Sunday 31 January 2021

Criminal Splatterings

Interesting article in the Independent by John Rentoul on top 10 detective hobbies. Interesting to see what detectives such as Philip Marlowe, Max Carrados and Marcus Didus Falco to name a few liked to do in their spare time. The article can be read here.

All 4/ Walter Presents always have a wide range of brilliant crime dramas. A new one to look out for is Bullets which is a Finish thriller involving an undercover agent. More info and episodes can be found here

In advance of him being seen in the forth coming Slough House series Gary Oldman can be seen in Crisis a film set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic, where three stories collide in this dramatic thriller. More information can be found here.

In case you missed it Alison Flood's review of the Guardian's thrillers of the month can be found here.

With 2021 being the 100th anniversary of Patricia Highsmith Guy Lodge of the Guardian rounds up the best film adaptaion of her works. The article can be read here.

Friends of Mystery have these wonderful sessions called Bloody Thursday where by they interview authors and otthers in the mystery world. Normally this would be done in person but due to the pandemic it is now on line for the moment. Having just taken part in the most recent event where S A Cosby was interviewed I can certainly say that they are well worth taking part in. They only happen five times a year and are free. More information can be found here.

If you have missed the news then you will be pleased to hear that the programme for this year's Granite Noir has been released. As with most events it will be online. It will also be free. The dates are 19th to 21st February 2021. More information can be found here.

Also the dates for the brilliant St Hilda's crime fiction weekend have been announced. Clear your diaries! It will take place 13th to 15th August 2021. More information to follow.

Next week Sunday (7 February 2021) Radio 4 book club will be discussing Tana French's book The Wych Elm along with the author. More information can be found here.

On 8 February the Dallas Arts Museum will be hosting a vrtual event with Walter Mosley to celebrate the publication of his new Easy Rawlins novel Blood Grove. More information about the event and tickets can be found here.

Over on Book Riot ten of the best female assassin books have been proofiled. The list can be found here. An interesting list that is not solely crime.

Also Publishers Weekly have drawn up a list of the 10 most dynamic detective duos in crime fiction. The list cand be found here. Not totally surprised with the list but do think that others could have been included. 

Over on the International Crime Fiction Research Group webpage they have taken the opportunity of it being 100 years since the publication of Agatha Christie's first mystery novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles which introduced readers to Hercule Poirot to have a closer look at the different dimensions of space in her 45 novels and how the places where homicides were committed have evolved over the course of Christie’s career.

Friday 29 January 2021

Crime goes online in 2021 with Granite Noir


Organisers of Granite Noir have announced that Aberdeen’s Crime Fiction festival will return between 19th to 21st February 2021 as an online celebration of the very best of home grown and international crime writing

Granite Noir is inspired by the Granite City – its history, its atmosphere and its strong sense of place – and produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of partners Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen City Libraries and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives.

All events are free to view.

From the Programme -

Welcome to Granite Noir 2021, online this year and staying true to everything that’s best about the festival. We have Jo Nesbo and Camilla Lackberg leading our Nordic contingent, Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Peter May representing the cream of Scottish crime writing, David Baldacci joining us live from Virginia and Attica Locke in Los Angeles. We have authors, bloggers and podcasters, headliners and our Bold New Voices Panel featuring the ones to watch . 

With the festival’s roots steeped firmly in the stories, history and heritage of Aberdeen and the North-east, we are delving into the city and shire archives again to bring you our Criminal Portraits webinar and Isla Traquair, also known in podcast land as The Storyteller, digs deep into two notorious murders in the North-east. 

We bring you a very special collaboration with the Backlisted Podcast and Val McDermid to celebrate Josephine Tey’s 125th anniversary and Peter May talks about his novel Lockdown, about a deadly global flu pandemic, written 15 years ago, and rejected for its unrealistic storyline. 

Be part of Granite Noir 2021 from the comfort of your own home, as we delve into the heart of darkness with a thrilling line up of events to celebrate crime fiction, in all its forms. 

Some of the events incude -

Friday 19 February, 

7pm Chaired by Fiona Stalker 

The Police Procedural is Dead! Long Live the Police Procedural! 

Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin 

Fiction is a dedicated follower of fashion, and every few years one genre (or sub-genre) bubbles up to prominence, while another’s declared dead in the water. Except that’s not really how we read, is it crime lovers?   Here to discuss why stories about cops chasing baddies will never join the choir invisible are two of Scotland’s finest practitioners, Ian Rankin and Stuart MacBride. Between them they’ve sold millions of books earning their places at the forefront of the tsunami that is Tartan Noir. 

