Archive for November, 2008


Posted: November 29, 2008 in Uncategorized


When I have found an author and read them quite happily for many years I don’t like it when they become mainstream. 

Is this intellectual snobbery [probably] or is it that the movies or TV on occasions make a complete mess of  adaptations?

John Hannah as Rebus, and Lou Diamond Phillips [born in the Phillipines] as Navajo policeman Officer Jim Chee spring to mind as casting errors. But I really get irritated at the exposure of my favourites to the attention of media people who know nothing about the subject but have become instant experts.

Now Henning Mankell, Kurt Wallander, and Sweden have become victims of instant  punditry and reviewers who seem to have never read a crime fiction book, or possibly any book.

How long did it take to think up the Radio Times headline ‘Inspector Norse’

The Daily Mail weekend review goes one better with ‘Inspector Morose’, who is ‘ Swedish, scruffy and makes Morse look like the laughing policeman’. 
I suspect the writer has not read the Sjowall and Wahloo novel of that name, because they go on to say ‘Swedish and witty: now that’s something you don’t often see.’

Why do the media employ a critic who on their own admission states:

I must be honest, I hadn’t been optimistic about the prospect of a Swedish detective. My only knowledge of the country came from watching Bjorn Borg playing tennis at Wimbledon, and reading about Ulrika Jonsson’s latest baby/divorce/lover.

If I had my grumpy old way no one would be allowed to review the Wallander series unless they could identify the two people in the portraits above. I am going to record the ‘Wallanders’ and save them to watch when the media hoopla has died down. The first episode is on BBC at 9.00 p.m. tomorrow.

I have decided to lighten my mood before I read Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdadottir and therefore I have started reading The Burglar who liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block.    

Swedish police have put on additional security measures for a seminar in Stockholm entitled ‘Freedom of Speech and Lawless Violence’. 

SAPO, the security police are also involved because participating in the discussion are writers Roberto Saviano and Salman Rushdie.

Read the full article here.


Posted: November 27, 2008 in Uncategorized


I have just finished reading Darkness Rising , the fourth in the Dr Max Liebermann series, and my review will appear in due course on Euro Crime


Posted: November 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

>But they won’t give up playing and perhaps there is someone out there who will provide a mini-bus and storage facilities for these inspirational guys.

Very many thanks to all those people who voted for them. 


Posted: November 26, 2008 in Uncategorized


These are the covers of  English and Polish editions of Death in Breslau. The cover of the English version of the next book in the series End of the World in Breslau is even more risque see here

Why the different  covers?


Crime fiction set in Weimar Germany is in vogue at the moment with two more books coming out this year. It must be the looming economic problems?

The encyclopedic Karen of Euro Crime drew my attention to the next book in the series to Marek Krajewski’s intriguing  Death in Breslau titled End of the World in Breslau here.
I enjoy reading about quirky detectives, such as Adamsberg and Harry Hole, and Marek’s Eberhard Mock is certainly a bit offbeat although well suited to his time and place.

You can read my interview with the Polish crime writer here and here

End of the World in Breslau will be published in March 2009.

And Rebecca Cantrell, a resident of Hawaii, has A Trace of Smoke, which is set in Berlin 1931 out in May 2009. Watch the excellent trailer here.

These two books both look to me like contenders for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award. 


The very professional ITV West Country team recorded the Honeytones for broadcast at 6.00 p.m. tonight. I don’t know how long the actual broadcast will last but they took about an hour and a half of film. At this stage the audience of about 100 mostly children had left while the cameras took close up shots of the band members.
Maxine of Petrona has kindly posted  here and linked to all of my Honeytones posts.

Please Vote Honeytones before midnight 0871 626 8166.
Thank You


Posted: November 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

>                                             0871 626 8166

The phone number to Vote Honeytones is 0871 626 8166 and you can vote TEN times. The cost is 10p from a local landline and more from mobiles. 
Voting is 9.00 a.m. to midnight so please support this very good cause.

The George Hotel is supporting local band ‘The Honeytones’ in the Peoples Millions vote on November 25th. Please take a few minutes to read about their incredible achievements.

Voting Day November 25th 2008.
You can only vote on the day that the Honeytones are broadcast which is why the number which will not be published until November 25th in the Daily Mirror, the Big Lottery website : and of course it will be broadcast by ITV Westcountry on the day.
Anyone can vote and you do not have to live in the Westcountry area to vote.  Calls will cost 10p from a BT landline and up to 10 calls can be registered from one line.

‘The Honeytones’

The Honeytones are a rock’n’ roll band which was formed in 2001 by Bob Courtney along with two residents of a North Devon care home for learning disabled adults. Their huge enthusiasm attracted new members from the same community and they are now a nine-piece outfit centred on keyboards and guitar with a large and wide-ranging repertoire.

In 2006 they were awarded £9,000.00 by the “Awards For All” lottery scheme to purchase much-needed equipment and began to take their music to a wider audience. Following a remarkable gig at a black tie dinner for Braunton Rotary, the band experienced a huge increase in popularity. At the end of that 40 minute performance, the whole room erupted in applause and received a standing ovation which was unprecedented for such an event. The band was from that point totally committed to taking their performances to as wide a public as possible. They have performed for local organisations, charities and at many public events and want to continue doing so.

Unfortunately the future of the band is bleak. They have lost their equipment storage facility and can no longer practice at the free facility they previously enjoyed. The residential home where they live is scheduled to close, leaving them with no transport. At present, the equipment (three Transit loads!) is stuffed into Bob’s terraced house. The band are clubbing together to hire South Molton Church Hall for weekly rehearsal sessions.

But here’s the good news. They’ve got through to the finals of the “Peoples Millions 2008” on ITV Westcountry which will be televised on November 25th 2008. If the band wins the public vote then they stand to gain nearly £50,000.00 to enable them to take their performances out to a wider public, especially the young and disadvantaged in society.

Four of Her Majesty’s prisons have expressed interest in The Honeytones. If they are successful with the Peoples Millions award, The Honeytones will purchase their own minibus, a trailer for their equipment along with generator and marquee which will make them virtually independent. They will not have the safe rehearsal and storage base which they previously enjoyed but their music and infectious enthusiasm will continue to entertain audiences in North Devon and beyond.


I missed this news until I spotted it on the author’s Swedish site so perhaps others might have missed it as well.

The International Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere was won this year by Camilla Lackberg for The Ice Princess reviewed here, this award has a very distinguished list of past winners.
Arnaldur Indridason won it in 2007 for the multiple prize winning Voices reviewed here.

Other past winners have included Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Michael Connelly, Elizabeth George, Frances Fyfield, P.D. James, Tony Hillerman and Elmore Leonard; exalted company. 


Posted: November 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

In between my crime fiction reading I have managed to finish The White War; Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919 by Mark Thompson.

 I use the expression ‘manage to finish’ not because it is a difficult book to read but because it is such a sad story of wasted lives.

The book covers the whole story of Italy’s involvement with La Grande Guerra from the grand strategy and politics to the poetry and individual accounts of the soldiers. 
The story is even more tragic looking back from our perspective today knowing that Italy turned to Mussolini and Fascism, and reading passages such as that below. 

For Wilson, Yugoslavia’s birth proved that anti-imperialist ideals could prevail; it was self determination in action. He was adamant that the infant must be protected.

The book is full of interesting comments from a very different world such as:

… he wore a fez, showing he belonged to a Bosnian regiment. The fez had the same effect on Italians that the Scottish kilt had on the Germans: it meant primeval savagery. 

The conflict has largely been ignored by English speaking historians although at the time Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G.Wells and Rudyard Kipling toured the front and wrote ‘articles and instant books’. The future novelist John Dos Passos spent time in Italy as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and of course Ernest Hemingway served in Italy and his experiences were told in the semi-autobiographical novel A Farewell to Arms.

The White War is very good history, a sobering book and a necessary reminder that the Western Front was not the only killing field of the Great War. 

A dirty trick which had been played on me and my generation’ Siegfried Sassoon

The most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery.’ Ernest Hemingway