Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Partners in Crime by Nicola Upson

There was something a while back on Twitter that got me thinking - one of those polls where you put contrasting crime writers together to see what a collaboration of their work might look like. Although it wasn’t listed as one of the options, the combination that instantly sprang to mind was Josephine Tey and Margery Allingham - now that’s a book I would love to read. 

Tey and Allingham admired each other’s work and were roughly contemporary, with their first detective novels appearing a year apart: Allingham’s The White Cottage Mystery in 1928 and Tey’s The Man in the Queue (published under her Gordon Daviot pseudonym) in 1929. As far as I’m aware, the two never met in real life, although Tey spent a lot of time in Essex, where Allingham lived. But that’s the beauty of fiction - things that you wish for can happen, and although they don’t go as far as collaborating on a novel in Dear Little Corpses, a chance meeting starts a lasting friendship, and they attempt to solve a crime that touches them both. I really can’t remember a time when I’ve had such fun in bringing two characters together.

They are, of course, very different writers, with contrasting styles - although both write beautifully. Their heroes - Albert Campion and Alan Grant - are much loved but very different men; and whereas Tey often referred in letters to periods of unashamed idleness, Allingham came from a ‘fiction factory’ of professional writers and had published more than eight million words by the time she was thirty-five. But the things they have in common are even more obvious: a deep love of the English countryside, expressed so tellingly in their books; an excitement for London and a passion for theatre (they could easily have met over a gin and tonic in the foyer of the Old Vic); and a fascination with crimes from real life, which filter into novels like The Franchise Affair, The Daughter of Time and The China Governess

Most importantly, though, Tey and Allingham share a wit and humanity which is very present in their work: part of the reason we love their books, I think, is because we love them. In each case, the voice that springs so vividly from these pages is wonderful company, and their books reward continued rereading in a way that very few crime novels do. I’m often asked how this series started, and the simplest answer is probably this: I wanted to get to know Tey better, to spend time with her beyond that small but perfectly formed collection of eight crime novels - nine if you count Kif.

And that’s another thing that she and Allingham have in common - they each addressed a world war through a book that was out of character with the rest of their work. Kif (also published in 1929 as Daviot) is Tey’s unflinching account of a boy’s struggle to find his place in society when he returns from fighting in the trenches. The Oaken Heart - Allingham’s only work of non-fiction, published in 1941 - is the story of an English village during the early days of the second world war. The village in question is Tolleshunt D’Arcy in Essex (more famous now for the Bamber murders at White House Farm, which lies on its outskirts) and the book has a cast of characters every bit as rich as Allingham’s novels. As much as I love her fiction, The Oaken Heart is my favourite of her books, and its candour and insight were a huge influence on Dear Little Corpses. She gave me my title, too, which is taken from one of her letters, quoted in Julia Jones’s wonderful biography, The Adventures of Margery Allingham.

At the time this book is set, Tey and Allingham still had their finest work ahead of them. I have no doubt that they’ll team up again further down the series, and I’m looking forward to it already.

Dear Little Corpses by Nicola Upson is published by Faber. (Out Now)

It takes a village to bury a child.1 September, 1939. As the mass evacuation takes place across Britain, thousands of children leave London for the countryside, but when a little girl vanishes without trace, the reality of separation becomes more desperate and more deadly for those who love her. In the chaos and uncertainty of war, Josephine struggles with the prospect of change. As a cloud of suspicion falls across the small Suffolk village she has come to love, the conflict becomes personal, and events take a dark and sinister turn.


Saturday, 14 May 2022

Winners of 2022 CRIMEFEST Awards Announced

 

CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the winners of its annual awards.

Now in its 15th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2021 in the UK.

The genre is the most popular in the UK. Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey data shows crime fiction sales in the UK across all formats stood at 54m in 2021; a 7% rise on pre-pandemic levels.

The winner of the anticipated Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award, and £1,000 prize monies, is David Heska Wanbli Weiden for Winter Counts published by Simon & Schuster.

Named by the New York Time as one of “the most critically acclaimed young novelists working now,”Winter Counts was called a “once-in-a-generation thriller” by the Los Angeles Times. Weiden is the first Native American author to win an Anthony Award and the Thriller Award. Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Winter Counts is an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations, and a meditation on Native identity.

