Thursday, 6 October 2022

The Killing of Lord George by Karl Shaw

Our great period in murder’ wrote George Orwell, in an essay published in 1946, “our Elizabethan period, so to speak, seems to have been between roughly 1850 and 1925, and the murderers whose reputation has stood the test of time are the following: Dr Palmer of Rugeley, Jack the Ripper, Neill Cream, Mrs Maybrick, Dr Crippen, Seddon, Joseph Smith, Armstrong, and Bywaters and Thompson.” 

It was midway during the latter third of this period in 1911 that an alleged murder tookplace that I have spent the best part of three years researching and writing about.

My project didn’t at all start out that way. I thought I was doing what I usually do, writing about social history. My subject was a gentleman who was once a showbiz celebrity. He was known to the world as Lord George Sanger but he didn’t have a drop of blue blood in his veins. Chances are you’ve never heard of him but for more than half a century he was Britain’s most popular and most successful entertainer and at the time of his death he was venerated as a national institution. He was the seventh child of a penny peep-showman. At the age of five he was a fairground spieler and by his early teens he was running a one-man travelling show. During his life on the road he endured great hardship and was at the receiving end of some of the worst prejudices Victorian society could muster, lumped together with vagabonds, gypsies and Jews. He became a magician, married a lion tamer, reinvented himself as a circus proprietor and his name was soon known in every corner of the British Isles. Just as PT Barnum ruled the world of popular entertainment in America, for more than half a century, Sanger was the biggest brand in British show business.

In 1911, a few weeks short of his 86th birthday, George Sanger died violently in his home in North London. It was considered one of the most callous murders in the English criminal calendar and was one of the news sensations of the Edwardian age. Within a week Sanger’s brutal slaying was making headlines from New York to New Zealand. It read like a popular crime thriller: a crazed, merciless killer, a famous victim, a desperate manhunt and a sensational ending. 

When I set out to research George Sanger it was to write a book about his extraordinary life and career and I hadn’t thought much at all about his death other than that it seemed like a very strange and tragic post-script. I didnt anticipate anything revelatory. It was only when I tracked down the old police case files and transcripts of the inquest into his death that I realised I had a genuine historical murder mystery on my hands.

Is it ever really possible to investigate something that took place more than 110 years ago? Certainly it presents many challenges and it depends how good the source material is. My starting point was George Sanger’s memoir, a hugely entertaining work and an important piece of social history in its own right. Unfortunately George was a born story-teller, overly fond of self-mythologising and it threw up quite few red herrings, but at least some of what he wrote tallies with the historical record. The details of his death were also very widely reported in the press but were never properly tested in a criminal court. By comparing accounts in national and local newspapers it is possible to construct an accurate record of the police investigation as it was seen through the eyes of the Edwardian public. The coroner’s records are also preserved in the National Archives in Kew and the London Metropolitan Archive in Farringdon and these also give us a very decent chance of unlocking the mystery. Most fortunately of all, the Metropolitan police were sticklers at preserving anything that came across their desk connected to potential murder enquiries and these too are kept at Kew. It was my first time at the Archives and I’ve been back there many times since. It truly is a fantastic resource and we’re very lucky to have it. Thanks to the NA, using original evidence, witness statements and police documents, I believe I have been able to reconstruct the events leading to George Sanger’s death, and like so much of his life, nothing was quite what it seemed.

The Killing of Lord George by Karl Shaw (Icon Books) Out Now

The Life and Death of a 19th Century Circus Legend. On 28 November 1911 a retired showman died violently at his home in North London. Known to the world as Lord George Sanger, he was once the biggest name in show business, and was venerated as a national institution.

The death of Britain's wealthiest showman read like a popular crime thriller: a merciless killer; a famous victim; sensational media headlines; a desperate manhunt laced with police incompetencies and a dramatic denouement few could have anticipated. But for over a century, questions have persisted about the murder.

Weaving in the story of George's rise to fame and the history of Britain's entertainment industry, The Killing of Lord George uses previously unpublished archive material to reconstruct the events leading up to the death and reveal the true story behind the brutal crime that shocked Edwardian England.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Maxim Jakubowski on Black is the Night


It actually began with a shot.

