[See Updates under PAST CRIMEFEST WEBSITES for older newsletters.]
Wednesday, 7 April 2021.
A warm welcome to the second newsletter of 2021.
– CRIMEFEST AWARDS
– MISS CRIMEFEST? (DVDS TO BE WON)
– RIPLEY REPRINTS
– CRIME TIME PODCASTS
– THE (CRIME) DRAMA! (DVD GIVEAWAYS)
– CHESTER HIMES REPRINTED (BOOKS TO BE WON)
– NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
Now in their 14th year, the CRIMEFEST Awards are always a highlight. The shortlists are a fabulous way of celebrating authors you may already admire, or introducing you to writers you’ve yet to discover.
This year’s awards will once more be virtual. We’ll be announcing how you can watch them soon. (Oh, for the days of not loudly proclaiming ‘you’re on mute!’)
The shortlists have been compiled by votes from crime fiction reviewers who write for national newspapers and websites, with the exception of the Sounds of Crime Award, where the shortlists were established by listeners of Audible.
They perhaps offer you some reading tips for the upcoming summer months – even if we can’t physically get away on holiday, books offer the greatest of escapes!
All winners receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award, and Audible and Specsavers once again are providing £1,000 for the winners of the categories they sponsor.
Please, do a little drumroll…the 2021 nominees are:
Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award
– Eva Björg Aegisdóttir for The Creak on the Stairs (Orenda Books)
– Marion Brunet for Summer of Reckoning (Bitter Lemon Press)
– Robin Morgan-Bentley for The Wreckage (Trapeze)
– Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)
– Mara Timon for City of Spies (Zaffre)
– Trevor Wood for The Man on the Street (Quercus)
With thanks to our headline and award sponsor, Specsavers.
Audible Sounds of Crime Award
– Lee & Andrew Child for The Sentinel, reader Jeff Harding (Transworld)
– Lucy Foley for The Guest List, readers Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Chloe Massey, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble & Jot Davies (HarperFiction)
– Robert Galbraith for Troubled Blood, reader Robert Glenister (Little, Brown Book Group)
– Anthony Horowitz for Moonflower Murders, readers Lesley Manville & Allan Corduner (Penguin Random House Audio)
– Peter James for Find Them Dead, reader Daniel Weyman (Pan Macmillan)
– Lisa Jewell for Invisible Girl, reader Donna Banya, Rebekah Staton & Connor Swindells (Penguin Random House Audio)
– Lynda La Plante for Buried, readers Alex Hassell & Annie Aldington (Zaffre)
– T. M. Logan for The Catch, reader Philip Stevens (Zaffre)
– Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club, reader Lesley Manville (Viking)
– Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times, reader James Macpherson (Orion)
With thanks to award sponsor, Audible.
– Gabriel Bergmoser for The Hunted (Faber)
– Sharon Bolton for The Split (Trapeze)
– J. P. Carter for Little Boy Lost (Avon)
– Steve Cavanagh for Fifty-Fifty (Orion Fiction)
– Michael Connelly for Fair Warning (Orion Fiction)
– James Lee Burke for A Private Cathedral (Orion Fiction)
– Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times (Orion Fiction)
– Holly Watt for The Dead Line (Raven Books)
H. R. F. Keating Award
– Mark Aldridge for Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World (HarperCollins)
– Martin Edwards (editor) for Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club (Collins Crime Club)
– Colin Larkin for Cover Me: The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965 (Telos Publishing)
– Andrew Lycett for Conan Doyle’s Wide World (Tauris Parke)
– Heather Martin for The Reacher Guy (Constable)
– Sheila Mitchell for H. R. F. Keating: A Life of Crime (Level Best Books)
– Craig Sisterson for Southern Cross Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of Australia and New Zealand (Oldcastle Books)
– Peter Temple for The Red Hand: Stories, reflections and the last appearance of Jack Irish (riverrun)
Last Laugh Award
– Ben Aaronovitch for False Value (Gollancz)
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – Oranges and Lemons (Doubleday)
– Elly Griffiths for The Postscript Murders (Quercus)
– Carl Hiaasen for Squeeze Me (Sphere)
– Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)
– Malcolm Pryce for The Corpse in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Bloomsbury Publishing)
– Khurrum Rahman for Ride or Die (HQ)
– Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace (Contraband)
Best Crime Novel for Children (Ages 8-12)
– Sophie Deen for Agent Asha: Mission Shark Bytes (Walker Books)
– Elly Griffiths for A Girl Called Justice – The Smugglers’ Secret (Quercus Children’s Group)
– Anthony Horowitz for Nightshade (Walker Books)
– Jack Noel for My Headteacher is an Evil Genius (Walker Books)
– Serena Patel for Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne Publishing)
– Serena Patel for School’s Cancelled (Usborne Publishing)
– Onjali Q. Rauf for The Night Bus Hero (Orion Children’s Group)
– Dave Shelton for The Pencil Case (David Fickling Books)
Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (Ages 12-16)
– William Hussey for Hideous Beauty (Usborne Publishing)
– Lauren James for The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker (Walker Books)
– Matt Killeen for Devil Darling Spy (Usborne Publishing)
– Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Hodder Children’s Group)
– Simon Lelic for Deadfall (Hodder Children’s Group)
– Robert Muchamore for Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows (Hot Key Books)
– Patrick Ness for Burn (Walker Books)
– Nancy Springer for The Case of the Missing Marquess (Hot Key Books)
Congratulations to all the nominees!