A further £1,000 prize is awarded to Richard Osman and actor Lesley Manville, reader of Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice. It’s the second year the pair has scooped the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible and voted by Audible UK listeners, after winning in 2021 for his phenomenal debut smash-hit, The Thursday Murder Club.

All category winners will receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

The eDunnit Award for the best e-book goes to Abigail Dean for Girl A. Born in Manchester, and a former bookseller for Waterstones, Dean now works as a lawyer for Google. Her astonishing debut novel about siblings who flee abusive parents received widespread acclaim as a story of redemption, horror and love. It was a Sunday Times and New York Times global best seller.

Winner of the H.R.F Keating Award for best biographical or critical book on crime fiction is Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, edited by Anna von Planta, which was published for the centenary of Highsmith’s birth in 2021. It was praised by the New York Times as offering “the most complete picture ever published” of the canonical author.

The Last Laugh Award goes to Mick Herron’s Slough House. The Jackson Lamb series of dysfunctional British intelligence agents has recently been adapted by Apple TV starring Oscar-winner Gary Oldman.

Best Crime Novel for Children, aged 8-12, goes to M.G. Leonard’s birdwatching detective, Twitch. The internationally bestselling author tells a mystery adventure about friendship, bravery and birds, and Twitch is a celebration of the natural world.

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, aged 12-16, is awarded to


Angeline Boulley for Firekeeper’s Daughter. The novel was praised by the Guardian as, “an interrogation of racist misogyny and a swift-paced, compelling thriller.”


This year also sees the introduction of the Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for Best Adapted TV Crime Drama. The award is named in honour of Thalia, a CrimeFest team member and a much-loved figure in the world of crime fiction, and who sadly died earlier this year.

The award is decided entirely by public vote from a longlist of the 43 TV programmes broadcast on British TV in the last year, based on a crime book. Ann Cleeves won the inaugural gong for Shetland, beating a strong shortlist that featured Antony Horowitz for Alex Rider, M.C. Beaton for Agatha Raisin and James Runcie for Grantchester.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: The crime genre has dominated the book charts and our TV screens, keeping many of us company, particularly in the last two challenging years. The genre never fails to offer escapism and entertainment, as well as often exploring big issues and emotions. As a genre that also often makes sense of a chaotic world, it’s helped many people and is something we need today more than ever. We’re proud to celebrate the best the genre offers.

CRIMEFEST had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults, alongside the members of the School Library Association (SLA) form the CRIMEFEST judging panels, aside from Audible Sounds of Crime Award in which Audible listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Co-host of CRIMEFEST, Donna Moore, added: “We are proud to be one of the few genre awards that recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention, and the incredible diversity and reach of the genre which dominates the cultural landscape.

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.


2022 CrimeFest Award Winners

SPECSAVERS DEBUT CRIME NOVEL AWARD

Winter Count by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Simon & Schuster)

AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman read by Lesley Manville (Penguin Random House Audio)

eDUNNIT AWARD

Girl A by Abigail Dean, (HarperCollins)

H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks edited by Anna von Planta (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

LAST LAUGH AWARD

Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville, John Murray Press)

BEST CRIME FICTION NOVEL FOR CHILDREN

Twitch by M.G. Leonard (Walker Books)

BEST CRIME FICTION NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Rock the Boat)

THALIA PROCTOR MEMORIAL AWARD FOR BEST ADAPTED TV CRIME DRAMA

Shetland (season 6), based on the books by Ann Cleeves. Produced by Silverprint Pictures, part of ITV Studios; shown on BBC1.



Friday, 13 May 2022

CWA Dagger Award Shortlists Announced


The 2022 shortlists for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime-writing genre, have been announced.

Created in 1955, the world-famous CWA Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

The Gold Dagger, which recognises the crime novel of the year, sees debut author Jacqueline Bublitz on the shortlist of six. Before You Knew My Name was called “extraordinary” by the CWA judges. Also in contention are Abir Mukherjee, a previous winner of the CWA Historical Dagger for The Shadows of Men praised for its “intricate plotting”, and the bestselling ‘Southern noir’ crime writer, SA Cosby, for Razorblade Tears.