An imposing cathedral somewhere in the French provinces. A happy couple on the steps leaving the ceremony behind, smiles on their faces, the bride wearing the obligatory white. And then the shot breaks up the cheering crowd and the groom collapses to the floor.

It was Paris in 1968 and my first encounter with Cornell Woolrich, the week that François Truffaut's 'La Mariée Etait en Noir' opened. A film classic better known here as 'The Bride Wore Black', adapted from the unforgettable novel by Cornell Woolrich.

At first it was a little confusing as, having been brought up in France, I hadn't made the connection between Woolrich and William Irish, a pseudonym he used on a number of books and short stories, and which French publishers somehow had highlighted on the majority of his books issued there. I had probably read a number of his stories in magazines, probably those of a more supernatural bent as I was at the time more of an expert on SF &fantasy and hadn't immediately puzzled out the Irish/Woolrich connection. To this day his books are generally signed by William Irish in France. An oddity of the French publishing scene where, similarly the wonderful novels by my dear, late friend Derek Raymond, are attributed to his real name, Robin Cook (as the US writer of medical chillers is almost unknown there...).

At any rate, this was my introduction to the dark world of death, broken love and melancholy loners that is characteristic of Woolrich.

He is an author's author. The general public mostly know him because of the many film and TV adaptations: 'Phantom Lady', 'Rear Window', Mississippi Mermaid', 'I Married a Dead Man', 'Black Angel', 'Deadline at Dawn', 'Night has a Thousand Eyes', 'Union City', and over 50 others.

Flash forward 20 years and I decide to launch Black Box Thrillers, a new imprint to rediscover some of the classics of noir, much inspired by the fact that so many wonderful US authors appear to be better known in Europe and are mostly out of print in their own language. And my first choice is, naturally, Woolrich. By now I have read all his books and a good chunk of his hundreds of stories and I am not just a fan but, with my own writing hat on, heavily under his influence.

He 'talks' to me; over the gulf of years we share some of the same obsessions: the cloak of night, the breathless passage of time that none of us can halt, the seductiveness of the femme fatale who we know is bad for us but can't stop lusting after, the downbeat endings, the strong sense of despair that life sometimes throws in our path.

I have no doubt that had I not read Woolrich (and a few other noir poets of the night like Marc Behm, David Goodis and Jim Thompson) I might have not begun writing crime & mystery and remained in the SF & fantasy ghetto. So, you know who to blame!

A Sunday dim sum lunch with Nick Landau and Vivien Cheung of the Titan group and my erstwhile silent partners in Murder One saw us brainstorming ideas for some new projects for Titan Books to follow up on the anthologies I had edited for them and which had performed reasonably well. Somehow the subject of Woolrich came up in the conversation as Nick is as much of a classic film fan as I am.

There have been a spate of recent anthologies with American small presses featuring stories influenced by the music of many luminaries: Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, etc... Lightning struck Baker Street (which is where the restaurant we were dining in was...)! Why not do the same with influential writers? We agreed on the spot Woolrich would be the first (I have since followed up with a similar book under the halo of J.G. Ballard, which will appear in 2023).

There were crime authors I knew who shared my passion for Woolrich which I approached and every single one came on board without a moment's hesitation. Then I mentioned the project on social media and was deluged by fervent expressions of interest. Some writers I would never have dreamed of contacting, others whose work does not on the surface appear to have any connection with Woolrich but were adamant in expressing how important he was for them. I had an embarrassment of potential contributors to the anthology and had to turn down so many with a heavy heart. And then there were dozens of speculative submissions; two of which actually made it into the final book.

I am absolutely delighted by the volume that came together. Truly marvellous stories, each and every one flying high under one aspect or another of the melancholy and murderous world that Cornell Woolrich created. Not imitations, but tales that are in his image, some that reflect twists on his themes, others that ingeniously transpose his world into contemporary times without losing the essential poignancy that lies at the heart of his work, every one a winner.

I have now edited, for good or worse, well over a hundred anthologies but 'Black is the Night' is undoubtedly in my Top 5.

