HUMOUR IN CRIME FICTION: M. B. Vincent
The author of Jess Castle and the Eyeballs of Death talks to Crime Time: Humour makes everything better – most folk agree on that. A wry smile improves a rainy wait at a bus stop, a dull afternoon at work, a funeral. But crime fiction? Is there room in a dark mystery for a joke?
Hush Hush: Mel Sherratt talks to Crime Time
I'm a firm believer that there is good and bad in us all. It's how we choose to use it, I suppose. But for me as a crime writer, I like to take the ordinary and make it a bit extra-ordinary but still realistic. Using different points of view can make stories far more...
A Righteous Spy: Merle Nygate talks to Crime Time
I can trace my fascination with spy fiction to the Greek myths I read as a child and the characters who concealed themselves to achieve their goals. From Zeus to the Trojans, the mythic trope of shape-shifting remains a strong story hook.
Not Heaven Sent: Alan Carter Talks
Alan Carter is the author of the Cato Kwong series of police thrillers and Marlborough Man all published by Fremantle Press. He has also been a documentary film director. He is originally from Sunderland, UK and emigrated to Australia in 1991. He now divides his time between NZ and Fremantle in Western Australia and is a full-time writer.
Ian Fleming Steel Shortlisted Authors at CWA Dagger Awards on Oct 25
Forget the Man Booker and the Costa, for readers of crime – now officially the UK’s most popular genre of fiction – the CWA Daggers (hosted by Barry Forshaw) are the book awards to really sharpen your appetite. Every autumn, 10 awards are given away at a glittering black-tie dinner at a smart hotel and authors, publishers, agents and, yes, readers gather to see who gets the accolades. This year the event will take place at the Grange City Hotel in Cooper’s Row, London on Thursday 25 October.
Paris in the Dark by Robert Olen Butler
Utilising his own considerable experience as a war veteran and journalist, the award-winning Robert Olen Butler once again shows his mastery of the historical thriller with this striking novel, set during the First World War. As Parisiennes meet death by dynamite in a campaign of bombings, the German-speaking protagonist Kit seems to be the person to discover who is behind it. But things in a Butler novel are never straightforward. Those who have read earlier novels by the author will need little hesitation to pick this one up.
Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges
The protagonist of Bait is a low rent PR man, the eponymous ‘bait’ utilised by a tough detective involved in a cultish enterprise imported from America. Grist focuses on a writer (one is reminded of the novelist anti-hero of Hodges’ film Pulp) who has no compunction is about utilising real-life individuals for his novels but finds that there is a high price to be paid. The final novella, Security, features an American actor who has no faith in the film he is engaged in making and opts to stay cloistered in his upscale hotel, but the hotel itself becomes a hotbed of violence. As these synopses indicate, Hodges is uninterested in utilising well-worn tropes of the crime genre, and has come up with three startlingly original scenarios.
The Innocent Wife: Amy Lloyd talks to Crime Time
I received a comment from someone in response to a video I posted about The Innocent Wife. It went something like, ‘Florida, of course. It’s always Florida.’ Then there was a little eye-roll emoji. Until that moment I hadn’t even thought that people might read the synopsis of my book and think I was portraying Florida in a negative way, or that I was being exploitative of the state or its population. The book is set in Florida because, first and absolutely foremost: I love Florida. Deeply. It’s been two years since I was last there but I can still vividly recall the thickness of the air and the sounds of the insects in the bushes and the vastness of it, looking out over the landscape at all those stretches of green. It’s a place that feeds my imagination and it’s where I daydream about going back to when I have the chance.
Dissolution by C. J. Sansom
C. J. Sansom is a fine historical novelist who can set a variety of books in a fine variety of places. With Tombland just over the horizon, going back to the beginning seemed like a good idea, and it is. Dissolution introduced Matthew Shardlake, a narrator to keep one awake at night, even when one knows what’s to come. Among the surprises come a series of characters one wouldn’t expect, such as the doctor, the Carthusian, the hard-riding Abbot, women and children, and the geography of the great monastery itself, as Shardlake looks over the marshes toward the sea. Jane Seymour has recently died in childbirth, and the king’s search for a wife begins again.
