Monday, 31 October 2011

News from Transworld Publishers!


Transworld will be publishing an original crime novel based on the ITV crime drama series "Scott and Bailey".

Publishing director for crime and thrillers, Sarah Adams, approached RED Production Company with the proposal for a prequel to the TV series, buying world rights to the title and signing up author Cath Staincliffe to write it. It will be published as a paperback original in spring 2012.

Adams said: "'Scott and Bailey' bought a breath of fresh air to our TV screens this summer, with its authentic insight into a murder incident team. These brilliant characters are destined to become household names and we can't wait to launch the first 'Scott & Bailey' novel in 2012."

The series is set in Manchester and features DC Rachel Bailey, DC Janet Scott and DCI Gill Murray, with the publication receiving the full backing of Sally Wainwright, the TV series writer, and her co-creator Diane Taylor.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Books to look forward to from Penguin and Michael Joseph

In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over sixty years. The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and the ruthless determination to keep the past hidden at any cost. The Secret Rooms is by Catherine Bailey and is due to be published in June 2012.

The Chemickal Marriage is by GW Dahlquist and is due to be published in July 2012. Miss Temple, young, wealthy and far away from home, never wanted to be a heroine. Yet her fiancé is dead (admittedly, by her own hand), her companions slain and her nemesis, the terrifyingly wicked Contessa Lacquer-Sforza, escaped. It falls on her tiny shoulders to destroy a deadly cabal whose alchemy threatens to enslave the world. Miss Temple plots her revenge. But Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang are alive. Barely – their bodies corrupted by the poisonous blue glass. Wounded and outnumbered, Miss Temple, Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang pursue their enemies through city slums and glittering palaces as they fight to prevent the cabal's crushing dominion and unholy marriage between man and machine. An assassin, an heiress and a surgeon against the world's most unholy evil – the stage is set for a final battle. . .in an adventure like no other.

Spitalfields, 1840. Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End. She has few companions and little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. But then a murderer strikes, ripping open the chests of young girls and stuffing hair into their mouths to resemble a beak, leading the press to christen him The Man of Crows. And as Catherine hungrily devours the news, she finds she can channel the voices of the dead . . . and comes to believe she will eventually channel The Man of Crows himself. But the murders continue to panic the city and Catherine gradually realizes she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears . . . and lurking behind the lies Catherine has been told are secrets more deadly and devastating than anything her imagination can conjure. With an elegant style and thrilling plot, The Pleasures of Men reveals the dark, beating heart of corrupt London during Queen Victoria's reign. The Pleasures of Men is by Kate Williams and is due to be published in January 2012.

1889, London. The legacy of Jack the Ripper has cast a shadow over the city. But a new era of fear is just beginning . . . Victorian London is in the grip of a wave of crime and murder, with its citizens no longer able to trust the police to protect them. The newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, made up of just twelve detectives, battles in vain against the tide of violence and cruelty. When the body of a Yard detective is found in a suitcase, his lips sewn together and his eyes sewn shut, it becomes clear that not even the police are safe from attack. Has the Ripper returned - or is a new killer at large? Walter Day, the squad's newest recruit, is assigned the case and finds a strange ally in the Yard's first forensic pathologist, Dr Bernard Kingsley. Can they find the murderer before it's too late? Or is London at the mercy of a serial killer even deadlier than Jack the Ripper? The Yard is by Alex Grecian and is due to be published in June 2012.

Kurt Austin and NUMA are back on the case. A Japanese cargo ship cruises the eastern Atlantic near the Azores – when it bursts into flames. A gang of pirates speeds to take advantage of the disaster – when their boat explodes. What is happening in that part of the world? As Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and the rest of NUMA's Special Assignments Team rush to investigate, they find themselves drawn into the extraordinary ambitions of an African dictator, the creation of a weapon of almost mythical power, and an unimaginably audacious plan to extort the world's major nations. Their penalty for refusal? The destruction of their greatest cities. Devil’s Gate is by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown and is due to be published in January 2012.

Also due to be published in March 2012 by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott is The Thief featuring Isaac Bell. On the ocean liner Mauretania, two European scientists with a dramatic new invention are barely rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency's intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell. Unfortunately, they are not so lucky the second time. The thugs attack again – and this time one of the scientists dies. What are they holding that is so precious? Only something which will revolutionize business and popular culture – and perhaps something more. For war clouds are looming, and a ruthless espionage agent has spotted a priceless opportunity to give the Germans an edge. It is up to Isaac Bell to figure out who he is, what he is up to, and stop him, but he may already be too late . . . and the future of the world may just hang in the balance.

