Savages: the wedding (The Saint-Etienne Quartet, 1) by Sabri Louatah

Savages: the wedding (The Saint-Etienne Quartet, 1) by Sabri Louatah
Ruth Morse

This is the first volume of a projected quartet, by an author whose experience includes a taste for American crime series such as The Wire. It’s hard going. I don’t think the problem here is the translation: it’s Louatah’s ambition to set his scenes by conjuring up two Algerian immigrant families first seen joining together at a ‘mixed’ wedding, but there are too many characters, not well enough delineated.

To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski’s December Choices

To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski’s December Choices

A final selection for the closing year, with an accidental emphasis on speculative fiction with a criminal element, what with two books set off-planet with some interesting similarities and a classic from between the wars which has not aged one iota. In addition, two reissues for which the word classic is actually an understatement as well as a smattering of talented debuts and neglected veterans. It’s been a good year, 2017, and indications are already that 2018 will be equally full of treasures, from both what has already landed through my post box and publishers’ announcements.

Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate

Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
Ruth Morse

This book is among the outstanding reissues by the British Library and Poisoned Pen Press. Postgate’s name is probably more familiar from his founding the Good Food Guide, and/or his writing about wine, than his crime fiction, of which there wasn’t very much. His own tale takes us right back to conscientious objection during the Great War. Postgate was part of the generation who admired the Russian Revolution and were so terribly deceived by Stalin

Simenon, Nesbo & Varvello: crime reviewed by Ruth Morse

Simenon, Nesbo & Varvello: crime reviewed by Ruth Morse

Despite the title, this is not ‘A Maigret Christmas’, or mostly not. The first story is an investigation by Maigret, with an unusual moment of feeling between Monsieur and Madame. The second and third belong to other Inspectors. As ever, most of the characters we meet are relatively poor, wracked by drink and debt, and often unattractive. Not all, however. I sometimes wonder if Simenon had read O. Henry, and here, particularly, I think of ‘The Gifts of the Magi’.

Undertow by Anthony J Quinn & The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffith

Undertow by Anthony J Quinn & The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffith
Barry Forshaw in the Financial Times

A case of suicide takes detective Celcius Daly out of his jurisdiction and across the Irish border to the benighted village of Dreesh; it’s a place that operates by its own laws under the malign presiding influence of a crime chief with political corrections to the IRA. Daly finds himself in a maelstrom of smugglers, informers, disgraced coppers and even a dispute over the limits of the Irish border – the latter a topical issue at present. Quinn’s novels featuring his maverick, solitary detective Daly (such as Disappeared and Border Angels

Up-to-date with The Murder Squad

Up-to-date with The Murder Squad

Ann Cleeves – The CWA Awards dinner and the Diamond Dagger presented by our very own Martin Edwards was an evening to remember. Thanks to everyone who made it so special.
Margaret Murphy – Publication date for Splinter in the Blood – first of the Ashley Dyer series – is confirmed as 1st March 2018.
Kate Ellis – In the summer I signed a new four book contract with my publisher, Little, Brown.
Chris Simms – My next novel – titled Loose Tongues – takes the reader into the kind of dark serial killer territory I covered in books such as Outside the White Lines and Shifting Skin.
Martin Edwards – I’ve done a lot of travelling in recent months, promoting The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books in locations as diverse as Toronto, Nottingham, Cambridge, Newcastle, and York.
Cath Staincliffe – There’s been a fantastic response to my new novel The Girl in the Green Dress and you can read about the real-life inspiration for that story here.

When Time Runs Out by Elina Hirvonen, tr. from the Finnish by Hildi Hawkins, Bonnier Zaffre, Mantle

When Time Runs Out by Elina Hirvonen, tr. from the Finnish by Hildi Hawkins, Bonnier Zaffre, Mantle
Ruth Morse

What is one to do when confronted with such a book? It’s a bit like We Need to Talk About Kevin, but much less well written, and certainly much less focussed. A family of four, a marriage much less happy than the wife’s narrative voice allows, a daughter who has fled from the claustrophobia of her home, a son on the spectrum—one kind or another, and an absent father. We don’t hear much from either of the men, and the chain of voices is otherwise mechanical. It isn’t a jigsaw, but it has puzzle aspects

Dark Pines: Will Dean talks to Crime Time

Dark Pines: Will Dean talks to Crime Time

My debut novel, DARK PINES, is set in the wilds of central Sweden. I hail from the East Midlands but five years ago I moved to live full-time in a small boggy clearing at the centre of an enormous forest north of Gothenburg. I write Nordic Noir from the perspective of an outsider. I’m not a Scandinavian writer but I’ve been travelling to the Nordics every year for twenty years, and I now live in Sweden with my Swedish wife. DARK PINES is set in an isolated town in Värmland, four hours north of my forest…

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