Sunday, June 29, 2008


Despite all the interest in the election campaigns in the USA and Zimbabwe it was British Health Secretary Alan Johnson who I think has come up with the political quote of the year so far.

Referring to the the Prime Minister Gordon Brown he said [from the Daily Telegraph]:

'In terms of what he is achieving in very difficult circumstances, I think it's been a good year'.

I am just glad Mr Johnson is not the education secretary insisting on a syllabus that teaches that 1066 was a good year for King Harold, 1812 was a good year for Napoleon, and 44 BC was fantastic for Julius Caesar.


I have just finished The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin [review to  appear on Euro Crime in due course] and started Echoes From The Dead by Johan Theorin. 
The highly praised Johan Theorin is another book very kindly given to me at CrimeFest by Karen of Euro Crime. 
After that I have a huge mountain of other books to read including the probable next in line The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg. 
This was given to me at CrimeFest by Maxine of Petrona, and as I  also received a signed copy of Philip Kerr's The One From The Other from Crimeficreader; I am a very lucky boy. 
It must be the beard. 

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The questions I set to decide the winners of  two copies of Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi were:

1) Who is the President of the Russian Federation?
2) Who is the detective who features in the Boris Akunin series that includes Turkish Gambit and Murder on the Leviathan?

The correct answers were: Dmitry Medvedev [not Vladimir Putin] and Erast Fandorin. 

Copies of Volk's Game will be sent off to the winners in British Columbia and New Milton, Hampshire.


I am always praising the beauty of  Devon's countryside [when it is not too misty to see Dartmoor Prison] and the interesting places to visit around the county.  
Set just outside Budleigh Salterton a few minutes from the sea and the start of the Jurassic Coast [ a World Heritage site] is  the charming gallery, The Art Room which is well worth a visit. It is run by a very attractive lady who has a very handsome cousin.
In the red brick complex there is a farm shop and even a dental laboratory specialising in chrome dentures which proves that even on a beautiful evening in lovely surroundings I can't get away from teeth.
So if you are on holiday in Devon pop in and say Crime Scraps sent you.

Friday, June 27, 2008


5) Will the other books in the Mock Quartet be published one a year or at the same time?
 [Well I could hope couldn't I as I am certainly looking forward to the other books.]

I do not know that, it is a question to my English publisher, Mr Christopher MacLehose. [see note end of post]

6) Will they be filmed and which of them would you like to see as a movie?

I sold the film rights to my three novels and I expect a big English-language movie with international cast and  a twelve -episode TV series. I am happy that almost the whole cycle will be made into a film.

7) Breslau had a mixed ethnic population before the Second World War, is Wroclaw now mostly Polish?

Before the Second World War Breslau was inhabited by Germans and entirely assimilated Jews, who differed from their co-citizens only in the matter of religion- not language, outfit or habits. There was also a small Polish minority.
Much earlier the town was Prussian, Austrian, Czech and Polish.
Although today Breslau [Wroclaw] is a Polish town with a homogenous population, its inhabitants are very much interested in its multicultural history.

8) Poland lost a huge proportion of its population during the war, and now it is losing many of the most talented young people who are moving to the UK to find work. How do you think Poland will cope? 

This is a question for politicians and sociologists, and not a modest crime writer. My answer therefore will be intuition based: we will manage. As we did in the past with more serious problems!

9) The wartime occupation seems to dominate much of Norwegian crime fiction. Do you think that the Second World War and the Cold War will continue to dominate Polish crime fiction in the future?

I do not see a distinct and clear trend in the Polish literature connected with the wartime occupation. It might be present in the genre of historical crime novels, which seems to be more and more popular in Poland.
It is my pleasure to be one of its representatives.

I would like to thank Marek for his time and his very thoughtful interesting answers to my questions. 
Lucy Ramsey of  Quercus books  for arranging the interview and not forgetting of course  Karen of Euro Crime for providing the book. 

The good news is that the End of the World in Breslau, number two in the Eberhard Mock Quartet, will be published in English in March 2009. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I recently reviewed Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski for Euro Crime comparing it favourably with the work of Philip Kerr.
This is the first of four books, the Eberhard Mock Quartet set in the German city Breslau which has since become the Polish city of Wroclaw.

Marek Krajewski is a lecturer in Classical Studies at the university in Wroclaw and his books are a homage to the city he knows so well and its turbulent history. I was lucky through the medium of the internet and a translator to be able to ask Marek a few questions.

