Sarah - Anatomy of a Scandal
• Verdan, Nicolas - The Greek Wall
• Wesolowski, Matt - Hydra
• Wilkinson, Kerry - Eye for an Eye #12 DS Jessica Daniel, Manchester
• Wood, Simon - Saving Grace #2 Fleetwood and Sheils
• Wright, M P - Restless Coffins #3 J T Ellington, Bristol, 1969
• Yates, Christopher J - Grist Mill Road