The awards will be announced in the first week of June.
We are so disappointed we are not going to catch up with our regular delegates this May.
From messages, we know that many of you will also miss meeting up with friends. So, since you can’t come to CRIMEFEST, we thought we would try and bring a little of it to you! If you have a happy memory of your time at CRIMEFEST or a photo from past conventions that you would like to share, then why not do so over on our social media?
We will pick one of the posts at random on 30 April, and the lucky winner will receive series one to five DVD boxset of Line of Duty – just to remind you what happened before the current sixth season, so you can try and unravel H and AC-12 with their AFO, ARV, and OMG! (Or if you’re new to it, you can find out why the series is so popular!)
With the frequent mentions of CRIMEFEST in Mike ‘the Ripster’ Ripley’s always entertaining and informative Shots eZine column, Getting Away With Murder, the least we can do is reciprocate when there is an occasion to do so.
Presently, the talented Mr Ripley is best known for the award-winning Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – the history of the golden age of British thrillers – and his continuation of Margery Allingham’s Campion series. However, Mike’s first claim to fame – and awards – was for his humorous crime books featuring Fitzroy Maclean Angel. If the fast-firing laughs were bullets, the results would be deadlier than the St Valentine’s Day Massacre! All the ‘Angel’ titles have been recently reprinted by Telos Publishing and they – like the aforementioned publications – are available from Amazon (UK / US) or independent bookshops near you (UK / US).
CRIME TIME PODCAST
Crime Time, another top online site for anything related to crime writing, now has its own podcast!
Tune in to interviews hosted by the entertaining and erudite Barry Forshaw and Paul Burke. Crime Time is developing a library of interviews and conversations across the spectrum of the genre. The first offerings are available now on www.crimetime.fm and through podcast services, such as Spotify and Apple.
THE (CRIME) DRAMA!
Whether it’s on the page or on our screens, the crime genre has offered a much-needed portal out of the pandemic for those of us with a predilection for the criminal. In honour of the escapism, entertainment, and downright bingeworthy obsessions that box sets inspire, we’ve put on our square-shaped specs to take a peek into two recent screenings and what’s coming up…
Not only was it a Netflix streaming no.1 hit, but it has inspired its own memes and trended on Twitter. A huge congratulations to one of the busiest writers around, and a regular at CRIMEFEST – Sarah Pinborough. Sarah’s bestselling psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes is still available for streaming at Netflix.
Fans of Bosch, Amazon Prime’s adaptation of Michael Connelly’s police procedurals, might be interested that The Lincoln Lawyer will be pulling up his sedan at Netflix. For more details, go to TV Line.
Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz’s crime novel within a crime novel, has cast its fictional ‘fictional’ sleuth: Timothy Spall will play Atticus Pünd. No word yet on who will play Pünd creator Alan Conway, but Lesley Manville will star as editor Susan Ryeland. More details at TV Insider.
Rights have been bought to adapt Anthony Bourdain’s crime novel – yes, you read that correctly – Gone Bamboo for the small screen. This by no way means that it will actually result in a television series. However, it does give us the opportunity to promote some somewhat forgotten, but highly regarded books. Best known as a world renowned chef and foodie television presenter, Bourdain wrote a series of crime novels – Bone in Throat; Gone Bamboo; Bobby Gold and more – before his bestselling autobiography, Kitchen Confidential. For fans of audiobooks there is the added bonus of a brilliant reading by the author himself of the latter. For more on the rights story visit Deadline.
Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins may soon return to the screen in a Spielberg Amblin Entertainment’s television series. Last seen on the big screen version of Devil In A Blue Dress (UK / US), reports say that the drama will highlight the racial inequities and social injustice of the time whilst honouring the great traditions of storytelling in the detective genre. GeekTyrant has more.
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher transformation from the big to the small screen is another step closer. Stepping into Tom Cruise’s shoes is Alan Ritchson for the Amazon adaptation of Killing Floor. Don’t know who Ritchson is? Neither did we, but Variety has pics and more details.
And last, and possibly most controversial, ITV is planning to adapt Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File for television. With the 1965 film starring Michael Caine (UK / US) still a firm favourite of many, will Peaky Blinders Joe Cole be accepted in the role? Lucy Boynton and the marvellous Tom Hollander co-star. Deadline has more details.
