Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Petrona Award 2018 - Winner

Announcing the winner for:

The 2018 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year

On 19 May 2018, at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest, Bristol, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2018 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The winner is QUICKSAND by Malin Persson Giolito, translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles and published by Simon & Schuster.

Ms Persson Giolito was unable to collect the trophy in person, but she sent an acceptance speech which was read out by last year's winner Gunnar Staalesen:

“Quicksand is a story about justice and fundamental human values, and I understand that Maxine Clarke – who inspired the Petrona Award – was someone who appreciated the social and political awareness of Scandinavian crime literature. We have that in common, and that is one of the many reasons why I am particularly proud that Quicksand has received the award.

My warmest thanks to the members of the jury whose expert knowledge and passion helps Nordic Noir travel far. I also want to thank my publisher Suzanne Baboneau, and it is a special honour to share the prize with my excellent translator Rachel Willson-Broyles.”

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

Malin Persson Giolito and Rachel Willson-Broyles will also receive a cash prize.

The judges' statement on QUICKSAND:

“In a strong year for entries to the Petrona Award, the judges were impressed by Quicksand’s nuanced approach to the subject of school shootings and the motives behind them. Persson Giolito refuses to fall back on cliché, expertly drawing readers into the teenage world of Maja Norberg, who faces trial for her involvement in the killings of a teacher and fellow classmates. The court scenes, often tricky to make both realistic and compelling, are deftly written, inviting readers to consider not just the truth of Maja’s role, but the influence of class, parenting and misplaced loyalty in shaping the tragedy. Rachel Willson-Broyles’s excellent translation perfectly captures Maja’s voice – by turns vulnerable and defiant – as she struggles to deal with events. Gripping and thought-provoking, Quicksand is an outstanding Scandinavian crime novel and the highly worthy winner of the 2018 Petrona Award.”

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2018 Petrona Award.



Friday, May 18, 2018

Awards News: CWA Dagger Longlists (2018)

Here is the press release containing the CWA Longlististed titles for the Gold, Ian Fleming, John Creasey, International, Historical and Short Story Daggers plus the Dagger in the Library.


CWA Announce Longlists for Prestigious Crime Writing Daggers


The Crime Writers Association announced the much anticipated longlists for the annual Dagger awards at a reception during CrimeFest in Bristol on the evening of Friday 18 May.

Several titles appear on more than one list: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic both appear on the longlist for the CWA Gold Dagger and the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, while A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee is on the Gold and the Historical longlists. Meanwhile London Rules by Mick Herron appears on the Gold and the Ian Fleming Steel longlists – he won the Ian Fleming last year with Spook Street, just as Mukherjee won the Historical with A Rising Man.


For the CWA International Dagger, names like Fred Vargas, Pierre Lemaitre and Dolores Redondo again make an appearance together with Lilja Sigurdardottir and the late Henning Mankell, while the late Philip Kerr also appears on the Historical longlist. So do plenty of other stars including Nicola Upson, LC Tyler and Frances Brody.

Lee Child makes three appearances on the CWA Short Story Dagger longlist, and Christine Poulson also appears there with her story ‘Accounting for Murder’ from the CWA’s own anthology, Mystery Tour – she is also shortlisted for the Margery Allingham Short Story prize, awarded at the same event.

Chair of the CWA and President of the Detection Club, Martin Edwards, is longlisted for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction with The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books and he also appears on the longlist for the Dagger in the Library, together with other stand-out names such as Sophie Hannah, Peter May, Martina Cole and several others – it’s an exceptionally strong list this year.

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, for a career’s outstanding contribution to crime fiction as nominated by CWA members, was announced earlier in the year and has been awarded to best-selling author Michael Connelly.

Here are the CWA Dagger longlists for 2018.

The CWA Gold Dagger 2018 Longlist

Ross Armstrong - Head Case, HQ
Steve Cavanagh - The Liar, Orion
Mick Herron - London Rules, John Murray
Dennis Lehane - Since We Fell, Little Brown
Laura Lippman - Sunburn, Faber & Faber
Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird, Serpent’s Tail
Imran Mahmood - You Don’t Know Me, Michael Joseph
Abir Mukherjee - A Necessary Evil, Harvill Secker
Stuart Turton - The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Raven Books
Emma Viskic - Resurrection Bay, Pushkin Vertigo

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2018 Longlist

Adam Brookes - The Spy’s Daughter, Sphere
Joseph Finder - The Switch, Head of Zeus
Mick Herron - London Rules, John Murray Publishers
Emily Koch - If I Die Before I Wake, Harvill Secker
Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird, Serpent’s Tail
Colette McBeth - An Act of Silence, Wildfire
Abir Mukherjee - A Necessary Evil, Harvill Secker
Gin Phillips - Fierce Kingdom, Doubleday
C J Tudor - The Chalk Man, Michael Joseph
Don Winslow - The Force, HarperFiction


The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

William Boyle - Gravesend, No Exit Press
Joe Ide - I.Q., Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Greg Keen - Soho Dead, Thomas & Mercer
Danya Kukafka - Girl In Snow, Picador
Melissa Scrivner Love - Lola, Point Blank
Khurrum Rahman - East Of Hounslow, HQ
John Steele - Ravenhill, Silvertail
Gabriel Tallent - My Absolute Darling, Fourth Estate
Stuart Turton - The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, Raven Books
Emma Viskic - Resurrection Bay, Pushkin Vertigo


The CWA International Dagger 2018 Longlist

Zen and the Art of Murder - Oliver Bottini tr. Jamie Bulloch, MacLehose
The Shadow District - Arnaldur Indriðason tr. Victoria Cribb, Harvill Secker
Three Days and a Life - Pierre Lemaitre tr. Frank Wynne, MacLehose
After the Fire - Henning Mankell tr. Marlaine Delargy, Harvill Secker
The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet tr. Don Bartlett, No Exit Press
Offering to the Storm - Dolores Redondo tr. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garzía, HarperCollins
Three Minutes - Roslund & Hellström tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel, Quercus/riverrun
Snare - Lilja Sigurdardóttir tr. Quentin Bates, Orenda
The Accordionist - Fred Vargas tr. Sian Reynolds, Harvill Secker
Can You Hear Me? - Elena Varvello tr. Alex Valente, Two Roads/John Murray

The CWA Historical Dagger 2018 Longlist

Abir Mukherjee - A Necessary Evil, Harvill Secker
Frances Brody - Death in the Stars, Piatkus
L. C. Tyler - Fire, Constable
Thomas Mullen - Lightning Men, Little Brown
Mark Ellis - Merlin at War, London Wall Publishing
Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy - Money in the Morgue, HarperCollins
Nicola Upson - Nine Lessons, Faber & Faber
Rory Clements - Nucleus, Zaffre Publishing
Philip Kerr - Prussian Blue, Quercus Fiction
Jessica Fellows - The Mitford Murders, Sphere

The CWA Short Story Dagger 2018 Longlist

The Corpse on the Copse by Sharon Bolton
“The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie (Killer Women Ltd)

The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle by Chris Brookmyre
Bloody Scotland ( Historic Environment Scotland)

Too Much Time by Lee Child
No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories (Bantam Press)

Second Son by Lee Child
No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories (Bantam Press)

Authentic Carbon Steel Forged by Elizabeth Haynes
Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women Edited by Sophie Hannah (Head of Zeus)

Smoking Kills by Erin Kelly
“The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie (Killer Women Ltd)

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit by Denise Mina
Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)

Accounting for Murder by Christine Poulson
Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories Edited by Martin Edwards (Orenda Books)

Faking a Murder by Kathy Reichs and Lee Child
Match Up Edited by Lee Child (Sphere)

Trouble is a Lonesome Town by Cathi Unsworth
Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women Edited by Sophie Hannah (Head of Zeus)

CWA Dagger In The Library 2018 Longlist

Selected by nominations from libraries.

Simon Beckett
Martina Cole
Martin Edwards
Nicci French
Sophie Hannah
Simon Kernick
Edward Marston
Peter May
Rebecca Tope


Shortlists for the Daggers will be announced in July and the winners will be announced at the Dagger Awards dinner in London on 25 October, for which tickets are now available. Visit www.thecwa.co.uk for more information or email admin@thecwa.co.uk .

