Monday, September 27, 2010


Thanks to The Rap Sheet for the info that you can see the trailer for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest here.
The film will be out in the USA in October 2011, but hopefully before that in the UK.


The four excellent posts I have linked to got me thinking about why we enjoy reading our favourite authors.

Bernadette at Reactions to Reading and Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise talk about the OCR [Over Critical Reader]

Margot at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist discusses what keeps us reading a particular author and a series.

I thought I would produce a simplistic list of the factors that I hope to find in a book.
My Fourteen Points and criteria [with apologies to President Woodrow Wilson] are indeed very simple, but the books I really enjoy obey the majority of them, and some books struggle even on these very basic points.

1] A believable plot and sub-plots.
2] A interesting main protagonist.
3] A good supporting cast of characters.
4] An easily readable narrative style.
5] A little humour at some point in the story.
6] To be educated, without being given a lecture.
7] A sense of place.
8] Accuracy in the setting, especially in historical crime fiction.
9] Clues and puzzles to solve.
10] Excitement and tension.
11] A degree of honesty with the reader.
12] A sense of justice achieved, I am very old fashioned about that.
13] That any violence should be limited to what is essential to the plot, and not just gratuitous exploitation.
14] A limited amount of political propaganda.

This may seem just common sense and almost too easy to achieve. But last year I read a book where the protagonist pops down to the local Gestapo HQ to explain that his girl friend is a member of a resistance organization, and could he make a deal for her safety. That fantasy failed the book immediately on about five criteria in one paragraph. [My review of that book has not been posted]. I have also read one book in the past few years that forgot to have a plot, but did have one sentence containing over 190 words.

Of course the one factor I have not mentioned in the success of an author is the excellence of their marketing campaigns, and their business acumen of their management team. The novels of Stieg Larsson, Ian Rankin and Agatha Christie obey most of the criteria, but they also have been brilliantly marketed.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Dr Charlotte 'Charlie' Flint's career as a psychiatrist is at risk after her evidence helped free a man innocent at that time, but who later went on to kill four women. Bored at her greatly reduced work load Charlie receives an anonymous package of press cuttings about a murder at her old Oxford college, and deduces it is from her former tutor Corinna Newsom, whose daughter Magda's husband Philip Carling was murdered on their wedding day.
Philip's business partners are standing trial as he apparently was going to reveal their illegal insider trading scams to the police, and this is accepted as the motive behind his murder.
Magda has now got involved with Jay [formerly Jennifer] Macallan Stewart, a wealthy lesbian internet entrepreneur. Corinna, a devout Catholic, believes Jay, who had a very traumatic upbringing, was responsible for the murder of a rival for the position of JCR [Junior Common Room] President when she was a student. There is also the suggestion that a business partner, and a potential Swedish rival also met their deaths at her hands.
Corinna who had used both Charlie and Jay, when they were students at St Scholastika's College, as baby sitters for her children, is now desperate to break up Magda's relationship with Jay.
Charlie, living with Maria, a cute dentist, is meanwhile lusting after Lisa Kent, who runs a very successful self-help programme, 'I'm Not OK, You're Not OK; Negotiating Vulnerability'.
While Charlie investigates Jay's possible crimes, Jay is writing a second volume in the story of her life and later the reader is given extracts from her first misery memoir, Unrepentant, which reveals the story of her traumatic childhood with an important detail censored.
Is Jay a serial killer? Is Magda in danger? Will Charlie leave Maria for Lisa Kent? Who did kill Philip Carling, and why?
These questions keep the reader turning the pages, until the satisfying if not entirely surprising denouement.

Val McDermid said she got the idea for this book when visiting St Hilda's, and seeing a wedding with a beautiful bride [who she realised she must have baby sat] and a self satisfied groom. What if the groom was dead by bedtime?

Val's first three novels twenty years ago featured Lindsay Gordon, the UK's first openly lesbian detective; the 6th Lindsay Gordon, 7 years ago was only issued as a paperback original and not well promoted. The relaxation of British society, and the opening up of British culture means that this is Val's most lesbian book with in her words a dyke on every page.
I am probably not the intended demographic for this novel and although Val has said she doesn't set out to hammer home a message or to titillate, I have to admit to have felt voyeuristic and quite excited by this passage.

Maria [the dentist] spread her toast and gave Charlie a wicked little smile. 'I'm always so bloody dutiful,' she said. 'Just for once, I feel like playing truant. Besides, I only ever book morning appointments on a Friday. It won't be the end of the world if I miss an afternoon's admin. I'll get Sharla to call my patients this morning. It won't kill them to rebook. There's nothing urgent, as far as I recall. What do you say? Shall I come? Shall we have a bit of fun?'

Val McDermid certainly knows how to get a retired male NHS dentist intrigued, and fascinated, by the very different world of private dentistry.

Trick in the Dark is a superb pastiche of the classic British detective story, and I found it hilariously funny in places. I do hope I was expected to have that reaction, because I loved the autobiographical snippets about accents, and the JCR presidency.
Val McDermid has become such an important crime writer that she is able to write a book in which all the major characters are lesbians, and it is published without hesitation by a main stream publisher. She must have enjoyed that enormously.
I recently read an article in which the journalist wrote; But after a few chapters their sexual orientation becomes incidental to solving the murders.

I do wish people would actually read the books they write about, because in this book the characters sexuality is integral to the whole story and the plot.
What I think amused me was that all of these women, from whatever backgrounds they came from, had been changed by Oxford into successful professional women with a lifestyle to match. A very pre financial meltdown scenario.
In this case the main characters consist of an author and internet business woman, a psychiatrist, a dentist, an oncologist, a self-help guru, and an Oxford don. It is rather like one of those superior Agatha Christie teasers where the servants are never mentioned.
Ms McDermid was the first state school pupil to be a student at St Hilda's, but she manages to capture that very English upper class idiosyncrasy of using childhood nicknames into adulthood.

'Will you retire at the same time as Dad?' Catherine asked Corinna. 'I bet you are making plans already.'
Corinna looked startled. 'I've a few years yet, Wheelie.'

I think it was E.M. Forster who said he could only write about people that I am, I want to be or that irritate me, and there is obviously much of that in Val McDermid's book.
More importantly the book does relate how different people cope with coming out, and society's reaction to that, but it also emphasizes that some of the more relevant divisions in society are not between gay and straight, but between rich and poor, town and gown, or Oxbridge and the rest.

I thought this was a superbly entertaining read, perhaps intended to be a little ironic, but proving that old adage that to produce a successful book the author should write about something they know.

I expect there will be a Lithuanian receptionist, Polish barman, and a Romanian breakfast waitress like everywhere rural these days. The locals escape as soon as they can to cities with anonymous nightlife and better wages. Thanks heavens for the Eastern Europeans or our leisure culture would collapse.

I read this book as part of my Female Crime Writer Challenge, and also because Val McDermid was so interesting, and amusing, when I heard her speak at the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival in 2009.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I referred to the book I have finished reading a few days ago here and mentioned this interesting quote:

If stereotypes held it should have been laughably easy; psychiatrist versus dentist, no contest.

I am still thinking about my review of this intriguing book, and I have to go away for a few days so I thought today I would just contribute to the meme Eight Questions.
I haven't been tagged, but I will always take the chance to blog about my favourite subject, me.

1] If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

I would want a powerful "tractor beam" to pick up dictators, certain celebrities and various politicians and deposit them on an isolated desert island. Why? The world would possibly be a better place without some people.

2] Who is your style icon?

Peter Falk in the TV series Columbo.

3] What is your favourite quote?

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy"- Anne Frank

4] What is the best compliment you've ever received?

When my children say 'You are the best dad in the world'.
Usually followed by 'Can I.......'

5] What playlist/CD is in your CD player right now?

At the moment I am listening to Arvo Part's Beatus, in a recording by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tonu Kaljuste. A very pure sound and a bit different [it belongs to Mrs Crime Scraps] from my usual fare of jazz, country and Italian opera.

6] Are you a night owl, or a morning person?

When I was working I was definitely a morning person, now I am a little bit of both. Late night and early morning are good times for thinking, and for watching all those telvision programs I record and never get a chance to watch.

7] Do you prefer cats or dogs?

Definitely cats, although we did have a beautiful King Charles Spaniel when the children were younger. She insisted on going for walks at 2.00 am in the morning, a problem you don't have with cats.
Our last cat, Willow, did not take to city life when we moved from the country [she kept on getting locked into our neighbour's garage] so with regret we gave her up for adoption.

8] What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Crime- the blog is theoretically about crime fiction.
Scraps- when I was a child we lived in Camberwell with our garden backing on to a 'scrap' metal yard owned by the notorious Richardson Gang.
Years later I learned that the street opposite my childhood home, Wyndham Road had been the abode of the famous Victorian detective, Jack Whicher.

More answers to Eight Questions at DJS Krimiblog, Petrona, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, and The Game's Afoot.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


In 1818 the poet John Keats wrote:

Over the hill and over the dale
And over the bourn to Dawlish-
Where gingerbread wives have a scanty sale
And gingerbread nuts are smallish

Last Monday, 13 September, Mr and Mrs Crime Scraps went over the hill to Dawlish, Teignmouth, Torquay, and visited Paignton's brand new £6.4 million lottery funded Library and community hub, to hear Mathew Prichard [Agatha Christie's grandson] and John Curran [author of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebook] in conversation.
That Monday was the opening day for the futuristic library, and it is a tribute to Mathew and John that they overcame teething troubles with the sound system to keep a packed audience enthralled for nearly an hour with their stories and anecdotes about the author.

Mathew welcomed the opening of the new library, and mentioned that his grandmother thought reading was such a very important activity for young people.
The previous day at the fete in Torquay, which began the week long Agatha Christie Festival to commemorate the 120th birthday of his grandmother, he had been asked if he would have his photograph taken with an 8 year old who had just read her first Agatha Christie novel.

John asked Mathew when he realised that his granny was a world famous personality, and we heard the story of the Christies for Christmas. At Mathew's boarding school all the books the pupils brought from home had to go up to be signed by the headmaster to ensure they were suitable reading for a young person. Mathew's Christies were always kept much longer than his friend's books. Years later he asked the headmaster why this had happened, and the headmaster replied that his wife had read them first!
Mathew recalled how his holiday trips as a child to Greenway were so thrilling, and how he looked forward to them so much. When his grandmother, and then his parents, died he thought Greenway died a little with them. The restoration by the National Trust had meant scaffolding and a canopy over the building, but when this came off the house came to life again and he was sure his grandmother would be happy to know that so many people could now enjoy the wonderful house and beautiful gardens with their magnificent view of the Dart.

When John Curran came to visit Greenway in 2005, before the National Trust restoration was started, it was a dark wintry night and the wonderful view escaped him. On a guided tour of the house in what was called the Fax Room he spotted a cardboard box with 73 old exercise and copy books......
John told us how he spent the next 24 hours reading the chaotic notebooks, and needed to be dragged away for meals.
Later John discovered two unpublished short stories in the notebooks; The Incident at Dog's Ball was written in 1933 and never offered for publication but transformed into the novel Dumb Witness in 1935.

John told us that the reason for the failure to publish the other story, The Capture of Cerebus was that it featured a character with the initials AH who had a bullet head and a dark moustache, and in 1939 this would not have been considered suitable escapist literature.

Mathew and John discussed future plans; and Christie fans have to look forward next year to another book by John devoted to the notebooks, computer games, TV and film adaptations, including six more Poirot adaptations with David Suchet, and the possibility Dead Man's Folly being filmed at Greenway. Mathew mentioned that one of his regrets is that his grandmother had never seen David Suchet's superb portrayal of her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.

John was asked how he explained the long term popularity of Agatha Christie. He thought it was mainly her readability, and the fact that although her plots were extremely ingenious, the solutions were simple when explained in the denouement.
Would any of today's crime writers be still be read in seventy or eighty years time? John did not think so.

Mathew and John were asked to pick a favourite "Desert Island" book and film. For his book Mathew chose Endless Night [1967], different in tone from her usual work, which he felt showed his grandmother's understanding of young people. For his film the TV adaptation of Five Little Pigs.

John chose the book of Five Little Pigs [1942], and the movie Murder on the Orient Express.

One questioner from the audience pointed out that Agatha Christie was unkind to children in the books, and Mathew was asked how she had appeared to him.
He looked surprised, and it was clear from his reply that his famous grandmother had doted on him.

Mathew then cut the birthday cake 'Delicious Death', and we were then ushered into another room for tea, our portions of Jane Asher's very rich chocolate cake [some of which, not mine, ended up on the brand new carpet], and a book signing.
The event was a stunning success judged by the rush to buy books, and have them signed by Mathew and John.

My only criticism was that the venue was not Greenway, but you can't have everything, and I so enjoyed the event that I bought both Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran, and Agatha Christie, An Autobiography.

This post is my contribution to the Agatha Christie Blog Tour hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I forgot to mention in my last post that today was the 120th Birthday of Agatha Christie. Never in crime fiction has one writer given so much pleasure to so many people.


I am totally out of sync at the moment after driving 210 miles yesterday through the south of England due to a family emergency.
But I was able to squeeze in a visit on Monday afternoon to Paignton Library and community hub to hear Mathew Prichard and John Curran in conversation.
My report on that event will be posted on Sunday, but I thought I should give you a little taster today.
I knew I would only be able to attend one event during this year's Agatha Christie Festival week. Any clues as to why I picked this one?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Crime Scraps is four years old today, and today's is the 1,029th post.
I sometimes wonder what is the life expectancy of the average blog?
Well as long as crime writers produce books that involve subjects that I know a little about, or I can pick Mrs Crime Scraps superbrain*, I can continue to blog.

*Reminder to self never to watch a Dan Brown film, Angels and Demons, with someone who has read all of Dante's Inferno, and knows more about Italian Renaissance art and theology than Robert Langdon.

Interestingly the new book I have just picked up to read, as part of my Female Crime Writers Challenge, has the line.

If stereotypes held, it should have been laughably easy; psychiatrist versus dentist, no contest.

Um...I don't know about that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have found reading all these Scandinavian crime books can be a bit depressing, for instance, although I enjoyed Silence by Jan Costin Wagner it was a very bleak story.

There is another of John Lawton's Troy novels, A Lily of the Field, out in a few weeks therefore I decided to catch up with the remaining Lawton's on my TBR shelf and read Blue Rondo [Flesh Wounds in the USA], my fifth book in this series. I guessed it would provide a few laughs amid the normal quota of dead bodies, and I could become reacquainted with one of my favourite detectives, Frederick Troy.

Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy, the jazz loving hero of this series is a subtle blend of James Bond, Bulldog Drummond, Biggles and Endeavour Morse; a short, dark, demonic -looking elf of a man with a list of female conquests that make Ian Fleming's hero seem almost monk-like in comparison.

'Depends, Troy said. "On what you want from it. I have pretty much what I want out at Mimram-pig in its pen, vegetables green and growing in the kitchen garden, all the Art Tatum records money can buy. There's even a river Mimram at the bottom of the garden. If I fished I'd hang out a sign that said "Gone fishin'" whenever I felt like it.'
'But you're still a copper.'

Blue Rondo, after an introductory chapter set during the war, moves on to 1959, a time when criminal gangs fought for control of London, and champagne socialists and property sharks planned to bulldoze old properties and put up modern high rise flats in their place.
This policy would destroy the old communities of the East End and South London, that had survived the Blitz, and create new modern slums where no one knew their neighbours, or cared about them.

Alf Marx, King of the East End has been sent down for life, his second in command Bernie Champion is missing, presumed dead. A new ruthless criminal gang is moving in to the vacuum left behind.
The Ryan twins own clubs where the rich and famous are proud to be seen enjoying their opulent lifestyle. The Ryans want power, and they are prepared to bargain for political influence and kill coppers to get it.
The complex plot of Blue Rondo involves dismembered bodies showing up across London, Troy's family playing their exotic games, Troy's former lover Kitty Stilton reappearing as Kate Cormack, wife of Senator Cal Cormack a presidential hopeful, and Kate being trailed by an ex New York policeman now a private eye, to ensure her sexual activities don't find their way into the American press.

He tried an American version of counting sheep, working out out the names of all those presidents who had been bachelors , not trusting Kitty's knowledge of history any more than he'd trust her knowledge of quantum physics.

John Lawton has called his books a social history of our time, and it is his ability to blend his fictional characters in with real life people of the time, and some outwardly fictional thinly disguised real life characters that adds to the evocative atmosphere of London in the 1950s.
Alf Marx is probably Jack Spot, and the demise of his Jewish mob was brought about by the murderous Kray twins [the Ryans], while Lord Steele, their upper class friend seeking young "rough trade" is a thinly disguised version of Lord Boothby.
They are all waiting for the 1959 General Election, which they think will bring Labour to power, and Freddie's brother the slightly naive Rodryon into the office of Home Secretary.

Lawton writes about the decadent and corrupt atmosphere of London of the time, but he does it with such charm that you can forgive him the coincidences, and the outrageous sexual shenanigans. He creates such wonderful characters, plays with them, and then puts them in interesting situations.
There are a lot of characters from the previous books, who make small cameo or slightly longer appearances, such as the crazy Polish pathologist, Kolankiewicz, Chief Inspect Jack Wildeve, Shirley Foxx, Tosca...........

Now it was scent. Something familiar but unplaceable. The upper frequencies of Dior? With the toothbrush still sticking out of the side of his mouth , he pushed open the bedroom door, and saw the round bump of Kitty's backside in his bed. He could not fault her timing. At once appropriate and awful.

This is a fantastic series, and you don't have to be Londoner to enjoy the books although it helps. They are full of British eccentricity, cockney stereotypes [because people were really like that], upper class promiscuous toffs [because people were really like that] and political and social comment that seems just as relevant today. If you want to read a great crime series full of intelligence, and written with real style, John Lawton's Troy series will both amuse, excite and educate you.

Here are my reviews of the other books, and some further information:

Riptide 2001
Blackout [published as Bluffing Mr Churchill in the USA] 1995
Blue Rondo [published as Flesh Wounds in the USA] 2005
A Little White Death 1998

You can read more about the Troy series here and Blue Rondo here.
I have to thank Crimeficreader for introducing me to this author.
Here is her review of Second Violin and her essay on the Troy books.

'Truth is she's cock-a-hoop. She's been let out of a loveless marriage. No messy divorce. No shyster lawyers.'
'Was she contemplating divorce?'
'Don't be naive, Freddie. She was contemplating shooting the bastard. She has every day for years as we both know.'

Wednesday, September 08, 2010



Turku, Finland, during the summer of 1974 Parsinnen and another man watch pornographic films involving children. Later Parsinnen rapes and murders a young girl, Pia Lehtinen, and dumps her body in a lake, while this other man watches.
The other man immediately packs up and leaves Turku and does not contact Parsinnen again until......

Thirty three years later one of the detectives on that case Ketola retires and takes home with him the model they made all those years ago of the crime scene.
Later that summer another girl goes missing and her bicycle, with blood on it, is found abandoned by the side of the road at the same cross that marked Pia Lehtinen's murder.
Has the same killer returned to commit another dreadful crime?
Dtective Kimmo Joentaa asks for help from Ketola, and they go back to investigate the earlier murder, while their colleagues continue to search for the body of the new victim, Sinikka Vehkasalo.
When the news appears on television Timo Korvensuo, an estate agent living a happy normal life in Helsinki with his wife and two children, feels the need to drive to Turku and seek out his old associate, Parsinnen.

Silence by Jan Costin Wagner, translated from the German by Anthea Bell, is a fine police procedural with some nice twists and turns, only some of which are predictable. The author might be considered not to play quite fair with the readers at one point, but the clues are there if you read carefully.
Jan Costin Wagner was born near Frankfurt, and divides his time between Germany and Finland, his wife's home country, and to me the book appears very northern European in that it is both a police procedural, and a dark psychological thriller.

Silence is a very bleak sad story dealing with addiction to child pornography, personal loss and guilty conscience. Also because both detectives, Kimmo and Ketola, have had great personal tragedies occur in their lives there are not many laughs in this story. But then the possession of child pornography, and the danger that those addicted to this perversion slip over from watching it on screen to wanting to participate is no laughing matter.

'Nothing simpler. It's the same man. For some reason or other he's come back. He must be out of his mind, but then he was already out of his mind thirty-three years ago, and now he's lost control again after thirty three years.'

Silence is a good read, with sharply drawn characters, whose thoughts and motivations are explored in detail, but it is not a book to try if you are feeling a little depressed.

Monday, September 06, 2010


The Agatha Christie Blog Tour is running the whole month of September to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of the great crime writer. You can read the Blog Tour schedule, and link to some excellent posts here at Kerrie's Mysteries in Paradise.

I shall be attending "Matthew Prichard and John Curran in conversation" which I note is sold out, as are some of the much more expensive celebratory events. In the current recession this is surely a sign of the enduring popularity of Agatha Christie, and the affection in which she is held by the people of Devon as well as the thousands who travel from all over the world for this festival, and to visit the author's beautiful holiday home at Greenway.
Listening to the discussion will be interesting enough, but the promise of a 'cup of tea and special birthday cake' is definitely not to be missed. I shall be posting about this event, hopefully with some photos, as part of the blog tour on 16 September BST.
I do hope the weather will be better next week for the festival, and our trip down to the English Riviera, because today the rain is bucketing down in a constant deluge.
Much more like Devon than a Riviera.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Friday, September 03, 2010


Three young men, Jon Moreno, Philip Reilly and Axel Frimann are staying in a a small log cabin near Dead Water Lake.
They take a boat out into the middle of the lake and Jon, who cannot swim, slips over the side into the water. Axel and Reilly make no attempt to rescue him, and don't call for help until the next morning, when they invent the story that he went out on his own, and apparently committed suicide.
Although Jon was a patient at Ladegarden Psychiatric Hospital, suffering from depression, detectives Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skaare are not convinced that he committed suicide, because of certain inconsistencies in the evidence. Then they discover that these three young men are mentioned in earlier records concerning an event the previous winter..........

Karin Fossum's Bad Intentions, translated by Charlotte Barslund, is a short book less than two hundred pages, but it proves that you don't have to write a six hundred page blockbuster to leave the reader satisfied.
Her detectives, Sejer and Skaare, play a comparatively small part in this superb book which becomes a psychological study of two contrasting friends.
Axel, is a smooth operator working in advertising, who drives a Mercedes, the sort of man women usually smile at when he talks to them.
Reilly is a disheveled, socially inept, drug addicted incompetent hospital porter, who once wheeled a 90 year old woman into the maternity ward. Why did the shy thoughtful Jon remain friends with this mismatched twosome?
Karin Fossum introduces some interesting cameo characters in Hanna Wigert Jon's psychiatrist, Molly his girl friend at Laderdegaden, and Ingerid his mother. All these women get to see through the controlling Axel to the real person beneath the veneer of charm.

The book talks about loneliness, conscience, control and the fragility of the human mind when faced with trauma; as well as the special resilience that can be found in some people after great personal loss. Bad Intentions also discusses Norway's immigrant communities and racism, and even finds space for a little gentle humour in what is essentially a rather bleak book.

'You want me to believe it tastes better than any other pork?'
'Of course. A free pig is a happy pig, and a happy pig is a tasty pig.'
'Now I get it ,' Reilly said. 'A happy pig is a more expensive pig. And we can't tell the difference anyway.'

This is another brilliant book by one of Norway's and Europe's top crime writers.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


One of the most famous prisons in the world may be just up the road, and one the the most scary crime fiction stories ever written was set on Dartmoor, but today it was very pleasant place to be.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I recently read The Girl with the Crystal Eyes by Barbara Baraldi, and it was great fun. It had me laughing quite a lot, although I am not sure that was the author's intention.
The glamourous Ms Baraldi is according to the back cover is "Italy's bestselling thriller author", which I suppose is equivalent to saying that The Sun is the biggest selling newspaper in the UK.
From the back cover again:
...the first volume in an unforgettable gothic journey through the streets of Bologna, with bloodshed that will chill you to the bone and an investigation that will take your breath away.

There is a prologue and an amazing total of 67 chapters in the 264 pages, which produces a 'James Patterson like' very jerky read.
On page two of the prologue we read:
Arousal makes him breathe heavily. His eyes, small and dark, run up and down her body, leaving behind the slimy trail of her thoughts.
'You got no knickers on -like I asked you?'
'Of course. I'm a very obedient girl.'

Immediately fans of Miss Austen will realise they have no need to worry; she will not be challenged on grounds of literary excellence by Ms Baraldi.
The plot involves a beautiful serial killer going round murdering men, who think she is an easy target, and the reader has to work out which one of three or four beautiful women is the killer.
The book reminded me of a song from a country and western group, Confederate Railroad, in which the narrator states he likes his women 'just a little on the trashy side.' Definitely not a book suitable for day time television adaption, and much more a late night cable station offering.
I should issue another little warning to the sensitive reader. In this book when two beautiful women go to the loos together, they are not intending to discuss Italian Renaissance Art or knitting patterns.
[There is a brief reference in the book to Carlo Lucarelli's female detective Grazia Negro and those thrillers set in Bologna, but this book is no where near the same standard.]
Many thanks to the kind blogger, who sent me this book.