Razorblade Tears, a dynamic revenge thriller that “pulls at the heartstrings” also makes it onto the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger shortlist. Sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the Fleming family-owned company that looks after the James Bond literary brand, this award celebrates the thriller of the year. Cosby is up against past CWA Gold Dagger winner, MW Craven, who is in contention with Dead Ground, alongside established names including Laura Lippman and Linwood Barclay.

The anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger is awarded to the best debut novel of the year. Among the rising stars is Janice Hallett, shortlisted with her debut The Appeal, which was a Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year, praised as a “dazzlingly clever cosy crime novel”. Also on the shortlist is How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina, described by The Times as a “joyous love/hate letter to contemporary Delhi.”

Booker Prize winner John Banville is a heavyweight contender on the Historical Dagger shortlist. The prizewinning novelist and literary polymath is in the running for April in Spain. Banville is up against Ray Celestin whose novel set in 1960s Los Angeles, Sunset Swing, is also up for the Gold Dagger.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sees the award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen make the shortlist with The Rabbit Factor translated by David Hackston. It follows the quirky story of a statistical mathematician, who finds himself mixed up with shady businessmen. He’s up against the high-profile Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa, which is set to hit cinemas starring Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “So many good titles and authors appeared on our long lists, but in a year of such overall excellence, to reach the shortlist is a terrific achievement. Congratulations to all the nominees, writers both established and new, publishers large and small; a diversity of quality demonstrating the independence of our judges.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. This year sees the bestselling Norwegian juggernaut Jo Nesbø on the shortlist with his story “London” from his first book of short stories, The Jealousy Man. Novelists Caroline England and Bryony Pearce are other names on the list.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction shortlist includes the “absorbing” account of a trafficked New Zealand woman in The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey by Julia Laite. Also, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe makes the list with his account of the Sackler family, who exploited America’s pain industry, fuelling the opioid epidemic. Judges praised it as a “tribute to investigative journalism”.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees firm favourites from the genre on the shortlist: Cath Staincliffe, Edward Marston, Lin Anderson, Mark Billingham and Susan Hill.

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, sees publishing goliath HarperCollins on the list with its imprint Harper Fiction, as well as independent publisher Titan Books, part of the Titan Entertainment Group, which began life in the Forbidden Planet store in London.

The Daggers also celebrate unpublished authors with its annual competition for aspiring crime novelists. The competition to find the best new voices in the genre has been going for over 20 years. The winner will receive £500 as well as the attention of leading agents and top editors; over two dozen past winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger authors have been signed to date.


The CWA Diamond Dagger, awarded to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, is announced in early spring each year and in 2022 it was awarded to CJ Sansom.

The CWA Dagger shortlists were announced on 13 May at a reception hosted at CrimeFest.

The Dagger awards ceremony will be held at he Leonardo City hotel in London on 29 June, coinciding with National Crime Reading Month, which takes place throughout June. Tickets are available now from the CWA.

The Shortlists in Full:

GOLD DAGGER

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Little, Brown; Sphere)

Sunset Swing by Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group; Headline)

The Unwilling by John Hart (Bonnier Books UK Ltd; Zaffre)

The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

The Trawlerman by William Shaw (Quercus; Riverrun)


IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

Find You First by Linwood Barclay (HarperCollins; HQ)

The Pact by Sharon Bolton (Orion)

The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)

Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group)

Dead Ground by MW Craven (Little, Brown; Constable)

Dream Girl by Laura Lippman (Faber)

JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER

Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani (Thomas & Mercer)

Repentance by Eloísa Díaz (Orion Publishing Group; Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Mash House by Alan Gillespie (Unbound; Unbound Digital)

The Appeal by Janice Hallett (Profile Books; Viper Books)

Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin (HarperCollins; HQ)

How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina (Little, Brown)

Waking the Tiger by Mark Wightman (Hobeck Books)


HISTORICAL DAGGER

April in Spain by John Banville (Faber)

Sunset Swing  by Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Crow Court by Andy Charman (Unbound)

Not One of Us by Alis Hawkins (Canelo)

Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan)

