Category Archives: Crime fiction titles

Hercule Poirot Novels by Agatha Christie from The Folio Society

PoirotNovelSetFSThe Folio Society has put together a beautiful set of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels. Illustrated by Andrew Davidson and with introductions from Anthony Horowitz the titles in the set are: The Mysterious Affair at Styles; Murder on the Orient Express; The ABC Murders; Death on the Nile. This set retails at £110 from The Folio Society, available here. The quality of production makes it something to treasure as well as providing an opportunity to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with Poirot, pursuing four of his best known cases.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

AC4When the wealthy Emily Inglethorp is poisoned at her country house, Styles, the culprit seems obvious. Her husband Alfred was heard to quarrel with her violently – and was seen buying strychnine in the local town. Yet when he is just about to be arrested, Hercule Poirot comes forward to save him. He reminds all concerned that appearances can be deceiving, and that there are unsolved oddities in the case – including the shattered coffee cup, the scrap of green cloth and the burned fragments of a will … The first novel to introduce us to both Poirot and Hastings, this is also one of Christie’s most satisfying mysteries.

Murder on the Orient Express

AC1A curious group of passengers is assembled on the Istanbul–Calais coach of the Simplon Orient Express. They include a Russian princess, an Italian salesman, an English colonel – and Hercule Poirot. The morning after the train is stopped dead by a deep snowdrift, American millionaire Mr Ratchett is found stabbed to death, his compartment bolted on the inside. It is clear that the murderer must be one of his fellow passengers – and must still be on the train. One of Christie’s most famous novels, Murder on the Orient Express boasts a truly audacious solution.

The ABC Murders

AC7Alice Ascher, an elderly shopkeeper, has been murdered in Andover. Next, the pretty waitress Betty Barnard is found dead in Bexhill-on-Sea. Each of these murders is hinted at beforehand in a taunting letter to Poirot, signed ‘ABC’. Together with his friend Arthur Hastings, and a team from Scotland Yard, Poirot must pursue the ABC serial killer – in a battle of wits that soon becomes very personal indeed. The murderer keeps one step ahead at first, but as Poirot puts it, ‘He cannot help throwing light upon himself …’ Unusually for Christie, The ABC Murders employs multiple narrators, spinning an ingenious web that culminates in a startling finale – a truly brilliant mystery.

Death on the Nile

AC6Poirot has decided to escape the winter with a cruise down the Nile River in Egypt. Among his fellow travellers are a couple on honeymoon, Simon and Linnet Doyle. They are being stalked by Simon’s former fiancée, Jacqueline de Bellefort, who shows Poirot her pearl-handled pistol – ‘a dainty toy’. Shortly afterwards, Linnet Doyle is shot in the head. Suspicion falls on Jacqueline, but Poirot knows that other passengers had their own reasons to bring death to the Nile. Inspired by Christie’s travels with her archaeologist husband, this world-famous story has twice been adapted for the screen.

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Heads Up: Some Goodies with Reviews Coming Soon #SummerReads

Time can be a bit limited now and again. Hence the reason the book reviews are slow on here at the moment. But, here’s a “heads up” post just in case you are about to embark on your hols and need something to read. Click on the images to get to Amazon.

These three have restored my faith in crime fiction this year. They offer something different with a focus on the victim. Both are stunning reads.

An ordinary case with extraordinary people.

An ordinary case with extraordinary people.

Gripping, thought-provoking,

Gripping, thought-provoking,

Classic crime from a strong new voice.

Classic crime from a strong new voice.

Non-stop page-turning domestic thrillers, with Paula Daly offering a quite remarkable ending.

Manipulation weaves its power ...

Manipulation weaves its power …

Once picked up can only be put down at the end.

Once picked up can only be put down at the end.

Two crime series, two sets of quite different locations. One consummate storyteller with an eye for culture.

Sensitive to culture & enlightening.

Sensitive to culture & enlightening.

Modern day Christie.

Modern day Christie.