Has the above given you a thirst to watch some great crime drama? You’re in luck! Courtesy of ITV Studios, we have a selection of top crime dramas to give away:
To be in with a chance to get your hands on one of the above giveaways, send an email by 16 April to email@example.com with the name of your preferred title in the subject line, and your postal address in the body of your message. By entering, you agree for your details to be passed on to ITV Studios.
CHESTER HIMES REPRINTED
Before we move on to new books by authors who have attended CRIMEFEST, let us highlight a classic one. Chester Himes is without a doubt one of the best American – and overlooked? – crime writers. Penguin Modern Classics are reissuing five of Himes’ classic novels featuring hardboiled Harlem detectives ‘Coffin’ Ed Johnson and ‘Grave Digger’ Jones: A Rage in Harlem (aka For Love of Imabelle); The Real Cool Killers; All Shot Up; Cotton Comes to Harlem; and The Heat’s On.
To win one of three sets of these titles, send an email by 16 May with the name of Himes’ biographer (and crime novelist in his own right) in the subject line, and your postal address in the body, to firstname.lastname@example.org. By entering you agree for your postal details to be shared with Penguin to enable them to send out the books to the lucky winners.
NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
You may not be able to meet authors at CRIMEFEST this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support them by buying their books. As a token of thanks to authors who attended in the past, we have listed recent, current and upcoming titles at the close of this newsletter. We’ll list later months in upcoming newsletters.
We’ll send out another newsletter soon but, until then, stay safe and get your Covid jab when you can!
Adrian & Donna,
NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
|Cara||Black||Three Hours in Paris||Kate Rees||Historical / Thriller|
|Alison||Bruce||The Moment Before Impact||n/a||Psychological / Thriller|
|Rosie||Claverton||Hard Return||Amy Lane||Amateur Sleuth / Private Eye|
|M. K.||Hill||The Woman In The Wood||Sasha Dawson||Police Procedural/ Thriller/ Psychological|
|Samantha Lee||Howe||The House of Killers||House of Killers||Spy / Psychological / Thriller|
|M.A.||Hunter||Discarded||Missing Children Case Files||Amateur Sleuth / Thriller|
|T.E.||Kinsey||The Deadly Mystery Of The Missing Diamonds||Dizzy Heights||Historical / Private Eye / Traditional|
|Mike||Ripley||Mr Campion’s Coven||Albert Campion||Amateur sleuth / Historical / Humour|
|William||Shaw||Grave’s End||DS Alexandra Cupidi||Police Procedural|
|Vanda||Symon||Bound||Sam Shephard||Police Procedural / Thriller|
|Rebecca||Tope||The Ullswater Undertaking||Simmy Brown||Amateur Sleuth|
|Kevin||Wignall||Those Who Disappeared||n/a||Mystery|
|Felicia||Yap||Future Perfect||n/a||Police Procedural / Psychological / Thriller|
|Sarah||Armstrong||The Starlings of Bucharest||Moscow Wolves||Historical / Thriller|
|James||Delargy||Vanished||n/a||Police Procedural / Thriller|
|Charlie||Gallagher||The Friend||Joel Norris||Police Procedural / Thriller / Traditional|
|Ross||Greenwood||Prisoner||n/a||Psychological / Thriller|
|Peter||Guttridge||Butcher’s Wood||Gilchrist & Heap||Police Procedural|
|John||Lawton||Hammer to Fall||Joe Wilderness||Spy|
|Chris||McDonald||Roses For The Dead||DI Erika Piper||Police Procedural / Psychological / Thriller|
|C. E.||Rose||The House of Hidden Secrets||n/a||Psychological thriller/gothic|
|Michael||Stanley||Facets of Death||Detective Kubu||Police Procedural / Thriller|
|Andrew||Taylor||The Royal Secret||Marwood & Lovett||Historical / Thriller|
|Russ||Thomas||Nighthawking||DS Adam Tyler||Police Procedural / Psychological / Thriller|
|Vicki||Bradley||Your Life or Mine||DC Alana Loxton||Police Procedural / Psychological / Thriller|
|Fiona||Erskine||The Chemical Reaction||Jaq Silver||Amateur Sleuth / Police Procedural / Traditional|
|Samantha Lee||Howe||Kill Or Die||House of Killers||Spy/ Psychological / Thriller|
|M.A.||Hunter||Repressed||Missing Children Case Files||Amateur Sleuth / Thriller|
|Nina||Manning||The Bridesmaid||n/a||Psychological / Domestic Noir / Thriller|
|William||Shaw||The Trawlerman||DS Alexandra Cupidi||Police Procedural|
|Lesley||Thomas||The Distant Dead||Stella Darnell||Amateur Sleuth / Private Eye|
Friday, 26 February 2021.
We’ve missed you. A warm welcome to this first newsletter of 2021.
Spring is well and truly in the air, so enjoy the flowers! Well, maybe it’s just crocuses and daffodils… for now. As we step out of a rather long winter and an even longer year, we’re all ready for a little hope and light.