*

Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

The Margery Allingham short story competition is open to published and unpublished writers alike; unusual in writing competitions. The story itself must be unpublished. The winner of the Margery Allingham short story competition was announced and the £500 prize awarded by one of the judges, Janet Laurence.

The winner was Russell Day with his story ‘The Value of Vermin Control’. The competition is a joint initiative between the Margery Allingham Society and the CWA.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review: Beside the Syrian Sea by James Wolff

Beside the Syrian Sea by James Wolff, March 2018, 320 pages, Bitter Lemon Press, ISBN: 1908524987

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

“The lie was necessary, Tobias,” Jonas said. “It allowed us to establish who you are, what you are. To establish whether you’re the right person to help us with something of huge importance.”
“Us?”


Jonas is 35 years old, a loner working as an analyst in the quieter backwaters of British Intelligence. His personal nightmare erupts when his father, the Reverend Samuel Worth, is taken hostage during an ecumenical mission of support to the Christian Church in Syria. Theirs is not a warm father-son relationship and Jonas is ravaged by guilt at not advising his father better and at allowing their animosities to come between them at what may prove to have been their last contact.

Unable to provoke his employers and the British government to deviate from their policy of refusing to pay ransom demands nor to speak clearly on their progress in negotiating his father’s freedom, Jonas, unkempt and increasingly unruly, begins to foster his own plans. Now, months later and on Special Unpaid Leave which is dismissal by any other name, he has based himself in Beirut.

He has already been visited by Desmond Naseby who introduces himself as a visiting SIS officer on a brief stay in Beirut and anxious to check up on him. How is he is getting on? Would he like to see the latest on the negotiations in his father’s case, blah-di-blah? Naseby looks around the flat on the pretext of “a niece” coming to study in Beirut and wondering about accommodation. Why was Jonas even here? Turkey, Naseby could understand, but Beirut? And people are concerned about Jonas. This isn’t London. And then of course everyone is worried about that Snowden chap, how much damage a USB stick can do. In turn, Jonas wonders what more he could have done to flesh out Naseby’s portrait of him as a useless mess; “no cause for further concern”. An empty vodka bottle would have been a good idea, plenty of glasses lying around.

Jonas has tracked down his own hostage negotiator. Tobias is a Swiss national, a defrocked and alcoholic priest who has acted as a negotiator in the past. Jonas had presented himself to Tobias as a journalist but now he paints himself as the most secret of secret agents on a mission to get a hostage out of Syria. Tobias is distrustful but eventually consents, demanding his own favours by way of payment: a UK visa and safe passage across the border for a Syrian woman. Jonas realises too late it would have been easier if he had laid the truth before Tobias, that the hostage was his own father. But in accepting the price set by Tobias he has raised the stakes on his elaborate trail of deception which will see him pursued and threatened by MI6, the CIA and both ISIS and Hezbollah during his desperate journey to the Syrian border.

We often talk about unlikely heroes but Wolff's compassionate portrait of his protagonist Jonas, in this his first novel, is exceptional. Driven by a dreadful need to put things right and deprived of his own carefully controlled boundaries and routines, Jonas unleashes within himself – to his own utter bewilderment – what he himself calls a "wildness". And it is this wildness, together with a marshalling of his own habitual tics of memory and pattern recognition which provide the engine for his extraordinary attempt to free his father. Wolff's characterisations do not stop there: the Swiss priest Tobias; Maryam, the Syrian woman fiercely loyal to Tobias; the British agent Naseby who, dressed in tennis whites and clutching his wife's offering of a cottage pie, seems to have stepped straight out of Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy. The foul mouthed, lethal, CIA man, Harvey, is a more modern beast – as are the London-grown, street-talking, ISIS kidnappers. Wolff’s range of characters are detailed and convincing and in this beautifully constructed thriller he piles on the pressure to the end.

Sometimes I think that crime novels answer a reader's emotional need for justice to triumph, no matter how rough. Similarly, perhaps spy thrillers allow the reader to indulge a paranoid adrenaline-fuelled flight from the all powerful "they" who are out to get us. Certainly everyone is out to get Jonas and BESIDE THE SYRIAN SEA is a brilliant, gripping and moving thriller.

Lynn Harvey, May 2018

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

TV News: Sky Arts' Urban Myths and Agatha Christie

Next week's episode of Urban Myths on Sky Arts (17 May) puts its own spin on the mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926:

From Sky:

Agatha Christie's mysterious 11 day disappearance in 1926 gripped the nation and set off one of the biggest manhunts ever mounted. In desperation, Britain's most famous crime writers of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers, were drafted in to help the search. As they took matters into their own hands with their contrasting methods of detection, this was the beginning of crimes most unlikely investigative partnership: Sayers and Conan Doyle, together at last and on the hunt for Agatha Christie.

Starring Anna Maxwell Martin (Agatha Christie), Bill Paterson (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Rosie Cavaliero (Dorothy L. Sayers), Adrian Scarborough (Inspector Danders) and Robert James-Collier (Colonel Archie Christie).

Written by Paul Doolan and Abigail Wilson. Directed by Guillem Morales. Produced by John Rushton. Executive Producers Lucy Lumsden and Lucy Ansbro. Produced by Yellow Door Productions.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Publishing Deal - Søren Sveistrup

Michael Joseph have bought the rights to The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. Søren Sveistrup is best known here as the creator of The Killing and this is his first novel. It is scheduled for UK publication in October.

From The Bookseller:
Set in Copenhagen, The Chestnut Man opens on the day a government minister returns to work a year after her 12-year-old daughter went missing. On the same day, a young mother is found brutally murdered in a city suburb, her hand cut off and a chestnut doll-figure hanging from a nearby Wendy house. Detectives Thulin and Hess form an unlikely duo must to find the culprit whilst encountering trouble in their own personal lives.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

New Releases - May 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in May 2018 (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 or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Bannister, Jo - Kindred Spirits #2 Detective Constable Hazel Best & Gabriel Ash
• Bauer, Belinda - Snap
• Blake, Sam - No Turning Back #3 Detective Garda Cathy Connolly, Dublin
• Bolton, Sharon - The Craftsman
• Boyd, Damien - Dead Lock #8 DI Nick Dixon
• Brett, Harry - Red Hot Front #2 Goodwins, Great Yarmouth
• Brett, Simon - A Deadly Habit #20 Charles Paris, Actor
• Cameron, Graeme - Dead Girls
• Carol, James - Kiss Me, Kill Me (as J S Carol)
• Cleverly, Barbara - Fall of Angels #1 Inspector Redfyre, Cambridge, 1923
• de Muriel, Oscar - Loch of the Dead #4 Frey & McGray, Edinburgh, 1880s
• del Arbol, Victor - A Million Drops
• Delaney, - Luke A Killing Mind #5 DI Sean Corrigan
• Edwards, Mark - In Her Shadow
• Edwards, Rachel - Darling
• Flanders, Judith - A Howl of Wolves #4 Samantha Clair, Publisher
• Fleet, Rebecca - The House Swap
• Flower, Amanda - Flowers and Foul Play #1 Fiona Knox, Florist, Scotland
• Gardner, Frank - Ultimatum #2 Luke Carlton, Ex-Special Boat Service commando
• Goldammer, Frank - The Air Raid Killer #1 Max Heller, Dresden Detective
• Grey, Isabelle - Wrong Way Home #4 Detective Grace Fisher, Essex
• Hall, Araminta - Our Kind of Cruelty
• Harris, C S - Why Kill the Innocent #13 Sebastian St. Cyr, Regency England
• Harris, Gregory - The Framingham Fiend #6 Colin Pendragon
• Harris, Tessa - The Angel Makers #2 Constance Piper, Flower Seller, 1888 London
• Healey, Emma - A Whistle in the Dark
• Hill, Mark - It Was Her #2 DI Ray Drake
• Horowitz, Anthony - Forever and a Day #2 James Bond
• Ison, Graham - Deadlock #16 DI Brock & DS Poole
• Jackson, David - Don't Make a Sound #3 DS Nathan Cody, Liverpool
• James, Peter - Dead If You Don't #14 Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, Brighton
• Jarlvi, Jessica - What Did I Do?
• Jennings, Amanda - The Cliff House
• Jeong, You-Jeong - The Good Son
• John, D B - Star of the North
• Johnstone, Doug - Fault Lines
• Kent, Christobel - What We Did
• Kepler, Lars - The Rabbit Hunter #6 DI Joona Linna, Stockholm
• Khan, Vaseem - Murder at the Grand Raj Palace #4 Inspector Chopra
• Kutscher, Volker - Goldstein #3 Detective Inspector Rath, Berlin, 1929/30s
• Longworth, M L - The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche #7 Verlaque and Bonnet, Aix-en-Provence
• Mariani, Scott - The Moscow Cipher #17 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• McGeorge, Chris - Guess Who
• McKeagney, K A - Tubing
• Pearl, Matthew - The Dante Chamber #2 Dante Club
• Pinborough, Sarah - Cross Her Heart
• Potzsch, Oliver - The Council of Twelve #7 Hangman's Daughter series
• Reeve, Alex - The House on Half Moon Street #1 Leo Stanhope, Victorian era
• Riley, Maey-Jane - Dark Waters #3 Alex Devlin, Journalist, Norfolk
• Roberts, Mark - Killing Time #4 DCI Eve Clay, Liverpool
• Shaw, William - Salt Lane #1 DS Alexandra Cupidi
• Shelton, Paige - Lost Books and Old Bones #3 Scottish Bookshop Mystery
• Sigurdardottir, Yrsa - The Reckoning #2 Children's House series
• Stirling, Joss - Don't Trust Me
• Street, Karen Lee - Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru #2 Poe and Dupin
• Suter, Martin - Allmen and the Dragonflies #1 Allmen
• Swallow, James - Ghost #3 Marc Dane
• Tarttelin, Abigail - Dead Girls
• Truhen, Aidan - The Price You Pay
• Voss, Louise - The Old You
• Weaver, Tim - You Were Gone #9 David Raker, Missing Persons Investigator
• Weeks, Stephen - Sins of the Father #2 The Countess of Prague
• Wilson, Andrew A Different Kind of Evil #2 Agatha Christie
• Wolf, Inger - Frost and Ashes (ebook only) #2 Inspector Daniel Trokic, Arhus
• Young, Dylan - Blood Runs Cold #2 Detective Anna Gwynne