Black is the Night edited by Maxim Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books) Out Now

A gritty and thrilling anthology of 28 new short stories in tribute to pulp noir master, Cornell Woolrich, author of 'Rear Window' that inspired Alfred Hitchock's classic film. Featuring Neil Gaiman, Kim Newman, James Sallis, A.K. Benedict, USA Today-bestseller Samantha Lee Howe, Joe R. Lansdale and many more. An anthology of exclusive new short stories in tribute to the master of pulp era crime writing, Cornell Woolrich. Woolrich, also published as William Irish and George Hopley, stands with Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner and Dashiell Hammett as a legend in the genre. He is a hugely influential figure for crime writers, and is also remembered through the 50+ films made from his novels and stories, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, I Married a Dead Man, Phantom Lady, Truffaut's La Sirene du Mississippi, and Black Alibi. Collected and edited by one of the most experienced editors in the field, Maxim Jakubowski, features original work from: Neil Gaiman, Joel Lane, Joe R. Lansdale, Vaseem Khan, Brandon Barrows, Tara Moss, Kim Newman, Nick Mamatas, Mason Cross, Martin Edwards, Donna Moore, James Grady, Lavie Tidhar, Barry N. Malzberg, James Sallis, A.K. Benedict, Warren Moore, Max Decharne, Paul Di Filippo, M.W. Craven, Charles Ardai, Susi Holliday, Bill Pronzini, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Maxim Jakubowski, Joseph S. Walker, Samantha Lee Howe, O'Neil De Noux , David Quantick, Ana Teresa Pereira, William Boyle

Monday, 3 October 2022

Ragnar Jonasson and Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland jointly write crime novel to be published by Penguin Michael Joseph


Penguin Michael Joseph acquires REYKJAVIK by Ragnar Jonasson and Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland

Penguin Michael Joseph has acquired Reykjavik by Ragnar Jonasson and Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland.

Publisher Maxine Hitchcock and senior commissioning editor Rebecca Hilsdon acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from David Headley at DHH Literary Agency. PMJ have previously published OutsideThe Girl Who Died, and the Hidden Iceland trilogy, all authored by Jonasson alone.

Ragnar Jonasson is the first Icelandic author to become a Sunday Times bestseller and has been described as ‘a world-class crime writer’ by The Sunday Times and ‘a landmark in modern crime fiction’ by The Times. Worldwide, he has sold over 3m copies, and is a number one bestseller in France, Germany, Australia, and his native Iceland. 

Katrin Jakobsdóttir has been Prime Minster of Iceland since 2017. Hailing from a family of prominent Icelandic poets and academics, she wrote her Master’s dissertation on Icelandic crime writing. She and Jonasson are longtime friends, who first worked together nearly ten years ago as part of the jury for an award for best crime fiction in translation in Iceland.

Reykjavik is a dual-narrative crime novel, following two strands of a mystery 30 years apart. In August 1956, a 14-year-old girl called Lara disappears from the island of Vidney,  just off the coast of Reykjavik – and becomes Iceland’s most infamous unsolved case. In 1986, as Reykjavik celebrates its 200th anniversary tabloid journalist Valur digs into her death.

Ragnar Jonasson said: ‘In early 2020 I had lunch with Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Iceland's Prime Minister, and suggested that it might be fun writing a crime novel together. We have really enjoyed working on this story, set in Iceland in the 1950s and 1980s, and are looking forward to sharing it with readers. It's been a dream come true to work with Penguin in recent years, and I am so excited that they will be bringing this story to a wider audience, with the help of our wonderful translator Vicky Cribb.

Katrin Jakobsdóttir said: ‘It was a real pleasure and a thrill to write this crime novel set in Iceland in the year 1986 with my friend Ragnar Jónasson. When the world is full of extreme challenges it can be quite beneficial for the soul to stay for a moment in a fictional world belonging to another era and write about sordid crimes.

Maxine Hitchcock said: We are so delighted to have another incredibly atmospheric and thrilling novel from Ragnar Jonasson -who is fast becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed crime novelists - and to welcome Katrin Jakobsdóttir to Penguin Michael Joseph. Both Ragnar and Katrin are devoted aficionados of the crime genre and combining their voices has added up to a novel that will enthral readers across the globe. The publication of REYKJAVIK will be a true event.’