In the spirit of raising spirits, we have a wonderful giveaway for all newsletter subscribers, and not one, but two exciting competitions.
What’s more, we start our newsletter congratulating someone on a very special (and glittering) award.
Let’s get stuck in!
In this issue:
– MARTINA COLE RECEIVES THE 2021 DIAMOND DAGGER
– LYNDA LA PLANTE: 30th ANNIVERSARY PRIME SUSPECT COMPETITION
– HARPERCOLLINS BAME COMPETITION
– HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY
– CALLING ALL BRISTOL CRIME WRITERS
– NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
And last – but certainly not least – for all newsletter subscribers
MARTINA COLE RECEIVES THE 2021 DIAMOND DAGGER
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so huge congratulations to Martina Cole on being the 2021 recipient of one of the highest honours in the crime fiction world: the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Diamond Dagger.
The Diamond Dagger recognises authors whose crime-writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to crime fiction writing.
The author of twenty-five books, seventeen of which reached #1, Martina is Britain’s bestselling female crime writer, achieving the feat of being the first British female adult-audience novelist to break the £50 million sales mark since Nielsen Bookscan records began.
Not only is she a powerhouse in publishing, Martina is a passionate advocate for prisoner rehabilitation and visits prisons to give writing classes. She is also a big supporter of Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families.
Martina is joining the likes of Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Colin Dexter, Sue Grafton, Peter James, P.D. James, Peter Lovesey and Ian Rankin, we can’t think of a more worthy recipient to be part of the coveted Diamond Dagger cohort. Congratulations Tina!
With thanks to Headline, the UK publisher of all of Martina’s UK books, we’re offering you the chance to win one of two book bundles:
To enter, simply email email@example.com with the name of the heroine of Martina’s first novel in the subject line of the email, and your bundle choice in the body of the message. The deadline is 14 March. (Competition entrants agree for their contact details to be passed on to Headline).
And so, from one ‘Queen of Crime’ to another…
Now, this is going to make those of you who can remember feel ancient: it’s scary to think that it has been thirty years since the first series of Lynda La Plante’s seminal Prime Suspect was televised!
After penning multiple ground breaking crime dramas, Lynda went on to add bestselling author to her versatile resume. Her publisher is rolling out a number of promotions to highlight the anniversary, as well as the upcoming publication of her second DC Jack Warr instalment, Judas Horse. (Look out for a CRIMEFEST promotion in the next newsletter!)
Back to Prime Suspect… With thanks to ITV Studios, we have five boxsets of the complete collection as prizes in a competition.
To enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Prime’ in the subject line, and the names of both the actress and the lead character she portrayed in Prime Suspect in the body of the message. The deadline is 14 March.
(We had hoped to link to a historic television clip where, as their TV characters, Ann Mitchell (Widows), Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) and Janet McTeer (The Governor) introduce Lynda. Sadly, Google didn’t produce any results. So, do send us the link if anyone out there is more successful!)
HARPERCOLLINS BAME COMPETITION
With aspiring writers making up a large number of CRIMEFEST delegates and newsletter readers, we thought some of you might be interested in HarperFiction’s Killing It: The Killer Reads Competition for Undiscovered Writers.
The competition aims to open doors to crime writers who need a way into the publishing industry, and encourages submissions from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic writers in particular. Entrants are being asked to send the first 10,000 words of their fiction crime, thriller or suspense novel. Three winners will be chosen to receive editorial reports from HarperFiction crime editors on their full manuscripts, covering pace, characterisation, pitch, and more, plus editorial mentoring (up to three one-hour sessions).
For more information, please visit Killing It competition website.
Yes, writing a mystery is no longer a mystery! This handbook from Mystery Writers of America (MWA) was edited by CRIMEFEST friends, and bestselling authors, Lee Child and Laurie King. So, you know you’re in good hands. Laurie and Lee’s fellow contributors are no slouches either, and include Linwood Barclay, Lindsey Davis, Jeffery Deaver, Meg Gardiner, Louise Penny, and many more.
CALLING ALL BRISTOL CRIME WRITERS
Are you a Bristol (UK) based crime writer, or is Bristol a central and integral part to your book(s)? If so, we would like to hear from you for a possible future newsletter item. Please contact us asap by emailing email@example.com, including brief details of your connection to the city.
NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
You may not be able to meet CRIMEFEST authors at the convention this year – don’t forget that 12-15 May are our 2022 dates! – but that doesn’t mean you can’t support them by buying their books. Recent, current and upcoming titles are listed at the close of this newsletter.
…And last, but certainly not least…
That got your attention, didn’t it! The above is the basis for Forgive Me, a short story by Joy Ellis. Published by Joffe Books, Joy Ellis, is a #1 bestselling crime author who has sold over two million books worldwide.
The short story is free for all CRIMEFEST newsletter subscribers who sign up for the Joffe Books newsletter with info on their new crime releases, offers on bestselling fiction and giveaways.
Be well, stay safe, and get inoculated when you can!
Adrian & Donna,
|M.A.||Hunter||Discarded||The Missing Children Case Files (Book-4)||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||March|
|T.E.||Kinsey||The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds||Dizzy Heights||Amateur sleuth / Historical / Traditional||March|
|Dawn||Brookes||A Murder Mystery Cruise||Rachel Prince||Amateur sleuth||February|
|Philippa||East||Safe and Sound||n/a||Psychological / Thriller||February|
|Paul||Gitsham||DCI Warren Jones Omnibus: 1-3 + 2 bonus novellas||DCI Warren Jones||Police procedural||February|
|Michael||Ridpath||The Diplomat's Wife||n/a||Spy / Thriller||February|
|Alex||Shaw||Total Fallout||Jack Tate||Thriller||February|
|Tim||Glister||Red Corona||n/a||Historical / Thriller||January|
|M.A.||Hunter||Trafficked||The Missing Children Case Files (Book-3)||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||January|
|Michael||Kurland||Whatever the Cost||Welker & Saboy||Historical / Thriller||January|
|Douglas||Lindsay||These Are The Stories We Tell||n/a||Police procedural / Psychological||January|
|Robert||Scragg||End Of The Line||Porter & Styles||Police procedural||January|
|Linda||Stratmann||Trial of the Mannings||Notable British Trials||Legal||January|
Friday, 11 December 2020.
A warm welcome to this last newsletter of the year!
In this issue:
…and last but not least…
CRIMEFEST AWARD SUBMISSIONS
…are in! Publishers have submitted their entries for the 2021 CRIMEFEST Awards. As always, we do not charge submission fees to allow all authors – bestsellers , midlist and new – to be entered by their publisher. The submitted titles are up on the AWARDS page.
If you’re an author who has a title that meets the eligibility criteria, but can’t see your details under the relevant award categories, then contact your publisher and ask them to submit your book(s). To allow for any last-minute entries, we have extended the submission deadline to 15 January, 2021. (To note, only UK based publishers are eligible to submit entries.)
RECOMMENDED CHRISTMAS READS
We all know the best Christmas presents are books. If you have run out of ideas on which titles to get – or simply found time has run away with you and you’re in panic-buy mode – breathe easy! We have asked some of the top reviewers of the crime genre in the UK to step up to the Christmas gift challenge. So, you can chill out with a mince pie and…a good book!
New: We Begin at The End by Chris Whitaker
There is a double lineage here: the poetically written novel of difficult family relationships in small-town America (as in Catcher in the Rye) and the psychological crime novel, both strands delivered with formidable skill. Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley, pugnacious but vulnerable, has taken over the care of a younger brother from a dysfunctional mother. Her mother’s boyfriend is released from prison after killing a little girl, and lives are to change irrevocably. Issues of redemption and responsibility are treated powerfully.
Classic: Vanish in an Instant by Margaret Millar
Crime from earlier eras? A mention should be made of a key reissue: the excellent (and neglected) Margaret Millar, whose Vanish in an Instant from 1952 is a reminder what a persuasive practitioner of the psychological crime novel Millar was – and should be remembered for her own considerable accomplishments rather than as the wife of detective novelist Ross MacDonald. A young girl from a privileged background is found in a snowstorm at night, drunk and covered with someone else’s blood. Is she a murderess? Low-rent lawyer Eric Meecham has a penchant for difficult cases but finds all his skills are needed in this saga of guilt and betrayal. Not as impressive as Millar’s Beast in View, but still crime writing of a rare order.
Barry Forshaw is the author of many books on crime fiction, including Brit Noir and Historical Noir. His latest book is Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide. He reviews for a number of national papers and edits www.crimetime.co.uk.
New: We Begin at The End by Chris Whitaker
Poignant, compelling and so full of delicacies and horror, Chris Whitaker’s third novel is a genuine masterpiece confirming his talent for evoking small-town America and the malevolent secrets it can harbour. And he happens to be British! Few contemporary authors balance a sense of broken humanity and resilience as Chris does. Unmissable.
Classic: Eye of The Beholder by Marc Behm
The sheer quintessence of existential noir. A mad romp through the unlimited panorama of lost American highways, via a young woman’s deadly quest and a deluded private eye’s search for his errant daughter. A thing of beauty that has inspired many of us dark thriller writers ever since.
Maxim Jakubowski is the former owner of the Murder One bookshop. A past Guardian and Time Out columnist, he writes and edits fiction and non-fiction and also reviews for Crime Time. His first crime novel in six years, The Louisiana Republic, was published in 2018 and he has just completed a new book, The Piper’s Dance, which is about the Pied Piper and mermaids… His anthology Invisible Blood appeared in July 2019. He is the Executive Producer for the FX TV series based on the Derek Raymond Factory series, to feature Tom Hardy, going into production next year.
