Thursday 31 January 2013

Celia Won't Let Go!

Today’s guest blog is by Caro Peacock (aka Gillian Linscott) a former journalist. Her novel Absent Friends won the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and The Herodotus Award for the Best International Historical Mystery Novel in 2000.

You finish writing a book and, for better or worse, that’s it.  I finished my latest Liberty Lane book, The Path of the Wicked, last year and it’s out now.  (Published on 31 January.)  Only there’s something in it that won’t let me go.  Somebody, that is.  Or rather, she’s in it only she isn’t.  She has an existence outside the book and her real story, as far as I’ve managed to follow it, is as strange as any fiction I’ve written.

It started for me in Cheltenham local history library in the winter of 2011.  I had the general idea for the next Liberty Lane case and knew that it would be set in and around Cheltenham in 1840.  The next step for me was to read the local papers of the time to build up the picture and, with luck, collect some ideas.  In the Cheltenham Examiner, 15 April 1840, I came across this:

CELIA TIPPINS.  – The situation of this unhappy female, now under sentence of death, is creating a painful interest in the public mind.

I read on and followed the story through some other regional newspapers.  At the recent Gloucester Assizes, Celia Tippins, 34 years old, had been carried fainting from the dock.
She’d just heard the judge sentencing her to be hanged for the murder of her five-week-old baby, adding that she was “a melancholy instance of the consequences of the first deviation from virtue.”

The case of Celia Tippins was a Victorian melodrama in real life.  She’d gone to the house of the father of her illegitimate child in Hereford to ask for money to maintain the baby.  The father – “the wicked author of her Sin” – as the jurymen who convicted Celia described him – said he didn’t know her and pushed her out into the rain.  Even the workhouse wouldn’t take her and the baby because she had a husband who should support her.

However, her husband was sixty miles away in Bristol and he’d only take Celia back if she got money from the biological father for the baby’s upkeep.  She’d walked with the baby all the way from Bristol to Hereford.  She was hungry and penniless.  She’d even had to part with her apron to pay for a night’s lodging.  Now she had no alternative but to start walking back to Bristol with the baby in her arms.  At some point on a lonely road in the wet November night, the child died.  Within days, Celia was in prison charged with his murder.

The prosecution case was that she’d drowned the baby.  There was always considerable doubt about that.  At the trial, the barrister who’d taken on her case from public spiritedness argued strongly that he’d died from natural causes; a victim of his mother’s suffering.  “The fatigue she had undergone and the exposure and distress which she had suffered must have had such an effect upon her health as to impair the quality of her milk and be likely to produce illness in her child.”  The jury found her guilty with obvious reluctance and added a strong recommendation for mercy, which the judge ignored.  So all twelve of the jurors signed a petition to the Home Secretary asking for her life to be spared on the grounds of “the very distressing and peculiarly lamentable conditions of the unhappy prisoner”.  (The petition is still there in the government archives – an imposing document on stiff parchment.)  More petitions came in expressing, as one of them put it, the “general sympathy of a discerning and intelligent public.”  The Home Secretary relented – up to a point.  The death sentence was commuted to transportation for life.

Authors are greedy things, browsing sharks for other people’s dramas.  I fictionalised some aspects of Celia’s case in The Path of the Wicked.  I gave her a different name and background, made her younger.  In the book, the sentence of transportation has been carried out on the fictional Joanna Picton and my plot centres on attempts to have her brought home from Van Diemens land.  That should have been that – but as I was to find out – the real Celia Tippins was a determined woman.  Even 172 years on, her story wouldn’t let go of me.  What had happened to her after that sentence of transportation?

Answering that question should have been easy.  If you’re researching your  ancestors and have the luck to own one who was transported you’ll be grateful for the meticulous records kept by the State Library of New South Wales ( Go to the research guides page, enter convicts).  Even better if the ancestor was female as there’s a volunteer-run site specialising in women who were transported ( The only problem was that neither of these excellent resources had anything on Celia, either as Tippins or under her maiden name of Corbett.  No record either that she’d died on the voyage.