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Petrona Award 2018 - the Shortlist

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

Outstanding crime fiction from Denmark, Finland and Sweden shortlisted for the 2018 Petrona Award


Six outstanding crime novels from Denmark, Finland and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2018 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.


WHAT MY BODY REMEMBERS by Agnete Friis, tr. Lindy Falk van Rooyen (Soho Press; Denmark)

QUICKSAND by Malin Persson Giolito, tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles (Simon & Schuster; Sweden)

AFTER THE FIRE by Henning Mankell, tr. Marlaine Delargy (Vintage/Harvill Secker; Sweden)

THE DARKEST DAY by Håkan Nesser, tr. Sarah Death (Pan Macmillan/Mantle; Sweden)

THE WHITE CITY by Karolina Ramqvist, tr. Saskia Vogel (Atlantic Books/Grove Press; Sweden)

THE MAN WHO DIED by Antti Tuomainen, tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 19 May during the annual international crime fiction convention CrimeFest, held in Bristol on 17-20 May 2018. The winning author and the translator of the winning title will both receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2019.

The Petrona 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 continued generous support of the Petrona Award.


The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

There were 61 entries for the 2018 Petrona Award from six countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). The novels were translated by 33 translators and submitted by 31 publishers/imprints. There were 27 female and 33 male authors, and one brother-sister writing duo.

This year’s Petrona Award shortlist sees Sweden strongly represented with four novels; Denmark and Finland each have one. The crime genres represented include a police procedural, a courtroom drama, a comic crime novel and three crime novels/thrillers with a strong psychological dimension.

As ever, the Petrona Award judges faced a difficult but enjoyable decision-making process when they met to draw up the shortlist. The six novels selected by the judges stand out for the quality of their writing, their characterisation and their plotting. They are original and inventive, and shine a light on highly complex subjects such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, school shootings, and life on the margins of society. A key theme that emerged across all of the shortlisted works was that of family: the physical and psychological challenges of parenting; the pressures exerted by family traditions or expectations; sibling rivalries; inter­generational tensions and bonds; family loyalty… and betrayal.

We are extremely grateful to the translators whose expertise and skill allows readers to access these gems of Scandinavian crime fiction, and to the publishers who continue to champion and support translated fiction.

The judges’ comments on each of the shortlisted titles:


WHAT MY BODY REMEMBERS by Agnete Friis, tr. Lindy Falk van Rooyen (Soho Press; Denmark)

Her ‘Nina Borg’ novels, co-written with Lene Kaaberbøl, have a dedicated following, but this first solo outing by Danish author Agnete Friis is a singular achievement in every sense. Ella Nygaard was a child when her mother was killed by her father. Did the seven-year-old witness the crime? She can’t remember, but her body does, manifesting physical symptoms that may double as clues. Ella’s complex character is superbly realised – traumatised yet tough, she struggles to keep her son Alex out of care while dealing with the fallout from her past.



QUICKSAND by Malin Persson Giolito, tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles (Simon & Schuster; Sweden)

In this compelling and timely novel, eighteen-year-old Maja Norberg is on trial for her part in a school shooting which saw her boyfriend, best friend, teacher and other classmates killed. We follow the events leading up to the murders and the trial through Maja’s eyes, including her reaction to her legal team’s defence. Lawyer-turned-writer Malin Persson Giolito successfully pulls the reader into the story, but provides no easy answers to the motives behind the killings. Gripping and thought-provoking, the novel offers an insightful analysis of family and class dynamics.



AFTER THE FIRE by Henning Mankell, tr. Marlaine Delargy (Vintage/Harvill Secker; Sweden)

Henning Mankell’s final novel sees the return of Fredrik Welin from 2010's Italian Shoes. Living in splendid isolation on an island in a Swedish archipelago, Welin wakes up one night to find his house on fire and soon finds himself suspected of arson by the authorities. While there’s a crime at the heart of this novel, the story also addresses universal themes of loss, fragile family ties, difficult friendships, ageing and mortality. The occasionally bleak outlook is tempered by an acceptance of the vulnerability of human relationships and by the natural beauty of the novel’s coastal setting.



THE DARKEST DAY by Håkan Nesser, tr. Sarah Death (Pan Macmillan/Mantle; Sweden)

Many readers are familiar with the ‘Van Veeteren’ detective stories of Håkan Nesser, but his second series, featuring Swedish-Italian Detective Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti, is only now beginning to be translated. An engaging figure who navigates his post-divorce mid-life crisis by opening a witty dialogue with God, Barbarotti is asked to investigate the disappearance of two members of the Hermansson family following a birthday celebration. The novel’s multiple narrative perspectives and unhurried exploration of family dynamics make for a highly satisfying read.



THE WHITE CITY by Karolina Ramqvist, tr. Saskia Vogel (Atlantic Books/Grove Press; Sweden)

Karolina Ramqvist’s novella focuses on an often marginalised figure: the wife left stranded by her gangster husband when things go wrong. Karin’s wealthy, high-flying life is over. All that’s left are a once grand house, financial difficulties, government agencies closing in, and a baby she never wanted to have. This raw and compelling portrait of a woman at rock bottom uses the sometimes brutal physical realities of motherhood to depict a life out of control, and persuasively communicates Karin’s despair and her faltering attempts to reclaim her life.




THE MAN WHO DIED by Antti Tuomainen, tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

The grim starting point of Antti Tuomainen’s novel – a man finding out that he has been systematically poisoned and his death is just a matter of time – develops into an assured crime caper brimming with wry black humour. Finnish mushroom exporter Jaakko Kaunismaa quickly discovers that there’s a worryingly long list of suspects, and sets about investigating his own murder with admirable pluck and determination. The novel’s heroes and anti-heroes are engagingly imperfect, and Jaakko’s first-person narration is stylishly pulled off.


Further information can be found on the Petrona Award website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: The Mine by Antti Tuomainen tr. David Hackston

The Mine by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston, October 2016, 300 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 1910633534

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

His senses weren’t working the way they usually did. He was too near to the people he had always loved. Up close we cannot see clearly, he remembered someone saying.