New: Afraid of the Christmas Lights by various authors
This anthology of festive felonies, with profits going to domestic abuse charities, contains short stories by Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Sophie Hannah, Harriet Tyce et al.
Classic: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This collection of short stories is probably the best of all the Sherlock Holmes books – and if you find it in your stocking, spend Christmas afternoon reading ‘The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle’, in which Holmes helps out a man who has found a valuable stolen jewel in the crop of his Christmas goose.
Jake Kerridge is the crime fiction reviewer for the Telegraph.
New: Hammer to Fall by John Lawton
Superior spy fiction wrapped in a history lesson and spiced with class warfare set partly in Cold War Finland with a fond homage to a famous Gavin Lyall thriller.
Classic: Shooting Script by Gavin Lyall
Not the Lawton homage but a fine 1966 example of a Lyall flying adventure set in the Caribbean which rips along with great digs at Hollywood filmmaking and an outrageous bomb-run finale. What Biggles would have done if he’d grown up.
Mike Ripley has won awards both for his ‘Angel’ comedy crime series and for his non-fiction history of British thrillers Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He is the continuation author of mysteries featuring Margery Allingham’s Golden Age sleuth, Albert Campion – Mr Campion’s Seance is out now. Mike writes a monthly column for the eZine Shots.
New: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
‘Bug’ Beauregard is the fastest getaway driver in Virginia, and provides us with plenty of brilliant action sequences, but he’s a man haunted by a tainted family destiny, and getting involved in a diamond-stealing scam takes him to the edge. With dialogue to match Elmore Leonard, and the power of Walter Mosley to depict the everyday experience of a black man in America, this is a cracking debut, a heist caper with guts and heart.
Classic: Hitler’s Peace by Philip Kerr
Philip Kerr took a long break after his first three Bernie Gunther Third Reich novels. But he was obviously still busy with his research: a year before the Gunther series resumed in 2006, Kerr published Hitler’s Peace, a ‘what-if?’ reimagining of the famous meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in Tehran in 1943. Mixing real-life figures and events with the invention of a thrillingly audacious plot, the thriller has Willard Mayer, a cool, clever philosopher, at the heart of the action.
Karen Robinson is a writer and critic. She devised and edited The Times and Sunday Times Crime Club newsletter.
New: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
This assured debut is the story of nine-year-old Jai, who lives in a teeming, polluted slum on the outskirts of an unnamed Indian city, hard by the gated communities inhabited by the very rich, and turns detective when one of his school friends goes missing. The local police, although bribed by the boy’s parents with their sole object of value, show no interest, and Jai, a fan of reality TV cop shows, thinks he may be able to do better. Vivid and moving, this is a truly immersive read.
Classic: Death Goes on Skis by Nancy Spain
Originally published in 1949 and featuring amateur sleuths, Russian ex-ballet-dancer Natasha Nevkorina and revue artist Miriam Birdseye, journalist and broadcaster Spain’s fourth novel takes place in a ski-resort in an invented Central European country. Detection takes second place to humour, camp fun and grotesquerie – perfect distraction for these troubled times.
Laura Wilson is an author and the crime fiction reviewer for the Guardian. Her latest novel is The Other Woman.
CWA DEBUT DAGGER COMPETITION
Are you an unpublished author who dreams of your book being recommended by such acclaimed reviewers? Then why not enter the Crime Writers’ Association’s (CWA) Debut Dagger Competition! Yes, the Debut Dagger is now open for entries! You’ll need to send the opening of your crime novel (up to 3,000 words), plus a 1,500-word synopsis. (Please check the entry criteria carefully.)
For guaranteed inspiration, check out the stories of previous winners and shortlisted authors on the CWA DEBUTS web page. There’s also some criminally good crime writing tips too. The winner receives £500 in prize money – and shortlisted writers have their entries passed on to agents and publishers. Please read the full terms and conditions of entry here. The entrance fee is £36. Deadline is 26 February 2021, 6pm.
The CWA and Margery Allingham Society are once again running their annual short story competition. It seeks the best unpublished short story that fits into legendary crime writer Margery Allingham’s definition of what makes a great 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.”
Please do check the entry criteria carefully and then get writing! You can see what it takes to win by checking out past winners here.
NEW BOOKS BY CRIMEFEST AUTHORS
One of the joys of CRIMEFEST is meeting authors, familiar or new. We’ve all missed that interaction this year, but we can still support authors by buying their books. As a token of thanks to the authors who registered for this year’s convention, we will be listing their new titles in upcoming newsletters. Past and current titles are listed at the close of this newsletter, with future titles to follow in the new year.
…And last but not least!
WIN A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS CRIME ANTHOLOGY
To end the year, we have not one but two giveaways of classic Christmas crime fiction. HarperCollins has recently published Midwinter Murder, a collection of short stories by Agatha Christie. (It includes ‘Christmas Adventure’, mentioned in our October newsletter.) From Profile Books comes the anthology Murder in Midwinter, with contributions from ten (mostly) Golden Age crime writers such as Margery Allingham, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers.