Tuesday’s Gone is the second book in the series to feature Frieda Klein. The rotting, naked corpse of a man is found amidst swarms of flies in the living room of a confused woman. Who is he? Why is Michelle Doyce trying to serve him afternoon tea? And how did the dead body find its way into her flat? DCI Karlsson needs an expert to delve inside Michelle's mind for answers and turns to former colleague, psychiatrist Frieda Klein. Eventually Michelle's ramblings lead to a vital clue that in turn leads to a possible identity. Robert Poole. Jack of all trades and master conman. The deeper Frieda and Karlsson dig, the more of Poole's victims they encounter . . . and the more motives they uncover for his murder. But is anyone telling them the truth except for poor, confused Michelle? And when the past returns to haunt Frieda's present, she finds herself in danger. Whoever set out to destroy Poole also seems determined to destroy Frieda Klein. Sometimes the mind is a dangerous place to hide. Tuesday’s Gone is by Nicci French and is due to be published in June 2012.

Into the Valley is by AL Berridge and is due to be published in May 2012. 1854 - The Allied armies prepare to besiege the Russian stronghold in the Crimea. Harry Ryder is a maverick hero. Resentful of the army that destroyed his father and his own career, he has no time for incompetent commanders. He clashes with his superiors as fiercely as he fights the Russians. Four men, one woman and a game of cards will change everything and alter the course of a war. Something evil has crept into the ranks of the British Army's own officers, an unknown enemy who plans lure men to ruin on the battlefields. The only path to victory lies in uncovering the truth, but to find it and confront his own destiny Ryder must charge with the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death itself . . . Into the Valley is the first in a new series set in the backdrop of the war in Crimea.

1987. A brother and sister are brutally killed in a summer house in the north of Denmark. The police investigation suggests that the murderer is to be found within a group of young boarding-school students who are known for their addiction to gang violence. But the evidence is not strong enough to prove this theory, and the case is shelved. Twenty years later, Carl Mørck and his assistant Assad stumble over the file documenting the murders. Someone seems to be interested in revisiting the events surrounding the case. When Mørck's bosses strictly forbid the Department Q team to reopen the file, both he and Assad know there is something terribly wrong. The first lead they uncover takes them to the very top of Danish high society. But it also takes them to the very bottom: to Kimmie, a young homeless woman who lives on the streets of Copenhagen and who seems to know a secret that could seriously threaten three incredibly powerful men . . . Disgraced is by Jussi Adler-Olsen and is due to be published in June 2012.

1794, the height of the French Revolution. Charles Hayden sets off aboard the ill-fated HMS Themis with orders to destroy a French frigate sailing from Le Havre and to gather intelligence from a royalist spy. On discovering French plans for an imminent invasion of England, Hayden must return to Portsmouth to give warning before it's too late. But the enemy have been lying in wait for him, and so begins a dangerous chase out into the Atlantic and into the clutches of a powerful French squadron. After a failed attempt to masquerade as French sailors, Hayden and his officers are taken prisoner. A shipwreck following a storm and a case of mistaken identity befall Hayden and his men as they try in desperation to escape in order to warn the Lords of the Admiralty. Failure will mean the invasion of England – and the guillotine for Hayden. A Ship of War is by Sean Thomas Russell and is the third book in the series to feature Charles Hayden. It is due to be published in March 2012.

Shut Your Eyes is by John Verdon and is due to be published in February 2012. Once a cop. Always a cop . . .Ex-NYPD detective Dave Gurney is supposed to be retired. But people with problems keep knocking on his door. Like the police, for instance, who are baffled by a gruesome murder they just can't seem to solve. A young bride has been killed in the middle of her own wedding reception. The prime suspect – her new husband's Mexican gardener – is missing. As is the murder weapon – likely a machete – used to decapitate the bride. The police have drawn a blank. It's as if the killer has vanished into thin air. But when Gurney begins his investigations, he finds that a baffling murder is just the latest of many sadistic crimes committed by an individual who'll do anything to avoid capture.