So, to Gloucester Archives.  (Has anybody else noticed that archivists seem to be secular saints – constantly patient, encouraging, and seemingly happy in their work?)  But all we could turn up there was that soon after she’d been sentenced  Celia Tippins was transferred from Gloucester Gaol with no hint of where she’d been sent.  Months later – because yes I did have a life to lead and Celia had to fit in where she could – I found myself sitting at a desk in the National Archives at Kew with an alphabetical register of convicts in front of me.  There was Celia Tippins with three words against her name in tiny handwriting in the right hand column: Gloucester Lun.  Asy.  Later I found a fuller version in a newspaper in her home city of Hereford: This wretched woman … has become quite insane and on Wednesday last Capt. Mason, the governor of the county gaol, received an order to remove her at once to Gloucester Lunatic Asylum …She will of course receive all the attention her pitiable condition requires.

End of story, then.  Celia, driven mad, ends her days in Gloucester lunatic asylum.  Only it wasn’t the end of the story.  Another day, another reading desk at Kew, another bundle of documents.  These included letters from Gloucester lunatic asylum to the Home Office ten years after her committal, arguing strongly that Celia Tippins was now entirely sane, had been so for some years and should be released.  Reading between the lines, it seems clear that she’d never been insane at all – though probably and not surprisingly severely depressed.  In what seems to have been the relatively humane regime of Gloucester asylum she recovered and obviously impressed the authorities enough for them to take some trouble in making a case for her freedom.  Eventually a civil servant noted on the back of one of the letters: I should think that she may be discharged without danger.  Then two weeks later, 6 January 1851 – eleven years and two months after the night when her child died – another note in small handwriting records that Celia Tippins has been given a free pardon.

She would have been 44 or 45 by then.  Where did she go?  What did she do?  I don’t know.  Celia Tippins has done one of her disappearing acts again.  I’m trying to follow her, and it’s not easy.  Perhaps I should just let her go and move on to something else, but her story touches on so many aspects of early Victorian life that I think it’s one that needs telling.  So if your name happens to be Tippins (or Corbett, her maiden name) and if there’s anything in your family, history that you think gives a clue to any of this, please get in touch via my website  or
Caro Peacock’s latest Liberty Lane novel, The Path of the Wicked, is published by Severn House.  Caro also writes as Gillian Linscott.  Her series of books about the suffragette detective Nell Bray are about to come out as eBooks.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Dilys Winn Award 2013

The nominations for the 2013 Dilys Winn Award have been announced!

The Dilys Award is presented annually by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Asociation to the mystery title member booksellers most enjoyed selling.

This year the Dilys Winn shortlisted books are as follows -

Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (Minoaur/Quercus)
Broken Harbour by Tana French (Viking/Hodder)
Mr Churchhill's Secretary by Susan Ella MacNeal (Bantam)
The Expats by Chris Pavone (Crown/Faber)
Before the Poison by Peter Robinson (Morrow/Hodder)

The winner will be announced at Left Coast Crime 2013 in March.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Winterlude, writing an e-novella


Quentin Bates went native in Iceland for ten years before returning to live in England.  He drew heavily on his intimate experience of life there to write his debut novel Frozen Out, published by Constable & Robinson.  He is also the author of Cold Comfort and the third book in the series Chilled to the Bone is due out later this year.

After the heated pace of finishing my next book, Chilled to the Bone, due to be published in April and written to a tight deadline, the last thing I could have done with was to be writing another one right away.

With Chilled to the Bone delivered, proofread, checked and signed off in the autumn, a short period of putting the feet up might have been in order, so I still do not quite know why I suggested to my editor that an e-novella might be worth doing.  It is common enough practice to knock out a budget e-book between novels.  In marketing speak it’s called ‘enhancing your brand.’  In real terms, it is giving your readers something extra, as a year or more between books can be a stretch for dedicated followers.

The arrival of e-books has given this format a boost.  Although I have written non-fiction at this sort of length, I had never written short stories as that length had never appealed, but this novella format is far more interesting.  In addition, it gives people a decent chunk to read; enough for the tube journeys to and from work, and maybe some left over for tomorrow morning as well, all for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

So I was taken aback by my editor’s enthusiasm in immediately slapping a deadline down in front of me.  Maybe she thought I had it already written when in fact it was still a bunch of ideas at the back of my head.  That’s not entirely true.  In fact, there was a mothballed novel, a Gunnhildur story that did not quite come together.  I don’t know if I had been over-ambitious with what I was trying to achieve with it, or had strayed too far from the straight and narrow of crime fiction, but one idea was to distil that story into something smaller and neater – and with another tight deadline to work to, I set about ruthlessly cutting and trimming.

It still did not want to work.  The characters were fine and the murder was a cracking piece of fantasy on my part that I will undoubtedly make use of at some point, but it still wouldn’t gel and I’m not sure why.  Maybe the villains were not properly villainous enough.

With a contract signed and my editor expecting results, there was nothing for it but to start from scratch, fortunately with the germ of an idea that had been at the back of my mind for a while.  To my relief, this one came together and it turned into Winterlude.

Writing Winterlude was not as straightforward as I had hoped.  I had thought naively that it would be a walk in the park working with something a third the size of a normal book.  Not so; although the volume of text is smaller, it still needs to be plotted properly.  There are fewer options for dropping in the odd red herring here and there and less scope for intriguing side-plots.  The characters still have to be credible, and with less elbowroom, it is less easy to give them space to develop while being vital that this still takes place.
The story needed to be stripped back, more linear than it would otherwise have been, presenting a few difficulties and calling for some discipline.  In some ways it’s harder to write a short book than a long one and as I was at the point where I’d normally have been slipping into fourth gear, it was disconcertingly time to start wrapping things up.

On reflection, I enjoy this format and see the relatively low cost, and the ease and speed of production of an e-book compared to producing a conventional book as providing a test bench.  It is less easy to take a risk with a proper book, least of all when a publisher has people in charge of the purse strings who are reluctant to see authors going out on a limb.  One of the attractions of this format is that it offers a way of flexing the muscles in new directions, trying out a new approach without breaking the bank.

Winterlude sees my rotund heroine, Gunnhildur, sharing much more of the storyline with Helgi, her colleague who has been more a background character so far.  I had wanted to make Helgi more prominent, but I am not sure I would have had the gumption to give him so much of the action in a full-length book; well, not yet at least.  I’m still a far from established beginner at this crime writing stuff and I’m not certain my shrewd and eagle-eyed editor would have let me get away with that either.

So here’s to the e-novella.  The format has already resulted in millions of self-published books, brought new writers into the bestseller lists and hopefully, it will give some of us a little more leeway to bend the rules and push out a few boundaries.

Monday 28 January 2013

The Seven Secrets of Successful Crime Writing with M. R. Hall

Today Pan Macmillan launched a free creative writing course by twice CWA Gold Dagger shortlisted M. R. Hall.  By visiting- and hitting the ‘like’ button at- , readers can discover M. R. Hall’s Seven Secrets of Successful Crime Writing, through conversational videos and downloadable worksheets. The course at is completely free and a new secret will be revealed each week, along with three more detailed podcasts, during which M. R. Hall expands on his advice. At the end of the course four amazing prizes will be awarded to the winner of our writing competition:

·         A place on an intensive two day creative writing for crime course, run by M. R. Hall and fellow author William Ryan. at Goldsboro Books in central London
·         A detailed email critique of the first three chapters of their novel, from Pan Macmillan editor Sophie Orme
·         £200 worth of Pan Macmillan crime books
·         Signed copies of all M. R. Hall titles.
The competition will be judged by M. R. Hall himself, together with Maria Rejt and Sophie Orme, Publisher and Editor at Pan Macmillan imprint Mantle.

“An observation that has long resonated with me and is, I think, key to the crime fiction submissions I respond to best is something the great American writer Joseph Wambaugh said.  To paraphrase: what inspires and moves him is not reading about how a cop works a case but how the case works the cop.  So it is the novels where consequences are examined, where we care about a character’s actions, reactions and motivations, how a crime impacts a community and the people within it.  I think I came to specialise in publishing crime  because I am also interested in the outsider in fiction, and of course it is in crime fiction where the outsider thrives… “
Maria Rejt, Publisher, Mantle.

Rather than focus on prose writing or how to turn a perfect paragraph, the course concentrates on storytelling techniques, how to build dramatic tension, tips for writing conflict, and gives practical advice on structure and characterisation. The course is informed by M. R. Hall’s years of experience as a Bafta-nominated television crime writer (on shows including Kavanagh QC and Daziel and Pascoe) as well as his more recent career as the writer of the Coroner Jenny Cooper series.