A man dies in Helsinki, electrocuted in his bath. Elsewhere in the city a journalist working for Helsinki Today, Janne Vuori, receives an email tipping him off to shady, hazardous practices at a nickel mine in Suomalahti in Northern Finland. With their staff photographer, Janne takes the long trip up north but unsurprisingly the Head of Security at the mine sends them on their way. They don’t even get through the gate.

Back in the city another man is reliving his past by dining in a once favourite restaurant. His thoughts stray to the dead man in the bathtub. And then to another death, that of a man shot-gunned in dazzling southern sunlight.

Suomalahti is a small town with a bank, a supermarket, petrol station, church, optician, hotel, school, cafe. It is not surprising that everyone Janne Vuori asks tells him that “the mine is a good thing”. A site depleted of ore, its current owners Finn Mining Ltd bought it for 2 euros. They announced they would use a new technique – bioleaching, a kind of chemical washing, “proven safe” – which would enable them to salvage the highly commercial nickel. Janne decides to have another nose around but gives the photographer a lift back to the airport. During a frigid phone call with his wife, Janne is reminded that he has forgotten to pay their daughter’s nursery fees. Distance and accusations are filling their marriage with mutual contempt. He is surprised to find the Suomalahti hotel full and sets out for the Casino Hotel seven kilometres further on. In the bar of the Casino Hotel, also filled with mining staff, a drunken man calls out to him: shouldn’t you be on duty tonight? “That shit won’t disappear by itself.” Realising he has mistaken Janne for a work colleague, the drunk apologises but Janne is already heading to his car, snow crunching beneath his feet.

In Helsinki the man reliving past memories contemplates that people’s homes aren’t as inviolate as they think. He considers the people he has followed and how he has slipped into their homes and killed them.

Janne drives along the complex perimeter looking for a way to slip in. He reaches a vast clearing in the forest divided into square sections and notices movement over at the forest edge, arc lights and diggers. He realises that the squares are huge industrial slurry pits smoothed by the snow. The men are digging some kind of canal. He tries to take a photo but his phone has frozen. He heads back to the hotel where, from his room, he spots the shadow of a man in the car park, watching his window; the security chief.

On his return to the city Janne starts researching Finn Mining. The only board member available for interview is the Environmental Officer. Janne is surprised. At their meeting she explains that she is no longer a board member; she has been “promoted” to some vaguely titled post. By the way, did he know that one of the board members died recently? Some kind of domestic accident.

The “hit-man”, for what else can he be, suffers nightmares now. But at least he has found his son …

THE MINE is written through the eyes of two men, a journalist and a killer. There are more deaths, the trail of corruption and environmental threat to investigate and twists of tension as the identity of the hit-man emerges; all embedded in the complicated lives of the lead characters. I read a review on a popular book site which deplored THE MINE because the reviewer didn’t like the lead character. But I tend to congratulate a crime novelist whose characters are human, warts and all – and still you follow them to the book’s end, not just because you are gripping the pages with sweaty, tense palms but because you want to know the end of the story and what happens to its characters.

This is only the second of Tuomainen’s crime novels that I have read. (the first being his glimpse into a dystopic future of climate change and rising waters, THE HEALER) but I intend to read more. An award winning writer, Antti Tuomainen gives each book a fresh take, complex characters, a blend of empathy and objectivity – and above all he is a good story-teller. THE MINE may not be hot off the press but I recommend catching up with it.

Lynn Harvey, April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

Awards News: CrimeFest Awards 2018 - Shortlists Announced

The shortlists for the CrimeFest Awards have been announced.

From the press release:

LEE CHILD, DAVID LAGERCRANTZ, FIONA BARTON, DENNIS LEHANE AND MORE FIGHT IT OUT IN THIS YEAR’S CRIMEFEST AWARDS

2018 awards shortlist announced for CrimeFest’s 10th anniversary

CrimeFest, the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention, is thrilled to announce the shortlists for their 10th annual CrimeFest Awards. The shortlist includes a mix of established names in crime fiction as well as a host of new talent.

International bestsellers Lee Child and Anthony Horowitz will be fighting it out in the listener-voted Audible Sounds of Crime Award, with other competition including David Lagercrantz’s The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye and Fiona Barton’s hit psychological thriller The Child.

Dennis Lehane, the author behind some of cinema’s greatest modern thrillers such as Shutter Island has been shortlisted for the eDunnit Award for Since We Fell, alongside Tartan Noir author Christopher Brookmyre for Want You Gone, and Ken Bruen’s The Ghosts of Galway.

Following the 125th year since Sherlock Holmes, one of Britain’s greatest literary creations, was first published in print, the H.R.F. Keating Award for best non-fiction book explores the social and cultural history of the world’s most celebrated fictional detective in shortlisted books by Christopher Sandford, Michael Sims, Benjamin Poore and Sam Naidu. Also nominated are Mike Ripley and past winners Martin Edwards and Barry Forshaw.

The winners will be announced at the CrimeFest Gala Awards Dinner hosted by Toastmaster Robert Thorogood, creator of Death in Paradise, on Saturday, 19 May. For full shortlist details, please see below.

Representing his fellow organisers, CrimeFest co-director Adrian Muller said:

“CrimeFest is thrilled to announce such an eclectic and exciting shortlist for our tenth CrimeFest Awards. Over the past decade the awards have highlighted breakthrough debut novelists as well as a number of established crime fiction authors delving into children’s fiction and nonfiction. We are also pleased to continue showcasing audiobooks which have undergone a meteoric rise since we began presenting our awards. We are all extremely proud and excited to present the 10th annual CrimeFest awards, and find out who wins on 19th May.”

The 10th anniversary of CrimeFest this year will host crime fiction royalty Martina Cole, Lee Child and Peter James as some of the top names set to speak at this year’s convention. Close to 500 attendees, including more than 150 authors, agents, publishers and crime fans from across the globe, will descend on the city for a jam-packed four days of over 60 speaking events and panel discussions.


For the full line-up of authors visit www.crimefest.com/authors-delegates

THE 2018 CRIMEFEST AWARDS SHORTLISTS

The winners will be announced at the CRIMEFEST Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday, 19 May.

SHORTLIST DETAILS:

AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD

The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2017 in both printed and audio formats, and available for download from audible.co.uk, Britain’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks. Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, the winning author and audiobook reader(s) share the £1,000 prize equally and each receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for Best Unabridged Crime Audiobook:

- Fiona Barton, The Child (Audible Studios), read by Clare Corbett, Adjoa Andoh, Finty Williams, Fenella Woolgar & Steven Pacey

- Lee Child, The Midnight Line (Transworld), read by Jeff Harding

- J.P. Delaney, The Girl Before, (Quercus), read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams & Lise Aagaard Knudsen

- Sarah A. Denzil, Silent Child (Audible Studios), read by Joanne Froggatt

- Alice Feeney, Sometimes I Lie (HQ – Harper Collins), read by Stephanie Racine

- Michelle Frances, The Girlfriend (Pan Macmillan Audio), read by Antonia Beamish

- Anthony Horowitz, The Word is Murder (Penguin Random House Audio), read by Rory Kinnear

- David Lagercrantz, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Quercus), read by Saul Reichlin

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and Audible UK listeners established the shortlist and the winning title.

eDUNNIT AWARD

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2017. The winner receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for the eDunnit Award:

- Chris Brookmyre, Want You Gone (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Ken Bruen, The Ghosts of Galway (Head of Zeus)

- Michael Connelly, The Late Show (Orion)

- Joe Ide, IQ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

- Dennis Lehane, Since We Fell (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Steve Mosby, You Can Run (Orion)

- Gunnar Staalesen, Wolves in the Dark (Orenda Books)

- Sarah Stovell, Exquisite (Orenda Books)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

LAST LAUGH AWARD

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2017. The winner receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for the Last Laugh Award:

- Simon Brett, Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May - Wild Chamber (Doubleday)

- Mick Herron, Spook Street (John Murray)

- Vaseem Khan, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star (Mullholland Books)

- Khurrum Rahman, East of Hounslow (HQ – HarperCollns)

- C.J. Skuse, Sweetpea (HQ – HarperCollins)

- Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died (Orenda Books)

- L.C. Tyler, Herring in the Smoke (Allison & Busby Ltd)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the British Isles in 2017. The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists, crime reviewers and writer of books about crime fiction. The winning author receives a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass award.

