Krystyna Green, Publishing Director of Constable Crime, continues with this month’s theme of the best in Scottish crime writing, and focuses on authors appearing at Bloody Scotland which this year runs from the 21st to 23rd September:
‘Elaine Thomson, writing as E S Thomson, is a Bloody Scotland perennial favourite, having been shortlisted for the William McIlvanney in 2016 with her first in the Jem Flockhart series, Beloved Poison. We are now three books in, and happily for all of us, paperback publication of The Blood coincides with Bloody Scotland this year, so copies will be available there!
The book is a Gothic masterpiece. Summoned to the riverside by the desperate, scribbled note of an old friend, Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board the seamen’s floating hospital, an old hulk known only as The Blood, where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability.
On shore, a young woman, a known prostitute, is found drowned in a derelict boatyard. A man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. The events are linked – but how? Courting danger in the opium dens and brothels of the waterfront, certain that the Blood lies at the heart of the puzzle, Jem and Will embark on a quest to uncover the truth. In a hunt that takes them from the dissecting tables of a private anatomy school to the squalor of the dock-side mortuary, they find themselves involved in a dark and terrible mystery
So catch Elaine chairing the Ambrose Parry event, which runs from 3:45 – 4:45 at the Albert Halls. Ambrose Parry – better known as the writing team of award-winning author Chris Brookmyre and his wife, consultant anaesthetist Marisa Haetzman, will be talking about their most recent work, The Way of All Flesh, set in Victorian Edinburgh. It’s bound to be a fascinating and unmissable exploration of the Gothic underworld…‘
Krystyna Green, Publishing Director of Constable Crime, has a theme running through this month of September…
‘As Bloody Scotland kicks off on Friday 21st September I think we should have a month celebrating the very best and most recent of Scottish crime writing. So let’s start with a perennial favourite, Catriona McPherson and her most recent book, published this month, the psychological suspense Go to my Grave.
This is the story of three days last September when eight old friends gathered in a beautiful house by the sea. There was food, wine and laughter, and then the friends went their separate ways. That’s the truth and nothing but the truth.
Or is it?
Donna Weaver has put everything into The Breakers. Now it waits – freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers – for the first guests to arrive.
But as they roll up, each one discovers they’ve been here before. Twenty-five years ago. When a party that started with peach schnapps and Postman’s Knock ended with a girl walking into the sea and the rest of them making a vow of silence: lock it in a box, stitch my lips and go to my grave.
But one of them has broken the pact. And before the weekend is over, someone will have gone to their grave.
As with all of Catriona’s previous standalones for Constable, this one is convoluted, twisted and utterly page turning. Catriona has a growing army of fans including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Karin Slaughter, so go and read her now if you need a chilling tale for our longer autumn nights…’
Thalia is doing this week’s read about one of her favourites, J.D. Robb:
Dark in Death is now out in PB and Leverage in Death is the new Eve and Roarke case on 6th Sept! I always recommend these to people and urge them to get past the things that put them off – the series is copious, they’re set in the future, there’s a bit of swearing etc – they’re absolutely worth getting into for a hugely enjoyable, sexy crime read. With Eve and her team, and her outside friends, there’s much banter, respect and camaraderie even while they’re solving the harshest of cases, and she and husband Roarke have basically the perfect relationship.
In Dark in Death, crimes are happening that are based on those of a crime fiction author’s oeuvre – who wants revenge on her? This is all very meta as JD is able to highlight the odd things that people write in to her about and even have Eve and Roarke talk about crime fiction in a wondering manner. Leverage has echoes of Michael Robotham’s Shatter, starting with someone compelled to set off a bomb and no one knowing why. Read them immed!!
This week, Thalia Proctor, Editorial Manager, recommends the latest Matthew Bartholomew in PB.
This is the twenty-third outing for Bartholomew, but he’s still solving all the medieval crime there is to be had. This is one of the books that takes place mostly outside of the usual Cambridge setting, just to mix it up a bit. Matt and his posse travel to Clare in Suffolk, where they are in hopes of a bequest for their beloved Michaelhouse university. But of course, things go wrong: there is no money, just murder to be solved, and lots of tricky characters to deal with.
These books are gentle and humorous despite all the murders that occur, the dialogue is just right to sound authentic without being stilted, and they are always fantastically researched so you know you are in the hands of a master when it comes to historical setting. If you prefer a later period of history, Susanna’s other series is set in Restoration London, with Thomas Chaloner, a spy. Give ’em a go!
This week, our guest recommender is Anna Boatman, Publishing Director for Piatkus Fiction.