Friday 19 February,

8.30pm Chaired by Alex Clark 

A Voice of America 

Attica Locke 

Attica Locke is one of America’s most exciting writers, whose work not only encompasses award- winning novels, but writing and producing for television, including Netflix’s When They See Us and Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, and an upcoming adaptation of Waiting to Exhale.   Heaven My Home is the thrilling follow-up to the Edgar Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird. It finds Texas Ranger Darren Matthews on the hunt for a missing boy whose family are infamous white supremacists. It’s set in a small town whose economy thrives on nostalgia for the ante-bellum era, a place where that era’s racism still thrives. In his race to save the boy, Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, while facing fresh threats reignited by America’s current political climate. 

NB: This event was pre-recorded. There will not be audience Q&A. 

Saturday 20 February, 

10am Chaired by Theresa Talbot 

Bold New Voices

Femi Kayode, Susie Yang and Saima Mir 

It’s always exciting meeting the bestsellers of the future, and we’re delighted to showcase three debut authors whose novels are some of the hottest properties around. 

Saturday 20 February, 

2pm Chaired by Bryan Burnett 

Paying it Forward 

Will Dean, Catherine Ryan Howard, S.J. Watson 

To outsiders, success can look meteoric and instantaneous - but we know it’s about hard work, talent, and yes, a dash of luck. Join us for an hour with three superstars who go from strength to strength. Find out how they’ve handled success, and their ongoing outreach efforts to help others up the ladder, designed to inspire anyone who’s stuck, or new writers at the start of their careers. 

Saturday 20 February, 


Celebrating Josephine Tey’s 125th Anniversary 

Backlisted Podcast at Granite Noir Andy Miller, John Mitchinson, and special guest Val McDermid 

Inverness-born Josephine Tey (real name Elizabeth MacKintosh), was a popular Golden Age crime writer. Her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), introduced Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard. The most famous Inspector Grant mystery, 1951’s The Daughter of Time, was voted the greatest mystery novel ever written by The British Crime Writers’ Association.   Bestselling author Val McDermid, an ardent fan of Tey’s work, has chosen Miss Pym Disposes as the centrepiece of this collaboration between Backlisted podcast and Granite Noir. McDermid’s most recent novel, her 40th, is the bestselling Still Life. 

Saturday 20 February, 

6pm Chaired by Alex Clark 

Enter The Gilded Cage 

Camilla Läckberg 

Granite Noir welcomes the Queen of Swedish Crime Fiction, bestselling author Camilla Läckberg, whose books have sold over 28 million copies worldwide.   A former economist, Läckberg grew up in Fjällbacka, a small fishing community located on the west coast, almost exactly halfway between Uddevalla and Strömstad. Her Fjällbacka novels were adapted for television in 2012, and the following year saw the premiere of the film The Hidden Child, based on the fifth book in the Fjällbacka series. 

Saturday 20 February, 

8pm Chaired by Jacky Collins 

An Audience with Jo Nesbo 

Jo Nesbo is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers, and the creator of Harry Hole, one of the most intriguing characters in crime fiction. He’s an international number one bestseller whose books are published in 50 languages, selling over 33 million copies around the world. Before becoming a crime writer, Nesbo played football for Norway’s premier league team Molde, but injury put paid to that career. Nesbo’s most recent novel, The Kingdom, the story of two brothers coping with a devastating family legacy, is a simmering, complex thriller delivering shocks and surprises at every turn. 

Sunday 21 February, 

2pm Chaired by Theresa Talbot 

Stranger Than Fiction? 

Behind the scenes at The Storyteller and Crime Noir Isla Traquair and Candice Gaines. True crime podcasts have captured the public’s imagination, but how are they made? Join international television host, producer, and journalist Isla Traquair, of The Storyteller, and Candice Gaines, of Crime Noir, as they reveal how they do what they do, and why!   We’ll be asking how they choose which cases to delve into, and what kind of research is involved. We’ll examine how they turn all that information into a compelling narrative, and why they chose the podcast format to connect with audiences. 

Sunday 21 February, 

4pm Chaired by Alex Clark 

Vengeful Hearts 

Stina Jackson, Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, Lesley Kara 

Mary Higgins Clark said, “When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.” Join our panel of writers as they discuss the allure - and dangers - of revenge, and explain how they’ve explored this in their work. 

Sunday 21 February, 

6pm Chaired by Bryan Burnett 

Going Viral 

Peter May 

Bestselling Scottish author Peter May has seen his career encompass successes and setbacks, both as the author of award-winning novels and the force behind popular television programmes. Now, having sold more than 4.5M books worldwide, he’s at the forefront of international crime writing. He’ll talk about his fascinating career, and the two recent books whose stories pivot on the timely theme of how humanity behaves in times of tremendous upheaval.

Sunday 21 February, 

8pm Chaired by Lee Randall 

High Stakes Conspiracies 

In Conversation with David Baldacci 

Granite Noir is excited to welcome American author David Baldacci - a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favourite storytellers - for his first appearance at the festival. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide, and have been adapted for films and television. His established links to government sources give his books added authenticity. With his wife, he’s the cofounder of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America.   He talks to festival programmer Lee Randall about his life and work, and delves into the conclusion of his thrilling Atlee Pine trilogy, featuring a unique FBI agent on a personal mission of discovery. 

A complete list of all the events and more information about the individual events can be found here.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition


The world-famed Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) is on the hunt to find the best unpublished short mystery story.

Entries are being invited for the 2021 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition, with just weeks before deadline closes on 26 February for the international writing competition.

The Margery Allingham Society, set up to honour and promote the writings of the great Golden Age author whose well-known hero is Albert Campion, works with the CWA to operate and fund the writing competition. Each year the competition attracts many entries from the UK and overseas.

Dea Parkin, Secretary of the CWA, said: “This year promises to be hotly contended. Editors and agents have predicted mystery stories are a strong trend in 2021, with Richard Osman’s soar-away hit debut, The Thursday Murder Club, a key touchstone for publishers. This short story competition is a fantastic way of building a writer’s craft, and profile, in this genre.”

Entrants are asked to focus on specific elements to match Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery, which is: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”

Dea said: “It’s easy to see why authors like Robert Thorogood are so popular as readers are craving proper whodunnits in the pandemic. Thorogood created the TV hit show, Death in Paradise, and his latest novel The Marlow Murder Club is another example of this trend. Real life is so uncontrollable and daunting at the moment, but these ‘cosy’ stories provide some reassurance as they offer clues, suspects, great characters and locations, with a satisfying resolution and the mystery solved.”

The CWA anthology, Vintage Crime, is edited by the 2014 winner of the Margery Allingham prize – acclaimed crime writer Martin Edwards. Shortlisted authors for the prize have also found wider success, such as Christine Poulson, whose short story ‘Accounting for Murder’ featured in the CWA anthology, Mystery Tour, and went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger.

Submissions have a limit of 3,500 words. It costs £12 to enter. The winner receives £500, a selection of Margery Allingham books, and two passes for the international crime writing convention CrimeFest in 2022. Being shortlisted for this renowned competition also brings attention and prestige.

The longlist, shortlist and winner will be announced by the CWA online in spring/summer.

For rules and to submit an entry, go to Short Story Competition on the CWA website. The deadline is 6pm on 26 February 2021.

Photo courtesy of the Margery Allingham Society.

Monday 25 January 2021

2021 Edgar® Nominees

January 25, 2021, New York, NY - Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 212th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the nominees for the 2021 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honouring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2020. The 75th Annual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 29, 2021. 

Best Novel

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Penguin Random House – Random House)

Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)

Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House - Pamela Dorman Books)

These Women by Ivy Pochoda (HarperCollins Publishers – Ecco)

The Missing American by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)

The Distant Dead by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow)

Best First Novel by an American Author

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March (Minotaur Books)

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (HarperCollins Publishers -Ecco)

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (Penguin Random House – Berkley)


When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow) 

The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman (Blackstone Publishing) 

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer) 

The Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin Random House - Penguin Books) 

East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper 360) 


Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America by Mark A. Bradley (W.W. Norton & Company) 

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Hachette Book Group – Hachette Books) 

Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre (Simon & Schuster - Scribner) 

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch (Penguin Random House – Random House) 

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife by Ariel Sabar (Penguin Random House - Doubleday) 


Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360/Collins Crime Club) 

Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press) 

Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery & Fiction by Erin E. MacDonald (McFarland) Guilt Rules All: Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction by Elizabeth Mannion & Brian Cliff (Syracuse University Press) 

This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press) 


"The Summer Uncle Cat Came to Stay," by Leslie Elman Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (Dell Magazines) 

"Dust, Ash, Flight,Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste (Akashic Books) 

"Fearless," California Schemin' by Walter Mosley (Wildside Press) 

"Etta at the End of the World," by Joseph S. Walker Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (Dell Magazines) 

The Twenty-Five Year Engagement,” by James W. Ziskin In League with Sherlock Holmes (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime) 


Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing - Algonquin Young Readers) 

Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Penguin Random House Canada - Puffin Canada) From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (HarperCollins Children's Books - Katherine Tegen Books) 

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR) 

Nessie Quest by Melissa Savage (Random House Children's Books - Crown BFYR) 

Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders (Sourcebooks Young Readers) 


The Companion by Katie Alender (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR) 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR) 

They Went Left by Monica Hesse (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR) 

Silence of Bones by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends) 

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (Penguin Random House – Delacorte Press) 


Episode 1, The Stranger” – Harlan Coben’s The Stranger, Written by Danny Brocklehurst (Netflix) 

Episode 1, Open Water” – The Sounds, Written by Sarah-Kate Lynch (Acorn TV) 

Episode 1, Photochemistry” – Dead Still, Written by John Morton (Acorn TV) 

Episode 1” – Des, Written by Luke Neal (Sundance Now) 

What I Know” – The Boys, Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine, based on the comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Amazon) 


"The Bite,” Tampa Bay Noir by Collette Bancroft (Akashic Books) 



Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur Books) 

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart (Minotaur Books) 

The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) 

The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books) 

Cold Wind by Paige Shelton (Minotaur Books) 


The Burn by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books) 

Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books) 

Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House Books) 

Dead Land by Sara Paretsky (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) 

The Sleeping Nymph by Ilaria Tuti (Soho Press – Soho Crime) 

Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin (Start Publishing – Seventh Street Books) 



Jeffrey Deaver 

Charlaine Harris 


Malice Domestic 


Reagan Arthur, Publisher – Alfred A. Knopf 

We are pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Ellery Queen award is Reagan Arthur. She is currently the publisher at Alfred A. Knopf, after a lengthy career in editorial and editorial development. Amongst the authors she has worked with over the years include names like Michael Connelly and Kate Atkinson, and also the enormously successful Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. When informed of her selection as recipient of the Ellery Queen Award, Ms. Arthur commented, "Crime fiction has always been an important part of my life as a reader and as an editor. So it's a great honor to join the ilustrious list of recipiennts of the Ellery Queen Award, and to be selected by the MWA, an orgaanistation that has been done so much on behalf of writers, booksellers, and readers.”


The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents. 

Mystery Writers of America would like to emphasize our commitment to diversity and fairness in the judging of the Edgar Awards. Judges are selected from every region of the country, from every sub-category of our genre, and from every demographic to ensure fairness and impartiality. 

Sunday 24 January 2021

February Books to Look Forward to From Bookouture


Kitty Underhay’s hymn book is open… at murder. Winter, 1933. Kitty Underhay is enjoying a restorative break from sleuthing on a visit to her family at Enderley Hall. The only thing marring her peace – aside from the uncomfortable sensation she has of being watched – is the obvious history between her beau, ex-army captain Matthew Bryant and another guest, the beautiful Juliet Vanderstafen. So, when the parish clerk is found dead on her front doorstep, Kitty leaps at the chance of distraction. The police are happy to conclude that Miss Plenderleith met her unfortunate end on a patch of ice, but Kitty isn’t convinced this was a case of bad weather and worse luck. And when the Reverend Crabtree fails to show for tea the next day, she heads to the church to speak to him. But she arrives to find the clergyman hanging from the bell rope, dead. With Matt seemingly wrapped up with his alluring Austrian, Kitty must solve the case on her own. But as she snoops into parish affairs, she makes some less-than-saintly discoveries. Just who has broken the sixth commandment? Meanwhile the killer is preparing a churchyard grave for Kitty, and she’ll have to use all her wits to avoid falling in… Murder in the Belltower is by Helena Dixon.

Beneath Her Skin is by Gregg Olsen. The girl was slumped over the edge of the old clawfoot tub, her eyes tiny shards of broken glass, her expression void of anything. Her long, wet hair dripped onto the floor. She was dead. When the body of troubled teen Katelyn Berkley is found in her bathtub, the close-knit community of Port Gamble, Washington is shaken to its core. All signs point to a suicide but what makes her death even more tragic is that Katelyn survived a horrific bus crash ten years ago, which took the lives of several young girls and has scarred the town ever since. Hayley and Taylor Ryan are identical twins who grew up with Katelyn and have spent the last 10 years getting over the crash. Ever since that fateful night the twins have shared a secret: they can hear the dead. And it soon becomes clear that Katelyn is communicating with them. Whilst the town believes it was a tragic accident, something much darker lies behind Katelyn’s death. And all the time, someone is watching Port Gamble, someone who doesn’t want old secrets to surface…

Just as the lightning bolt of memory passed, a pair of hands grabbed Olivia’s shoulders and shoved her body backwards against the wooden floor. I’m not going to die here, am I? she thought, though the answer seemed all too clear. Am I? Port Gamble, Washington: When the body of English exchange student Olivia Grant is found at the palatial home of local schoolgirl, Brianna Connors, the town assumes that it’s a Halloween prank gone wrong. But when Brianna and her boyfriend Drew are spotted casually shopping the next day, people start to talk: how could they be so unaffected by Olivia’s death? Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan have received signs from beyond the grave for as long as they can remember. As the local police piece together the mystery, the girls begin to receive messages suggesting that something darker was at play that night. The killer had a target and they’re not done yet. When the prime suspects disappear, the twins know that time is running out. But to get to the killer, they will first need to confront a close family member who harbors a long-held secret and committed the ultimate act of betrayal. Dying to Be Her is by Gregg Olsen.

His Hidden Wife is by Wendy Clarke. The first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house… If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife. You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck. When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all. And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time? Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney. The words blurred as she read the note. She could feel her blood turning to ice. ‘Before you make the biggest mistake of your life, meet me. If you don’t, her blood will be on your hands.’ When Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party… Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue. While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die? Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

Please forgive me for what I’m about to do… Standing at the school gates, he waits until the last child leaves the safety of the playground. And then he follows at a distance, keeping to the shadows. Only he knows what’s going to happen next. In a quiet church, on a busy London street, 12-year-old Donovan Blair is found dead. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer. Just hours ago, he was happily playing with his friends at school, but now his body is lifeless, and his killer is long gone. Detective Dan Lockhart is working alone on his wife’s missing person’s case when he receives a call telling him to get to the crime scene at St Mary’s Church immediately. Bringing in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help profile the murderer, Dan is convinced that the killer has provided a clue by leaving the body in a prayer position, and Lexi agrees. As they try to get into the mind of the person responsible, another victim is found. A 13-year-old girl, left in a different church, posed in exactly the same way. Fearing the murderer may already have another child in his sights, Dan and Lexi work together to establish links between the two deaths, and soon discover that not only were both children in care – they had attended the same school. And when it emerges that Lexi’s new boyfriend works there, things become difficult between her and Dan. How much can he tell Lexi about the case? And could she be at risk? As Dan makes a breakthrough in the investigation, he receives devastating news about his wife, Jess. But with children’s lives at stake and Lexi in danger, Dan must put his personal emotions aside and chase the killer. Can he and Lexi work out who is behind the murders before another vulnerable child is taken? Lost Souls is by Chris Merritt.

Her Perfect Life is by Sam Hepburn. One woman has nothing to lose. The other has everything. To the outside world,Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. Juliet’s life couldn’t be more different. A single mother struggling to make ends meet, she lives in fear of her vindictive ex-husband taking their five-year-old daughter from her. So when Gracie moves into Falcon House, just streets away from Juliet, she sees an opportunity. If Juliet can just get close to Gracie, maybe her fortunes will begin to change. After all, if anyone has luck to share around, it’s Gracie Dwyer. And if cracks begin to appear in Gracie’s perfect life, well, it’s Juliet who will be there to pick up the pieces. Because no one’s life is really that perfect – and sometimes all it takes is a little push to expose the darkest of secrets…

Who better to catch a murderer than a woman raised by one? The beautiful young woman’s long black hair clings to her face like seaweed. As Nadine turns the body, she prays this will be different: but seeing the wounds, her prayers go unanswered. It’s just like the others. An exact match to her mother’s victims. Keeping her head down and refusing to let anyone get close is Agent Nadine Finch’s atonement for never realising her mother Arleen was a serial killer. But when the body of a young woman is found drifting in the warm Sarasota Bay waters, right where Nadine grew up, the past she’s worked so hard to keep hidden comes calling. Rushing to the scene, Nadine is the first to notice the circle carved around the girl’s ring finger. It’s the exact same marking Arleen left on all her victims. Suddenly, Nadine is a teenager again, watching her mother come home to their trailer in the middle of the night, covered in blood. With a heartbroken family reeling, and no witnesses or forensic evidence, Nadine has no choice but to face her demons and visit her mother in prison. When her mother whispers a name Nadine hasn’t heard for years, the case takes a terrifyingly personal turn, and returning home, the bag of bloodied clothes left on Nadine’s bed tells her someone is watching her every move… With her dark family history out in the open, it’s not long before suspicion falls on Nadine herself. As her team turn against her, the closer she gets to her mother and this case, the more danger she’s in. Time is running out. Can she catch the killer—or will she be the next victim of this dark family legacy? A Killer's Daughter is by Jenna Kernan.

Her Perfect Bones is by Ellery Kane. The girl’s body is curled up like a shell and almost completely buried in sand. Only her fingertips can be seen, reaching helplessly up towards an escape she will never find… Seventeen-year-old Shelby Mayfield sits alone on a bus to Fog Harbor, California. Aside from a few items of clothing, all she has with her is twenty-two dollars, the ragdoll she’s kept since kindergarten, and the devastating secret she’s been hiding. How long will it be before her family realizes she’s gone? Can anyone see the fresh bruise on her cheek beneath the makeup? Perhaps she was a fool to believe the person she is meeting in this remote little town could help her… When a girl’s body is found hidden in a barrel in a woodland cabin, the local police are at a loss. The film from an old camera found looped around her neck is their only lead, but Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell’s blood turns to ice when she recognizes the ragdoll in one of the girl’s last photographs. She used to own one just like it, and it can only mean one thing: if she doesn’t dig deep into the mind of a deadly killer from her past—her own father—more innocent lives will be in danger…

“Please, not in front of my daughter,” she pleaded. “She’s just a little girl.” He leaned closer, so close she felt his heated breath on her face. The blue jays that had been filling the valley with their chirping fell silent all at once when the woman’s cry ripped through the clear mountain air… Detective Kay Sharp vowed she’d never return to her childhood home. On the night of her thirteenth birthday her broken family was shattered beyond repair, and leaving was the only option. Unable to fix her own past, she’s been an FBI profiler for over a decade, desperate to save others. But now Kay’s back and only she can solve the crime that has rocked the tight-knit community of Mount Chester to its core. A dead woman has been found by Silent Lake under the dew-covered Fall leaves, her hair braided and her body wrapped in a blanket. This small town may be a stranger to murder, but Kay recognizes the signs of a serial killer. She’s certain that the ritualistic nature of the scene means it’s just a matter of time until he strikes again––unless she catches him first.  As yellow do-not-cross tape flaps in the biting wind, another woman is reported missing. Kay leads a frenzied search for out-of-towner Alison Nolan and when she locates her car, Kay’s blood turns to ice as she shines her flashlight on the backseat and sees a teddy bear. Alison’s six-year-old little girl, Hazel, has vanished too. Kay knows the missing-person investigation could turn into a murder case at any second. But as she hunts for the culprit, her own past closes in on her. Can she find the killer before it’s too late? And will the secret she thought she’d buried stay that way? The Girl From Silent Lake is by Leslie Wolfe.

Cry For Help is by Wendy Dranfield. Shivering in the early morning chill, the caretaker flips the switch on the Ferris wheel and stumbles back in shock. The teenage girl’s body is slumped in a halo of pretty colored lights, long red hair spilling over her tear-stained cheeks, her eyes fixed forever on her dangling feet. When teenager Nikki Jackson’s body is found at an amusement park, just hours after Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night sky, the Lost Creek police rule her death as suicide—a devastating final act from a girl who had lost all hope. But the absence of the knife used to make the wounds on her delicate wrists makes Detective Madison Harpe rthink otherwise. And the partial fingerprint found on the girl’s face proves her right. Someone else was with Nikki in her final moments… Back home in Colorado for the first time in seven years to investigate the murder of a woman with ties to the son she lost to the care system, the pressure is on for Madison to work both cases at once. Fearing the team has missed a vital clue, Madison searches the crime scene alone and finds the last thing she ever expected: a note proving the victims knew each other, and that the cases are linked. Is this a coincidence, proof a dangerous murderer is on the loose, or a trap set to lead Madison off the trail? It’s only when Madison finally finds the knife used to harm Nikki, tucked in an almost impossible to find hiding place, that she knows she is closing-in on a twisted killer. But the last person she expects to see dragged into the department in handcuffs is her own missing son…

MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again. Stella holds the missing poster flat against the tree trunk and presses to make sure it’s secure. She tries not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to hers. This time every year she decorates the small seaside town they grew up in with pictures of her beautiful missing twin. But after almost twenty-five years, is it even worth hoping someone will come forward? The last thing Stella ever expects is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt about the secret she’s been keeping since the night of the party, and completely alone in the world without the other half of her, Stella agrees to his strange request: private, intimate details of her life in return for answers. But as the true events of the night of the party play out before her, Stella feels closer to Leila than she ever dreamed she’d be again – too close. Will it be too late before she realises she’s walked right into a deadly trap? Will she suffer the same fate as her sister? The Girl in the Missing Poster is by Barbara Copperthwaite.

Be Mine Forever is by D K Hood. Gray clouds gather overhead as she runs along the dark road. Not a soul is out in the storm, or so she thinks. As the vehicle pulls up alongside her, she sees a familiar face behind the wheel and thinks she’s safe. Little does she know, she has just put herself in unthinkable danger… When local cheerleader, Laurie Turner, goes missing after practice and her bright red pick-up truck is found abandoned by the side of a quiet road, Detective Jenna Alton fears the worst. Visiting Laurie’s family house, Jenna senses that the teenager’s home life isn’t as perfect as her father would have people believe. Quick to temper and full of hatred towards Laurie’s mother, Dr Turner doesn’t seem to know the first thing about his own daughter, let alone how long she’s been missing for. With the clock ticking, the whole town takes to the streets to find the missing girl and, after a frantic search, a terrible discovery is made at the bottom of an old mine shaft on the outskirts of town. Laurie’s pale body is totally still and Jenna is sure somebody in the local community is her killer. When another cheerleader goes missing, Jenna thinks that someone close to the school is picking the teenagers off one by one. As she talks to the other students, it becomes clear that there are plenty of people who’d like to silence the girls forever. Then her own deputy David Kane comes face to face with the murderer, and Jenna has to race to save him. Can she do so before it’s too late? Or will another young life be taken?

She didn’t see the patch of black ice until it was too late. The car started to spin, and as it veered off into the deep ditch and the mounds of snow beside the road, she saw him. The little boy frozen in the ice. When the remains of two bodies are found in an open grave along a desolate highway in Stillwater, Minnesota, Special Agent Nikki Hunt knows exactly who they are. The bright blue jacket lying on the frozen earth belongs to Kellan Rhodes, the missing boy she’s desperately been trying to find for the last two days. The other body is his mother Dana, who had been Nikki’s lead suspect. Although the wounds on Dana’s body suggest she murdered her son and took her own life, Nikki finds evidence that suggests she was a victim too. Dana was desperately trying to regain custody of Kellan, and Nikki finds boot prints at the scene that belong to someone else. When another child is reported missing, local journalist Caitlin Newport claims the cases are linked: Zach Reeves was taken away from his own mother in a custody battle, just like Kellan was. Caitlin once helped Nikki find out the truth about her own parents’ murders, but her desire for a story nearly cost Nikki her life. Now, Nikki must decide if she can trust Caitlin again, before time runs out to find the killer and bring Zach home alive… One Perfect Grave is by Stacy Green.

Everyone in the village admires Anna because she’s a wonderful mother. Juggling family life with a small sewing business, she’s the one they turn to for a warm hug after a hard day. Her kind, polite daughters are a credit to her – even Bay, her stepdaughter, whom Anna loves as much as her own two girls. But normal family life changes overnight when Anna’s middle daughter’s beauty catches the eye of a stranger in a café. As jealousy erupts between the siblings, Anna’s perfect blended family begins to unravel around her. A devastating secret about the dangerous game they played when they were little girls threatens to break the surface – and the bonds of this close-knit family forever… To save her girls, Anna must rethink everything she ever thought she knew about love, motherhood and family. She must pick a side, an impossible decision for any mother, but believing the wrong daughter could be fatal. Anna has already sacrificed so much for her family, but there are no limits to what a mother will do for her daughters… The Pretty One is by Clare Boyd. 

Saturday 23 January 2021

Books to Look Forward to From Muswell Press

 February 2021

The Final Round is by Bernard O'Keeffe. On the morning after Boat Race Day, a man's body is found in a nature reserve beside the Thames. He has been viciously stabbed, his tongue cut out, and an Oxford college scarf stuffed in his mouth. The body is identified as that of Nick Bellamy, last seen at the charity quiz organised by his Oxford contemporary, the popular newsreader Melissa Matthews. Enter DI Garibaldi, whose first task is to look into Bellamy's contemporaries from Balfour College. In particular, the surprise 'final round' of questions at this year's charity quiz in which guests were invited to guess whether allegations about Melissa Matthews and her Oxford friends are true. These allegations range from plagiarism and shoplifting to sextortion and murder...

May 2021

Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday. Mugged on the harbourside in Paros, he is robbed of everything. So when Ricky a charming Aussie, shows up and offers Alistair a job recruiting tourists to pose for his wealthy boss, Heinrich, a charismatic, German artist, Alistair accepts. He soon realises that it is more than just painting that Heinrich has in mind. Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until, the body of a missing tourist is found and the finger of blame points to Haston. His world collapses. Arrested but allowed to escape, the body count piles up and Haston finds himself on the run by land and sea on a journey more breathtaking and more frightening than his wildest dreams. The Lizard is by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart.

June 2021

The Rhino Conspiracy by Paul Hain. A veteran freedom fighter and friend of Mandela is forced to break all his loyalties and oppose the ruling ANC party - a party he's been a member of all his life - to confront corruption and venality at the very top. As he faces political attacks and sinister threats from a faction in the SA security services the ageing veteran finds his life is now endangered. Recognising the need for help, he recruits a young 'Born Free' idealist to assist him. She too is soon drawn into danger as together they stumble upon a clandestine plot at the highest level of government to poach and kill rhino and export their lucrative horns to South East Asia. Intent on catching the poachers and exposing the trade, they manage to install a GPS tracking device inside a perfect replica of a horn which they follow through a diplomatic bag into Vietnam. Anxious that intimidation by the security services will prevent them from exposing the truth, they decide to break cover in UK using a sympathetic British MP to reveal all they know in a House of Commons speech, under parliamentary privilege. But first they must establish the truth. Will they be able to do so, or will they be killed before they can? The stakes are high. Has Mandela's 'rainbow nation' been irretrievably betrayed by political corruption and cronyism? Can the country's ancient rhino herd be saved from extinction by poachers supported from the very top of the state.

July 2021

London is angry, divided and obsessed with foreigners. A dead Asian and some racist graffiti in Chinatown might trigger the race war that the white supremacists of the Make England Great Again movement have been hoping for. They just need a tipping point. And he arrives in the shape of Detective Inspector Stanley Low. He's brilliant. He's bipolar. He hates everyone almost as much as he hates himself. Singapore doesn't want him and he doesn't want to be in London for a criminology lecture. There are too many bad memories, like Detective Sergeant Ramila Mistry, who asks for Low's help. The dead Asian was Singaporean. Against everyone's better judgement, Low is plunged into a polarised city, where xenophobia and intolerance feed screaming echo chambers. His desperate race to find a far-right serial killer will lead him to charismatic Neo-Nazi leaders, incendiary radio hosts and Metropolitan Police officers who don't appreciate the foreigner's interference. No one wants him there, but too many victims with Asian faces keep him there. He craves vengeance, particularly when the murderer makes it personal and promises to kill the only woman that Low ever loved. The Chinese detective is the wrong face in the wrong place. But he's the right copper for the job. London is about to meet the bloody foreigner who won't walk away. Bloody Foreigners is by Neil Humphreys.

August 2021

My Name is Jensen is by Heidi Amsinck. Guilty. One word on a beggar's cardboard sign. And now he is dead, stabbed in a wintry Copenhagen street, the second homeless victim in as many weeks. Dagbladet reporter Jensen, stumbling across the body on her way to work, calls her ex lover DI Henrik Jungersen. As, inevitably, old passions are rekindled, so are old regrets, and that is just the start of Jensen's troubles. The front page is an open goal, but nothing feels right..... When a third body turns up, it seems certain that a serial killer is on the loose. But why pick on the homeless? And is the link to an old murder case just a coincidence? With her teenage apprentice Gustav, Jensen soon finds herself putting everything on the line to discover exactly who is guilty .

Friday 22 January 2021

Cherie Jones on writing How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

I came to write ‘How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House’ at the urging of a voice on the bus. At the time, I was on the 472 bus to Thamesmead, on the last leg of the long commute back home from Brixton in London, where I (then) worked for a refugee charity.

I was exhausted that night on the bus, and didn't particularly feel like listening to anyone, but Lala sat inside my head and started to talk to me, anyway.

As I learnt during the course of the remaining 45 minutes of that bus-ride, Lala, like me, was from Barbados, like me she was a mother, like me she was the ‘one’ of the estimated one in three women worldwide who experience domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner and endure a cycle of running and return as a result. These facts, in themselves, did not make her remarkable, what made her remarkable was her resilience, her calm quiet, the halting, almost apologetic way in which she spoke, as if she knew I was tired but could not leave me alone unless she was sure that I’d heard her, that I understood and accepted what she was asking me to do.

What she was asking me to do was write her story. 

Domestic violence, and especially violence against women, is a continuing social problem in the Caribbean. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a statement at the end of her visit to Barbados in April, 2012 1 said

Domestic violence against women and children, and sexual harassment, occur all over the world. However, reports suggest that they are particularly serious problems here in Barbados and in other Caribbean countries, and rape is shockingly commonplace…” 

Ingrained social attitudes to gender and power contribute to a culture of silence about domestic violence in the Caribbean. The physical abuse of women was traditionally (and to an extent remains) an accepted part of local culture – widely practiced but rarely talked about. I had always been aware of women within my family who were being abused – the wife of a beloved uncle, for example, who was reportedly regularly beaten with the butt of a gun. In whispered conversations I wasn’t supposed to overhear, female relatives chastised her for her sullen demeanour and her feisty retorts to a husband whose demanding work hours made his meanness understandable, her inability to submit less so. 

At the same time, the Caribbean is the exotic paradise of postcards, a place of pink powdery beaches and clear blue water. It occurred to me that the paradise of the affluent tourist was simply a backdrop for the horror suffered by some of the women who served them daily. A paradisical beach became the setting for Lala’s story to be told.

When I got off the bus, and home, I wrote as I always do, longhand, from the first line of the last page of a ring bound red Royal Mail notebook, writing towards the front. This became a ritual I repeated for several nights, through several drafts, droughts of inspiration, crises of conscience and the glitter of other, less wrenching writing projects. Through it all, Lala would talk to me. Until one day, somewhere around the end of the the third draft, she fell silent.

Much as I’ve listened for her I’ve never heard from Lala again. I do not know whether she is dead or alive now, whether she is still haunted by a gruesome murder on a beach in Paradise. I am not aware of whether she still bears the scars she has told me about or whether a rusty-haired rasta called Tone has managed to meet her again, whether his love has made her forget how she got those scars.

I wish the best for Lala, but I understand that her silence does not matter now. Only the story needs to speak.

There was just one thing Lala asked me on that bus, and that was if I could write the part of her story she had told me about- that one summer in 1984 when her life changed forever.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is my first novel. It is a work of fiction – and it is also my way in which I answered 'yes'.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (Published Headline Publishing) Out Now 

In Baxter's Beach, Barbados, Lala's grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers. For Wilma, it's the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result. When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope - of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man. And Mira Whalen? It's about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn't get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.

More information about the author can be found here and you can follow her on Twitter at @csajthewriter.

1 UN News Centre at (accessed on 10 March, 2015)