The seven secrets explored in detail within the course are:
Secret One:       You must have something profound and heartfelt to say
Secret Two:       The central character must have a moral centre, but also be conflicted on many levels
Secret Three:     However big the story, it must take place within a confined world
Secret Four:      Readers need a deep and immediate emotional connection with the crime
Secret Five:       The Rule of Three - Always begin with a three act structure and at least three dramatic reversals
Secret Six:        The reveal must surprise and astound
Secret Seven:    Push the central character beyond the outer limits to achieve the climax

The course can be found at from January 28th, with one video a week being revealed. The launch of the course will coincide with publication of M. R. Hall’s new hardback The Chosen Dead and new paperback The Flight, both part of the Coroner Jenny Cooper series. Both The Flight, and the first book in the series, The Coroner, were shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s prestigious Gold Dagger award for best crime novel of the year.
Six out of the seven videos will only be accessible via the author’s facebook page, but one will be widely available for everyone.

Watch the trailler below:-

For more information contact Becky Plunkett, Fiction Communications Assistant,
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London, N1 9RR
+44 20 7014 6002

Sunday 27 January 2013

Flashbang Short fiction competition 2013.

Can you write a Flashbang short fiction story that will entice a reader? Are you able to use less than two hundred words to write a story that will enthral?  If so then you might be interested in the second Flashbang short story completion.
Flashbang 2013 is now open to entries:
Flashbang is sponsored by CrimeFest.

Entry fee = £2.00
150 words maximum
Deadline = 1 March 2013.

First prize is two free passes to CrimeFest. Shortlisted and winning stories published online. Judge is bestselling crime writer, Zoë Sharp. Full details are here.

Participating authors at Crimefest include Lindsey Davis, Dana Stabenow, Jeffrey Deaver, Zoë Sharp, Declan Burke, Denise Mina, Peter James, Simon Kenick, Robert Wilson and many more!

Saturday 26 January 2013

Criminal splatterings!!! Film news from the Sundance Film Festival and more!!

Sundance Film News -
According to Deadline News, it looks as if David Fincher is thinking about being involved with the filming of the bestselling novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  The novel was acquired in a seven figure deal by 20th Century Fox and is to be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon.  The first draft of the screenplay has been written by the author.  Not surprisingly, two of Flynn’s other books are in the works as movie projects.  Dark Places which has Amy Adams attached to it and Sharp Objects. Fincher is still on board to continue with the Stieg Larsson series.

James Franco has announced that he is to direct and star in the adaptation of James Ellroy’s American Tabloid.  According to Deadline News the adaptation is still in the early stages.  American Tabloid follows five years in the lives of three ex-law enforcement officers embroiled in shady interconnected Washington dealings that lead to President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.  It is not the first time attempts have been made to adapt American Tabloid. Blood’s A Rover the third book in the trilogy is currently been developed with Ellroy as the executive producer.

Kill Your Darlings, which features Daniel Radcliffe and is the untold story of a murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs is according to Deadline News close to having a deal done by Sony Pictures Classics covering multiple territories. 

If you haven’t yet seen the poster  for Danny Boyle’s new film Trance see below –

Trance, is a psychological thriller starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel and centres on "a fine art auctioneer, mixed up with a criminal gang, who join forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting.". Trance is due in the cinema in the UK on March 27.

It looks as if Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to star in the adaptation of Inherent ViceInherent Vice is a noir tale, set in 1969 Los Angeles, and is based on Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel about a weed-smoking private detective on a kidnapping case.

With British crime dramas on a high another film to look out for is All Things To All Men, staring Gabriel Byrne, Rufus Sewell and Toby Stephens.  Stephens plays Riley, a professional thief, who's hired to pull off "the ultimate sting"  only to find himself caught between maverick cop Parker (Sewell) and crime lord Corso (Byrne). With Parker determined to bring down Corso, the sting going wrong and the stakes get higher and higer.  All Things To Men is out in the UK on 8 March.

Another film to look out for is The Liability,  a British gangster film featuring Tim Roth who plays a ruthless hit-man.  The Liability follows the tale of a teenager who is taken under Roth’s wing as he tries to earn some money to pay back his father. The Liability is out in the UK on 22 February 2013.  The trailer can be seen below.

According to Denzel Washington and Mark Whalberg are staring in the action thriller 2 Guns which is an adaptation based on Steven Grant's graphic novel of the same name.  2 Guns is a pulp story a man named Trench who has targeted a local bank to rob and asked another thief named Steadman in on the job.  Trench figures it's a great way to score – considering it's a cover for mob money.  They'll be thieves ripping off thieves.  But what Steadman doesn't know is that Trench is a DEA agent.  And what Trench doesn't know is that Steadman's got his own secret and isn't who he appears to be...  2 Guns is due out in August 2013.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Peter Bradshaw's Night of Triumph

Today's guest blog post is by Peter Bradshaw who is the Guardian film critic. He also co-wrote and acted in David Baddiel's sitcom Baddiel's Syndrome.  The debut crime caper from Peter Bradshaw Night of Triumph brings us back to VE night, 1945, when the teenage princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, were allowed to leave the palace incognito and join the parties and festivities with their subjects.  The Palace was forced to issue a statement that the episode was without incident; but what if…?

I have never attempted pure crime fiction, but my new novel has a criminal person and a criminal act near its centre: Night of Triumph, based on the true story of how Princess Elizabeth was allowed out of the Palace on VE Night 1945 to mingle incognito with the crowds.  I have certainly enjoyed placing my trembling toe in the murky waters of procedural detail.  In 2003, when I was writing my second novel, Dr Sweet And His Daughter, the fact that it was about an ordinary chap who becomes a hero for accidentally killing someone in a convenience store forced me to engage with how the criminal justice system might look to some ordinary middle-class guy who is astonished to find himself up close and personal with the police.  I interviewed a good friend of mine, a barrister, about what happens and when and why and how, and every detail he disclosed was a separate gleaming jewel in a fictional Aladdin’s cave.  It was thrilling.  No wonder writers and readers are intoxicated by genre fiction.  When my lead character was arrested near the beginning of the book, simply reciting the words of the caution was a thrill: “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be used in evidence.”

For this new book, looking into various aspects of the legend of VE Night, I became inspired by one of the most fascinating books I have ever come across about the 1940s and the home front: Donald Thomas’s An Underworld At War: Spivs, Deserters, Racketeers and Civilians in the Second World War.  Naively, I think I assumed that just as normal party politics was suspended for the duration of the war to create a National Government, then surely regular criminal activity would have been temporarily put on hold in the interests of patriotism and tackling the larger criminal: Adolf Hitler.

Nonsense, of course.  Crime flourished.  It wasn’t simply the question of cheap goods on the “black market” — though it’s surprising how many people now don’t grasp that these goods were cheap and furtively available because they had been stolen — but the fact that a dedicated class of persistent and professional criminals used the chaos in embattled London as a cover for wrongdoing and pure greed.  Bombed buildings were frequently looted.  Once the inhabitants of damaged houses were removed to places of safety, their homes were horribly vulnerable to being stripped of valuables.  Officials and wardens would return to the charred shells of houses to find that the gas meter had been emptied of sixpences.  In addition, my reading uncovered the shocking and undiscussed rumours that the wardens themselves may have succumbed to the temptation to help themselves.  There is a whiff of pure evil about the crime being discussed here, a whiff that it would not have had in peacetime, because home-front crime was highly damaging to morale and the petty thieves were Hitler’s useful idiots.

In Night of Triumph, I made my character Mr Ware one of them.  He is a nasty piece of work, a lowlife and a deserter who has found the war a six-year-long career opportunity in crime.  I wanted him to be a Greeneian character in some ways, but without the introspection — the more reflective qualities are given to the book’s lead character, Princess Elizabeth.  In my book Elizabeth is unworldly, perhaps more unworldly than was actually the case — but it is this unworldliness, combined with dangerous carnival of VE Night, which brings her into contact with Mr Ware.  There is taboo and terror in their encounter.

