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Thursday, 17 August 2017

‘American Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to US Crime Fiction, Film and TV’ by Barry Forshaw

Published by Pocket Essentials
27 April 2017.
ISBN 978-1-843344-918-8

In this, the fourth of his useful and enjoyable Noir series, Barry Forshaw provides information on a range of contemporary writers (and a list of the names of others ‘worthy of attention’), looks at a selection of films and tv shows, and includes interviews with James Elroy, Sara Paretsky Scott Turow, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.  His lists of the 30 best contemporary US crime novels and the five best contemporary US TV crime shows provide a good starting point for some interesting discussions.

The book canters through American Crime fiction of the early 21st century, conveys information in an easily accessible manner and provides a readable overview of the whole area, one that can be dipped into at random, consulted for specific information or read for general interest.
Reviewer:  Jo Hesslewood
Other books by the author:  Italian Cinema; The Noir series:  Nordic Noir, Euro Noir, Brit Noir
Barry Forshaw's latest books are Nordic Noir and British Crime Film. Other work includes Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction and British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia, along with books on Italian cinema, film noir and the first biography of Stieg Larsson; he also writes on classical music. His next books are British Gothic Cinema and a study of Thomas Harris and The Silence of the Lambs. He writes for various national newspapers and magazines, edits Classical CD Choice, DVD Choice and Crime Time, and broadcasts for ITV and BBC TV documentaries. He has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, and has taught an MA course at City University on the history of crime fiction.

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.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

‘The Property of Lies’ of Lies by Marjorie Eccles

Published by Severn House,
31 May 2017.

In the 1930s a female teacher who married was not allowed to retain her job in a state school, and so Ellen Reardon is delighted when she is offered the position of French Mistress at the newly-founded Maxstead Court School, a private school that is owned and run by Miss Edith Hillyard, a somewhat unconventional headmistress. Mademoiselle Blanchard, the former French teacher, had left unexpectedly and Miss Hillyard is eager for Ellen to start work at once.

The school building was, until recently, an old manor house, and parts of it still need renovation. To Ellen’s horror, on her first day at the school, she is one of the people to discover the dead body of a young woman amongst the rubble of the unrestored part of the house. It is possible that the victim had fallen accidentally to her death but the concealment of her body indicates a more sinister solution. Ellen’s husband, Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon, is called in to investigate. This places Ellen in an awkward position of divided loyalties. Should she share with her husband information and observations gained during her employment in the school or is it better to maintain a discreet silence? However difficult Ellen finds it, she knows that justice must prevail, especially when it becomes clear that Maxstead Court School contains many secrets and is the centre of great unhappiness. Other violent incidents follow and a child goes missing. It becomes a race against time for Inspector Reardon to discover the truth before the murderer kills again.

A Property of Lies is an intriguing mystery with an interesting 1930s background and some fascinating characters. The central characters of Ellen and Herbert Reardon are very likeable and it is an enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Marjorie Eccles was born in Yorkshire and spent much of her childhood there and on the Northumbrian coast. The author of more than twenty books and short stories, she is the recipient of the Agatha Christie Short Story Styles Award. Her books featuring police detective Gil Mayo were adapted for the BBC. She lives in Hertfordshire.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.

Read a review of Carol’s latest book
The Fragility of Poppies

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bloody Scotland -Exciting News

  Being selected for ‘Crime in the Spotlight’ is like being asked to be the support band on a major stadium tour. A bit like what Travis were to Oasis. Two years ago Graeme Macrae Burnet appeared ‘in the spotlight’ immediately before Ian Rankin, one year later he was shortlisted for The Man Booker. It’s a great opportunity to perform in front of a vast audience of potential fans.
The Directors of Bloody Scotland have selected the authors and paired them with the acts they will be supporting this year – listed below with regional links highlighted:
Saturday 9 September

Clare MacLeary with Alex Gray
Clare describes herself as ‘a feisty Glasweigan’. Following a career in Aberdeen and St Andrews she gained an MLitt with distinction from the University of Dundee.

Owen Mullen with Peter May
Owen went to Strathclyde University then moved to London. He had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name. He now divides his time between Glasgow and the Greek Islands.

Louise Hutcheson with John Simenon and Graeme Macrae Burnet
Poacher turned gamekeeper, Louise is a freelance editor from Glasgow who edits crime fiction. She has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow.

GD Harper with Lin Anderson, Ragnar Jonasson & Thomas Enger
He grew up in Stenhousemuir near Stirling & went to University in Glasgow, living in the West End where his books are set.

Lloyd Otis with Mason Cross and Chris Carter
Lloyd has blogged for The Bookseller and the Huffington Post and was editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine’s book review column. He lives in London.

Fiona Cummins with Ann Cleeves
A graduate of Faber Academy, her debut has been published in several languages and optioned for TV. She lives in Essex and is published by Pan Macmillan.

Sunday 10 September

Lucy Hay with Vince Cable and Nicholas Searle
Lucy lives in Devon and is associate producer of two Brit thrillers starring Danny Dyer.

Pat Young with Louise Welsh, Doug Johnstone and E S Thomson launching Bloody Scotland, the book
Pat was born and still lives in South West Scotland. Her recent book launch in Waterstones Ayr was a sell out.

Rob Scragg with James Oswald and Professor Sue Black
Rob was born and bred in North East England. His first novel received four ‘yes’ votes from the Dragon’s Den at Harrogate Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival last year. He lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Charles McGarry with Chris Brookmyre
Charles was born and still lives in Glasgow. Published by Polygon he will also be appearing in The Curly Coo at 2pm for a live recording of the popular podcast series ‘DEBUT: A Crime Writer’s Journey from the Bedroom to the Bookshelf’ – free event.

Tana Collins with Lynda La Plante
Her books are set in Fife and Anstruther but she lives in Edinburgh where she works as a massage therapist. She was brought up just outside Hastings in South East England.

The only big names appearing at the Albert Halls who are missing from this list are Ian Rankin whose event is immediately after the torchlight procession on the Friday night and Val McDermid whose support act is still under wraps as it will be the winner of the inaugural New Crime Writer Award launched by Virago in association with The Pool. Val will introduce the winner live on stage immediately before her event on Saturday.

Crime in the Spotlight is the brainchild of board member and crime writer Gordon Brown, himself well used to support bands having been involved with the early years of T in the Park. Previous spotlighters are all very supportive of each other on social media and even have spotlight reunions. Which of the Class of 2017 will go on to great things? Fiona Cummins is definitely in with a fighting chance as the Ann Cleeves event has sold a record breaking number of tickets and filled all 700 seats in the Albert Halls. Two of the spotlighters – Claire MacLeary and Owen Mullen – are also on the longlist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award.
For further information or to interview any of the ‘spotlighters’, Gordon Brown or Festival Director Bob McDevitt please contact
07767 431846
  Download the programme here: