Recent Events

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Crime Writers’ Association Announce New Chair


One of the UK’s most prominent writers’ societies, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) has elected Vaseem Khan as its new chair.

Vaseem Khan is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series, and the Malabar House historical crime novels.

The CWA, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, was founded in 1953 by the prolific author John Creasey.

Vaseem Khan was voted in as chair on 20 May at the CWA’s Annual General Meeting, taking over from publishing polymath, Maxim Jakubowski.

Vaseem Khan’s debut, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, became a top ten bestseller, and was translated into 17 languages. He was awarded the CWA Historical Dagger for Midnight at Malabar House.

Vaseem also co-hosts one of the UK’s most popular crime fiction podcasts with Abir Mukherjee, The Red Hot Chilli Writers, and created an online course Writing Crime Fiction for Curtis Brown Creative.

Vaseem Khan said: “It goes without saying that following in the footsteps of crime fiction greats such as Ian Rankin, Dick Francis, Peter James, and Lindsey Davis, is a singular honour. Crime writing has led the way in opening itself up to new voices and new stories. I’ve often joked that criminals are the most inclusive members of our societies, happily willing to murder, rob, and cheat anyone regardless of creed, colour, and background. I’d put crime writers in that same bracket – albeit only in fiction!” 

The CWA’s determination to promote the genre remains central to its mission. Recent initiatives include its Debut Dagger, a competition for uncontracted writers, and National Crime Reading Month, both of which help to connect crime writers and readers, as well as supporting libraries and bookshops.

Vaseem said: “When I was published, almost a decade ago, I didn't know anyone. I was told by my agent to join the CWA and I found some friends here, and suddenly I felt less alone in an industry that can be truly frightening and confusing. If I’ve had any writing success today it’s because I’ve had the support of friends and well-wishers, especially through the difficult times. That’s what I want the CWA to be.”

He continued: “My vision for the CWA is for it to be a home for all crime writers, whether you’ve sold ten million copies or ten copies. It should be a place where writers of all backgrounds can come, and know that they will be treated with respect. Ultimately, the CWA should be about inspiring the next generation of crime writers.”

Outgoing CWA chair, Maxim Jakubowski, will formerly hand over the Creasey Bell to Vaseem Khan at the annual Dagger Awards hosted in London on 6 July, a tradition passed on from chair to chair for 70 years.

The CWA hosted its first awards ceremony in 1956; Agatha Christie was the principal guest. The oldest awards in the genre, the CWA Daggers are an annual fixture on the literary calendar, and this year the awards ceremony will be co-hosted by authors Victoria Selman and Imran Mahmood.

Maxim Jakubowski said: "After two years at the helm, I leave the CWA chair with a sense of great satisfaction, with membership at an all-time high and an organisation restructured to face a promising future and in great health. I am confident my erstwhile partner in crime Vaseem will take over the baton and continue to make the CWA even more prestigious and rewarding for our members. The Creasey Bell remains in great hands.”

The CWA board also sees new faces with co-vice chairs Sarah Ward and William Shaw, who take over from Antony Johnson, who will continue to provide support to the organisation. It also welcomes new board members, Nadine Matheson, Stella Oni and Morgen Witzel.

Vaseem said: “Our board is now the most diverse it has ever been, in terms of age, gender, and background, reflecting the incredibly broad church that crime writing now represents. My hope is that this signals just how welcoming we intend to be, to old members and new.”

Sunday 28 May 2023

‘A Game of Deceit’ by Tim Glister.

Published by Point Blank,
5 May 2023.
ISBN 978-0-86154-171-3 (PBO)

The prologue to this story introduces Barend Visser, a young merchant seaman working on a ship travelling from Rotterdam to the east via Gibraltar and the Suez Canal.  This is the longest journey of his career and, keen to do well, he reports a discrepancy in the cargo, a discrepancy which is later rectified.  And then he is murdered.

It’s June 1967 and, in London, Richard Knox is trailing one of Britain’s most celebrated molecular biologists, Dr Hamish Rabe, with the aim of keeping him safe.  MI5 has picked up conversations between members of the international security services about a number of unexplained deaths and disappearances within their scientific communities, but no links have yet been identified.  No incidents had been reported in Britain, and MI5 wants to it to stay that way.  So, while they continue to investigate, Knox and his colleagues are on clandestine protection duty.  Unfortunately, Rabe spots him and, in the subsequent chase, falls under a tube train.  Knox wonders whether the fact that Rabe fled means that some scientists are aware of what is happening.

Rabe survives, but a subsequent search of his flat raises concerns.  Then Knox’s boss, Holland, reveals that the MI5 building has been bugged.  And a contact at the Russian embassy has indicated that they have been having similar problems.  The various countries, security services and individual agents involved mean that any investigations by MI5 have to be undertaken without offending colleagues, friends and, indeed, enemies.  There is some concern that China, currently experiencing Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, might be the source of concern and, in order to get what information he can, Knox is sent to Hong Kong, with the cover story of bringing home a UK citizen in trouble.  Then the action really begins. 

This is the second in the Richard Knox series and the author continues to mine the fascinating Cold War period, creating an intriguing and pacey story based on a frightening premise.  He is adept at running multiple plot lines, some fast-moving and others continuing from the previous book and, eventually, the reader learns why Barrend Visser died. 
Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books by this author:  Red Corona (the first in the Richard Knox series)

Tim Glister is a Creative Director working in advertising. He's worked for a range of famous and infamous brands, including eighteen months at the controversial political communications agency Cambridge Analytica. He lives in London, and Red Corona was his first novel.

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.

‘If I Should Die’ by Anna Smith

Published by Quercus,
11 May 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-52941-584-1 (HB)

PI Billie Carlson is back in her office in Glasgow, having returned from three weeks in Cleveland, Ohio, where she has been following a lead from the American PI Dan Harris, who had taken over the case to find her three and a half-year-old son Lucas, who was taken away by her American husband Bob to the US, eighteen months ago. But the trail has gone cold.

On her first day back, she receives a call from a teenage friend from her past in Sweden, Lars Erikson, who tells her his younger sister Astrid has been found dead in the north of Scotland where she was at university. The police have deemed it a suicide having found alcohol and drugs in her system.

Billie quickly agrees to travel to the highlands to investigate. A short meeting with Chief Inspector McPhail of the local police produces nothing but evasion. It was clear to her that the police had closed the case. Billie does get to speak to a friend of Astrid’s, but she is very nervous, and Billie knows she is holding something back.  Pressed by Billie she admits that she is scared and will say no more.

Meeting blank walls at every turn she is surprised to receive a call from Dave Fowler Ex-cop. He suggests a meeting. She apprehensively agrees.  Dave drives her to a beautiful part of the highlands and then reveals to her the huge web of corruption and criminal underworld that exists in the area.

But Billie has already asked too many questions, and there are ruthless people who want her shutdown quickly. She heads back to Glasgow, but will she make it?

I read in reviews the phrase, this is an unputdownable book, and this is certainly one of those. I will go further and say it is the best book I have read this year. The action moves along at a ripping pace. There are some heart-stopping scenes. With a jaw-dropping ending. Don’t miss this terrific book.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Anna Smith has been a journalist for over twenty years and is a former chief reporter for the Daily Record. She has covered wars across the world as well as major investigations and news stories. she decided to put her experiences to good use. And so, the series of Rosie Gilmour novels were born, featuring a Glasgow journalist trying to tear down the world of corruption and injustice.  Her debut novel was The Dead Won't Sleep, There are nine books in the series. Her most recent series features Billie Carlson, former police officer now a working as a PI. The first book in the series is Until I find You. Anna lives in Scotland.