Nominees for the H.R.F. Keating Award:

- Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library)

- Barry Forshaw, American Noir (No Exit Press)

- Sam Naidu, Sherlock Holmes in Context (Palgrave Macmillan)

- Benjamin Poore, Sherlock Holmes from Screen to Stage (Palgrave Macmillan)

- Mike Ripley, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (HarperCollins)

- Christopher Sandford, The Man Who Would Be Sherlock (The History Press)

- Michael Sims, Arthur & Sherlock (Bloomsbury)

- Nick Triplow, Getting Carter (No Exit Press)

Publishing Deal - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Great news for one of my favourite writers. Three books by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir have been bought by Hodder & Stoughton.

From The Bookseller:
Hodder & Stoughton has acquired three new novels by international bestseller Yrsa Sigurdardottir in a six-figure deal.

Sigurdardottir, whose work has sold nearly 2m copies across 30 territories according to the publisher, released The Legacy with Hodder in 2017. The book is part of a series featuring child psychologist Freyja and detective Huldar and shot to number one in Iceland, where it won the Blood Drop Prize for best crime novel of the year. It also scooped the Danish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award in Denmark.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Publishing Deal - Jesper Stein

Danish author Jesper Stein is to be published in English with the first of five books purchased by Mirror Books being published in July; Unrest is being translated by David Young.

From The Bookseller:
Mirror Books has acquired a five-book series by "Scandi noir sensation", Jesper Stein.

The third bestselling author in Denmark, with over 250,000 copies sold, Stein has already won "huge critical and commercial success" across Denmark, but this is the first time his work is being translated into English, said the publisher.

The first title in the series, Unrest, is due for publication in the UK on 19th July 2018.
Drawing on his experience of working as a crime reporter on a Danish newspaper, Stein introduces his "rough-hewn and complex" homicide detective, Axel Steen.

When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Steen is assigned the case. Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of a nearby youth house, teeming with militant left-wing radicals.  But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case – and in preventing its resolution.

With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: Lock 13 by Peter Helton

Lock 13 by Peter Helton, December 2017, 224 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727887661

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Bath based Artist/Private Investigator Chris Honeysett is financially embarrassed yet again. At least his partner Annis has found a lucrative assignment at a wealthy man's house, painting a mural. Their friend Tim has found love with Rebecca. When Chris is asked by an insurance company to investigate the suspicious death of a man they believe is still alive it seems his problems are over.

Before he can get too involved in this investigation, he is concerned that Verity, his life model, has vanished and some unsavoury characters are keen to find her. The police seem uninterested in trying to locate her and a visit to a Travellers site proves dangerous to Chris. He borrows a narrow-boat and leaves Bath behind. He hasn't reckoned on so many locks and being followed. He meets many characters including a naked rambler...

Can he find Verity? Can he earn money from the insurance company? Can he rely on Annis and Tim to help?

This is the seventh book in this excellent series. The author also writes a police procedural, but on balance I prefer this one. Chris stays just on the right side of the law (well nearly) and the description of Bath and the surrounding area add to the enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Geoff Jones, April 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Awards News: Theakston Crime Novel of the Year 2018 - Longlist

The Theakston Crime Novel of the Year longlist has been announced. Details below as appeared in The Bookseller:
The prize 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 1st May 2017 to 30th April 2018.

The winner is announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, hosted in Harrogate each July.

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 27th May, followed by a six-week promotion in libraries and in W H Smith stores nationwide. The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, alongside a public vote, and announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 19th July, the opening night of the 16th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winners will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

The awards night will also feature the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, with past recipients including P D James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill and Colin Dexter.

The longlist in full:

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam)
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan)
Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador)
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Dry by Jane Harper (Abacus)
Spook Street by Mick Herron (John Murray)
A Death at Fountains Abbey by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder)
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (Hodder)
Sirens by Joseph Knox (Transworld)
The Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Saraband)
You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood (Penguin)
Insidious Intent by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Vintage)
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin (Orion)
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez (Faber)
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner (The Borough Press)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: Friends and Traitors by John Lawton

Friends and Traitors by John Lawton, April 2018, 352 pages, Grove Press, ISBN: 1611856221

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

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on 'the Grand Tour' for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Sienna, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years - Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: 'I want to come home.' Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to de-brief Burgess - but the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, and after that, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect.
As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy finds that Burgess is not the only ghost who returns to haunt him.


This book is a very clever merger of fact and fiction, spread over a long period of time, when we first meet Frederick Troy he is contemplating going into the 'Police' and by the end of the book he is a Chief Superintendent at Scotland Yard. It chiefly details the contact that Troy has over the years with Guy Burgess and his fellow espionage contacts.

I have read almost all of the historical mystery books by John Lawton and my only complaint is that he is just not prolific enough! I appreciate that he writes a lot for TV but to write only eight Inspector Troy books and three others, that is just not good enough. So please John I do hope you write a lot more. Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2018.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

New Releases - April 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2018 (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 or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Anthology - Ten Year Stretch (ed. Martin Edwards)
• Arlen, Tessa - Death of an Unsung Hero #4 Lady Montfort, Edwardian Era
• Bannalec, Jean-Luc - The Fleur de Sel Murders #3 Commissioner Dupin
• Black, Tony - Her Cold Eyes #4 DI Bob Valentine
• Bolton, Sharon - The Craftsman
• Bussi, Michel - Time is a Killer
• Candlish, Louise - Our House
• Connolly, John - The Woman in the Woods #16 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine
• Conway, Aidan - A Known Evil #1 Detective Michael Rossi, Rome
• Cross, Mason Presumed Dead #5 Carter Blake, USA
• Dahl, Kjell Ola - The Ice Swimmer #8 Gunnarstranda and Frolich, Oslo Police
• Davis, Lindsey - Pandora's Boy #6 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• Dazieri, Sandrone - Kill the Angel #2 Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre
• Dugdall, Ruth - The Things You Didn't See
• Duncan, Elizabeth J - The Marmalade Murders #9 Penny Brannigan, Nail salon owner, North Wales
• Fairfax, John - Blind Defence #2 William Benson and Tess de Vere, Lawyers
• Fraser, Anthea - Sins of the Fathers
• Grimes, Martha - The Knowledge #24 Richard Jury
• Gustawsson, Johana - Keeper #2 Roy & Castells
• Hampton, Nell - Lord of the Pies #2 Kensington Palace Chef
• Harvey, John - Body & Soul #4 Retired Detective Inspector Elder, Cornwall
• James, Ed - In for the Kill #4 DI Fenchurch, London
• Jardine, Quintin - A Brush with Death #29 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh
• Jones, Philip Gwynne - Vengeance in Venice #2 Nathan Sutherland
• Kelly, Lesley - Songs by Dead Girls #2 The Health of Strangers series
• Kerr, Philip - Greeks Bearing Gifts #13 Private Detective Bernhard Gunther, 1930s Berlin
• Kiernan, Olivia - - Too Close to Breathe #1 DCS Frankie Sheehan
• Kline, Penny - The Sister's Secret
• Leon, Donna - The Temptation of Forgiveness #27 Commissario Guido Brunetti, Venice
• Lucius, Walter - Angel in the Shadows #2 Heartland Trilogy
• Malliet, G M - In Prior's Wood #7 Max Tudor, Vicar
• Manning, Max - Now You See (apa Don't Look Now) #1 DCI Fenton
• Marland, Stephanie - My Little Eye #1 DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke
• McGowan, Claire - The Killing House #6 Paula Maguire, Forensic psychologist, Northern Ireland
• McPherson, Catriona - Scot Free #1 Last Ditch Mysteries
• Miller, Derek B - American by Day
• Nesbo, Jo - Macbeth
• Newham, Vicki - Turn a Blind Eye #1 DI Maya Rahman
• Nugent, Liz - Skin Deep
• O'Sullivan, Darren - Our Little Secret
• Perry, Anne - Dark Tide Rising #24 Inspector Monk
• Raven, Jaime - The Rebel
• Richardson, Matthew - The Insider
• Riches, Marnie - The Girl Who Got Revenge #5 George McKenzie, Amsterdam
• Robson, Amanda - Guilt
• Scragg, Robert - What Falls Between the Cracks #1 Porter & Styles, Police Officers
• Smith, Anna - Blood Feud #1 Kerry Casey, Glasgow
• Taylor, Andrew - The Fire Court #2 Ashes of London series
• Thomson, E S - The Blood #3 Jem Flockhart, Apothecary, 1850s
• Thomson, Lesley - The Death Chamber #6 Stella Darnell
• Thorne, D B - Perfect Match
• Thorpe, Annabelle - What Lies Within
• Tope, Rebecca - The Staveley Suspect #7 Persimmon Brown, Florist, Lake District
• Vichi, Marco - Ghosts of the Past #6 Inspector Bordelli, Florence, 1960s
• Westerson, Jeri - The Deepest Grave #10 Crispin Guest, ex Knight, Medieval times
• Wolff, James - Beside the Syrian Sea (March release)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