Reykjavik will be published in the UK in August 2023.

For publicity enquiries please contact -

 Sriya Varadharajan at

Friday, 30 September 2022

Winners of the Fingerprint Awards 2022




The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse named Crime Book of the Year 2021

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby named Thriller of the Year 2021

Laura Purcell’s The Shape of Darkness wins Historical Crime Book of the year 2021

Abigail Dean wins Debut Book of the Year 2021 for Girl A

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor is named Genre-busting Book of the Year 2021

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, narrated by Amanda Redman, wins Audiobook Book of the Year 2021

Industry Award of the Year 2021 is awarded to HarperCollins for their Girl A campaign

Lifetime Achievement Award is posthumously awarded to Thalia Proctor

S A Cosby Photograph credit Camilo Queipo.

The winners of the inaugural Fingerprint Awards, celebrating international crime and thriller writing, were announced by actor and author Paul Clayton last night, Thursday 29th September, at Capital Crime, in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station. 

The winners of six out of eight categories were voted for online by crime and thriller fans: Crime Book of the Year 2021; Thriller of the Year 2021; Historical Crime Book of the Year 2021; Debut Book of the Year 2021; Genre-busting Book of the Year 2021 and Audio Book of the Year 2021. 

Ragnar Jonasson & Amanda Redman Photograph credit Camilo Queipo.

Notable winners included Blacktop Wasteland by S.A Cosby for Thriller of the Year 2021; Girl A by Abigail Dean for Debut Book of the Year 2021 and The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, narrated by Amanda Redman, for Audiobook Book of the Year 2021.

The winners of the Industry Award of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award were chosen solely by the Capital Crime Advisory Board. The Industry Award of the Year was won by HarperCollins for Girl A by Abigail Dean and the Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to editor Thalia Proctor. 

Capital Crime Festival Director Lizzie Curle said: “We were honoured to kick off the inaugural Fingerprint Awards with Paul Clayton at the helm. We are grateful for all the support we have received from publishers, authors, and most importantly, the readers, who make these awards possible.”

The Fingerprint Award Winners 

Crime Book of the Year 2021

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (Transworld)

Thriller Book of the Year 2021

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Headline)

Historical Crime Book of the Year - 2021

Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Bloomsbury)

Debut Book of the Year 2021

Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)

Genre-Busting Book of the Year 2021

The Burning Girl by C.J. Tudor (Penguin)

Audiobook of the Year 2021

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson & Amanda Redman (Penguin)

Industry Award the year 2021

HarperCollins for Girl A

Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous)

Thalia Proctor

Photographs credit Camilo Queipo.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Penguin Michael Joseph Launches New Prize


Penguin Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House, have today (Friday 23rd September 2022) revealed details of their new writers’ prize, following PMJ MD Louise Moore announcing that it was in the pipeline as part of her keynote speech at London Book Fair earlier this year.

The Penguin Michael Joseph Undiscovered Writers Prize aims to find new authors from underrepresented backgrounds who the division can bring to the widest possible readership. 

The inaugural prize (2022/2023) focusses on the crime and thriller genre, with budding writers being invited to submit tales of mysteries, crimes, jeopardy, action or adventure. 

The prize is aimed at unpublished writers aged over 18 who are currently a resident in the UK or ROI, and who are from a background that’s currently underrepresented in publishing – that includes ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability or socio-economic background.

Entries – which initially need to be submitted as a 200 word synopsis and 2000 word extract – will be judged by a panel of judges led by PMJ’s Crime and Thriller publisher Joel Richardson. 

He said,

We’re so excited to be launching this new prize, seeking out the brightest and best new voices in a genre I absolutely love. I hope it inspires people who have always daydreamed about writing a book to finally give it a go, and I also hope it plays a role in broadening the range of voices we see in crime/thriller writing – the UK’s biggest book genre.’ 