1) I really enjoyed Death in Breslau is there a tradition of crime writing in Poland?

I am extremely pleased that you liked my novel. I am bursting with pride that in Great Britain-the homeland of Conan-Doyle and Christie- my debut novel was so well received.
In Poland between the wars there was a very faint tradition of crime writing, then, during the communist period authors were writing under pseudonyms [most often English, eg. Joe Alex=Maciej Slomczynski, a popular translator of Shakespeare] or created ideologically loaded police novels.
The situation changed after 1989, now we have many Polish crime writers, including me.

2) Do you read much crime fiction from the English speaking world and has anyone inspired you?

Fiction from the English speaking world is the real empire of crime novels and thrillers, although Scandinavia slowly becomes a criminal superpower too. I read of course, and have read many authors writing in English. 
I was especially impressed with two, who were my true literary inspiration:
Frederick Forsyth and Raymond Chandler. These are true masters!
I also like novels by Elisabeth George. Recently I have taken real delight in reading Val McDermid.

3) What crime fiction novel would you like to have written?

If I understand correctly, you ask whether I envy any author their novels? It is not so much a question of envy, but rather of literary mastery I would like to achieve.
I hope that one day I will write  a novel as good and thrilling as "The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler.

4) Eberhard Mock is a detective for his time and place; did you base his character on a real life person or is he drawn purely from your imagination?

It is an entirely fictional character although his name is authentic. I found it in a prewar address book and really liked it, because it creates interesting stress patterns.

[To be continued]

Monday, June 23, 2008


Rather surprisingly I really did not enjoy An Olympic Death by Manuel Vazquez Montalban featuring gourmet detective Pepe Carvalho. 

But Karen at Euro Crime has intrigued me with news of the publication in English of Death Rites the first of  Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett's series about Inspector Petra Delicado of the Barcelona police.

'tough, sexy, at times apparently pitiless is a new kind of cop in Spanish crime fiction.'

Well I do like books about female detectives although at my age perhaps Miss Marple is more my scene than Petra Delicado.  

But Barcelona does seem worth a visit.


You can always rely on Karen of Euro Crime to keep us informed about essential new publications and here we learn about the long awaited release in English of the first in the Inspector Van Veeteren series Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser
Those Scandinavian crime fiction aficianados who have not read any of the other books in the series will be able to start reading them in the correct order for once. 
You can read an interview with Hakan Nesser at Detective Beyond Borders where Philly crime fiction expert Peter Rozovsky has been singing the praises of the Van Veeteren series for some time. 
Mind's Eye will be published in the UK in July.


Just in case anyone might think that the CARE villages at Blackerton and Shangton are anything like the old NHS institutions that restricted people's rights I have posted these photographs to give a glimpse of what will be destroyed. The photos are of Grove Cottage at Blackerton.
The arguments can be followed here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Mrs Crime Scraps bought this Rupert Annual in a charity shop the other day claiming that rather than looking like the author of The Enchantress of Florence [in the opinion of  Declan Burke at Crime Always Pays] I looked more like the character Podgy.
But after the recent celebrations, with more to come, I will have to come back down to earth and face the problems of the relocation of CARE Blackerton, and of selling a retirement apartment in a falling market.
I have recently been in touch with the folks at CARE Shangton; their view of the relocation situation, the trustees and management is.................. [removed on the advice of Crime Scraps legal team]

There will be more on this subject over the next few months. It is all about service users  choice but in reality you only have choice as if it fits in with management plans. 
Service user is one of those management speak terms for the residents who were once called villagers at Blackerton and Shangton. 
You can apparently turn a service user out of their home and it sounds better than evicting a resident. If you go here and scroll down you will find a series of posts listing some of the arguments against the closure of the villages that have been successful for 40 years. Or you can go here.

Terminology can be very important as I remember when we NHS dentists were instructed not to call our patients 'patients' anymore. They were to be called customers!
That meant they could be charged a lot more. It was also all about change , and no change not being an option and other phrases that sounded marvelous but in fact led to the gradual destruction of NHS dentistry as we knew it.

One of my most fervent wishes is that the rhetoric of Senator Barack Obama will be matched by good deeds, I am assuming he will be elected. 
I do hope he is not going to be like another young charismatic good talker Tony Blair who promised "change" and that "things could only get better" back in 1997, or like the present PM Gordon Brown who promised "change" and a new sparkling government only a year ago. 