TV News: Kiss Me First & The City & The City



A six-part adaptation of Lottie Moggach's Kiss Me First begins on Channel 4 on Easter Monday/2 April at 10pm:
Kiss Me First moves between the real and virtual animated worlds. When Leila (Tallulah Haddon) stumbles across Red Pill, a secret paradise, hidden on the edges of her favourite game, she meets Tess (Simona Brown). Tess is everything that Leila is not: hedonistic, impulsive and insatiable. So when Tess turns up in Leila's real life uninvited, Leila's world is forever changed. But then a member of the group mysteriously disappears and Leila begins to suspect that maybe the hidden sanctuary isn't the digital Eden its creator Adrian claims it to be. Now, Leila's real journey begins.


On Friday 6 April at 9pm, BBC2 begins a four-part adaptation of China Mieville's The City & The City, which stars David Morrissey.

From the BBC website:
The body of a dead girl is found at Bulkya Docks, on the border between Beszel and Ul Qoma - two cities with a division like no other. Resident of the crumbling city of Beszel and inspector of the extreme crime squad, Tyador Borlu takes on the case, assisted by officer Lizbyet Corwi. The girl's body was seen dumped on the wasteland by a yellow van, and Detective Naustin presumes the girl must have been a hooker. Cases like this are run of the mill for Borlu, but he notices strange similarities to an old case.

The body was found in an area with lots of cross-hatching with Ul Qoma. Commissar Gadlem thinks this is a case for Breach - the secret police who ruthlessly patrol all cross-border crime. Gadlem thinks maybe someone else should take it on, and that maybe it is too personal for Borlu - but Borlu insists he can handle it.

As Unificationists protest that Ul Qoma and Beszel should become one city, Borlu receives a call from someone who says she was friends with the dead girl and identifies her as an American student called Mahalia Geary. Mahalia lived in Ul Qoma but wound up dead in Beszel. Borlu starts to worry as the friend admits she is not phoning from Beszel, she is illegally calling from Ul Qoma. Mr and Mrs Geary fly in from America to see their daughter's body, and Borlu and Corwi are put on baby-sitting duty. Gadlem knows that Borlu made an illicit phone call, and the case is being taken to the Oversight Committee - he wants to invoke Breach.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: Bring Me Back by B A Paris

Bring Me Back by B A Paris, March 2018, 384 pages, HQ, ISBN: 0008244871

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Finn lives with Layla very happily but has anger management issues. On a holiday in France, Layla disappears. Finn is interviewed by the police, a search is made but Layla is never found. Finn however has not told the police that he had a violent quarrel with Layla before she disappeared.

Twelve years later and Finn has relied on friendship with a work colleague – Harry, and a policeman – Tony, who led the search for Layla, to help him grieve. Finn has a relationship with Ruby who owns the Jackdaw Pub. However he finishes with her to take up with Layla's sister Ellen.

Finn lived with Layla in St. Mary's in Cornwall, although they met and lived in London and he now lives with Ellen in Simonsbridge in the Cotswolds along with Peggy, Finn's dog.

There are various unsubstantiated sightings of Layla, but suddenly small Russian dolls are found which have a connection between Layla and her sister. They had lived with their parents on the Isle of Lewis. Their mother died and their father was a violent drunk. Finn starts getting emails – could they be from Layla or someone who is holding her? Finn keeps these secret from Ellen. Do Harry and Ruby know more than they are admitting?

BRING ME BACK is an unusual book from an author I have not read before. You have to suspend belief at some of the foolish things that Finn does. It is actually a study in mental breakdown, but exactly whose, you will have to read the book to discover. Recommended.

Geoff Jones, March 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson tr. Victoria Cribb

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson translated by Victoria Cribb, March 2018, 336 pages, Michael Joseph, ISBN: 0718187245

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

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir is a short time away from retirement. One of the few women on the detective team, she feels she has worked hard, and is one of the best detectives, dedicating her life to the force. And yet she feels isolated and undervalued. Not looking forward to her retirement, suddenly she is called into her bosses' office to be told that she can leave now, taking her last couple of months as 'leave', and at the very least she has to leave within two weeks, as a new young hotshot male detective is arriving and needs her office.

All her cases have been re-assigned and there is nothing left for her to do. In shock, Hulda asks for something to occupy her time for a few more days until she has to leave, and is allowed to choose a cold case. She chooses a case of a Russian girl, a 27 year-old called Elena, found dead on some rocks near the beach a few miles away. Her death has been dismissed as probably an accident or suicide. She was a girl no-one really seemed to care about. A mere asylum seeker. Moreover, the investigation into her death was handled by one of her colleagues, Alexander, someone she thinks does sloppy work. A last chance perhaps to show her skills as a good detective, before her inevitable lonely retirement.

As the investigation unfolds, two different stories are told side-by-side. One is the story of a single mother and her attempts to bring up her young daughter, someone we quickly realise is Hulda. This works well to provide some lovely background insight into Hulda's character. The other story, which starts later on in the book, relates to Elena and her disappearance. There is also Hulda’s burgeoning relationship with Petur, a friend from the walking club. Both Hulda and Petur lost their partners some time ago, and Peter is clearly interested in developing his relationship with Hulda, and in finding out more about her.

Hulda's character, the way in which she responds to her shock at her enforced early retirement and the subsequent choices she makes, drive this story. She could just relax, spend time with her friend Petur and simply stop and start to enjoy her retirement. Or, she could carry on with her one last case: a decision that will have a critical consequence for Hulda. This is a fascinating story, touched with an underlying sadness that skilfully unveils Hulda’s life as she carries out her last investigation.

Michelle Peckham, March 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Holy Ceremony by Harri Nykanen tr. Kristian London

Holy Ceremony by Harri Nykanen translated by Kristian London, March 2018, 268 pages, Bitter Lemon Press, ISBN: 1908524898

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

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

April 2010, Helsinki.
In a spacious apartment in the city’s Töölö district, the body of a naked woman is sprawled on a leather sofa. Her back is covered in writing, quasi religious with bible references and the symbol of a cross inside an arch. Detective Ariel Kafka of the Helsinki Violent Crimes Unit throws his arms in front of his face in an involuntary response to both the writing and a sense of being trapped, then he attempts to distract his surprised colleague Oksanen with a question about the owner of the flat. Scanning the bookshelves for a bible, Kafka finds one. The written reference, Matthew 10:28 has been underlined.
Kafka waits for the medical examiner and as he does so he gets a sense of the apartment as being an elderly person’s home. It reminds him of visiting his aunt’s deathbed all those years ago, a scene which fed his childhood nightmares alongside a scene from “Fiddler on the Roof”. Oksanen returns from talking to the neighbours. The current resident, Reijo Laurén, had inherited the flat three years ago.
The medical examiner’s reaction to the corpse is surprising. It is one he has already examined, the previous day in fact – a suicide and not yet written on. It must have been stolen from the morgue. But the examiner is more interested in the why than the how. He suggests to Kafka that the anonymous tip off about the body is a prelude to something more. Kafka is inclined to agree. A member of Ariel’s team calls in the results of her research into Laurén: one-time musician convicted of narcotics possession, divorced with one child, a restraining order, a year in a psychiatric hospital and employed at a funeral home; Laurén is also a likely candidate for being the dead woman’s unstable boyfriend according to her sister.
The examiner moves the body, revealing an envelope addressed to Kafka. It contains a yellowed newspaper clipping dated 2008, an article about the body of a man found in a Kouvola septic tank. There is also a note written in apocalyptic language which states, amongst other things, that this is not the end of the writer’s work. It is signed “The Adorner of the Sacred Vault”.
Kafka returns to HQ for an update on the dead man in the septic tank. A detective who was on the team investigating the Kouvola case tells him that they ran into dead ends everywhere. They suspected a case of “thieves falling out” and the body had been badly beaten and burned. Kafka asks if there had been anything odd about it. Yes, the symbol of an arch and cross had been inscribed on the dead man’s back.
With this, Kafka gets the go ahead on the stolen body investigation but with absolutely no press involvement. So next day when the case is headline news, he calls the reporter responsible for the story who says he also had an anonymous tip off. Someone is keen to publicise their cause. Kafka and the medical examiner go down to the morgue where the dead woman’s body has been returned. “Here’s our little runaway,” announces the examiner as he pulls out one of the steel drawers. It’s empty again.