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry (Canongate Books)

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward (Orenda Books)

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka translated by Sam Malissa (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

Oxygen by Sacha Naspini translated by Clarissa Botsford (Europa Editions UK Ltd; Europa Editions)

People Like Them by Samira Sedira translated by Lara Vergnaud (Bloomsbury Publishing; Raven Books)

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)

SHORT STORY DAGGER

Blindsided’ by Caroline England in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

London’ in The Jealousy Man and other stories by Jo Nesbⱷ edited by Robert Ferguson (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

With the Others’ by TM Logan in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)

Flesh of a Fancy Woman’ by Paul Magrs in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

Changeling’ by Bryony Pearce in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

‘When I Grow Up’ by Robert Scragg in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)

ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion by Dr Gwen Adshead & Eileen Horne (Faber)

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

The Unusual Suspect by Ben Machell (Canongate Books)

The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice, by Julia Laite (Profile Books)

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Pan Macmillan; Picador)

The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Murders that Stunned an Empire by Julie Kavanagh (Atlantic Books; Grove Press UK)

DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY

Cath Staincliffe

Edward Marston

Lin Anderson

Mark Billingham

Susan Hill

PUBLISHERS’ DAGGER

Faber & Faber

HarperCollins; Harper Fiction

Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph

Pushkin Press; Pushkin Vertigo

Titan Books

Profile Books; Viper

DEBUT DAGGER Sponsored by ProWritingAid

Henry’s Bomb by Kevin Bartlett

Holloway Castle by Laura Ashton Hill

The 10:12 by Anna Maloney

The Dead of Egypt by David Smith

The Dieppe Letters by Liz Rachel Walker


CWA Daggers – The Categories

GOLD DAGGER

This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality. It was originally created in 1955, under the name of the Crossed Red Herrings Award. It was renamed the Gold Dagger in 1960.

IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

Eligible books in this category are thrillers set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction, psychological thrillers and action/adventure stories.

JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER

This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality.

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION

This award is for a crime novel not originally written in English and which has been translated into English for UK publication.

ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime-related theme by an author of any nationality.

HISTORICAL DAGGER

This award is for the best historical crime novel, set in any period up to 50 years prior to the year in which the award will be made.

CWA SHORT STORY DAGGER

This award is for any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment.

DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by an established crime writer who has long been popular with borrowers from libraries, and who has supported libraries and their users.

DEBUT DAGGER sponsored by ProWritingAid

A competition for the opening of a crime novel and synopsis, chosen by judges.

PUBLISHERS’ DAGGER

This prestigious Dagger is awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year.

DIAMOND DAGGER

Awarded every year to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, and who has made a significant contribution to the genre. Votes from CWA members go forward to be deliberated on by an independent panel.









Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Darker Side of a Blonde by Linda Regan

 

The Burning Question will be my ninth, published, novel. 

I always wanted to write, but being born into a show business family meant my career as an actress kicked in at an early age, consequently writing books took a back seat. However, I always kept a diary, and to day I am very grateful I did. I would highly recommend any budding author to do the same.

Mine was a kind of journal at a young age, methodical I’d say (ie: marmalade and toast for breakfast. Daddy learning to play Beatle songs on his guitar)! However, my diary scribbling changed when I was seventeen, and worked with Diana Dors.

I only had one line in a television show with her, and she was a Hollywood legend. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was determined to make no mistakes and be professional. However, it wasn’t to be and on the day in question things went from bad to worse, with the consequence I arrived an hour late at the studio. The complete unit had been kept waiting for little me, who was a mere one-line actress. Diana too, had been kept waiting, sitting in her Winnebago for the whole hour that I was late. As I arrived the director was standing at the gates, and quite rightly shrieked at me, calling me unprofessional and extremely rude and threatened that I would never work again. I immediately burst into tears, making matters much worse, as my perfectly made-up face was now streaking black mascara down the cream foundation blended onto my face and making me look like Crewe Railway Station.

