Recent Events

Saturday, 18 August 2018

BLOODY SCOTLAND


 
RECENTLY PRAISED ON BBC RADIO 4 FOR TAKING AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH COMPARED TO THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF BOOK FESTIVALS – REVEALS THE ‘CRIME IN THE SPOTLIGHT’ SUPPORT ACTS 2018
 
Described by William McIlvanney as one of the friendliest festivals around, Bloody Scotland, which opens in Stirling on Friday 21 September with a torchlight procession, was recently praised on BBC Radio 4 for creative initiatives which push the boundaries of traditional book festivals. One of those initiatives is Crime in the Spotlight which supports new writers by pairing established authors with ‘support’ acts just starting out on their career.

Jake Kerridge, crime fiction reviewer for The Daily Telegraph discovered His Bloody Project (later shortlisted for the Man Booker) ‘In the Spotlight’ when he visited Bloody Scotland. Recently he was on Open Book, BBC Radio 4 praising Bloody Scotland for taking such an innovative approach:

‘they have really tried to find new ways of doing things… if we’re going to attract more people to literary festivals, maybe you can’t fundamentally change the idea of the author turning up and talking and meeting the readers because that’s what people want, but you can have more enticing things happening around the festival as a sort of fringe. Another thing Bloody Scotland did, which seems obvious when you think of it but is very clever, is that if they had an event with someone huge like Ian Rankin or Val McDermid they would begin by offering an unknown writer the chance to read from their work for five minutes at the beginning of the session so that people were introduced to them…it’s that sort of innovation, they’re really thinking about ways of doing things differently.’
BBC Radio 4, July 2018


The Open University continues its support as sponsor and authors ‘In the Spotlight’ this year include Andy Muir, a former scriptwriter for Home & Away and Neighbours who is paired with Irvine Welsh and published by Australian indie Affirm Press (interestingly run by the brother of the Irish comedian Sean Hughes) and the wonderfully named Mysti Berry from the US who has been paired with MC Beaton (author of Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin books) and actress Ashley Jensen (who plays Agatha Raisin on TV)

The full list includes authors published by Scottish, Australian and English independents, large London conglomerates and some self-published authors with a mix of male and female crime writers. One, The Hunter (Headline), has been longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2018 and author Andrew Reid will be appearing ‘In the Spotlight’ immediately before Frank Gardner takes the stage.
 
If you would like to talk to authors past or present about their experience ‘In the Spotlight’ or to Gordon Brown, crime writer and Bloody Scotland board member who brought the idea to Bloody Scotland from his experience organising music festivals please contact fiona@brownleedonald.com 07767 431846
@brownlee_donald @bloodyscotland

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

‘Excellent Intentions’ by Richard Hull


Published by The British Library,
10 May 2018 (reprint).
ISBN: 978-0-7123-5201-7

Originally this book was published in 1938 - and has been reprinted this year as one of the British Library’s reprints of classic Golden Age books.  Richard Hull’s skill in managing his material is evident as is his clever use of the title Excellent Intentions.  The characters are very much of their period with a suitably unpleasant victim.

The owner of the local Manor House is murdered as he travels to London by train.  He is disliked by everyone who has come into contact with him and, particularly by his employees.  We follow the Court case against his putative murderer in detail, interspersed with the careful investigations of the police into what has happened.   There are some good touches of humour and a picture of a village world now destroyed.   The identity of the person being tried is not revealed until right at the end and the trial verdict offers some surprises.
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Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Richard Hull wrote 15 books, commencing with the popular Murder of My Aunt.

Richard Hull (1896 1973) was a chartered accountant who later became a notable writer of detective novels. He is best known as the author of The Murder of My Aunt (also available as a British Library Crime Classic).

Jennifer Palmer Throughout 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 & the USA 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.






‘A Gentleman’s Murder’ by Christopher Huang


Published by Inkshares, Inc,
31 July 2018.
ISBN 978-1-94264595-5
(PB)

This is an excellent story which, as the publicity suggests, is a mystery in the Golden Age tradition.  Christopher Huang sets his mystery in 1924 at a Gentleman’s Club in London.  He has an unconventional hero in Eric Peterkin whose membership in The Britannia Club leads him into investigating the murder of a fellow member.  

The period detail is pitch perfect with a very thoughtful view of the deleterious effects of the Great War on its apparent survivors.  The investigation takes Eric into the countryside world of an ex-army hospital of the War, a drug den in Limehouse, the British Museum newspaper Library and, of course, into the arcane workings of the Gentlemen’s Club.

His own racial position and war experiences makes Eric able to evaluate the situation as both insider and outsider; he makes a very appealing protagonist.   Christopher gives us the classic Golden Age Mystery with the traditional features, a good historical background and a certain new twist derived from a knowledge of modern ideas concerning PTSD.
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Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is Christopher Huang’s first book but he hints at a second adventure at the end of this one.  I do hope so! 

Christopher Huang grew up in Singapore, where he served his two years of National Service as an Army Signaller. He moved to Canada where he studied Architecture at McGill University in Montreal. Huang currently lives in Montreal. A Gentleman's Murder is his first novel.



Jennifer Palmer Throughout 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 & the USA 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.