What to write next?  I am drawn to the 1940s period, perhaps especially to that of the post-war Attlee government.  In addition, I am fascinated in the idea of a straight crime novel.  Crime poses unique challenges.  The details have to be right.  The narrative has to grip, and of course, there is no alibi for slack or indulgent writing.  Surely, my criminal adventure cannot end here.

*Night of Triumph by Peter Bradshaw is published by Duckworth 31 January, £12.99

Sunday 20 January 2013

The Ides of April - New series by Lindsey Davis

Press Release



£18.99 Hodder & Stoughton hardback
The Ides of April (11th), 2013

The Ides of April is the first in a cracking new series of crime novels set in the Rome of the paranoid Emperor Domitian and featuring Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Lindsey Davis’s much loved character, Marcus Didius Falco.  Born in Britain, she sees Rome with fresh eyes, as a woman and an outsider.  Albia is now 28; she is a practised sleuth - tough, witty, feminine, scathing, politically aware, brave and an animal lover - something which is almost certain to get her into trouble during Rome’s archaic sacrificial rites…

The city is experiencing an epidemic of apparently random deaths, where victims don’t seem to realise they have been attacked.  With the authorities in denial, Albia is hired by a dead client’s relative to find the murderer.  Soon she is tripping over high-grade officials and the low-grade police force, some of whom want to use her talents, while others try to divert her investigations.  One seems intent on romance; though delighted, Albia must juggle this with having to make allies elsewhere for the case.  There are few clues.  The killer is clever, unpredictable, and uses a method so discreet it is barely discernible.  Will dogged detective work ever be enough to find him?

As the bodies mount, a festival for the goddess Ceres offers the killer new opportunities.  Albia finds herself in more danger on Rome’s cobbled streets then she could possibly have imagined, until a trap is set – a trap, which could go fatally wrong…

Historical novelist Lindsey Davis is best known for The Course of Honour, the true story of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Caenis, and for her twenty volume mystery series featuring Roman detective, Marcus Didius Falco, with its recent addition of Falco: the Official Companion, a cheery handbook for readers.  She has also written Rebels and Traitors, an epic novel set in the English Civil War and Commonwealth.  She has won the CWA Historical Dagger, Dagger in the Library, and a Sherlock for Falco as Best Detective.  She has been Honorary President of the Classical Association, Chair of the Crime Writers Association and Chair of the Society of Authors'.  In 2010, the city of Rome gave her the Premio Colosseo, awarded 'for enhancing the image of Rome' and in 2011, she was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement.

For further information contact Kerry Hood on 020 7873 6173 or


Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of a famous investigating family. In defiance of tradition, she lives alone on the colourful Aventine Hill, and battles out a solo career in a male-dominated world. As a woman and an outsider, Albia has special insight into the best, and worst, of life in ancient Rome. A female client dies in mysterious circumstances. Albia investigates and discovers there have been many other strange deaths all over the city, yet she is warned off by the authorities. The vigils are incompetent. The local magistrate is otherwise engaged, organising the Games of Ceres, notorious for its ancient fox-burning ritual. Even Albia herself is preoccupied with a new love affair: Andronicus, an attractive archivist, offers all that a love-starved young widow can want, even though she knows better than to take him home to meet the parents...As the festival progresses, her neighbourhood descends into mayhem and becomes the heartless killer's territory. While Albia and her allies search for him, he stalks them through familiar byways and brings murder ever closer to home. The Ides of April is vintage Lindsey Davis, offering wit, intrigue, action and a brilliant new heroine who promises to be as celebrated as Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina, her fictional predecessors.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Criminal Splattering’s!

Well, if you haven’t heard the news by now, the title of the new Dan Brown novel is Inferno and is due to be published by Transworld in May.  The title of the new book was revealed in an online puzzle.  Once again, the novel will feature Robert Langdon whom readers first met in The Da Vinci Code and subsequently in The Lost Symbol.  According to his publishers, the novel has been inspired by Dante's classic and will be set in Florence.  The Guardian article can be read here and The Independent hereInferno is Dan Brown’s sixth novel.

The Independent’s Invisible Ink: No 154 is on Ellery Queen the pseudonym of Manfred Lee and Frederic Dannay and is by Christopher Fowler.  The full article can be read here.  They are also the co-founders of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941 one of the few mystery based short story magazines still being published today.