The make-up department then started yelling at me. That was the point that Diana Dors came out of her trailer, with hands raised and palms facing my angry employers, she told them all to, ‘Pipe down and stop yelling.’ She put her arm around me and took me to her trailer. There, she dried my eyes with a tissue, listened to my understandable reason for my lateness, and handed me a hand mirror telling me to redo my face while she made me a cup of sweet tea. That’s when she told me I should keep a diary, ‘As, when you are young and blonde and dolly, (her words), you got picked on a lot in this industry. She said she kept a diary because one day she intended to write her autobiography from it, (which she did, and I can highly recommend all volumes). 

I took her advice and when I read back my diary input from that day, I notice my writing style changed. Diana had, unknowingly, taught me to pour out my fears, emotions and feelings onto the blank page.

So that was my first lesson in crime writing. As an actress I have faced the terrors of many a first night in a play, the fear of forgetting lines, the fear of finding a theatre and a town when you are on the road, touring, alone. And then, finding your way back after a show, again, alone in the dark, in a strange town, to where you are living for the week your show is performing there. 

I now write about those stomach-churning moments, in the guise of my victims as I write my books.

I love creating characters (something I have done for many years as an actress, creating characters from larger than life, to timid, or quirky etc), and here’s where my police come in. They have colourful, hopefully, in some cases comedic and entertaining, personalities. They can bring the lightness and the dark to a tale, something I strongly believe every story needs. And again, who doesn’t love a bit of romance, there’s always a bit somewhere in my books. I think we all need that, too.

My latest crime novel – The Burning Question, is about arson. Personally, I have never been in a fire, and have no idea how it found its way into my mind, I did read arson attacks have increased greatly in London, where my book is set. But, the arson is only part of it. The puzzle comes in the question of who are the victims and what is their connection. The crimes are taking place miles apart, but the signs are the same. So, there is a serial arsonist who needs to be stopped. But with no clues to who or why, most of the murder team are baffled. However, a new, and very young police recruit has worked it out. If she offers this information, she will put her own life in a perilous situation, but if she doesn’t, how many more young victims will meet that terrible end?

Enter an unexpected clue, or person, that sets the whole force watching their backs.

The Burning Question by Linda Regan (Headline Accent) Out Now

When an arson attack strikes in south London, leaving three people dead, it quickly becomes clear that the youngest victim, Danielle Low, was the intended target. With no clear motive, and the killer at large, DCI Banham must act fast. But working with his partner, DI Alison Grainger, has its own challenges that threaten to stall the investigation. Then another body is found in similar circumstances and he knows that there is someone far more sinister at work. As they begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, the case unexpectedly leads close to home and with time of the essence, and the killer always one step ahead, can DCI Banham and his team work together to put a stop to the depravity before another life is lost?

More information about her work can be found on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @Linda_Regan


Performing the Perfect Crime

 

My second cosy crime CURTAIN CALL AT THE SEAVIEW HOTEL launches in ebook, hardback and audiobook on May 12 2022 (paperback coming in October). 

It’s another fun, cosy crime set in Scarborough and published by Headline. It stars an acting troupe who arrive at the Seaview Hotel to rehearse a play they hope will save a much-loved local theatre. There’s a lot riding on this play. However, the leading lady is a diva, the playwright is highly strung and tensions in the troupe run high. When one of the actors is found dead on the beach, landlady Helen Dexter sets out to solve the crime. And just when Helen thinks things can’t get any worse after one of her guests is murdered, the hotel inspector arrives! 

It's the second in the series of my cosy crimes, the first one being MURDER AT THE SEAVIEW HOTEL which stars 12 Elvis impersonators (called Twelvis!) and one is found dead with his blue suede shoes missing. I’ve already written about MURDER AT THE SEAVIEW HOTEL here on the Shots Blog

So, now that CURTAIN CALL AT THE SEAVIEW HOTEL is released, it means I’ve now written two cosy crimes about people pretending to be someone else, whether actors of Elvis impersonators. It’s started me wondering what it is about the role of performance I enjoy so much and why it lends itself to writing crime. Whether it’s actors in a play or singers pretending to be the king of rock and roll, there’s something I find appealing in pretending and faking. Not in real life, I must stress, but in fiction. In the real world I prefer an honest, straightforward kind of life but in fiction, well, I’m all for smokescreens and people who aren’t what they seem. And what better way to disguise what your motives are for doing something horrid than by protecting yourself behind the job that you do?

It all happens in CURTAIN CALL AT THE SEAVIEW HOTEL. So, settle into your favourite chair with a bag of popcorn, put your feet up and enjoy the performance!

Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel by Glenda Young is published by Headline on May 12 in ebook, hardback and audiobook. It is released in paperback in August 2022.

Helen Dexter has started a new chapter in her life as sole proprietor of the Seaview Hotel. But things take a dramatic turn when an acting troupe book into the hotel to rehearse a play they hope will save a much-loved theatre from being closed down. Helen immediately picks up on tension between the actors, but there is worse to come when the charismatic leading lady is found dead. With so much at stake, it's clear the show must go on. Helen is roped into helping the troupe with their performance, giving her ample opportunity to discover who wanted their diva dead. However, the murder is not the only thing on Helen's mind. She's receiving threatening phone calls, her car is vandalised - and she's just learned of an impending visit from a hotel inspector which could change the fortunes of the Seaview Hotel. With her trusty greyhound Suki by her side, Helen is determined to uncover the identity of the killer - even if it means she has to give the performance of her life.

You can watch a very short teaser video of Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel below


Find out more about Glenda Young on her website at http://glendayoungbooks.com 
Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/flaming_nora 
You can also find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GlendaYoungAuthor

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

In The Lyme Crime Spotlight

 

Name:- D V Bishop

Job:- Lecturer and author 

Website:- https://dvbishop.com

Twitter:- @davidbishop

Introduction:

D V Bishop is the author of the Cesare Aldo series set in Florence. The first book in the series City of Vengeance was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. City of Vengeance has also been longlisted for both the CWA Gold Dagger and Historical Dagger

Current book?

My latest novel is The Darkest Sin, the second of my Cesare Aldo series set in Renaissance Florence. When a naked man’s corpse is found deep inside a convent, bathed with blood and stabbed 27 times, Aldo battles Church politics and a campaign to silence the woman of Santa Maria Magdalena. Could one of the nuns be the killer and, if so, why? 

Favourite book?

What an impossible question! Ask again tomorrow and my answer would be different. But, for now, I’ll say The World According to Garp by John Irving. It’s a writer’s book about being a writer, but it is also prescient in discussing issues of gender and sexuality. Bonus points: it’s funny, too.

Which two characters would you invite to dinner and why? 

I love Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse but suspect he would make a dreadful dinner guest. Instead, I’m inviting comics character Devlin Waugh, who’s a gay vampire and freelance exorcist for the 22nd Century Vatican – and Vivian Sternwood from The Big Sleep. A camp vamp and a femme fatale, that should make the evening go with a swing!

How do you relax?

I am developing an expensive vinyl LPs habit. If I’m home on Sunday I’ll put on a record before lunch and read for an hour.

What book do you wish you had written and why? 

The Collector Collector by Tibor Fischer is so inventive and irreverent. It is narrated by a 3000-year-old plate, and is funny, thoughtful, wry and moving. I could never imagine such a novel, let alone pull it off.

What would you say to your younger self if you were just starting out as an author?

Be patient; writing is a marathon, not a sprint – especially novel writing. Tell the stories you’d want to find in a bookshop and never stop reading.

Why do you prefer to write a series as opposed to a standalone novel and would you consider writing a standalone novel?

I was a series reader first, so was always going to write series fiction. It’s like being in a long-term relationship, you slowly discover more about your characters over time. They grow and evolve yet still surprise you. Plus writing a series means you can build on what is already there, rather than having to start from scratch all over again with each new novel.

I certainly would consider writing a standalone novel, even if it might seem like having a one-night stand with some saucy new characters that caught my eye. My worry is I’d fall in love with those new characters and want to bring them back for another story, and another. Then I’m writing two series at once! But Ann Cleeves does that wonderfully well with Vera and her Matthew Venn novels, so never say never.

What are you looking forward to at Lyme Crime?

New Blood panels are always a great place to discover fresh voices, and this year’s festival has three crackers being interviewed by Jack Jordan. I’ve already got the first two novels by Tariq Ashkanani on my Everest-like TBR pile, but I’ve yet to encounter Sarah Bonner and Sarah Pearse so am eager to hear them speak. 