Carol O’Connell’s Mallory Series Reissued by Headline in the UK

Here’s the schedule and here are some comments from others. Click on the schedule pic for a link to Amazon. And the It’s a crime! verdict? Both ScotKris and I think O’Connell’s a class act. This is fine, intelligent crime writing. Give them a go as O’Connell deserves a wider audience in the UK and that includes you. Try one and we believe you’ll be hooked on the series …

Mallory1

Click on pic for Amazon link to reissued series.

Reviews, thoughts and comments about this great series.

Reviews, thoughts and comments about this great series.

 

More Novels in the Russell Series by Laurie R. King Available in the UK from Allison and Busby

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

By ScotKris

Fans of Laurie King have another year to wait until the next instalment of Mary Russell’s journals, so it is with considerable satisfaction that It’s a Crime! can report that those lovely people over at Allison and Busby are releasing the ‘missing four’ Russell titles, previously unavailable for a dozen or more years.

The first of these missing titles, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, are available now, with The Moor and Justice Hall coming shortly. What’s more, with four more stunning cover designs, the entire series of (currently twelve) novels is available for the first time with a uniform series ‘look’, and full credit to the publisher’s designer for such beautiful covers.

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

Where The Beekeeper’s Apprentice laid the groundwork, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary were the early showcases of Miss Russell (with Mr Holmes, naturally), taking her forward to the 1920s and into investigations both baffling and intriguing. Theology and detective work go hand in hand and we also see the growing partnership between Russell and Holmes which forms the cornerstone of this unique series.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women sees an Oxford friend of Russell introducing her to the ‘New Temple of God’, which, if appearances are to be believed, is a sect involved in the suffrage movement of post-War years; however, appearances can be deceptive and when one murder follows another, Russell investigates …

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

The Moor then takes us to Dartmoor, paying homage to a certain Conan Doyle tale, but Justice Hall, for me, marked a turning point in the series. While following on directly from the events of The Moor, Justice Hall reintroduces characters first met in Palestine in events described in O Jerusalem, and involves Russell in a mystery that dates back to the Great War. Rich descriptions bring to life the Justice Hall of the title which, for me, is one of the most evocative books in this very compelling series and the closing pages remain with me some 12 years since I first read them – a telling sign.

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

As I have said before, one of King’s many strengths is her ability to create images in her novels that draw you into the era, cleverly combining real events with the fictitious, and in which her characters play their own unique roles. Never do readers feel they are subject to a history lesson; indeed they come away feeling enriched, entertained and truly satisfied.

With the reappearance of these four books comes an opportunity to revisit old friends or to discover them for the first time; the only shame is that a year must pass before Russell returns in Dreaming Spies!

Debut Crime Thriller Author T J Cooke Free on Kindle UK today until midnight

KissandTellTJCooke

Click on image for link to Amazon UK.

Down to earth lawyer Jill Shadow has overcome a traumatic past, one kept hidden from both professional colleagues and her 12 year old daughter Hannah. When imminent danger sees Jill transferred to a safe house, and her daughter abducted from school, Jill soon realises it’s a past she must confront.  Desperate to piece things together, Jill knows there are two key events which might help the authorities trace her missing daughter: her involvement in the Bella Kiss drug case, and the release of her former partner Jimmy Briscoe from a lengthy jail term.  With time running out, Jill takes matters into her own hands, setting out to find her missing daughter and discover where the real truth lies…

Review:

‘With his first novel, TJ Cooke introduces us to Jill Shadow, the accidental lawyer with a past she wants to stay hidden. But despite her best efforts, it catches up with her at the speed of a hurtling train and threatens not only her but her daughter Hannah. The various strands of both her personal and professional life slowly become inextricably linked until all becomes clear as the book reaches its climax. This is a crime thriller with soul and a page-turner to boot. I am sure this is not the last we’ll see of this tenacious lawyer. Highly recommended!’

Tim Kevan – Author of the BabyBarista series of books with Bloomsbury, and former Times and Guardian blogger

Find out more about the author T J Cooke at his site here.

A Book a Day for 12 Days of Christmas – crimeficreader’s selection (Part 2)

JustLooking

It’s a stocking-filler book, isn’t it? Go on, it is. I can tell by the weight. I’m right, aren’t I?

Continuing on from yesterday’s part 1:

7. Mari Hannah – The Murder Wall (then Settled Blood

Now it’s time to head north to Newcastle and Northumberland for another new, strong, female protagonist.  Mari Hannah’s Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels arrived in The Murder Wall and we had the second in the series, Settled Blood by the end of the year.  Hannah is an industrious writer and Pan Macmillan already have a further two in the series penned in for publication in 2013.  What marks out this author and series is a robust sense of reality in the depiction of the police work.   If you’d like to achieve that ‘fly on the wall’ experience these will have you feeling you’ve arrived.  It’s possible you may not entirely warm to the determined Daniels in book one, but you’ll want her as your best friend by the end of book two, and hungry for more of her in book three.  Following the departure of Cheryl to the world’s stages, Daniels puts the sizzle back into Newcastle.

8. Jane Casey – The Last Girl

New to me in 2012 was Jane Casey’s series featuring Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan, with The Last Girl the third (The Burning and The Reckoning coming in at numbers one and two).  Here, we have a police case in London – a mother and daughter murdered – but, wait a minute…  This is not an average police procedural.  If I found some of my ‘psychological thriller’ reading on the delicately thin side during 2012, Casey certainly picks up the baton.  With the family under focus and no obvious motive, it’s understanding the characters that drives this novel.  They’re all deliciously unpleasant too.  At the centre is hard-working and spunky, young narrator Kerrigan, favoured by one boss but hosed with sexism by the rest of the team.  Her eyes are sharp and her retaliating tongue sharper.

9. Craig Robertson – Cold Grave

Robertson’s third novel, Cold Grave works in a shift in focus on the central characters again, and this one’s an absorbing and moving family affair pursuing a cold case.  DS Rachel Narey is losing her father to Alzheimer’s but he remembers one case he didn’t solve only too well.  Strong-willed Narey wants to correct that with the help of not-yet-public police photographer partner Tony Winter and his (retired copper) uncle.  All to be unofficial at the outset.  Robertson is good at creating tension and painting lively, believable characters with typical Glaswegian mouths.  He also allows humour to bleed in, which keeps it very real.  Glasgow and its surrounds – all the way to Callander in this one – are Robertson’s patch and he’s an observant guide.

10. Thomas Mogford – Shadow of the Rock

Some say Gibraltar, I say peripatetic with a base there.  Mogford’s debut introduces Spike Sanguinetti, his Gibraltar-based protagonist lawyer.  In the shadow of the rock Sanguinetti spends a great deal of time in Morocco, and the second in the series will head out to Malta.  Sanguinetti is a young tax lawyer but finds himself taking up the criminal defence of an old school friend facing a murder charge in Morocco.  Mogford excels in telling you about the locales, creating a feel of The Sheltering Sky around a nicely woven crime story.  Mogford is an exceedingly safe pair of hands for sense of place and culture.

11.  Anne Zouroudi – The Bull of Mithros

With other-wordly Greek protagonist detective Hermes Diaktoros, Zouroudi follows the path of the seven deadly sins and The Bull of Mithros is the sixth. Forced to pull in at Mithros as his boat requires urgent repairs, Hermes arrives at the same time as a stranger thrown overboard by his shipmates.  The man has no money or papers to prove his identity.  Detained by the army and proving to be a difficult guest desperate to get away, some locals start to question whether they have seen him before.  Mithros harbours its secrets in layers like prose in a palimpsest, but Hermes can extract facts as if performing an ancient art. And talking of prose, Zouroudi’s is an absolute joy to read, providing beauty in the craft of the written word.

12. Books to Die For – John Connolly and Declan Burke (editors)

A non-fiction tome to keep you up until 3am reading?  Yes, it is possible.  With a broad range of the world’s crime fiction authors offering up the one book each would recommend to readers in the form of an essay, this is the canapé tray of crime to which you will return again and again.  It’s budget-hurting and proof you can never be fully gorged: you’ll find yourself re-reading old favourites and wanting to try loads of new novels.  Books to Die For also serves as a sound record of the development of the genre.  Every crime aficionado will adore this.

A Book a Day for 12 Days of Christmas – crimeficreader’s selection (Part 1)

BookFort

It’s been a difficult year and written book reviews on here are way behind.  I hope to at least pick up the momentum again in 2013; at best, I might even catch up with my outstanding thoughts for the list that sits on a spreadsheet.  But if you have 12 days of Christmas and want to make it a book a day, here some suggestions from my 2012 reading to keep you engrossed in the written page.  They are listed in random order.  It’s good to see Wales featuring as a setting and quite a few strong female protagonists around.

Links will take you through to Amazon UK.  Part 2 will follow tomorrow.

1. James Runcie – The Grantchester Mysteries: Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death

This is a breath of fresh air in a world of increasing gore on the crime scene.  It’s light and some may find it a little too light for their taste; it’s a sort of James Herriot meets Father Brown merger.  We are promised a series of six novels starting in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation, and closing in 1981, the year of the wedding of Charles and Diana.  The Shadow of Death introduces us to the young, post-war Sidney newly installed as a Canon in Grantchester, a Canon for whom crime is never far away.  In hardback it’s also a fabulously beautiful book.

2. Alex Marwood – The Wicked Girls

Where crime fiction is said to reflect society, this one is spot on and brave.  Right now, we are still coming to terms with understanding the issues surrounding children killing children and it’s not a pretty sight.  Just look at the reactions you see in the media and the comments left there.  Can we hope for and believe in rehabilitation?  Marwood takes just that issue as her theme in The Wicked Girls.  Journalist Kirsty Lindsay and cleaner Amber Gordon are thrown together by force of circumstance, but they have a past and they shouldn’t even be talking to one another.  The mystery of the ‘circumstance’ is but a sideline here; the expertly delivered tension comes from the women’s forced relationship and how they deal with it.  Hugely entertaining as a story, this is also a book to make you reflect and think.

3. Stav Sherez – A Dark Redemption

Back in March I wrote that I thought this was Sherez’s breakthrough novel.  Later in the year I wondered why on earth it was not on the CWA’s Gold Dagger shortlist.  Considering the author has been inured in the sights, sounds and smells of London since birth, he pulls off a remarkable fresh eye over the city.

The start of a new series introducing Detective Inspector Carrigan and Detective Sergeant Miller, A Dark Redemption focuses on the immigrant community, the workings of Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and how its history impacts on London’s communities today.  This is a superb novel, heartbreaking in places.  It leaves you wanting much more of Carrigan and Miller who are skilfully introduced by Sherez.

4. Ferdinand von Schirach – The Collini Case

Quality is a more discerning attribute than length and this novella is marked out for its cleverness.  A legal thriller, The Collini Case will also make you think.  It’s both an emotive and an emotional book and it concludes in a shattering dénouement.  If you want to read of the impact of crime, this is the one to pick up.

5. Ewart Hutton – Good People

On an entirely personal note, this is the shortlisted Creasey novel I enjoyed reading the most.  Set in Wales, even the Detective Sergeant’s name is perfect for a Welsh copper: Glyn Capaldi.  Focusing on small town and rural communities with their accompanying small-mindedness and hypocrisy, Hutton’s pen is a scalpel constantly scratching the surface and exposing the reality beneath.  Capaldi may be a maverick, but he’s a fresh maverick.  Exiled to rural mid-Wales, he takes an interest in the activities surrounding a minibus.  Six men and a young woman disappear into the night but they don’t all reappear. Those who do are ‘good people’ with a decent enough explanation.  Capaldi suspects otherwise.  Wry, dry and with some delicious humour, Good People puts crime in rural Wales on the map.

6. Harry Bingham – Talking to the Dead

Sticking with Wales, Talking to the Dead says hello to Cardiff and introduces Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths. The beauty of this one is in meeting Griffiths, who is a bit of a mystery herself.  Bingham’s also very clever here because as we unwrap the parcel that is Griffiths we discover that she’s doing the same too.  The opening in south east Wales is established in gritty and unpleasant realism, with a truly awful murder.  The dénouement gets a little surreal over in west Wales; but then things can happen like that when you head west – in this reader’s experience.  Like Sherez, Bingham’s also very skilful in kicking off a series to leave you wanting more, embedding the characters straight into your memory bank.