Award winning author Robert Wilson who has set his novels in West Africa, Lisbon and Seville and is best known for his Javier Falcón series explains in the Daily Telegraph why he decided to set his new series in London.  The article can be read here.

According to the Daily Telegraph Dominic Cooper is to play Ian Fleming in a drama about the creator of James Bond.  Dominic Cooper is best known for the films My Week with Marilyn and Mamma Mia.

The long-list for the Branford Boase Award has been announced.  The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children and honours the editor of the winning title.  Congratulations go to long-listed author Tanya Byrne whose novel the Heart-Shaped Bruise, was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

Not something anybody would want to happen to them but Patricia Cornwell who is a notoriously private author is finding herself in the spotlight as she is currently suing her former accounting firm.  The Daily Telegraph article can be found here and the Huffington Post article can be read here.  The Guardian article can be found here.

According to the Bookseller, Titan Books have acquired a military science-fiction thriller entitled Seal Team 666.  The novels have been written by American intelligence officer turned author, Weston Ochse.  Titan Books will publish book one in the UK and US in March 2014, its sequel, Yesterday’s Hero in September 2014 and a third novel, Anti-Hero in early 2015.

The German writer, crime novelist and playwright Jakob Arjouni, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 48 years.  He was at home in Berlin with his family.  More information can be found here.  His books were published by No Exit Press in the UK and a new Brother Kemal Kayankaya novel is due to be published this year.  Mark Lawson’s tribute in the Guardian can be found here.  His obituary in German can be found here.  Hat tip to Maxim Jakubowski and Janet Rudolph.

Very interesting article on literary agent Andrew Lownie’s website about what UK Fiction Editors want.  The whole article can be read here.  Good to see a vast number of familiar names from those who commission crime and thriller books.  Certainly worth reading by all.

Cathi Unsworth reviews Tom Benn latest novel Chamber Music in the Guardian.  A recent blog post for Shotsblog by Tom Benn can be found here.  One minute with Tom Benn can be read here.

Alison Flood’s review of Malcolm Mackay’s debut novel The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter can be found here

Interesting article by Cortina Butler on author Michael Marshall whose new novel We Are Here, is to be published by Orion in March 2013.

Film News -

Parker the film based on the author Donald Westlake’s character and featuring Jason Statham as the eponymous Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte and Michael Chiklis is due to be released on 8 March in the UK.

The premise of the story line is that of a thief with a unique code of professional ethics who is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead.  Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.
According to actors Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven and Juno Temple have signed up to join Robert Rodriguez's 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’.  "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" will be shown in cinemas in the States from October 4th.

A new trailer has been released for the true crime thriller The Iceman.  Starring Michael Shannon and Ray Liotta The Iceman is about hit man, Richard Kuklinski who was responsible for over 100 murders between 1964 and 1986.  The film also features Winona Ryder and James Franco.  The trailer can be seen below-

The Iceman will open in the UK on 7 June 2013.
Extremely sad news to hear that and according to that The Wire actor Robert F Chew who played “Prop Joe” has died at the age of 52.  He passed away on Thursday of apparent heart failure.  Chew not only stared in The Wire but also Homicide Life on The Street and The Corner both series based on books written by David Simon.  The Baltimore Sun obituary can be found here. The Hollywood Reporter and

Fans of Homeland will be pleased to know that despite the recent cliffhanger of an ending featuring Damien Lewis as Nicholas Brody, executive producer Howard Brooks has now confirmed that Brody will definitely be involved in the third season according to TVLine.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction at the British Library

If you are interested in knowing about the development of crime and detective fiction then the British Library in conjunction with the Folio Society are hosting a free exhibition.
Classic locked-room mysteries, tales of murder and mayhem in quaint villages or gritty adventures on mean city streets.
Crime fiction, which currently accounts for over a third of all fiction published in English, holds millions of people enthralled. Murder in the Library will take you on a fascinating journey through the development of crime and detective fiction, from its origins in the early 19th century through to contemporary Nordic Noir, taking in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first appearance of Miss Marple and the fiendish plots of Dr Fu Manchu along the way.

Free exhibition/ Folio Society Gallery at the British Library
18 January to 12 May 2013

Billingham, Ryan, Wilson, Forshaw At The British Library

As part of Murder in the Library, a new exhibition at the British Library (18 January to 12 May 2013) a series of crime events will take place alongside the exhibition, including Real Crime Real Fiction. In this panel discussion writers, curators and journalists explore the impact of real life crimes on the writing and production of crime fiction both on television and in print. Does the consumption of crime novels influence the way we read about real crime? Where does 'true crime', which takes its inspiration from actual events rather than mere imagination, fit in?

Joining host, writer and journalist Barry Forshaw, will be authors Laura Wilson, Robert Ryan and Mark Billingham and Carla Connolly, curator at St Bartholomew's Pathology Museum.

Real Crime Real Fiction, Monday 21 January 2013 18.30 – 20.00
£7.50 / £5 concessions Conference Centre, British Library
To book tickets for events please visit, call 01937 546546 (Mon - Fri, 09.00 - 17.00) or buy tickets in person at the British Library.

Related Links:

Wednesday 16 January 2013

The 2013 Edgar® Award nominations are out!

Today the 2013 Edgar nominations were announced.  The Edgar® Awards will be
presented to the winners at the 67th Gala Banquet on 2 May 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York banquet.

The nominations are as follows –

Best Novel:
The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins (Penguin Group USA - G.P. Putnam's Sons)
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Group USA - Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishers)
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman (Penguin Group USA - G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Sunset by Al Lamanda (Gale Cengage Learning - Five Star)
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow)
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley (Penguin Group USA - Riverhead Books)

Best First Novel:
The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay (Random House Publishing- Ballantine)
Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur Books - Thomas Dunne Books)
Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Random House Publishing- Bantam Books)
The Expats by Chris Pavone (Crown Publishers)
The 500 by Matthew Quirk (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company - Reagan Arthur)
Black Fridays by Michael Sears (Penguin Group USA - G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Best Paperback Original:
Complication by Isaac Adamson (Soft Skull Press)
Whiplash River by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow Paperbacks)
Bloodland by Alan Glynn (Picador)
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster - Atria Books - Emily Bestler Books)
The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Best Fact Crime:
Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French (Penguin Group USA - Penguin Books)
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)
More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers' Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle, MD (Medallion Press)

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (Crown Publishers)
The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry (Farrar Straus & Giroux Originals)

Best Critical/Biography:
Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed by John Paul Athanasourelis (McFarland and Company)
Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke (Simon & Schuster - Atria Books - Emily Bestler Books)
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O'Brien (Oxford University Press)
In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler (Smart Pop)

Best Short Story:
"Iphigenia in Aulis" - An Apple for the Creature by Mike Carey (Penguin Group USA - Ace Books)
"Hot Sugar Blues" - Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Steve Liskow (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company - Mulholland Books)
"The Void it Often Brings With It" - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Tom Piccirilli (Dell Magazines)
"The Unremarkable Heart" - Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance by Karin Slaughter (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company - Mulholland Books)
"Still Life No. 41" - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile:
Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger (Abrams - Amulet Books)
13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau (Abrams - Amulet Books)
The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Abrams - Amulet Books)
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Penguin Young Readers Group - Dial Books for Young Readers)

Young Adult:
Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group - Roaring Brook Press)
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin Young Readers Group - Viking)
Crusher by Niall Leonard (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte BFYR)
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (Penguin Young Readers Group - Dutton Children's Books)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney Publishing Worldwide - Hyperion)

TV Episode Teleplay:
"Pilot" - Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (A&E/Warner Horizon Television)
"Child Predator" - elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake (CBS Productions)
"Slaughterhouse" - Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan (Sony Pictures Television/FX Productions)
"A Scandal in Belgravia" - Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat (BBC/Masterpiece)
"New Car Smell" - Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm (Showtime/Fox21)

Mary Higgins Clark:
Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge Books)
The Reckoning by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)

Other awards to be given at the banquet are –

Robert L Fish Award - "When They Are Done With Us" - Staten Island Noir by Patricia Smith (Akashic Books)

Grand Masters – Ken Follett and Margaret Maron

Oline Cogdill
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
, San Diego & Redondo Beach, CA 

Ellery Queen Award
Akashic Books

The nominations can also be found here.

Congratulations to all the nominees!