Hattie Brings the House Down by Patrick Gleeson

It was a true delight to read this debut novel for the blogtour. A cosy crime mystery set in the world of the theatre, the story is led by Hattie Cocker, who has been hired to be Stage Manager (SM) of a company who will perform Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Tavistock, a theatre attached Read More

Murder Under the Midnight Sun by Stella Blómkvist

Translated by Quentin Bates It’s my turn on the blogtour for the second Blómkvist novel to be translated by Quentin Bates for Corylus Books, who continue their quest to bring us translated crime fiction with a sense of social justice. Murder Under the Midnight Sun was published in 2010, and the series has a huge Read More

Profile K by Helen Fields

I love thrillers that will standalone, and Helen Fields’ latest took me by surprise slightly. I was expecting a sequel to The Institution which introduced us to Connie Woolwine, an American profiler and her British sidekick Brodie Baarda, who went undercover in the world’s most secure prison hospital for the criminally insane. Instead, after a Read More

Review catch-up: Van Pelt & Gustawsson

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt – Book Group review We’ve moved onto an animal/plant A-Z theme for picking our books for a while, but our opener was an animal free choice, and Alex’s pick about an ageing and clever octopus kept in a Seattle aquarium came out of the hat. It is now Read More

Point Zero by Seichō Matsumoto

Translated by Louise Heal Kawai Seichō Matsumoto is widely regarded as Japan’s greatest populariser of crime fiction, being a prolific author of it himself. Last year, Penguin published a new translation of his first novel from 1958, Points and Lines as Tokyo Express, I was seeing reviews for it everywhere, including Shiny New Books where Read More

Nordic Snø & Íss

While I haven’t formally run my Nordic reading month this year keeping it casual, I offer many thanks to those blog friends who have still included it in their own reading plans (Chris reviewed The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Lizzy reviewed Hunter in Huskvarna and other stories by Sara Stridsberg. Do let Read More

The Dancer by Óskar Guðmundsson

Translated by Quentin Bates Corylus Books are certainly keeping Icelandic translator Quentin Bates busy. There’s another Stella Blómkvist in the works soon after last year’s Murder at the Residence, amongst others he has translated for Corylus and other publishers. This novel is Guðmundsson’s fifth, the second to be translated, and the first in a new Read More

Two reviews: Laura Shepherd-Robinson & T M Thomas

In an attempt to clear the books to review decks before my Review of the Year posts next week, here are some shorter reviews, with more to follow. The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson I was very lucky to win a signed copy of this from Laura in a giveaway. It is a totally Read More

Dean Street December – Viva Las Vengeance: The Elvis Mysteries #3 by Daniel Klein

I love taking part in themed reading weeks and months whenever I can, and Liz is hosting this one (see here). Dean Street Press were reprint specialists, particularly mid 20th century women’s fiction from the decades and Golden Age crime – and those are not my usual fare. However, in 2022 they also reprinted a Read More

Dead Sweet by Katrín Júlíusdóttir

Translated by Quentin Bates I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for the debut novel by a former Icelandic politician. Katrín Júlíusdóttir served as Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism and Minister of Finance and Economy, and as such she is well placed to give the inside view to the political and Read More

The Weatherman by Royston Reeves – blogtour

Now this was dark fun! Wilbur Cox works in an advertising agency in London. He commutes in every day from north of London. He likes to go for a drink with his colleagues before catching the train home. It’s a bit of a walk to the tube station, but there’s a short cut through a Read More

Two for #GermanLitMonth #NovNov23 – von Chamisso & Dürrenmatt

Just squeaking in at the end of the month, here are two shorter reviews of novellas (hence qualifying for Novellas in November also) originally published in German, however, neither are by German-born authors. Adelbert von Chamisso was French, becoming naturalised German, Friederic Dürrenmatt was Swiss. Peter Schlemihl by Adelbert von Chamisso Translated by Leopold von Read More

Deadly Autumn Harvest by Tony Mott – blogtour

Translated by Marina Sofia I should state at the outset that Marina (who blogs here) and I have been blog-friends for many years now, but despite living not so far from each other have never quite managed to meet up – yet! She and her colleagues are the brains behind Corylus Books, crime translation specialists Read More

The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson – blogtour

Translated from the French by David Warriner The Bleeding is an unusual crime novel with three timelines covering three different eras, combining a millennial police procedural strand set in Québec, with two historical threads, one set in post-WWII Québec in 1949, and the other older still in 1899, in Belle-Époque Paris. The focus of each Read More

Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen

Translated by Megan E. Turney This debut novel is already a prize winner in Madsen’s home country of Denmark, and it’s easy to see why. At first we love to hate the protagonist, Hannah, an established writer of much praised and exquisitely crafted prose novellas, who has fallen into that mid-career slump; her backlist is Read More

Skin Deep by Antonia Lassa

Translated by Jacky Collins I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blogtour for Corylus Books’ first publication translated from Spanish – and Skin Deep is an absolute winner! At just 114 pages, it may be brief, but as crime novels go it’s not a quick read, for it has real depth. There is so Read More

Watchlist: mid-March to end-April 2023

Films on the small screen: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Prime) – after reading Baxter Dury’s memoir (reviewed here) I was recommended this biopic of his dad, Ian and loved it. Andy Sirkis’s singing is a little more raucous in comparison, but he was brilliant. Tetris (Apple+) – starring Taron Egerton. Who’d have Read More

The Acapulco by Simone Buchholz – Blogtour

Translated by Rachel Ward I joined Buchholz’s Chastity Riley series at #4 Hotel Cartagena, which was an amazing introduction to the fiesty, smoking, hard-drinking Hamburg State Prosecutor – she was caught in a hotel penthouse bar siege, with blood poisoning gradually affecting her which made for a truly different first person narrative. I followed her Read More

Watchlist: Feb into March

Theatre: The Tempest – Shakespeare’s Globe I went with our Year 8s to a special Schools Production of The Tempest at the open air Globe in London. Cut down to ninety minutes. So we got Prospero and Ariel’s magic, Miranda and Ferdinand’s love story, the drunken antics of Trinculo, Stefano and Caliban (the latter in Read More

Squeaky Clean by Callum McSorley – blogtour

I’ve had problems before with Glasgow dialect in novels, spending so much time deciphering it that I lost the enjoyment of reading the text. I really crossed my fingers that Squeaky Clean would be readable, and my heart fell slightly when we met some of the characters that frequent the car wash that makes the Read More

Catching up with Shiny linkiness…

I’ve had several reviews posted at Shiny New Books lately, so I shall take the opportunity to plug them here as well. Bournville by Jonathan Coe I’ve read nearly everything that Coe has published and reviewed four of them for Shiny (see here). He has favoured themes: many of his most-celebrated novels are concerned with deciphering Read More

The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell

Debut author, Charlotte Vassell, set herself a hard task for her first novel, to make her readers engage with a set of young toffs in London, mostly not working much or very hard, splashing the cash, narcissistic and not caring about the hoi polloi, but she succeeds on several levels. Firstly, the horror of the Read More

Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer

A Cross-Generational Australian Thriller Chris Hammer’s first three thrillers featured journalist Martin Scarsden; full of complicated, twisty plots that get tied up in the end. All good reads, if a little long, I reviewed the second one, Silver, here. With his fourth novel, Opal Country, Hammer introduced two new protagonists, police investigators this time. Experienced Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Trust by Hernan Diaz

After a couple of months where I was so busy to plan ahead, I’m back for the First Saturday of the month, time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in Read More

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup #NordicFINDS23

Translated by Caroline Waight I’ve had this book recommended to me by so many Scandi-crime afficionados, that it seemed a good choice to pick for a #NordicFINDS23 readalong… Hmm, maybe not such a good decision: for not only is it nasty, it is so twisty that it was nearly impossible to tweet as I went Read More

Trouble by Katja Ivar – blogtour #NordicFINDS23

I’m today’s stop on the Random Tours blogtour for Trouble, the third novel by Katja Ivar featuring Finnish detective Hella Mauzer. Set during the early 1950s, in the first novel, Evil Things, Hella was a sergeant in the Helsinki police; in the second, Deep as Death, she’s left the police to become a private investigator Read More

Two more classics for #NovNov Dürrenmatt & McCoy

I know the final week’s theme for Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca is contemporary novellas, but today I have two more classic novellas for you instead. Contemporary ones to come soon! The Judge & His Hangman by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1950) Translated by Joel Agee (2006) I was keen to tie in #NovNov with German Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Naked Chef

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. This Read More

Deceit by Jónína Leósdóttir

Translated by Sylvia and Quentin Bates I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blogtour for yet another new to me Icelandic author. Deceit is the first of Jónína Leósdóttir’s books to be translated into English, brought to us by Corylus Books and translated by veteran Icelandic translator Quentin Bates with Sylvia Bates. Deceit is Read More

Review catch-up and a little rant!

Rant first… I had scoured the Cheltenham Literary Festival brochure, and worked out a nice programme of events, three on the first afternoon into the evening, and two on the following day. I saved them all to my wishlist and crossed my fingers. Living and hour and a half drive away I decided to treat Read More