I’ve never been to Lyme Regis before, but studied The French Lieutenant’s Woman at school and loved it when Inspector Morse visited the area in The Way Through the Woods. I’m hoping to get out on the cob and channel my inner Meryl Streep.

The Darkest Sin by D V Bishop (Pan Macmillan) Out Now

Florence. Spring, 1537. When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city's northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets. His case becomes far more complicated when a man's body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer. Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city's most feared criminal court? As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined...

More information about D V Bishop can be found on his website.



Monday, 9 May 2022

Being by the seaside at Lyme Crime!

 

What do Barbara Nadel, Amanda Jennings, Charlotte Philby, DV Bishop and William Shaw all have in common? 

Aside from the fact that they are all great authors, they are all due to be at Lyme Crime taking part in various panels and they have all agreed to respond to some questions from me. So look out for some mini interviews from them on the Shotsblog. 

Up first will be D V Bishop who is the author of the brilliant Cesare Aldo historical mysteries set in Renaissance Florence.

Tickets and information can be found here.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 announced

 

The longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 has been announced today, with debut authors and literary icons vying for the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing award.

The award, now in its eighteenth year, is presented by Harrogate International Festivals and recognises the best crime novels published in the UK and Ireland in paperback over the past year. This year’s longlist takes readers from the decks of a haunted galleon to the claustrophobia of a psychiatric ward, from a small American town shaken by the disappearance of a young girl to the hedonism and danger of London’s Georgian pleasure gardens.

The longlist sees a number of previous winners hoping to take home the prize once again. Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2022 Programming Chair Denise Mina will look to snatch her third win for The Less Dead, as will Rabbit Hole author Mark Billingham, who took home the inaugural award in 2005 and again in 2009. Chris Brookmyre, who won the 2017 prize, is in the running again with The Cut while Blood Ties author Brian McGilloway, who was highly commended at last year’s prize, is also longlisted. Other prize alumni on the 2022 longlist include four-time shortlistees Elly Griffiths with The Night Hawks and Mick Herron with Slough House, as well as previous longlistees Ann Cleeves with The Heron’s Cry, Erin Kelly with Watch Her Fall, Imran Mahmood with I Know What I Saw, Joseph Knox for True Crime Story, Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s Georgian detective novel Daughters of Night, Stuart Turton with genre-bending whodunnit The Devil and the Dark Water, and William Shaw for The Trawlerman.

While some familiar names have returned again this year to compete, the longlist features a number of authors receiving their first chance at the prize. M.W. Craven receives a nod for Dead Ground, while Vaseem Khan is featured for his novel Midnight at Malabar House, set in the turbulent streets of Bombay in 1950. Incredible debut authors in the running for the award include 2021 New Blood panellist Anna Bailey with her taut novel Tall Bones, and Abigail Dean with bestselling debut Girl A.

The full Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 longlist is comprised of:

Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperFiction)

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey (Doubleday)

The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan)

Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway (Constable)

The Cut by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)

The Less Dead by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly (Hodder & Stoughton)

I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood (Raven Books)

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)

Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)

Dead Ground by W. Craven (Constable)

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (Raven Books)

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Trawlerman by William Shaw (riverrun)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added: “Crime fiction seems to have an enduring popularity with readers, and this year’s longlist is a clear indication as to why. Books from iconic writers and impressive debuts demonstrate the wonderful talent working in the genre today – the public have got a hard job ahead of them voting for a shortlist of only six! We raise a glass of Old Peculier to all the authors on the longlist, and look forward to a celebratory drink with our Award winner in July.

Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, commented: “We are thrilled to announce the 2022 longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, championing the very best crime fiction being published in the UK and Ireland. With a mix of nail-biting psychological thrillers, tense police procedurals and gripping mysteries, this year’s longlist demonstrates the incredible breadth of modern crime fiction. We can’t wait to see which books the public side with during voting, and look forward to revealing the winner at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July.”

The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, along with media partners the Express. The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles at 

www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com. Voting closes on 26th May, with the shortlist announced and winner voting opening on 14th June. 

The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21stJuly, receiving £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd .