As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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No Exit Press, 6 June 2019. ISBN:
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare was how Winston Churchill
described the Special Operations Executive, a collection of mavericks who were
dropped behind enemy lines to offer help to resistance fighters during the
Second World War. It provides fiction writers with a rich seam to mine; its
operatives worked 'off the books', and getting results was deemed far more
important than playing by the rules – especially since Hitler rewrote the rules
to suit himself – so it's easy to invent missions for them.
Howard Linskey's protagonist
Captain Harry Walsh is one of those mavericks. Promoted on the battlefield,
gentleman he certainly is not, though he has his own code of honour, which
includes short shrift for bureaucracy and the kind of authority that has an
inflated sense of the importance of having attended the right school. Harry is
prepared to break every rule in a library of books when he is sent into France
to assassinate a German scientist who has come far too close to perfecting a
secret weapon which might make a difference to the outcome of the war.
Linskey creates a scenario
which is totally alien to most people: a motley bunch of resistance fighters or
Maquisards with varying degrees of skill, holed up in squalid conditions
and determined to make life as difficult as possible for the occupying forces.
He uses documented history to add colour and realism, and though some of the
characters are instantly recognizable from a hundred war movies, they still
emerge as genuine people.
Harry Walsh himself is a
troubled soul: a survivor of what amounted to a massacre at Dunkirk, a marriage
that's pedestrian at best but with no chance of escape, a self-important boss
who regards him with contempt. As if that wasn't enough, he's hopelessly in
love with feisty fellow operative Emma Stirling, who appears unexpectedly
shortly after his own arrival in France.
It all adds up to a pacy,
dramatic adventure behind enemy lines, complete with explosions, bombed bridges
and railway lines, kidnapping and shoot-outs. There's even a generous sprinkle
of name-dropping: real-life people like Ian Fleming and Kim Philby, whose
association with SOE is well documented.
Will Harry complete his
mission? What will become of him and Emma? Will the Allies win the war? We know
the answer to one of those questions. For the other two you'll have to read the
book.And it's well worth reading.-----Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Howard Linskeyhas worked as a barman, journalist, catering manager
and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales
and account management jobs. He has written for newspapers, magazines and
websites on a number of subjects. The Drop was Howard’s debut novel,
published by ‘No Exit’ in 2011.Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he
now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.
Lynne Patrick has been a
writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short
stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She
crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to
have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge
of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime
Published by Head of Zeus, 4 April 2019. ISBN 978-1-78954184-7
is the first book of a trilogy set in downtown Manchester. Over three
periods, 1973/4,1979/80 and 1983/4, we are given a graphic account of the slow
deterioration of the lives of two siblings, Adele and Peter, starting when
Peter was ten and Adele a year or so older. With an alcoholic and violent
father, Tommy, who resents his children’s existence, and a docile, increasing
depressed mother, Shirley, the children have a very uncomfortable home life.
Shirley becomes increasing dependent on pills and makes little effort to clean
the house or feed her family as she not only accepts, but also defends, the
constant physical and verbal abuse handed down from her husband.
Adele is a
clever child. She helps her mother as much as she can whilst simultaneously
trying to keep up with the schoolwork that she believes will eventually provide
her with the means to escape from her horrible life. She also tries to
protect Peter who at the age of ten is already showing signs of becoming a
sadistic tear-away. There is, not surprisingly, a strong survival bond between
the brother and sister as they look out for and lie for each other. The
only bright point in their lives is Grandma Joyce, Shirley’s mother. She
sees what is happening, but other than providing a little love, kind words and
occasional small treats for the children, there is little she can do to relieve
their misery. When she becomes ill, even that solace is removed.
teenager Peter indulges in petty crimes. After he does a spell in a young offender’s
unit his father throws Peter out. He gradually becomes a hardened and
fully-fledged criminal, running his own gang and earning a good living from
serious and sometimes violent crime. Adele’s A-level grades are not good
enough to get into university, but she joins a solicitor’s office, carries on
with her education and sets up house with a partner. Now and then we see
that Adele has inherited her father’s temper, but for the most part she
continues to improve her lot and support her mother. With very different
lifestyles the brother and sister drift apart.
something happens that turns all their lives upside down and brings Adele and
Peter together again, but you would need to read the book to discover what that
is well written and is delightfully easy to read. The descriptions
of places and people are grimly realistic, and not always as depressing as the
story might lead you to think. I found the book unusual in that its main
purpose seemed to be to provide background and to develop the characters for
the next two parts of the story which I haven’t read. However, if you read part
one of this trilogy, such is the strength of Heather Burnside’s characters, I
think it is more than likely that you will be drawn into reading parts two and
three of the trilogy to see what becomes of Adele and Peter in the next decade
of their lives.
Heather Burnsidehas been writing since the late 90s
when she returned to work following a career break to raise a family. Heather
formerly worked in credit control and became a graduate Member of the Institute
of Credit Management, but she decided on a complete career change.After enrolling with the Writers Bureau in
Manchester, she gained a writing diploma and had articles published in several
popular UK magazines. Heather then set up a writing services company, providing
copywriting and proofreading to a range of clients, and ghostwriting a number
of non-fiction books.
Angela Crowtheris a
retired scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet,
no crime fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing
group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the
operas of Verdi and Wagner.
Published by Constable, 9
May 20919. ISBN: 978-1-47212-711-2 (PBO)
the 7th book in this popular series, Mirabelle Bevan is still living
and working in Brighton.She is brooding
over the behaviour of her lover, Superintendent Alan McGregor, and finds
herself attracted to the police doctor, Chris Williams.But, even with work and personal matters to
ponder on, she still notices the young girl sitting on the beach.
discovers that Lali is recuperating at a local convalescent home for children
with respiratory complaints.As they talk,
Father Grogan, a priest attached to the home, comes looking for the girl and
takes her back.The following morning,
however, Lali is sitting opposite Mirabelle’s flat.Mirabelle decides to walk her to the home and
there meets a few of the nurses, including Uma, who looks after Lali.When Father Grogan is murdered shortly after
this, Mirabelle is drawn into the puzzle of what is going on at the home.
more she finds out, the more concerned she becomes and, following a spate of
deaths, she realises that the convalescent home holds the key.The strands of the investigation put her in
danger and she spends a frightening few days’ lost in Brighton’s sewers, before
the solution becomes apparent, with consequences for other aspects of her life.
story has a good sense of place and the atmosphere of the time.Mirabelle and Vesta, her assistant, are
strong, independent and interesting characters and the plot is complex without
being overworked.This is another strong
novel and one that her fans will enjoy.It’s always great for find a new series and the newcomer might like to follow
Mirabelle’s story from the beginning, though the book itself works as a stand-alone
books in this series:Brighton Belle,
London Calling, England Expects, British Bulldog, Operation Goodwood, Russian
was born in Edinburgh and studied at Trinity College, Dublin. She works in a
wide range of media and genres. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has
been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She has also received a Scottish
Library Award and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. She sits on the
committee for the Society of Authors in Scotland (where she lives) and on the
board of '26' the campaign for the importance of words. She's taken part in 3
'26 Treasures' exhibitions at the V&A, London, The National Museum of
Scotland and the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. She occasionally blogs
on the Guardian site about her writing life and puts her hand up to being a
'twitter evangelist'. From time to time she appears on radio, most recently
reporting for BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent. Sara is a member of the
Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers Association. A
self-confessed 'word nerd' her favourite book is 'Water Music' by TC Boyle.
Jo Hesslewood. Crime
fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first
spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.For twenty-five years the commute to and from
London provided plenty of reading time.I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book
club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .I enjoy attending crime fiction events and
currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.
BLOODY SCOTLAND REVEALS THEIR ‘CRIME IN THE SPOTLIGHT’ WRITERS WHO
WILL BE APPEARING ON STAGE WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES AT THE 2019 FESTIVAL
Bloody Scotland will again
be supporting new writers by pairing established authors with ‘support’ acts
just starting out on their crime writing career.
Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of His Bloody Project was famously ‘In the
Spotlight’ as a support act for Ian Rankin before it was shortlisted for the
Man Booker and the initiative has been praised on Open Book, BBC Radio 4
for being innovative and breaking the boundaries of traditional book festivals.
Authors ‘In the
Spotlight’ this year include Judith O’Reilly, a former
producer for Newsnight and Channel 4 News who is paired with David Baldacci
straight from leading the torchlight procession; Jackie McLean,
who volunteered at Bloody Scotland now makes her way on to the main stage
herself with Chris Brookmyre and Michael Robotham; Gordon Kerr,
who as Head of Marketing at Waterstones selected Alexander McCall Smith as Book
of the Month and will now share the stage with the much loved international
star and Noelle Holten, better known to everyone in the crime fiction
world as the power blogger Crime Book Junkie, who will be on stage with
the even more powerful Ian Rankin.
The full list includes
authors published by Scottish and English independents, large London
conglomerates and some self-published authors with a mix of male and female
crime writers. One of last years authors ‘in the spotlight’, Claire Askew who
last year took to the stage with Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny has this year
been shortlisted for both the debut and the main McIlvanney Prize. The
finalists will be revealed on 6 September.
Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, providing a
showcase for the best crime writing from Scotland and the world, unique in that
it was set up by a group of Scottish crime writers in
2012. The festival uses a number of atmospheric, historic venues in Stirling’s
Old Town setting it apart from other literary festivals. Full information &
sponsor information at www.bloodyscotland.com
Tickets are available from www.bloodyscotland.com or
at the Box Office in the Tolbooth Stirling or in the Albert Halls. Free standby
tickets are available to the unemployed or those on a low income on the day of
the event if there is good availability. Proof of eligibility is required and
tickets are limited to one person. A 10% discount is available to people
residing in the Stirling Council area. You must give your address at the time
of booking. Visit www.bloodyscotland.com/localdiscount for
to our sponsors and people who’ve already bought ticketswe’ve been able
to reduce ticket prices to £150 for a weekend pass and £80 for a day pass.
These represent incredible value for money and make Capital Crime a truly mass
participation, accessible event. We’re also still offering discounted tickets
for librarians and people on low income. At these
new prices, tickets are selling very fast. Our spectacular venue, the
Grand Connaught Rooms, has strict rules on capacity, so if you don’t have a
ticket, you won’t be able to come – not even to hang out at our amazing bar
don’t miss out. If you want to be certain of being part of our amazing
festival, you need to book your tickets today.
Are you a lover of crime fiction looking for new discoveries or hoping to rediscover old favourites? Then look no further.
There are few contemporary crime fiction guides that cover everything from the golden age to current bestselling writers from America, Britain and all across the world, but the award-winning Barry Forshaw, one of the UK's leading experts in the field, has provided a truly comprehensive survey with definitive coverage in this expanded new edition of the much admired Rough Guide to Crime Fiction.
Every major writer is included, along with many other more esoteric choices. Focusing on a key book (or books) by each writer, and with essays on key crime genres, Crime Fiction: A Reader's Guide is designed to be both a crime fan's shopping list and a pithy, opinionated but unstuffy reference tool and history. Most judgements are generous (though not uncritical), and there is a host of entertaining, informed entries on related films and TV.
by Ian Rankin; available to pre-order from Amazon @ £14.99
Published by Jo Fletcher Books, 16 May
2019. ISBN: 978 1 78429 8104 (TPB)
As with earlier novels by the same author
this one, a masterful thriller, has the Viking world at the core of the story. And
what a story.Helga Finnsdottir, who
featured in Kin, the first in this
murder mystery series, has gained a reputation as a highly regarded healer and
herbalist and when several slayings occur in mysterious circumstances that couldn’t
possibly be accidental, it is she who suspects foul play and makes it her
business to track down and nail the killer.
is now living in Uppsala and King Eirik has summoned a Council to which the
chieftains of various tribes have been invited.A ruthless character from Helga’s past takes
centre stage but Helga feels confident the hostility of this woman can be ably managed
because, in a relationship with a hunk, true love has given Helga wings.
is a natural and shrewd observer of humankind, knows when to speak up and when
to keep her own counsel. Grundle, her proud mare with long-lashed eyes, is the confidante
who keeps her grounded and there is a palpable symbiosis between them.
arrive from every corner of the country, the mood becomes dark and tempers
reach boiling point. An attack by rivals is rumoured to be imminent, it is
evidentthat a traitor stalks the land and the stakes
have never been higher.
author brings the Viking age vividly to life, the plot is skillfully crafted, the characters fleshed out and entirely
believable and the story is enthralling, original and well paced.It would make a hugely enjoyable TV
mini-series as it contains all the elements of an unusual and intriguing drama.
Snorri Kristjanssonwas born in Reykjavik in 1974. He has
since lived in Norway, London and now Edinburgh with his wife, where he dabbles
in classical acting and stand-up comedy while teaching English.His fantasy series, The Valhalla Saga, and
his crime series, Kin and Council, are published by Jo Fletcher Books. They
both have Vikings in, so expect moderate cursing and beards,
Serena Fairfaxspent her childhood in India,
qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She
began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicalsthen turned her hand to fiction. Having
published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has
also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten
track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work
in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and
singing are a few of her favourite things.
Everyone who buys a ticket to attend Capital Crime will be able to read your
entry and vote for their favourite. The authors of the ten highest placed
entries will be revealed on Thursday 19th September and the winner, judged by
the Capital Crime team from the top ten entries, will be announced at Capital
Crime’s opening night cocktail party on Thursday 26th September to the readers,
agents and publishers in attendance.
The competition costs £10 to enter and entries close at midnight on Wednesday
18th September 2019. The names of the ten most popular entrants
will be announced the next day. The overall winner will be announced on the 26th September
and will receive a trophy and a prize of £250.
When the author of a favourite series turns his hand to something
different, there are sure to be mixed reactions. But fans of Stephen Booth's
Cooper and Fry need have no qualms: his sideways move to the canals of the
south midlands is up there with the best of the Peak District series.
Apart from cracking good
plots, Booth's novels seem to specialize in two things: repairing damaged souls,
and bringing locations to such realistic life that you feel as if you're there.
In Drowned Lives, his protagonist Chris Buckley drinks too much and has
lost his sense of adventure after a repressed childhood and a succession of
personal misfortunes and disappointments. So, when he is approached by an
elderly man seeking help in mending an old family feud, his first reaction is
to back away.
But fate intervenes, and
Chris finds himself not only looking into the historical origins of the feud
but also trying to solve a murder which the police have written off as a
hit-and-run accident. Needless to say, things prove very complicated, in the
past as well as the present, and both help and hindrance come from some
Booth assembles as varied a
cast of characters as in any of the Peak District series, and some turn out to
be quite different from the initial image they present. I especially enjoyed
the spiky relationships between Chris Buckley and the opposite sex, mainly (but
far from exclusively) his assertive neighbour Rachel and snooty Caroline
Longden. Even minor players, like slightly smarmy MP Lindley Simpson and DC
Hanlon with her detective's suspicious mind, leave a lasting impression.
For readers familiar with
Stephen Booth's vivid evocation of the Peak District, his equally detailed
conjuring of the canals around Lichfield and the unique juxtaposition of
ancient and modern in the city itself will come as no surprise. This almost
tactile background, with its narrowboats, overgrown banks and wealth of
history, gives the novel a richness and texture that raises it far above the
mainstream of crime fiction.
The underlying mystery and
the moments of high drama place the novel firmly in the crime genre, but the
mix of ingredients adds up to far more. There are elements of history, a
romance strand, even a touch of coming-of-age (even though Chris Buckley is in
his thirties!). Drowned Lives is Stephen Booth at the top of his game.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Booth was born in the English
Pennine mill town of Burnley.
He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended ArnoldSchool.
He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine, and wrote his
first novel at the age of 12. After graduating from City of Birmingham
Polytechnic (now Birmingham University),
Stephen moved to Manchester
to train as a teacher, but escaped from the profession after a terrifying spell
as a trainee teacher in a big city comprehensive school. Starting work on his first newspaper in
in 1974, Stephen was a specialist rugby union reporter, as well as working
night shifts as a sub-editor on the Daily
Express and The Guardian. This
was followed by periods with local newspapers in Yorkshire,
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. He was at various times Production Editor of
the Farming Guardian magazine,
Regional Secretary of the British Guild of Editors, and one of the UK's
first qualified assessors for the NVQ in Production Journalism. Freelance work began with rugby reports for
national newspapers and local radio stations. Stephen has also had articles and
photographs published in a wide range of specialist magazines, from Scottish Memories to Country lovers Magazine, from Cat World to Canal and Riverboat, andone short story broadcast on BBC radio. In 1999, his writing
career changed direction when, in rapid succession, he was shortlisted for the
Dundee Bool Prize and the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger competition
for new writers, then won the £5,000 Lichfield Prize for his unpublished novel The Only Dead Thing, and signed a two-book contract with HarperCollins for a
series of crime novels. In 2000,
Stephen's first published novel, Black Dog, marked the arrival in print
of his best-known creations - two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben
Cooper and DS Diane Fry. Black Dog was the named by the London
Evening Standard as one of the six best crime novels of the year - the only
book on their list written by a British author. In the USA, it won the Barry Award for
Best British Crime Novel and was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First
Mystery. The second Cooper & Fry novel, Dancing with the Virgins,
was shortlisted for the UK's top crime writing award, the Gold Dagger, and went
on to win Stephen a Barry Award for the second year running. The
publication of Blind to the Bones that year resulted in Stephen winning
the Crime Writers' Association's 'Dagger in the Library' Award, presented to
the author whose books have given readers most pleasure. There are now 18 books
in the series. All are set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.
Published by Severn House, 31 January
2019. ISBN 978-0-7278-8863-1 (HB)
From the beginning this book has unusual
features. Authentic Eighteenth-century riddles preface each chapter and
provide interesting puzzles (all the answers are provided at the end!).
The title The Almanack also holds great significance as the story
reveals. Almanacks were highly popular books like Old Moore’s almanac;
they contained predictions for actual dates couched in ambiguous terms rather
like Star sign predictions in our own day. Riddles and other items
varied according to the particular almanac you bought and would be related to
your part of the country.
setting here is a Cheshire village in 1752 when Tabitha Hart returns from an
exciting life in London to find that her mother has died. Tabitha is
returning at her mother’s request but doesn’t know why her mother was
agitated. Nor does Tabitha believe in the villagers’ view that her
mother’s mind was disordered and that she died by drowning. A visitor to
the village, Nat Starling, joins with Tabitha to investigate what happened to
her mother. Both of them have their own secrets. More macabre
events occur and the attitudes of society at that time are shown in all their
horrors for those without privilege - from the vicar receiving tithes from the
poor to the lord of the manor trying to exert droit de seigneur. The
year 1752 holds significance as the year when the calendar was amended to bring
it into line with the rest of Europe and 11 days were omitted in September.
has a mastery of her material and the whole panoply of Eighteenth society seen
from a northern village is revealed. The mysteries at the heart of the
tale are gradually elucidated successfully.
Jennifer S. Palmer
Bailey has written two previous historical crime novels - An Appetite for Violets and The
Martine Bailey entered cookery
contest with no idea it would lead to a life-changing obsession with French
cuisine. As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge
and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. Inspired
by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, An Appetite for Violets
invites readers to feast on the past as a sharp-witted young cook is taken on a
mysterious trip to Italy. In pursuit of authenticity Martine studied with food
historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at firsthand with
an historic re-enactment society. Martine lives in Cheshire, England and
Auckland, New Zealand. She is married with one son. The almanack is her latest
book. Published in January 2019.
Jennifer PalmerThroughout my reading life crime fiction has been
a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far
East, the Netherlands &
but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting
reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics
including Famous Historical Mysteries.