HOLY CEREMONY is the third of Harri Nykänen’s books featuring Detective Ariel Kafka to be translated into English (so far five books in all have been published in his native Finland). A well-known crime journalist before turning to fiction, Nykänen’s series of Kafka police procedurals always move at a brisk and steady pace and in HOLY CEREMONY the police team uncover more details of Laurén’s past which includes membership of a religious group, the Brotherhood of the Sacred Vault, at his childhood boarding school and a darker involvement with the school staff. Kafka’s life gets complicated when security records at the morgue implicate the medical examiner himself in the theft of the corpse. The detective and his team race to find Laurén before more people die. But they do.

I like Nykänen’s engaging, mildly eccentric protagonist Ariel Kafka: one of Finland’s two Jewish policemen albeit “a religiously non-observant 40-something bachelor”. I found this book slightly less satisfying than the previous NIGHTS OF AWE and BEHIND GOD’S BACK. Perhaps it is the final grand explanatory reveal (I admit to a preference for a crime novel that “shows” rather than “tells” – which his other books do). But Agatha Christie is no mean example to follow, so I bicker. A great twist of emphasis emerges and the story remains an engaging, conspiratorial mystery, reading well in Kristian London’s translation.

Lynn Harvey, March 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Review: The Brides' Club Murder by P R Ellis

The Brides' Club Murder by P R Ellis, March 2017, 278 pages, ellifont, Ebook

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

The Brides’ Club is a group of transvestites who like to dress as brides and live out their fantasy of being a bride for a day at an annual weekend retreat which culminates in the Butterfly Ball. This year the event is being held at the Ashmore Lodge and is made extra special by the inclusion of a real wedding between two of its members, with the other brides acting as bridesmaids.

However this happy event is put into jeopardy by the discovery of the body of one of the members of the club. DS Tom Shepherd is called to the scene and feels that he must close the hotel but is persuaded by the organisers to let the event carry on while the investigation is being carried out. His boss, DCI Sloane, suggests that someone should be sent in undercover and who better than their former colleague, now known as Jasmine Frame and renowned for her investigatory skills. She is now working as a private investigator and is undertaking gender re-assignment and nothing will persuade Sloane that Jasmine has no knowledge of the world of transvestites. As far as he is concerned she is the ideal candidate for the undercover work. It is left up to Tom to persuade Jasmine to help out the police.

This is the third novel to feature Jasmine Frame, a woman born into a man’s body, who has started the long process of gender reassignment. She is slowly re-building her life and forming new relationships. The books tackle the difficult subject of being transgender with sympathy and honesty.

Susan White, March 2018

Thursday, March 01, 2018

New Releases - March 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in March 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). March and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Beck, Peter - Damnation
• Bell, Natasha - Exhibit Alexandra
• Bouchard, Roxanne - We Were the Salt of the Sea
• Brook, Rhidian - The Killing of Butterfly Joe
• Brown, Eric - Murder Takes a Turn #5 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Chapman, Jean - Deadly Odds #5 John Cannon, Ex-Met Officer, Fens
• Chapman, Julia - Date with Mystery #3 The Dales Detective Series
• Cole, Daniel - Hangman #2 Fawkes and Baxter
• Davies, Michelle - False Witness #3 DC Maggie Neville, Family Liaison Officer
• de Hahn, Tracee - A Well-Timed Murder #2 Swiss-American police officer Agnes Luthi
• Driscoll, Teresa - The Friend
• Dyer, Ashley - Splinter in the Blood #1 Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver
• England, Caroline - My Husband's Lies
• Escobar, Melba - House of Beauty
• Fowler, Christopher - Bryant & May - Hall of Mirrors #15 Inspectors Bryant and May, London
• George, Elizabeth - The Punishment She Deserves #20 Inspector Thomas Lynley & Sergeant Barbara Havers (and colleagues)
• Goddard, Robert - Panic Room
• Gordon, Alexia - Killing in C Sharp #3 Gethsemane Brown, Ireland
• Gray, Alex - Only the Dead Can Tell #15 DCI Lorimer & psychologist Solomon Brightman, Glasgow
• Hamilton, Karen - The Perfect Girlfriend
• Hammer, Lotte and Soren - The Night Ferry #5 Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen and his team from the Murder Squad in Copenhagen
• Hannah, Mari - The Lost #1 Stone and Oliver
• Harrison, Cora - Death of a Novice #5 Reverend Mother Aquinas, Cork, 1920s
• Harvey, Samantha - The Western Wind
• Hilary, Sarah - Come and Find Me #5 DI Marnie Rome
• Huber, Anna Lee - A Brush with Shadow #6 Lady Darby, Scotland, 1830s
• Indridason, Arnaldur - The Shadow Killer #2 Konrád, a former detective
• Johnson, Matt - End Game #3 Robert Finlay
• Jonasson, Ragnar - The Darkness #1 Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdotti
• Keane, Jessie - Fearless
• Knox, Joseph - The Smiling Man #2 Detective Aidan Waits, Manchester
• Kristjansson, Snorri - Kin #1 Helga Finnsdottir
• Lehtolainen, Leena - The Nightingale Murder #9 Detective Maria Kallio, Helsinki
• Mackintosh, Clare - Let Me Lie
• Marsh, Ngaio - Money in the Morgue (completed by Stella Duffy) #33 Inspector Roderick Alleyn
• McTiernan, Dervla - The Ruin
• Medina, Kate - Two Little Girls #3 Dr Jessie Flynn, Psychologist
• Merritt, Stephanie - While You Sleep
• Mitchell, Caroline - Silent Victim
• Morris, R N - The Red Hand of Fury #4 Silas Quinn, police detective
• Naughton, Sarah J - The Other Couple
• Nickson, Chris - The Tin God #6 Detective Inspector Tom Harper, Leeds Police, 1890s
• Nykanen, Harri - Holy Ceremony #4 Ariel Kafka, inspector in the Violent Crime Unit of the Helsinki police
• Paris, B A - Bring Me Back
• Parsons, Tony - Girl On Fire #5 Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, London
• Penrose, Andrea - Murder at Half Moon Gate #2 Wrexford & Sloane
• Quincy, D M - Murder in Bloomsbury
• Rowley, Emma - Where the Missing Go
• Russell, Leigh - Class Murder #10 DI Geraldine Steel
• Silver, Mitch - The Bookworm
• Sinclair, Rob - Sleeper 13
• Steen, Jane - Lady Helena Investigates (ebook only) #1 Scott-De Quincy Mysteries
• Stratmann, Linda - Murder at the Bayswater Bicycle Club #8 Frances Doughty, London, 1880
• Taylor, C L - The Fear
• Todd, Charles - The Gatekeeper #20 Insp Rutledge
• Trow, M J - Queen's Progress #9 Christopher Marlowe
• Unsworth, Cathi - That Old Black Magic
• Wagner, David P - Funeral in Montova #5 Rick Montoya Italian Mysteries
• Watkins, Roz - The Devil's Dice #1 DI Meg Dalton, Derbyshire
• Wilson, Andrew - A Different Kind of Evil #2 Agatha Christie
• Wilson, Edward - South Atlantic Requiem #6 Catesby
• Winspear, Jacqueline - To Die But Once #14 Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, 1930s London

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Sad Loss

I was very shocked and distressed to hear the news yesterday that the blogging community has lost established reviewer, Bernadette from Reactions to Reading who has died unexpectedly. Like many of the FriendFeed gang that we were members of we corresponded periodically and I loved reading her reviews - no flim flam with Bernadette, you knew her opinion of a book. She was a champion of women writers, Australian writers and especially Australian women crime writers, and bricks and mortar bookshops. She was a good friend of Maxine who we lost five years ago and I think they had a lot in common. Both loved trying out the newest technology and when FriendFeed closed, Bernadette helped set up the Facebook replacement group even though she loathed Facebook herself.

Margot Kinberg has written a lovely tribute to her friend which I hope you will read and do check out Reactions to Reading and perhaps discover some new to you authors to try.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review: The Shout by Stephen Leather

The Shout by Stephen Leather, January 2018, 416 pages, Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN: 1473671787

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

Vicky Lewis is a force to be reckoned with: not yet thirty and already crew manager in the London Fire Brigade, she's destined for great things.

But when she enters a burning building to save a man's life and leaves it with catastrophic injuries, all that changes. She's shunted over to the Fire Investigation Unit, where she's forced to team up with cantankerous veteran Des Farmer, a.k.a. the Grouch.

When Vicky stumbles across the Grouch's off-the-books investigation into the fiery deaths of a series of young, blonde women, she decides to join him in his search for the truth.

The answer is close - perhaps too close. Vicky's already been burnt once, and now she's playing with fire.


THE SHOUT was a very exciting read and I can fully appreciate the claim that Stephen Leather is the single most requested author by inmates of HM Prisons who want to borrow books from the library trolley in order to better pass their time to be served.

Stephen Leather is from a journalistic background and meticulously researches the background to all his books and it is very reassuring, reading facts and background details to his stories and knowing that they must be authentic.

I thought that this was a real dynamite of a story and easily one of the best that he has ever written. His keen journalistic attention to detail kept me gripped to the edge of my seat right up to the last page. As this is a stand-alone thriller it was really exciting to read something away from his two main series ie the Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd one and the Jack Nightingale supernatural one. I found the book extremely enjoyable and would certainly recommend it.

All in all, though this is quite a long book, the author likes to write as if he was the driver of an express train and the pages just flew by; I was so gripped by the tense and exciting plot to find the killer of all these innocent blonde women. The extraordinary and completely unpredictable ending to this outstanding story was so incredibly imaginative, that I cannot wait to see what the next book by this very versatile and prolific author will be.

Incidentally, something that I found particularly interesting is the author's fascination with my name ’Halligan’. In his book ROUGH JUSTICE an alias that the protagonist Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd uses is ‘Terry Halligan’ and in this book THE SHOUT he mentions a tool that fireman use which is a “Halligan Bar” several times...

Terry Halligan, February 2018.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths, February 2018, 368 pages, Hardback, Quercus, ISBN: 1784296635

Reviewed by Mark Bailey.
(Read more of Mark's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

THE DARK ANGEL is the tenth in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths – this time Ruth Galloway has a change of scene but even then she still finds a murder to investigate.

Dr Ruth Galloway returns home from Clough and Cassandra's wedding to find a message on her answerphone from an Italian former boyfriend and fellow archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He has discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but does not know what to make of them – they might be Roman but there are anomalies. Ruth has not had a proper holiday in years and decides that even a working holiday to Italy is welcome.

Ruth and daughter Kate, together with friend Shona and her son Louis, travel to Castello degli Angeli. Here she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the War years and the Resistance. She is soon joined by Harry Nelson - concerned about Ruth and Kate when he learns of an earthquake - and Cathbad. But by then the ancient bones have sparked a modern murder and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.

I am a big fan of the Ruth Galloway novels and though I do feel that they are best enjoyed in sequence, you can probably pick up most of the background needed to enjoy each novel as you go along - probably more so here as there is a lot of scene setting in early chapters. There is the usual excellent characterisation that one expects in Elly Griffiths’ books – believable, flawed but ultimately likeable ongoing main protagonists: Ruth Galloway, Harry Nelson and Judy amongst the adults with Kate coming to the fore. There is the usual twisty plot here that engages the reader and this particular novel benefits, I think, from the change in milieu from East Anglia to Italy.

As I have stated about previous Ruth Galloway mysteries - if you do have a liking for modern cosies with perhaps a little hint of grit then I would strongly recommend this to you.

My major niggle would be that it is a bit convenient for Nelson to turn up, but even more so with Cathbad – yes there is a reason, but them both leaping on a plane at short notice is a bit of a stretch.

Mark Bailey, February 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

US Cozy Review: Cat About Town by Cate Conte

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

Cat About Town by Cate Conte, September 2017, Minotaur Books ISBN: 1250072069

Cat About Town
is the first in the 'Cat Cafe' series by Cate Conte, aka Liz Mugavero, and is set on a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Maddie James returns to Daybreak Island for her gran's funeral and her concern for her grand-dad keeps her staying longer than expected, leaving her successful San Francisco juice bar in the hands of her business partner. Maddie's new and constant companion is an adorable ginger male cat, a stray who chose Maddie and allowed himself to be put on a lead.

A head honcho in the town wants Maddie's grandad's property for redevelopment and has been threatening and slandering to get his way. When he is murdered - his body found by Maddie's cat no less - Maddie's grand-dad becomes a prime suspect despite being the retired police chief. Of course, Maddie takes it upon herself to investigate.

As well as a doting cat, Maddie has two men asking her out, one a newcomer to the island and the other a school sweetheart. Plus someone is leaving her newspaper clippings about cat cafes... How can she leave the island with all this going on?

I really enjoyed this opening book and it kept drawing me back to it. I liked that Maddie was actively investigating. And I have a ginger cat myself!

I look forward to when the cat cafe opens it doors in book two, Purrder She Wrote, which is released in July.

Karen Meek, February 2018.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: The Whitstable Pearl by Julie Wassmer

The Whitstable Pearl by Julie Wassmer, October 2015, 320 pages, Constable, ISBN: 1472118995

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

As might be expected from the title, this book is set in the seaside town of Whitstable, famous for its oysters, and for the rather strange constructions just visible out at sea, called the Maunsell Forts. These were built during the Second World War, and used to provide anti-aircraft fire. The heroine of the novel is Pearl Nolan. She runs a popular seafood restaurant in Whitstable, 'The Whitstable Pearl', with her somewhat eccentric mother, Dolly, but she would rather be a detective. Still only thirty-nine-years-old, she has a grown-up son Charlie at university a short distance away, and is now trying to start up her own private detective agency.

The book revolves around Pearl’s first proper case. A Mr Stroud contacts her and asks her to track down a local oyster fisherman called Vinnie Rowe. Stroud apparently lent Vinnie some money to help him lay down some new oyster beds, and is now looking for a return on his investment. But Vinnie is nowhere to be found. Pearl agrees to help, and in this case it should be easy, as Vinnie is an old friend. When he doesn't respond to her call either, she decides to go out and see if he is on his boat ‘The Native’ which she can see out at sea. And that’s when she finds his dead body, tied to the anchor rope in the water.

The police start to investigate, and it is DCI Mike McGuire from Canterbury who is in charge. Recently transferred from London, for his own personal and rather tragic reasons, he is starting to regret it. But the murder sparks his interest, as does Pearl herself. And then, when Mr Stroud also goes missing and is then found dead - once again, Pearl finds the body - Pearl finds herself in the middle of a mystery. One she is keen to solve herself.

THE WHISTABLE PEARL is a strange mixture of a book, which almost seems to be a murder mystery set in the middle of a tourist brochure for Whitstable. Alongside Pearl, her family and DCI McGuire’s search for the murderer, lie abundant descriptions of Whitstable, the people and the culture, with a bit of oyster politics thrown in for good measure. Pearl is a thwarted police detective and keen to help McGuire help solve his case, with her helpful local knowledge and personal connection an asset. And McGuire develops into an inevitable love interest. Having had a glorious holiday in Seasalter myself, and enjoyed the Whitstable oysters, I appreciated the setting. Pearl is a likeable if somewhat clichéd character, and the story is well paced, with some twists and turns along the way. I suppose I would have liked a bit less of the tourist brochure though, and a bit more character development. At one point Pearl tells McGuire ‘Clues to a crime are like ingredients for a meal, don’t you think? Put them together in the right way, and the result can be very satisfying’. An apt comment! I wouldn’t give this book a Michelin star, but it was a satisfying outing.

Michelle Peckham, February 2018