Archive for June 2, 2013

51-XXpEMoPL._SL500_AA300_P1010564I am very pleased that Last Will by Liza Marklund has won the prestigious Petrona Award.

This award is in memory of Maxine Clarke, who very sadly died last December. I greatly miss her kindness, cheerfulness, constant encouragement, and of course her brilliant reviews. 

Maxine was a champion of Scandinavian crime fiction, bloggers, and women in crime fiction, and I think it is appropriate that Last Will written by Liza Marklund and featuring Annika Bengtzon won this inaugural Petrona. 

When at the end of last year I picked my favourite books of 2012 Last Will was high on my list and I commented: 

Last Will by Liza Marklund tr. Neil Smith

Annika Bengtzon, the most popular and attractive journalist in Scandinavia continues the struggle to balance her career and family. In this brilliant book the reader learns about Alfred Nobel, his prize, how a media outlet is organised, and tales of scientific rivalry. No wonder Liza Marklund was one of Maxine’s favourite authors. 

You can get read Maxine’s review of Last Will here.  

[photo shows Maxine at Crime Fest along with one of her favourite translators Don Bartlett]

P1040204The weather is finally showing some change from one of the coldest springs on record.P1040198


My reading in May ranged consisted of  three crime fiction books, five science fiction books that varied from the very clever to the very unreadable, and one history book. This book by Frederic Morton was about Vienna in the period 1888/1889 and concerned the build up to the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolph and his mistress the young Baroness Marie Vetsera at Mayerling. If I tell you that the book ends on 20 April 1889 you might guess why the last few sentences sent a chill through me far greater than any crime book. 


I will always enjoy reading history books but even though many years ago I read a lot of science fiction I have now decided it is not really my scene.  I like a good murder. My enthusiasm for crime fiction was revived by reading three books of equal quality that I really enjoyed. It would be a bit unkind to separate these excellent books:

Lifetime:Liza Marklund

Black Bear: Aly Monroe

Blood Curse, The Springtime of Commissario Ricciardi: Maurizio De Giovanni

I will report on my day and the stimulating panels I attended on the Saturday of Crime Fest in Bristol, and the International Dagger and Ellis Peters Historical Dagger shortlists next week.