But back to the important stuff coming up in the next few days a Crime Scraps exclusive  interview with Polish crime writer Marek Krajewski.
Marek is the author of the Eberhard Mock quartet the first of which Death in Breslau I reviewed for Euro Crime here.    

Friday, June 20, 2008


We heard the news earlier today that our daughter had got a 'first' in Sociology at University of Sussex. 
Our reaction is one of shock and wonderful delight at her fantastic achievement and her incredible story of overcoming adversity.
A hiatus in posting and reading while we bathe in the glow of her success. 

Where is the champagne?

The photo is the Arts Building at Sussex University.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


From yesterday's Guardian:

'The Italian government yesterday introduced a measure which, if passed, will suspend for one year two trials involving prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and David Mills, the estranged husband of Tessa gives Berlusconi respite from a trial in which he and Mills are accused of financial wrongdoing and a second in which he is accused of bribing Mills to give favourable testimony.'

Tessa Jowell is the Minister for the Olympics and London.
The London 2012 Olympics are going to an example of  bread and circuses 21st century style.  It took Montreal about 30 years to pay for the 1976 jamboree I dread to think what is going to happen in London where it is billions over budget already.
But the purpose of the London Olympics, as with those coming up in Beijing, is to create an illusion.

'Bisogna far buono viso a cattivo gioco' , appearances are important it's therefore 'necessary to disguise a bad game with a good face'.- The Dark Heart of Italy: Tobias Jones

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The background taken from the publicity material:

'Alexei Volkovoy known to all as Volk, a battle hardened veteran of Russia's brutal war in Chechnya, prowls Moscow's grim alleyways, a knife concealed in his prosthetic foot at all times. 
As both  a major player in the black market and a covert agent for the Russian military, Volk serves two masters: Maxim, a psychotic Azeri mafia kingpin with hordes of loyal informers; and a man known only as the General, to whom Volk is mysteriously indebted. By his side is Valya, an exotic beauty charged with protecting Volk from his unsavory associates..............

Together they are commissioned to steal a long lost da Vinci painting called Leda and the Swan from St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. '

'Stunning and brilliant....Ghelfi's prose is like a dark drug that pulls you further under its spell with each taste......'

I have to admit I don't read many thrillers apart from Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series but I was intrigued by the concept of a book about the New Russia. I must say the book by Phoenix based business man and former clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals Brent Ghelfi is a lot better than the overhyped publicity would have you believe.

Phrases in blurbs such as the 'beauty of Ghelfi's prose' [Seattle Mystery Bookshop] and 'that is also beautifully written..' [David L. Robbins, author of  The Assassin's Gallery] make me wonder if I have read the same book. 
This is a hard nosed very violent thriller not a play by Chekhov, or a novel by Tolstoy. 
The protagonist Volk is a lot more like the Jeff Lindsay's damaged anti-hero Dexter than Arkady Renko or James Bond.
There are well written and quite moving passages in the book where Volk becomes almost human and cares for the old and young victims of Russia's new capitalism. 
He philosophizes in between killings on Russia's problems.

"We live in a country where base actions go unpunished" he said. Setting the paper aside, preparing to leave the cafe to kill Dudayev, I am forced by an insufferable voice inside my head to reflect on the wretched reality of his words.

'The bloody past of the motherland all depicted in stylized tiles turning black with grime. The dead , the dying and the forever wounded clumped in wasted piles, spent to preserve .....what ?'

The plot is fairly complicated and in Volk's world everyone seems to know everyone else either from Chechnya, or from black market deals, or from sleeping together. Blackmail and betrayal are the order of the day as he rushes from Moscow, and St Petersburg to Prague and New York leaving a trail of bodies and dismembered body parts.

Did I find the book an easy read? Yes. The narrative moves at a fierce pace.
Did I enjoy it? Well despite the incredible body count and the extreme brutality I have to be honest and say  yes.
Would I read another Volk? Yes, and surely that is the test of any book. 

What of the message that Russia's new capitalism and military adventures have destroyed its people. 
Well Russia has always been a 'thugocracy'. Whether under the Tsars, or the Soviets, or the new Republicans the ordinary people have always suffered terrible deprivation at the hands of the powerful. 
That is part of being Russian, I just thank my great grandparents and grandparents for having the sense to leave in the 1880s.  
The nearest I have been to Russia is Helsinki just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The prosperous Finnish capital was full of black Russian limousines disembarking ugly hard men gone to seed accompanied by mink clad young  leggy blondes ready to sample the delights of the West. 
In  our hotel were two Russians who told me they had visited 'your beautiful English city of Portsmouth'. My reaction was that they must be naval intelligence officers and for all its history if they thought Portsmouth was beautiful Russia must be hell.

If you want to read a thriller that is a bit different, full of excitement, surprises,and violent action as well as beautiful women then this is a book for you. 
You can win a copy of Volk's Game here.

'The barrel of the Kalashnikov cracks her teeth when I shove it into her mouth.....When I can see that she knows what's coming I pull the trigger and shower brains and bone all over the chamber.' 

Thanks to Picador USA for supplying the book and two extra copies for prizes.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Those kind people at Picador USA have sent me two copies of Brent Ghelfi's thriller Volk's Game to give away. I have not quite finished reading this novel but can confirm that it is a page turner that moves at a frenetic pace.

'Non-stop action from start to finish....not for the faint of heart, but the beauty of Ghelfi's prose makes this a must read book.....'
                                     Seattle Mystery Bookshop

'Brent Ghelfi writes like Dostoevsky's hooligan great-grandson on speed. Volk's Game is hard, fast and a truly excellent debut'
                         Lee Child

With two copies to give away I better make the questions fairly easy so:

1) Who is the present President of the Russian Federation? 

2) What is the the name of the detective in Boris Akunin's series that includes Turkish Gambit and Murder on the Leviathan?

Send your answers to and get to know Russian gangster Alexei Volkovoy who makes Jason Bourne seem like Mary Poppins. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008


My review of Polish crime writer Marek Krajewski's Death in Breslau has been posted on Euro Crime.
This book features an excitingly idiosyncratic new detective Eberhard Mock and the good news is that there are three more books in the series. The book is set around the time of the collapse of Weimar Germany and  the Nazi takeover, the period that has been Philip Kerr territory with his Bernie Gunther series. 
I must say that in my opinion Death in Breslau is right up there with the Kerr series as both crime fiction and as a lesson from history.

Coming up next week I will be posting a very interesting interview with Marek Krajewski.

You can also read my review of A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr here

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have nothing but admiration for those that can speak several languages. My own lack of any linguistic ability I put down to the fact that my best friend at school had an Austrian father and French mother. This advantageous start in life sent him to Oxford to read languages while I trooped off to Bristol to drill and fill. 

The Euro Crime cabal were out in force for the last Saturday panel session and I had passed over what looked like two other excellent panels for this one. It was certainly worth it Karin Fossum, Gilbert Gallerne, Ros Schwartz and Yrsa Sigurdardottir  contributed interesting points and Ann Cleeves was an excellent moderator.

I had not realised just how emotionally involved the translator could get until Ros Schwartz commented that it took her nine months to translate a book and she thought that was an appropriate gestation period. 

During the afternoon Petrona recommended The Silent Sleep of the Dying by Keith McCarthy based on his appearance on a panel on Friday. Of course I bought the book and on opening it I noted that Keith McCarthy had been educated at Dulwich College. 

What is it about Dulwich that inspires writers [Chandler, Tom Rob Smith, C.S. Forester, P.G.Wodehouse] and also an interest in crime fiction?

Well Dulwich in the 1950s was a little bit like a Stalinist gulag, but then I am probably being unfair. 
Dulwich was far more competitive than a gulag and the weak were similarly left behind to wither away. Fond memories.....

The whole day was very stimulating and at the end while chatting with Karin Fossum as she signed my book purchases I learned that she had spent two years working with people with learning disabilities. 
Which reminds me I have to attend a meeting to attend tomorrow concerning the closure of Blackerton.......

I hope to attend the whole event next year and hopefully there will be some more translated crime fiction writers among the guests authors. 
All in all a very enjoyable day.

Lorraine Connection nominated for this years CWA Duncan Lawrie International Dagger was written by Dominque Manotti and translated from the French by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I am not sure what the collective noun for a group of crime fiction bloggers is but with the arrival of Crimeficreader after lunch I was privileged to be allowed to take this photograph.
This group of talented superbloggers know more about crime fiction than I have forgotten about dentistry, and now I only remember the date my NHS pension cheque arrives in my bank account. 

They are the lovely ladies Petrona, Crimeficreader  , Euro Crime and some Irish guy who pushed his way into the photo but is extremely funny and has a very beautiful daughter. 

Bertie Ahern?  

No it is Declan Burke


After a brief but very pleasant lunch break it was back to the panels with Writing the Wrongs- Morality in Crime Fiction.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, who was banded up, claimed the moral high ground as she had not murdered her orthodontist yet. I have some reservations abut the long term success of adult orthodontics but none about seeking out the books written by this very attractive young lady. 

There was some crackling chemistry between the participants [Yrsa, Steve Mosby, Kevin Wignall, Laura Wilson and Jason Pinter] on this panel and they were obviously enjoying the process. The theory that crime writers were getting rid of their inner demons on the page and that is why they were all such nice people was an intriguing one. 

Ian Rankin was interviewed by Peter Guttridge and predictably this was the best attended event of the day. Rebus, his music and his retirement were discussed and as when I have watched Rankin on television he was relaxed and very informative. The fact that he had no input to the Rebus TV series was no surprise as the few episodes I had watched did not match up to the standard of the books.
Although I can't talk as you will see my only photo of this interview seems to have been a signal for everyone to jump up and obscure the participants!

To be continued.......

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Having been a bit distracted in the Ian Fleming Panel by the gorgeously American accent of Meg Gardiner, all Santa Barbara and California sun, I went to Big Bellies-Crime Writers Chew The Fat.

This was a real fun panel excellently moderated by the very attractive Donna Moore, who kept the less attractive guys [Tony Black, Chris Ewan, Allan Guthrie and Martyn Waites] in order and had obviously spent a lot of time preparing for her role. 

Next on the program was Ann Cleeves brilliantly interviewing Karin Fossum, a highlight of the day for me [apart from meeting the blogging gang of course] and a reminder of why I like Scandinavian crime fiction. 

Karin seemed a lovely lady and gave us some rare insights into her devotion to her craft, and her love of small town communities in Norway. 

To be continued.... 

Monday, June 09, 2008


The  book bag given at registration was a useful size and full of interesting  books including two about 'Bristle'. 
I don't expect there are many of the pure Bristol accents left now. We Cockneys, Brummies, Northerners, Jamaicans, Welsh and Irish struggled to understand that accent back in 1963, and frequently got lost. 
It was a difficult time and there were bomb sites  all over the city even 18 years after the end of the war. We students knew we were the privileged few given the opportunity by a system of grammar and direct grant schools [the dreaded eleven plus O and A levels] to rise up the social ladder. I wonder what went wrong....

Also in the book bag was a proof copy of Colin Cotterill's latest novel Anarchy and Old Dogs. I mention this because the blurb reads  as follows.

'When a blind retired dentist is run down by a logging truck as he crosses the road to post a letter.....'

I shall have to be careful.

The first panel I attended was the Ian Fleming Centenary Panel-How to Write a Thriller, and it was exciting for a first timer like me to sit near published authors, but I was a bit disappointed by the panel discussion. It was dominated by one of the panel members and as a result seemed slightly unbalanced, perhaps it was a bit too early for some people.

I then had the pleasure of meeting up with the mellifluous Maxine of Petrona and kindly Karen, Euro Crime herself! 
I decided therefore to follow them as they know more about crime fiction than I ever knew about dentistry. 
To be continued......

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I must admit dipping my fat toes in CrimeFest was a mistake I should have dived in and booked for the 'full monty'.
I was there only for the Saturday program and had woken up at 5.30 am and left the house at 6.30 am to drive to Bristol. I therefore was a bit sleepy and not at my intellectual peak during the day. 
It was interesting to meet people I had communicated with electronically and who proved to be just as nice as I had imagined them to be in person, even nicer in fact.

Declan Burke got me a bit concerned as he thought I looked like Salman Rushdie!
It wasn't the fatwa and the $1.5 million bounty on Rushdie's head that worried me, it was the fact that I did not think I could cope with Rushdie's women.

Just to say that I have read The Big O by Declan Burke which was great, but I definitely have not written or even read The Satanic Verses which I am sure has too many long words for me.

More reports from CrimeFest 2008 to follow over the next few days. 

Friday, June 06, 2008


Perhaps this award should be renamed 'The beat Fred Vargas if you can' Award, because once again the quirky French writer is nominated.

The short list is:

Andrea Camilleri- The Patience of the Spider translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli.

Stieg Larsson- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.

Dominique Manotti- Lorraine Connection translated from the French by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz.

Martin Suter- A Deal with the Devil translated from the German by Peter Millar.

Freed Vargas- This Night's Foul Work translated from the French by Sian Reynolds.

My review of The Patience of the Spider can be seen here. 
In my opinion it is not the best of the Montalbano series but then any Camilleri can be considered a contender, some more reviews here and here.

My review of This Night's Foul Work is here, and some more reviews here and here.
This is definitely a book that could bring Fred Vargas and Sian Reynolds a hat trick of wins. 

The Martin Suter, Dominique Manotti and the Stieg Larsson sit on my shelf unread as yet, and I must remedy that situation in the next few weeks.

My impression from reading other blogs and websites is that the winner this year will be Stieg Larsson.


I have been very busy relocating my mother in law [97 next week] in a residential home and clearing out her flat.
It is like sending a child off to boarding school and wondering whether they will get on alright.
Will they make friends? Will they like the food? Why are the fees so huge?

Anyway I am off to dip my toes in a crime fiction convention for the first time. I will be at Crime Fest in Bristol tomorrow, which should be interesting as on my infrequent visits I always seem to try some shortcut that worked when I last lived in the city in 1968! Needless to say it is now one way, the wrong way, or a dead end. 

Karen of Euro Crime did mention on her blog that I would be at Crime Fest.

'I'll be meeting up with some of the usual suspects-Petrona and crimeficreader- but also for the first time with Mr Crime Scraps and Declan from Crime Always Pays.'

I noted that I was referred to as 'Mr' obviously based on my great age in comparison with young Declan. His Princess Lilyput hasn't had her pram/vehicle towed away at the cost of £260 yet!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


You can read another review of Jo Nesbo's Nemesis here thanks to Kerrie at Murder In Paradise.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


You can feel an empathy with some writers and frankly I am not surprised at this charitable action by Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo.

Jo Nesbo will donate all the proceeds from his new book, entitled HEADHUNTERS to the battle against illiteracy among children. Nesbo told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that the proceeds of all sales in Norway and abroad will go to  a recently created foundation named after Harry Hole, the protagonist in his crime novels.

The funds will go to countries with a high percentage of illiteracy. Nesbo said that he personally does not need more money and combating illiteracy is the key to the democratization of third world countries. Nesbo's publisher believes the first donation will amount to about 830,000 euros from book sales with more to come from the mass market edition and foreign rights. 

You can read an interview with the best selling Norwegian crime writer here.

And also read the my reviews of two of the best crime fiction books I have ever read The Redbreast and The Devil's Star

I have not read Nemesis, Nesbo's third book published in English, yet but this Euro Crime review by Fiona Walker informs me it is well up to the standard of the other books.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Michele Orsi, a 47 year old boss of a waste disposal firm, was the 4th victim in a month of shootings directed against witnesses who turn state's evidence.
Orsi , shot twice in the chest and once in the head, was in a bar in the town of Casal di Principe, which ironically is the home town of Roberto Saviano, who wrote the best selling book Gomorrah, an expose of the Camorra.

'Saviano, who lives under round-the-clock protection because of death threats, said yesterday Orsi was a "leading entrepreneur in the waste sector who did millions of euros' worth of business with the [mafia] clans". Orsi's lawyer, however, described him as a victim whose company had been paying at least €15,000 a month to the Camorra, the mafia of Naples and Campania.'

Read the full article from the Guardian here.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Karen at Euro Crime posts that: 

Euro Crime's Camilleri expert, Norman Price, strikes again as he reviews the latest Montalbano novel- The Paper Moon- which he says is "another little gem."

My Italian speaking friends might say that if I have reached expert status in anything then 'The tombs shall open, the dead shall rise'. A line from the Italian national anthem quoted in the book, and used to express astonishment.

Andrea Camilleri's The Paper Moon, translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli, is the ninth Montalbano mystery to be published in English and it is one of the best. 

What other translated crime fiction authors have kept such a uniformly high standard in a long running detective series? 

August Heat, number ten in the Inspector Montalbano series will be published early next year.