New Crime & Thriller DVDs & Blu-rays
COLUMBO, Season One, Various directors/Fabulous Films Dostoevsky may have done it first with his detective Porfiry slowly wearing down a murder suspect in Crime and Punishment, but this classic American series (the creators have acknowledged the literary source) ) is how most people will be familiar with the situation. The fact that it is established (and set in stone) in the very first episode here is remarkable, given how flexible this seemingly rigid format proved over many seasons – not least as a showcase of such considerable actors as Patrick McGoohan, cast several times in the seri.es as he and Peter Falk clearly liked working together It’s the landmark series that inspired an entire genre. Now Columbo television’s greatest detective comes to Blu-ray for the first time, fully restored and in hi-definition
Agatha Christie’s Golden Age: John Goddard talks to Crime Time
Agatha Christie’s Golden Age by new author John Goddard, with an Introduction by Dr John Curran, is a must for Poirot fans. John uses his forensic skills, acquired over 30 years as lawyer in a leading London firm, to analyse the solutions, plots and clues in the 21 Poirot novels published during the Golden Age of detective fiction. He does so in a way that is logical, informative and readable and the dustjacket looks very stylish, with some of Poirot’s most memorable clues in jigsaw pieces. Crime Time asked John what inspired him to write the book and what he found most difficult.
Super Thursday Crime Fiction on The Phil Williams Show
Phil Williams will be issuing his own list (including Katy Guest’s choices), but the crime books I discussed on his BBC Radio 5 show last night were:
Tombland by C J Sansom
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Absolute Proof by Peter James
In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin
Håkan Nesser and Translator Sarah Death on The Root of Evil
Barry Forshaw writes: Rhodesian ridgebacks are a breed of dog I always associate with leading Scandinavian crime writer Håkan Nesser, whose The Root of Evil is published this month by Mantle in a translation by the much-respected Sarah Death. I have a surreal memory of wandering the streets of town Scarborough with Nesser and his wife Elke, after an event I’d done with him (pictured), trying to find the one hotel that had agreed to accept their gargantuan dog. Walking past the closed fish and chip shops of an English seaside town with one of Sweden’s key novelists was… unusual, to say the least. I reminded him of this when asking about The Root of Evil.
Golden Prey by John Sanford
John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport is one of the enduring action heroes of the crime genre, his books coming in somewhere between police procedurals and action thrillers, usually including elements of both. Davenport himself is on the outside pretty unassuming, but reveals more and more hidden talents in each book. This is demonstrated perfectly in a very entertaining opening sequence that has nothing to do with the rest of the story, but establishes Davenport’s skill, his investigative freedom (due to circumstances arising earlier in the series), and the demeanor that allows people to think they might take advantage.
Seven Deaths: Stuart Turton talks to Crime Time
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was eight-years-old, reading Agatha Christie novels in my bedroom. I became a journalist to edge me closer, then tried writing a book when I was 21. I screwed it up and came back to the idea when I was 34. My debut novel, The Seven...
The Syndicate: Guy Bolton talks to Crime Time
In my new novel The Syndicate, retired LAPD detective Jonathan Craine is tasked by the mob to investigate the murder of Bugsy Siegel, infamous Hollywood gangster and the man who invented Las Vegas. My protagonist Jonathan Craine featured in my debut novel The Pictures and people often assume that I had him in mind for a series from the beginning. The truth is, however, that when I wrote The Pictures, I never even considered that I might be asked to write a sequel. And hadn’t planned for one either.
Orenda Books’ Johana Gustawsson wins Palai D’Or and a TV deal
Karen Sullivan, Publisher of Orenda Books, and French publisher Bragelonne, has announced that television rights for Johana Gustawsson’s Roy & Castells series have been sold to Banijay Studios France and award-winning French actress Alexandra Lamy. Lamy will adapt it for the screen and play the main character, Emily Roy.
Location as Muse: Alice LaPlante on Half Moon Bay
The idea of using Half Moon Bay as a location for fiction has been germinating inside me for decades.
I’ve always loved the town and its environs, especially its dark and mysterious foggy summers. When my daughter was an infant, and I was still in that half-crazed new-mother trance, I’d take her with me for long drives up and down California’s famous Route 1, stopping to nurse her by the crackling wood stove at the San Gregorio General Store, located on the old stagecoach route that formerly ran between the coast and the flowering orchards in the Valley of Hearts Delight (the original name of the grim and now tree-less Silicon Valley).
Sleepers: Mark Dawson talks to Crime Time
It’s a standard question when I tell people that I make my living as an author: where do you get your ideas? I write espionage thrillers – think Bond and Bourne and you’ll be in the vicinity – and I’ve never had a problem with finding something interesting for my characters to do. The genesis of my new book – SLEEPERS – has been a little different, though. More immediate. Closer to home, and, once I started investigating and writing, much more difficult to stop.
Hallowdene: George Mann talks to Crime Time
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of history as a living subject. I think it’s very easy for us to look back at the events and attitudes of the past as things long gone, things that happened to other people; to consider, with hindsight, how much we’ve learned and moved on. Yet, to me, history is a continuum, a vast river that continues to flow all around us, moulding our culture and behaviour. Our society has been irrevocably shaped by the decisions of the past, and the aftershocks and repercussions of those decisions are still being felt, whether we choose to recognise them or not.
Orenda Books signs Helen FitzGerald’s Worst Case Scenario
Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, has announced the acquisition of World English Language rights for Helen FitzGerald’s Worst Case Scenario, and a second title, Australia Day, in a two-book deal negotiated with Phil Patterson of Marjacq Scripts. Both an...
Wheel of Fire: Hilary Bonner talks to Crime Time
My latest novel, Wheel of Fire, brings a tale of international financial intrigue, culminating in arson and violent death, to the rolling green hills of the English countryside. The book is inspired by the tragically curious real-life story of Edmond Safra, one of the richest men in the world, who in 1999 choked to death along with his nurse in a fire at his Monaco penthouse. For some time after the fire broke out he could have opened the door to the specially fortified bathroom in which the two bodies were foud, and escaped to safety. He did not. And it is believed that when the nurse tried to flee he fought her into submission.
TO THE MAX: Maxim Jakubowski on New Crime
Autumn always brings a sheer avalanche of books as so many publishers put their eggs in one basket, and this September selection offers a sheer plethora of wonderful books and a level of quality that leaves me breathless. Indeed, some titles had to be left out (some...
End of Term: A.C. Koning talks about the Blind Detective series
I started writing my ‘Blind Detective’ series almost by accident. I’d wanted to write about my grandfather, a soldier during the First World War, who was blinded at Passchendaele in 1917, and Line of Sight—which was published in 2014 to tie in with the WW1 centenary—began as an exploration of how my character, Frederick Rowlands, has coped with the loss of his sight in the ensuing decade. We first meet him when he is working as a telephonist in a London solicitor’s office. Connecting a call at his switchboard one day, he overhears a conversation which may or may not refer to murder… From then on, he’s hooked—both on the excitement of solving the crime, and on the need to bring the perpetrator to justice. Writing from the perspective of a blind character has been challenging, but I hope I’ve conveyed Fred’s experience of the world, relying as it does on his use of his remaining senses, as accurately and convincingly as possible.
Festival America launches in London
We live in dark times. The world appears to be dislocating, with new forces in power and new allegiances being formed at both high and grassroots levels. As Britain continues its preparations for Brexit and the world appears to be retreating from its hard-won 20th century compact, our relationships with Europe and the Americas remain crucial for writers, readers, and audiences alike, the entire fragile global ecosystem of literature.
2018, therefore, is the ideal moment for London to provide a satellite for the much-lauded Festival America, founded in Vincennes in 2002. A large group of writers from across the continent will visit their French publishers and readers, and we are delighted that a contingent will travel on to London.
Wonder Valley: Ivy Pochoda talks to Crime Time
The first time I wound up in the Mojave Desert I was immediately struck by the various ways people managed to live off the grid, tangentially connected to society, playing by whatever rules appealed to them and then making up their own. It’s a wild and untamable landscape, a place where it is trivial to disappear. Depending on your outlook, the desert can appear both mystical and spiritual, filled with energy or power. Or perhaps it is just simply strange, remote, confusing, distracting, and possessed of a gritty beauty, a place where it is possible to be deluded into beliefs that are not your own.
BELIEVE ME by JP Delaney
Barry Forshaw in the ‘I’
In the thriller genre, psychological crime reigns supreme at present, but with an avalanche of new novels, something special is needed to rise above the throng. And that extra ingredient is unquestionably provided by JP Delaney’s Believe Me, the follow-up to his highly successful The Girl Before. The new book is actually a reworking of something previously written by the pseudonymous author, but it has no sense of being anything other than fresh material. Claire Wright is an attractive young British woman with aspirations to becoming a successful actress in the US.
The Daughter of Time & Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey/Folio Society
It’s comforting to say that a particular book is an author’s best – particularly when few well-read people are likely to gainsay you. So, without hesitation, let’s say that The Franchise Affair is Josephine Tey’s best book – and that in a career studded with many literary triumphs. Interestingly, this much-loved crime novel doesn’t actually contain a murder – though Tey gets away with the omission swimmingly. However, other Tey books have great distinction – such as The Daughter of Time and Miss Pym Disposes. Continuing The Folio Society’s celebrated Josephine Tey collection, beautifully bound new editions have appeared, illustrated by award-winning artist Mark Smith with bindings in the series style.