Lisa Ballantyne’s The Guilty One is storming up the bestseller charts, and this is her powerful follow-up: a nail-biting ride of he said/she said between a teacher and his pupil when she accuses him of abuse.
Both accuser and teacher have their good and bad sides, and it’s fascinating how your sympathies swing from one to the other. This is a hugely gripping, thought-provoking moral thriller about two families torn apart by one catastrophic betrayal which illustrates the fine line between guilt and innocence, and shows that everyone has their secrets, even those we ought to trust the most . . .
This week Ed Wood, Editorial Director at Sphere, is recommending a gripping thriller . . .
Tom Wood delights in throwing his enigmatic antihero hitman Victor into challenging situations, and the one he finds himself in in Kill For Me is one of the series’ most intriguing and unpredictable.
When a drug lord dies in Guatemala City, his two daughters begin a turf war over who will take over the family business. Then one hears of a weapon that could end the war: Victor. While preparing to carry out the hit, Victor falls into casually seeing an American woman, Joanna. It’s a rare lapse for the usually completely isolated assassin, and the combination of a tightrope-tense plot with the sense of Victor gradually cracking makes for a riveting read. But is Victor just playing everyone to his own advantage anyway?
This week’s read is a debut Friday Read from Abby Parsons, Sphere/Bookouture Editor:
Today’s read is the first book to feature the brilliant Lottie Parker – detective, mother and woman on the edge. When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Lottie is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs and it’s clear the pair are connected, but how? Eventually, the trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, and when she discovers a dark connection to her own family history, the case gets personal . . .
The Missing Ones was a huge ebook bestseller and hit the Top 5 in Ireland earlier this year, with the Irish Independent calling it ‘electrifying’. With over 1 million Lottie Parker books already sold, what are you waiting for? Make sure you get your hands on this intensely gripping crime thriller when it hits shelves in paperback on 26th July!
This Friday’s recommendation comes from Krystyna Green, Constable Crime’s publishing director.
Today’s read is Russian Roulette, set in Brighton in 1956 where austerity, the aftermath of the Second World War, rules. And sleuth Mirabelle Bevan takes up where Inspector Foyle left off. This time she’s left untangling a mystery revolving around poisoned gin, call girls and a high stakes gambling club beloved of thrill seekers looking for the ultimate high. And as the body count rises, Mirabelle is determined to uncover the truth and clear the innocent people who are bearing the brunt of this far-reaching cover up. And if you haven’t been introduced to Mirabelle yet do have a look at her first outing in Brighton Belle.
We’re not the only ones who think Mirabelle is terrific – STV agrees with us and has recently acquired TV right in the series. We’ll keep you abreast of developments on that one!
This week’s read comes from Thalia Proctor, Editorial Manager at Sphere.
Linda Fairstein does her great thing again with highlighting a particular aspect of New York life, but this time the crime spreads round the world – that of illegal animal trading. It’s tied in to NYC via the Bronx Zoo, home of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who are fighting to prevent it. Assistant DA Alex Cooper becomes embroiled with the poachers as she deals with the fallout of the dramatic shooting she witnessed at the end of Killer Look.
Much drama ensues, and a large amount of personal turmoil for Alex, but she is aided by her loyal friends and her tell-it-like-it-is boyfriend, Mike Chapman as they track down those who would exploit the loves of animals to their own greedy gain. As usual, a great depiction of New York and these now-familiar characters.
This week’s recommended read comes from Ellie Russell, Junior Editor at Constable.
The Betel Nut Tree Mystery is the second book in Ovidia Yu’s delightfully charming crime series, set in 1930s Singapore and featuring amateur sleuth Su Lin. Su Lin is a fascinating heroine and the perfect companion into the world of pre-war Singapore. People underestimate her because of her gender and her disability (childhood polio has left her with a limp) and this gives her the perfect chance to uncover their secrets.
This second adventure sees Su Lin working with Chief Inspector Le Froy in Singapore’s newly formed detective unit as a secretarial assistant. She still dreams of becoming a journalist and hopes to cover the wedding of the year when a British aristocrat marries an American widow – mirroring King Edward VIII’s recent abdication of the British throne to marry American heiress Wallis Simpson. However, things go horribly wrong when the groom-to-be is found dead, his body covered in bizarre symbols and soaked in betel nut juice.
His beautiful, highly-strung fiancée claims it’s her fault he’s dead . . . just like the others. And when investigations into her past reveal a dead lover, as well as a husband, the case against her appears to be stacking up. But as Su Lin uncovers her secrets and further deaths occur, Su Lin realises she may not be able to save Nicole’s life – or even her own . . .