For a chance to receive a copy, send an email with ONE of these anthology titles in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll try and get the books to recipients before Christmas, so the deadline is 17 December.
That’s almost it for 2020. What a strange year it has been.
CRIMEFEST couldn’t have made it through, or have a hopeful future, without the help of too many people to mention. That doesn’t mean we won’t try and mention one or two of them by name…
Donna and I are immensely grateful to Zoë Sharp (along with help behind the scenes – or should that be between the pages? – from John Lawton) for spearheading the request for donations and registration transfers. We greatly appreciate the generosity, kind words, and support from all our delegates – authors, publishers, readers, sponsors, and all book lovers and like-minds. We had invaluable help from a number of people with our award presentation and Specsavers Debut Author panel – you know who you are. To all of you: a large, heartfelt Thank You!
We are already looking forward to the next CRIMEFEST in 2022 (12-15 May).
And we look forward to touching base again – hopefully in person at some event – in 2021.
Be well, stay safe, and best wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyful New Year and all other relevant festivities!
|Dawn||Brookes||Body in the Woods||Carlos Jacobi||Private eye/Traditional||December|
|Helen H.||Durant||Forgotten Victim||Rachel King||Police procedural||December|
|T.E.||Kinsey||The Fatal Flying Affair||Lady Hardcastle||Amateur sleuth / Historical / Traditional||December|
|Matt||Wesolowski||Deity||Six Stories||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||December|
|Caroline||England||Truth Games||n/a||Psychological / Thriller||November|
|M.A.||Hunter||Isolated||The Missing Children Case Files (Book-2)||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||November|
|Eva Björg||Ægisdóttir||The Creak on the Stairs||Forbidden Iceland||Thriller/Psychological||October|
|Douglas||Lindsay||In My Time Of Dying||DS Hutton||Hardboiled / Police procedural / Thriller||October|
|Rebecca||Tope||A Cotswold Christmas Mystery||Thea Osborne||Amateur sleuth / Traditional||October|
|Kia||Abdullah||Truth Be Told||Zara Kaleel||Thriller||September|
|Candy||Denman||Vital Signs||Dr Callie Hughes||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||September|
|M.A.||Hunter||Ransomed||The Missing Children Case Files (Book-1)||Thriller / Amateur sleuth||September|
|Alec||Marsh||Enemy of the Raj||Drabble & Harris||Historical / Thriller||September|
|Alex||Shaw||Total Blackout||Jack Tate||Thriller||September|
|Craig||Sisterson||Southern Cross Crime||n/a||Non-fiction||September|
|Dawn||Brookes||Honeymoon Cruise Murder||Rachel Prince||Amateur sleuth||August|
|Paul||Finch||One Eye Open||n/a||Hardboiled / Police Procedural / Thriller||August|
|Paul||Gitsham||A Price to Pay||DCI Warren Jones||Police procedural||August|
|Alison||Joseph||What Dark Days Seen||Sister Agnes||Amateur sleuth||August|
|Lynda||La Plante||Blunt Force||Jane Tennison||Police procedural||August|
|Douglas||Lindsay||Scenes From The Barbershop Floor||Barney Thomson||Humour||August|
|Mark||Timlin||Reap The Whirlwind||Nick Sharman||Private eye / Humour||August|
Friday, 30 October 2020.
A very warm welcome to this October CRIMEFEST newsletter. It feels too long since we spoke, and in these strange days, we hope this finds you and yours well.
We have some good, and some disappointing news to announce – read on…
– CRIMEFEST 2021/2022
– CRIMEFEST 2021 AWARDS
– CHRISTIE’S DEBUT CRIME NOVEL CENTENARY
– PETER LOVESEY ANNIVERSARY
– CRIMEFEST FAMILY UPDATE + RECOMMENDATIONS
– YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS
– CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DAGGER AWARDS
With the current UK restrictions of no big events allowed until at least March – followed by the inevitable reintroduction of social distancing – the consequential reduction in delegates will make a May convention financially unviable.
To those of you who agreed to having your registrations transferred, please rest assured that your funds are protected and have been ringfenced if you require them to be refunded at a later stage. Again, we greatly appreciate your support and trust in these uncertain times.
We have been in contact with our 2020 Featured and Highlighted Guests, and we hope to be able to welcome them in 2022 instead. Many of the authors who were due to appear this year have transferred their registrations to the next convention. To date, former CWA Diamond Dagger recipients – Martin Edwards and Robert Goddard – have said they will pencil in the dates, and we look forward to confirming more names in future newsletters.
So, onto the good news.
We are grateful to Audible UK and Specsavers as both return to sponsor the £1,000 prize money for the Sounds of Crime and Debut Awards, respectively. The winners of all categories receive a CRIMEFEST Bristol Blue Glass Award.
This week publishers were contacted with the submission guidelines for all the CRIMEFEST awards – including those for the Keating, Last Laugh, and Children’s awards. As always there are no fees to submit titles, so authors who meet the eligibility guidelines should ask their publishers to enter them now!
This year’s CRIMEFEST Awards Presentation – as well as the panel with shortlisted Debut Crime Award authors – can still be viewed on the ARCHIVE page.
CRIMEFEST could not let such a groundbreaking event go by as the 100th anniversary of the publication of Agatha Christie’s first crime novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The book also saw the first outing of Hercule Poirot.
Having written over seventy novels, multiple plays, and countless stories, Christie is one of the titans of crime fiction. (One of those stories, Christmas Adventure, featuring Poirot, is being published in the US for the first time in The Strand Magazine.) To mark the occasion, an anniversary edition of The Mysterious Affair at Styles has been released, which includes a previously deleted chapter as well as a newly discovered essay. The British Royal Mint is also acknowledging the event by releasing a Limited Edition £2 Silver Proof Coin.
CRIMEFEST is proud to have honoured the undisputed Queen of Crime in past interviews with Christie’s grandson Mathew Prichard, Tom Addams – the masterful illustrator of many of her book covers – and award-winning John Curran, the expert who edited Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks and advised the National Trust on Greenway, the author’s Devon home.
PETER LOVESEY ANNIVERSARY
Peter Lovesey has won nearly every crime writing award going, and is a CWA Diamond Dagger recipient and a MWA Grand Master. It all started fifty years ago with the publication of Peter’s first crime novel, Wobble to Death, which introduced one of his series characters, Sergeant Cribb. It was adapted as the pilot for a highly successful television series. A fiftieth anniversary deluxe edition has recently been published and it comes with a foreword by Jeffery Deaver, and an afterword by Lovesey himself.
CRIMEFEST FAMILY UPDATE + RECOMMENDATIONS
Since the last CRIMEFEST family news in May, many of you have asked for an update. As you may recall, at the time one thing everyone had in common was reading and watching television. Well, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed! So, we thought that, in addition to an update, we would also ask everyone in the CRIMEFEST family for some recommendations.
Donna is still working with literacy learners doing things as varied as reading James Bond stories, learning about moons in our solar system, writing poetry, playing Hangman and Scattegories and taking minutes from gardening podcasts. One of her learners is sending her recipes for Persian food, so Donna is never hungry. She managed to survive her PhD annual review and is just starting edits for the three novellas she’s writing for that.
Fiona and Heather
Fiona, Chief Delegate Bag Filler.
Fiona managed to get rid of all the bramble in her garden and replaced it with two planting beds where she and her husband are experimenting with veg and fruit growing. Fiona has decorated the office with homegrown ornamental pumpkins to celebrate autumn.
Book: Troubled Blood, the fifth Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith. (Fiona: “Can we get her to CRIMEFEST, d’you think?” Adrian: “It’s not like we haven’t tried!”)
TV: The Bridge. (“Scandi noir at its best. My husband finds subtitles hard work, but even he got hooked!”)
Heather, Full-time Timekeeper
Heather has recovered from her fractured humerus, remains cheerful, and continues to read books and email.
Jenny and Gianna, Registration Desk Team
Gianna was made redundant, but has been keeping busy by taking two courses (Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and an Introduction to Copy Editing and Proof Reading). She recently started a new job and is, “really pleased to be earning again!”
Jenny is WFH – that’s ‘working from home’. “Whilst I do miss the office bants, I certainly don’t miss the commute.” When the restrictions were temporarily eased, she managed trips to Edinburgh and Box in Wiltshire. “The one day it rained was thankfully the day we visited the Bombay Sapphire Distillery.”
Liz and Myles, Retired
Liz says she and Myles are well, and that they have nothing new to report.
Thalia, Chief programme book- proof-reader (and more)
Thalia continues to work for Little, Brown; alternately at home in Tonbridge, or at parents’ in Malvern.
Jen alternates working on her PhD in Archaeology, with the occasional archaeological job. Gabe and Eleanor have gone back to school, and both still stream television programmes in their spare time. Eleanor is also reading lots, with Gabe continuing to play computer games. After happily managing with all the restrictions, Adrian is now getting fed up with the increase of self-entitled cyclists going the wrong way on one-way streets and, more importantly, not seeing friends in person!
In the next newsletter, we expect to have the annual Christmas Reads recommendations from reviewers. In the meantime, we’d love you to use CRIMEFEST‘s social media to share your recommendations.
Perhaps a new and classic title, or a television programme/series or movie you have watched during lockdown that you think like-minds would love?
CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DAGGER AWARDS
In the meantime, if you are looking for more to read, you are sure to find something among the winning titles of the recently awarded CWA Daggers! They have also put up the awards ceremony with Guest Speaker Richard Osman. (His debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club, features fresh and quirky voices, and lives up to the hype!)
That’s it for now. We look forward to touching base again at the end of November, early December.
Be well and stay safe,
Adrian & Donna,