Joel’s fellow judges are: bestselling author Amy McCulloch; award-winning freelance crime fiction critic/commentator, moderator and blogger Ayo Onatade; Waterstones’ Head of Fiction Bea Carvalho; award-winning bookseller, owner of Goldsboro Books and MD and agent at D H H Literary Agency, David Headley, and Syima Aslam, the founder and Director of the Bradford Literature Festival - the most socio-economically and ethnically diverse literary festival in the UK.

The winner of the Penguin Michael Joseph Undiscovered Writers Prize will receive a publishing contract with PMJ, worth at least £10,000, and representation by the DHH Literary Agency. All shortlisted writers will also receive one-to-one editorial feedback and guidance from an editor or agent. 

Applications will open on 30th September and should be submitted via All further details and T&Cs can also be found here

The deadline for submissions is 30th November 2022, and the winner of the Prize is due to be announced in August 2023.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Strand Magazine Critics Awards


Strand Magazine Critics Awards were announced on 19th September 2022. 

Best Mystery Debut (2021)

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, Translated by Sam Malissa (Harry Abrams) 

Best Mystery Novel (2021)

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books) 

Publisher of the Year

Morgan Entrekin, President and Publisher of Grove/Atlantic Inc. in New York City.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Sandra Brown

Nelson DeMille

Congratulations to all!

Monday, 19 September 2022

Extract From Harm by Sólveig Pálsdóttir

 ‘No!’ she burst out, her hands going to her mouth. The terror that enveloped every fibre of her was so forceful that she could barely draw breath. She stared at the man in the bed, snatched at him and shook him.

‘You can’t do this to me!’ she howled, as she fought to draw long, gasping breaths. ‘Ríkharður, my love, you weren’t supposed to die.’

She let go of him, and rocked herself back and forth in confusion. Her breathing was shallow and she was close to losing control. She told herself to focus, to take deep, long breaths, to stay in control and not to give way to panic that would leave her helpless. She had to be able to think, to do what was needed.

What was she supposed to do? Call 112 and ask for an ambulance? Or a doctor? She looked in desperation at the man in the bed. There was no doubt that he was dead, and she was sure she had heard that if someone died at home, the police would always attend. Would a caravan count as well? She was certain of it. The police would come, there would be an autopsy and the drugs in Ríkharður’s bloodstream would be identified.
Everything would point to her, since he was a doctor and of course would know better than to take that mix of drugs. How could she explain that she hadn’t meant to kill him, but had simply wanted him to fall into a deep sleep while she went out during the night? Who was going to believe that? No, she’d been down that road before, telling the truth to authority. They wouldn’t believe her any more than they had believed her back then. Nobody would take any notice of a woman with a past like hers. No, society would ostracise her. Crazy Diljá would be behind bars, or else locked away in a psychiatric ward. That dreadful place! She trembled with horror at the thought, shivering as if she were standing naked on a glacier.

Being locked in was the worst thing she could imagine. Nothing could be worse. She would lose custody, and she might never get to see María Líf ever again. That couldn’t be allowed to happen. No, not again! He mind was a whirl of thoughts, none of which she could bear to follow to a conclusion. All she knew was that she had to get away from here as soon as possible – get away and give herself space to think logically. The clothes she had worn the night before were in the wardrobe and she hurried to pull them on. She wiped her face with a towel, picked up her sports bag and jammed a baseball cap on her head. She was being stifled here – she had to get away, far from this nightmare.

Harm by Sólveig Pálsdóttir (Translated by Quentin Bates) Corylus Books (Out Now)

When wealthy doctor Ríkarður Magnússon goes to sleep in his luxurious caravan and doesn’t wake up, detectives Guðgeir Fransson and Elsa Guðrún are called to the Westman Islands to investigate what looks like murder. Suspicion immediately falls on Ríkharður’s young, beautiful and deeply troubled girlfriend – but there are no easy answers in this case as they are drawn into family feuds, disgruntled friends and colleagues, and the presence of a group of fitness-obsessed over-achievers with secrets of their own. As their investigation makes progress, Guðgeir and Elsa Guðrún are forced to confront their own preconceptions and prejudices as they uncover the sinister side of Ríkharður’s past. Harm is the third novel featuring the soft-spoken Reykjavík detective Guðgeir Fransson to appear in English. Sólveig Pálsdóttir again weaves a complex web of intrigue that plays out in the Westman Islands, remote southern Iceland and Reykjavík while asking some searching questions about things society accepts at face value – and others it is not prepared to tolerate.

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Ghosts, Shipwrecks and Murder by Guy Morpuss


Vancouver Island is a land of ghosts and shipwrecks.

Hauntings abound: the woman in a white ballgown seen on the stairs at Craigdarroch Castle; a crying girl who floats out to sea each morning; Kanaka Pete, a murderer hanged at Gallows Point, whose restless spirit wanders the beaches at dusk.

The western coast of the island is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Hundreds of ships have been wrecked in its treacherous waters, and countless lives lost.

The wreck of the Valencia, in January 1906, was one of the most tragic. En route from San Francisco to Seattle in bad weather, her captain overshot the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and struck a reef near Pachena Bay. As the ship slowly sank, a hundred metres offshore, the screams of the women and children could be heard over the sound of the rain and the wind. Only a handful of men survived.

Months later, a local fisherman found a lifeboat containing eight skeletons in a sea-cave next to the bay, the mouth of the cave blocked by a large boulder. There were also several reports of a lifeboat seen on the open sea, rowed by a crew of skeletons.

In late 2019 I had just returned from a trip to Vancouver Island, and my agent was about to put my first novel, Five Minds, out on submission to publishers. He asked me for an idea for a second novel that he could pitch at the same time. I was sitting at my desk with a blank piece of paper on which – for reasons that escape me – I had written a single word: ‘undelete’. As I wracked my brain this turned into an idea for a crime novel: a police officer trying to solve a murder in an isolated community where some members could unwind time. How would it work if whenever they got close to identifying the murderer someone turned back the clock?

For me the three most important parts of a novel are a clever plot, characters the readers want to spend time with, and an interesting location.

I had a plot; the characters would develop as I wrote; so I needed a location.

Vancouver Island has a stark beauty; it is isolated from the world, and frequently battered by fierce storms sweeping in off the Pacific Ocean. It seemed the perfect setting for a classic murder mystery: a group of people trapped in a remote mansion by bad weather, one of them murdered, and one of them a killer.

A friend of mine who comes from the island told me about Black Lake, near Pachena Bay, and the famously tragic shipwreck that had occurred there.

So Black Lake Manor starts with a shipwreck inspired by the story of the Valencia. Mine takes place a hundred years earlier. What follows also draws on the rich mythology of the local First Nations people.

In Black Lake Manor a single lifeboat escapes the sinking of the Pride of Whitby in 1804, but the survivors find themselves trapped in a cave. Only one escapes alive, having survived by eating the flesh of his companions. He is rescued by the Mowachaht, the local First Nations people, who realise that he has been visited by an island spirit and acquired a unique ability, which his descendants will share: once in their lives they can turn back time by six hours.

Two hundred and forty years later, when the locals close ranks around a possible murderer, this presents real problems for the investigating officer. Each time she has almost solved the murder she has to start again, with no recollection of what she discovered last time round – and each time her investigation goes off in a different direction. So, unusually, the reader knows more than the protagonist. But which of her possible solutions is the correct one?

Black Lake Manor features cannibalism, live heart removal, a chess set (which may or may not be a red herring), and a pet octopus.

It draws heavily on its location: the incredible beauty and harshness of the island; and the dark mythology of its people. I hope that I have done justice to it, and perhaps even will inspire some readers to visit the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss (Profile Books) Out Now

A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can unwind time… In the former mining town of Black Lake, there is an old story about a shipwreck with only one survivor. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours. More than two hundred years later, part-time police constable Ella Manning is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion belonging to the local billionaire. When a raging storm sweeps in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in his study the next morning, the door locked from the inside, they turn to her to solve the crime. Pushing her detective skills to the limit, against the odds Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then someone undoes time. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Which of her suspects is guilty? And is there something even more sinister she is yet to uncover? Can she solve the mystery before time runs out… again?

Friday, 16 September 2022

Joffe Books Prize becomes UK’s largest crime fiction award


Joffe Books Prize becomes UK’s largest crime fiction award with £25,000 support from Audible

Joffe Books is thrilled to announce that Audible has committed to supporting the Joffe Books Prize, with a £25,000 audiobook deal for the winner of the prize for the next three years, making it one of the most significant prizes for crime fiction in the UK.

The prize aims to find brilliant unagented crime writers of colour, and to support these authors in their journey to build a sustainable career.

The winner of the prize will now receive a £25,000 audiobook offer from Audible for the first book, in addition to a two-book publishing deal with Joffe Books and a £1,000 cash prize. The winner will additionally receive an editorial consultation with one of the judges and a two-year membership to the Society of Authors.

Audible has also extended the audiobook offer to include Northumberland-based debut novelist Christie J. Newport, winner of the Joffe Books Prize 2021.

In celebration of this partnership, the submission period for 2022 has been extended to midnight on 31 October 2022.

This year, the judging panel includes Oyinkan Braithwaite, critically acclaimed, award-winning author of the bestselling My Sister, the Serial Killer, and Ella Diamond Kahn, co-founder and partner of the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency.

The prize, launched in 2021, is a direct response to the paucity of diverse voices being published in crime fiction. It invites submissions from un-agented authors from Black, Asian, Indigenous and minority ethnic backgrounds writing in crime fiction genres including electrifying psychological thrillers, cosy mysteries, gritty police procedurals, twisty chillers, unputdownable suspense mysteries and shocking domestic noirs.

Full Terms & Conditions can be found at

Emma Grundy Haigh, Editorial Director at Joffe Books, says: “I am absolutely thrilled by Audible’s commitment to not just our prize, but to amplifying underrepresented voices in a very real way. Their involvement is utterly gamechanging — it promises to make this one of the most significant crime fiction prizes in the UK. Audible’s enthusiasm and advocacy has been evident right from the start. It’s been a pleasure to work with them so far, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve.

Aurelie de Troyer, Senior Vice President, International English Content says: “Audible is delighted to be able to offer the winner of the Joffe Books Prize this additional opportunity. We are passionate believers in the power of storytelling and want those stories to come from the widest possible range of people. We hope that our support will help set the winner on the path to a sustainable long-term writing career and look forward to giving them a well-deserved platform in audio.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards Winner Announced

 Giving victims a voice: debut novel sweeps 

2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards

History was made at a special WORD Christchurch event on Thursday night as Taranaki author Jacqueline Bublitz’s first novel was revealed as the winner of both categories of the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards

In the thirteenth instalment of Aotearoa’s annual awards celebrating excellence in crime, mystery, and thriller writing, Bublitz scooped both the Best First Novel and Best Novel prizes for Before You Knew My Name (Allen & Unwin). It is the first time any Kiwi storyteller has won both fiction categories.

Beautifully heart-breaking, stylishly written, and boldly pushing the envelope of crime fiction,” said the international judging panels. “Bublitz delivers a beguiling tale with great characterisation: Alice and Ruby are wonderful. This is a tragic but warm-hearted crime novel that gives victims agency and voice.

Ngaio Marsh Awards founder Craig Sisterson noted that while a few excellent debuts have been shortlisted for both categories over the past several years, Before You Knew My Name is the first book to ever win two Ngaio Marsh Awards. Bublitz also joins Christchurch author and international bestseller Paul Cleave, a three-time Best Novel winner, as the only Kiwi storytellers with multiple Ngaios. So far.

It’s a remarkable achievement by Jacqueline,” added Sisterson, “especially given the strength of the Best Novel category this year, which included past Ngaios winners in Cleave and RWR McDonald, a four-time finalist in Ben Sanders, a two-time Ockhams longlistee in Kirsten McDougall, and a many-times New York Times bestseller in Nalini Singh. Our judges really loved many different books, it was a tough decision.

The international judging panels for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards comprised leading crime fiction critics, editors, and authors from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, and the United States.

While Before You knew My Name shares an inciting incident familiar to any viewer of US cop shows – a jogger in New York City finds the body of a young woman – in her debut Bublitz flips the script by taking readers deep into the lives of Alice and Ruby, the victim and the jogger, rather than the detectives.

On Thursday night, Bublitz was presented with the Best First Novel prize by bestselling Australian author Michael Robotham, then the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel by Scottish queen of crime Val McDermid. Before the audience found out whowunnit, Robotham and McDermid had entertained attendees in a thrilling panel with past Ngaios winner JP Pomare, as part of the trio’s Crime After Crime tour of New Zealand.

The two Ngaio Marsh Awards add to a list of accolades for Bublitz’s debut that include winning General Fiction Book of the Year at the ABIA Awards, being shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger in the UK, and winning the Debut Crime and Readers’ Choice prizes at the Davitt Awards of Sisters in Crime Australia.

Before it was published, Bublitz worked on Before You Knew My Name for several years, including living in New York City, “ostensibly for research” in 2015, and persisting through dozens of rejections. She finally completed the novel in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death in 2019, after returning to New Zealand from two decades in Melbourne. “I realised what I was trying to say, which is look at what we lose when this kind of crime happens,” she said. “I was going through my own experience of loss and thinking about mortality, and I changed some of the narrative and became a lot more clear on Alice’s journey.”

Bublitz’s prizes include two trophies, $1,000 courtesy of WORD Christchurch, long-time partner of the Ngaio Marsh Awards, and a cash prize from the Ngaios. Her book is released in US hardcover in November.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

PBS Masterpiece - 7 Fictional Female Detectives to Discover Now

Over on the PBS Masterpiece website you can find a wide range of information on their various shows including schedules, podcasts and special features. Their latest post is about fictional detectives.

(From the website)

With three separate take-charge women solving crimes and defying stereotypes on MASTERPIECE on PBS this fall, now’s the perfect time to explore the fascinating range of similar protagonists—from books. We asked crime fiction reviewers, authors, and insiders for their favorite female crime fighters, and they delivered a list stretching from an 11-year-old sleuth to a forensic archeologist. Whether you’re interested in cozy mysteries or futuristic police procedurals, there’s plenty to love in these seven recommendations.

Some well known authors, mystery folk and reviewers (Including myself) have contributed to some surprising choices.

The 7 fictional female detectives can be seen here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

2022 Mo Siewcharran Prize shortlist

The 2022 Mo Siewcharran Prize shortlist has been revealed! Please join us in congratulating our shortlisted writers, selected by our judging panel.

The winner will be announced on 28th September 2022

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Anthony Award Winners 2022

The Anthony Awards were presented at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in Minneapolis. 

The winners are as follows -

Best Novel

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Best First Novel

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley Prime Crime)

Best Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook Oriignal

Bloodline by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)

Best Anthology

This Time for Sure: Bouchercon Anthology 2021, Edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Down & Out)

Best Short Story

"Not My Cross to Bear" by S.A. Cosby (from Trouble No More: Crime Fiction Inspired by Southern Rock and the Blues, edited by Mark Westmoreland; (Down & Out))

Best Critical/Non-Fiction

How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)

Best Children's/Young Adult

I Play One on TV by Alan S. Orloff (Down & Out)

Congratulations to all the winners and the nominated authors.

Friday, 9 September 2022

Deadly Pleasures Magazine:- Barry Awards Announced


Deadly Pleasures Magazine have announced the Winners of the Barry Awards at the Opening Ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon. 

Best Mystery/Crime Novel
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel
Sleeping Bear by Connor Sullivan (Emily Bestler/Atria)

Best Paperback Original
The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (Blackstone)

Best Thriller

Five Decembers by James Kestrel (HardCase Crime)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominated authors.



For works published in 2021

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI.

The winners were announced at the opening ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon. 

Best Mystery Novel

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

Best First Mystery Novel

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)

Best Mystery Short Story

Sweeps Week,” by Richard Helms (EQMM, July/August 2021)

Best Non-Fiction/Critical 

How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (Scribner)

Best Historical Mystery: Sue Feder Memorial Award

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominated authors