Robert Wilson News: Capital Punishment coming in January 2013

Click on the pic for Robert Wilson's site.

Click on the pic for Robert Wilson’s site.

RWCapPunishment

Click on pic for Amazon UK link.

Were you watching Falcón on Sky recently?  You might like to know that the author of the novels on which the series is based has a new one coming on 17 January and it’s the start of a new series.  Go to Robert Wilson’s site for information on:

You can order a copy of Capital Punishment on Amazon UK at this link.

Some authors’ new novels are ‘events’ for me and Robert Wilson’s easily slip into that category.  I am currently very much enjoying a proof copy.  If you think you know good writing in the crime genre and have not tried Wilson yet, then find out what it is to have your expectations elevated.

If you want to read the Falcón quartet then click on this Amazon UK link for all four novels.

Find the author on twitter @RobWilsonWriter.

Head of Zeus February and March 2013 publication dates

From the latest Head of Zeus despatch, coming in Feb and March:
FEBRUARY
DADDY LOVE by Joyce Carol Oates
Fiction published on 7th February 2013 in hardback for £16.99 ISBN: 9781781850657
A brand new novel from the towering, terrifying imagination of Joyce Carol Oates, a controversial story about every parent’s worst nightmare.
WHAT HAVE I DONE? by Amanda Prowse
Fiction published on 1st February 2013 in hardback for £12.99 ISBN: 9781781853788
One of the biggest new voices on the HoZ list. Amanda is an army wife whose bestselling debut Poppy Day appeared all over national TV, radio and press on Remembrance Day 2012. What Have I Done? is testament to her talent as a fiction author as she sweeps the reader through a story of one woman rebuilding her life after she kills her abusive husband. Powerful, passionate and redemptive, this is a huge title for 2013.
THE RISE OF ROME by Anthony Everitt
Non-fiction published on 7th February 2013 in hardback for £20 ISBN: 9781781851036
A gripping narrative of the ascent of Rome – from small agrarian backwater to capital of the world’s greatest empire. An accessible, one-volume history of ancient Rome from the acclaimed biographer Anthony Everitt.
MARCH
GMWBWHITE BONES by Graham Masterton
CRIME FICTION published on 5th March 2013 in hardback for £16.99 ISBN: 9781781850633
An ancient Irish mystery. A ritualistic modern-day killer. Ireland’s first female detective Katie Maguire must find the connection. A new crime series from renowned author Graham Masterton marks an exciting move from the horror writing that made his name.
DSBBBAD BLOOD by Dana Stabenow
CRIME FICTION published on 7th March 2013 in hardback for £16.99 ISBN: 9781781851203
Alaskan investigator Kate Shugak becomes entangled in bitter tribal rivalries in book twenty of the series. HoZ are having the year of Dana Stabenow and will publish a new book every month in print from this Edgar winning, New York Times bestselling series. This is a brand new book as part of a world wide publication. Dana will be visiting the UK in May.
THE GRIM COMPANY by Luke Scull
Fantasy fiction published on 1st March 2013 in hardback for £16.99 ISBN: 9781781851319
An extraordinary, sprawling epic British debut fantasy series, won in auction in a huge six figure deal. The difference between a hero and a killer lies in the ability to justify dark deeds. But this is the Age of Ruin and there are no heroes. Welcome to the Grim Company.
THE POLITICS OF HUMANITY by John Holmes
Non-fiction published on 1st March 2013 in hardback for £20 ISBN: 9781781850916
John Holmes was the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs from 2007 – 2010. His work took him to some of the most troubled areas of the world and exposed him to the harsh realities of humanitarian aid. Holmes realised early on that his job was to be a voice to voiceless. The Politics of Humanity exposes, in often distressing detail, how difficult this job is, as well as analysing in great depth the wider policy questions of his role.