The ruthless reign of a secret power must be stopped . . . In Rome, the public assassination of the Pope by a sniper on Christmas Day sets off a massive investigation that stretches across the globe. But behind the veil of Rex Deus – the Templar cabal that silently wields power in the twenty-first century – the plot has only just begun. The cabal has a position of ultimate control in its sights – and its head, Kate Sinclair, is never going to yield her one great ambition for her US senator son, Richard Pierce Sinclair. When ex-Army Ranger John Holliday uncovers the true motive behind the Pontiff's murder, he must unlock the secrets of a modern Templar conspiracy – and unravel Kate Sinclair's deadly design. The Templar Conspiracy is by Paul Christopher and is due to be published in June 2012.

The truth is, no life is perfect. Everyone has secrets. It's just that some are buried deeper than others . . .17 December 2011 – it's a normal working day for millions of Londoners. Just like all the others Sam Wren boards the Circle Line and that's the last time anyone has seen him. Sam simply vanishes from the train – without a trace – not even the tight net of security cameras can track him down. His disappearance remains a mystery, the police having stalled the investigation almost immediately. Six months later, Sam's wife, Julia, thinks that David Raker is the man to find her husband. With no money left to support herself she is desperate to know the truth. What happened to Sam? Why did he leave her? Or was he harmed by someone? Private investigator David Raker has worked many missing persons cases and he knows that everyone has something to hide. Intrigued by the circumstances of Sam's disappearance he takes on the hunt for the vanished man and quickly discovers that Sam's life was built on a pyramid of fatal lies . . Vanished is the third novel in David Raker series by Time Weaver and is due to be published in July 2012.

Merciless is by Mary Burton and is due to be published in March 2012. First you beg. Then you die . . . No Pity. Each skeleton is flawless – gleaming white and

perfectly preserved, a testament to his skill. Every scrap of flesh has been removed to reveal the glistening bone beneath. And the collection is growing . . .No Compassion When bleached human bones are identified as belonging to a former patient of Dr James Dixon, Detective Malcolm Kier suspects the worst. Dixon was recently acquitted of attempted murder, thanks to defense attorney Angie Carlson. But as the body count rises, Kier is convinced that Angie is now the target of a brutal, brilliant psychopath. No Escape Angie is no stranger to the dark side of human nature. But nothing has prepared her for the decades-long legacy of madness and murder about to be revealed – or a killer ready to claim her as his ultimate trophy . . .

When Jonny goes missing everything changes. His mother's heart is full of terror and sadness instead of joy. His father's study overflows with newspaper cuttings and profiles on missing people instead of the academic texts that were there before. His sister, once carefree, now carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. His bedroom at home remains untouched and ready for his return. A place is set for him at the table on Christmas Day each year. His birthday is always celebrated; unopened gifts for him gather dust. The hands on the clock continue to move forwards and yet Jonny hasn't returned. Where is he? Missing Persons is by Nicci Gerrard (One half of Nicci French) and is due to be published in May 2012.

The Chill of Night is the debut novel by James Hayman and is due to be published in March

2012. A frozen corpse means a big headache for Detective Michael McCabe. Lainie Goff thinks she has it all. A glamorous young Portland attorney with the brains and looks to match her ambitions, she's on the fast-track to a partnership. Until one cold winter night she discovers that her belief in her ability to handle any situation was misplaced. Now she's just a frozen corpse in the boot of a car at the end of Portland Fish Pier. And a problem for homicide detective Michael McCabe. Luckily for McCabe, there's a witness. A mentally disturbed young woman named Abby Quinn saw what happened to Lainie. Unfortunately, Abby mysteriously goes missing the very same night. With a victim who'd known more than her share of bad guys, a list of suspects that seems to get longer and longer and his only witness missing, McCabe has got his work cut out. But it's only a matter of time before the killer strikes again . . .

The Scared Scroll is by Anton Gill and is due to be published in April 2012 Constantinople 1204: the holy city is razed to the ground by Crusaders – the streets awash with blood. Modern day Istanbul: an elite group of archaeologists uncover the grave of Enrico Dandolo, once Doge of Venice, and leader of the bloodthirsty Fourth Crusade. They seek a legendary set of documents that reveal the truth behind the Doge's rumoured secret links to the Templar knights. Days later the team vanishes without a trace. All that remains in the ransacked grave is a strange key inscribed with an ancient code. Special Interpol Operatives James and Laura are called in. They soon find themselves battling against an ancient enemy in a life or death race against time. The dark secret of the Templar knights is about to be revealed.

The Pack is by Jason Starr and is due to be published in May 2012. When Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son. But his reluctance pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. In the nestled playgrounds of the Upper West Side, Simon harbors a simmering rage at his boss's betrayal. Things take a turn when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, more at ease with the darker side of life – and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys' night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality. As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and his perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their 'pack' they were talking about much more than male bonding . . .

Friday, 28 October 2011

Martin Walker at home in The Perigord

Our guest blogger is Martin Walker who is the author of the Bruno Chief of Police series which are set in St Denis. He splits his time between Washington DC and the Perigord. He has written several acclaimed works of non-fiction, including The Cold War: A History and is a prize-wining journalist. The latest book in the series is The Crowded Grave which is the fourth book in the Bruno series. His blog is devoted to the Bruno novels and you can also find information about the books but also recipes.

I was in the White House and about to go in to see President Clinton, an old acquaintance from our time at Oxford University, when my cell phone rang and my wife’s voice said “I don’t care what you’re doing but drop everything and get the next plane to France. I’ve found us our house.”

I didn’t duck the appointment with the President so it was a couple of days later that I met Julia in Paris and we drove down to see the house which has become our family home for over a dozen years. It was love at first sight and although it was still partly ruined, we bought it on the spot. A lot of effort has gone into restoring the 17th century farmhouse and its outlying barns and pigeon tower and the minstrels’ gallery overlooking the vast stone fireplace, installing a swimming pool and building herb and vegetable gardens.

And now I write my Bruno novels in my pigeon tower, entertain our friends and neighbours on the vine-covered terrace and play boules and hold dances in our gravel courtyard under the shade of a venerable ash tree. And each morning, we are woken by our cockerel, Sarko, and breakfast on the eggs from our own hens in the chicken coop we built behind the pool. It’s just along the line of poplar trees from the spot where I park my 40-year old Citröen deux-chevaux.

Most of our friends are French, and most of them have found their way into my novels. The Bruno series began with Pierrot, my local village policeman who is also my tennis partner and my guide to hunting and cooking. He persuaded me to join him in helping coach the village schoolchildren in rugby, and now they have elected me Parrain, a sort of honorary president, of our youth teams (boys and girls) who have just won the regional championship.

Other characters like the baron and the Mayor, the retired spy who used to smuggle East European scientists across the Iron Curtain, Montsouris the Communist councilor, Fabiola the doctor and Alphonse the old hippy who makes goat’s cheese in his commune in the hills, all have their inspiration in local friends and neighbours. Indeed, it was the old spy who found Sarko, my splendid cockerel.

All this has launched a tradition, which will survive the publication starting next year of the Bruno novels in French, that with the publication of each new Bruno novel, we throw a dinner party for all the local friends and I describe the plot. The latest one was a special event, since we also had to celebrate my appointment by the French tourist board as an Ambassador of Périgord, after the surge of German and Scandinavian Bruno fans coming to visit, some of them coming on special ‘Bruno’ tours. I asked the tourist board whether this gave me diplomatic immunity from French speeding and parking fines; sadly, the answer was No.
We are in the valley of the river Vézère, home of the famous prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux and the heart of the Périgord region. There is a traditional German saying that the sum of all happiness is “to live like God in France.” But when God wants to give himself a treat and take a particularly delightful vacation, I’m convinced he comes to Périgord.

He would not be alone. Human beings have long known the charms of this region of South-western France. The 40,000 year record of human settlement, which includes the marvelous art of the caves, makes this region unique. Nowhere else on earth can point to the archaeological evidence and claim continuous human settlement for so long.

The Romans were here. Périgueux, the capital of Périgord, was a Roman town and the remains of its amphitheatre and a luxurious Roman villa called the ‘Domus of Vesunna’ can be seen to this day. Its Tower of Vesunna, an old pagan temple, is one of most remarkable remains of ancient Gaul. After the Romans came the Vandals and Goths in the fifth century and the Arab invasion of the eight century before their great defeat at the hands of Charles Martel at the battle of Poitiers in 732 AD, battle that saved Europe for Christendom. Then came the Vikings in the ninth century, who sailed up the river to loot and burn Périgueux.

There are over 1200 abbeys and churches in Peérigord and some of them, like the tall, austere church of Trémolat, date from before Charlemagne. And there are over a thousand medieval castles (in various states of repair) and fortified hilltop towns called bastides where the French and English battled off and on for three centuries, even though they called it the Hundred Years War. The great castles of Castelnaud and Beynac still glower at one another across the river Dordogne, and remain in such splendid shape that the latest Joan of Arc movie was filmed at Beynac. History seems very close, which may explain why so much of it creeps into the Bruno books.
Our ancestors knew what they were doing. The Périgord has a fine temperate climate, never too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. It is well watered by the rivers of the Dordogne and Vezere and the land is rich and fertile. Its woods abound with mushrooms, game birds, deer and sanglier, the wild boar that we still roast every year at the tennis and rugby club banquets in my village. To the west are the vineyards of Bordeaux and to the south the less well-known but better-value vineyards of the Bergerac and the glorious sweet and golden wines of Monbazillac that a kindly providence gave us to drink with foie gras.

The Perigord is the living heart of French cuisine, the home of foie gras and truffles, where the doctors were long baffled by the remarkably low level of heart disease until they found that the combination of cooking with duck fat and drinking red wine turns out to be good for the health. In summer, it produces the sweetest strawberries in France, with varieties like Alba, Matis, Gariguette and the highly perfumed Marée de Bois that are hard to find elsewhere.

In winter, at the weekly market in Sainte Alvère, truffles are on sale, the “black diamond of the Périgord,’ where buyers for the grand hotels and restaurants of Paris pay thousands of euros and more for the rich black gastronomic delights from the men who seek out these underground treasures with their well-trained dogs and pigs. Luckily, we don’t have to buy in the market. I go deep into the woods with Pierrot the policeman with his hunting dog and my own basset hound, Benson, and we bring back our own black diamonds that turn a humble omelette into a masterpiece. Even Bill Clinton does not live so well.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

News from Constable & Robinson and Headline

Constable & Robinson sign A D Garrett novel -
Constable & Robinson has signed a five-figure deal to acquire a new detective novel written under the pen name A D Garrett.

The book, jointly authored by thriller writer Margaret Murphy and forensic expert Professor Dave Barclay, was signed by C&R’s James Garbutt through agent Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown, with Katie McGowan at Curtis Brown handling the translation rights.

The publisher has British Commonwealth rights to the book excluding Canada. Blunt said: "The combined talents of Professor Barclay and Margaret Murphy merge to create a truly twisted crime novel, with brilliant but flawed forensic scientist Nick Fenimore at its centre." The publication date is to be confirmed.

Headline to publish Mark Mills -
Headline has acquired two novels by Mark Mills, previously published by HarperCollins, and author of bestselling title The Savage Garden.

Publishing director for fiction Imogen Taylor bought world rights excluding North America in the two novels, as yet untitled, through Stephanie Cabot at The Gernert Company.

The first book, which will be a contemporary novel set around an Oxfordshire estate, will be published in 2013. The second will have "more of a period setting", with both containing elements of "surprise [and] intrigue".

Taylor said: "I'm truly delighted that we're to be Mark's publishers; I've admired his work for years, ever since he wrote The Whaleboat House, his very first book. He's brilliant on place, the psychological make-up of a character, and how the past infringes on the present. I couldn't be more thrilled."

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Unravelling The Devil's Ribbon

Our guest blogger is D E Meredith whose latest book The Devil’s Ribbon is published on 25 October 2011 in the US. It is the second book in the Hatton and Roumande series. She has had a wide variety of jobs including working for the Red Cross, WWF, Helped the Aged, Greenpeace as well as being involved in the landmine campaign.

A trail of beribboned murders. A ticking bomb. A city about to explode.

July, 1858: London swelters under the oppressive heat of the hottest summer on record, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant, Albert Roumande, have a morgue full of cholera victims. The dead are all Irish, the poorest of London’s poor. They came in their thousands ten years ago, forced into the London slums by the terrible famine. Now they live segregated from the rest of Victorian society, a race apart in this heaving city who are at once everywhere and nowhere. But they are a close knit people, and deeply politicised. From the docks in Limehouse to the taverns of St Giles, Fenian groups are talking of violence and of liberation.

When a series of violent murders threatens to cause tensions to boil over, Scotland Yard calls on Hatton and Roumande to help investigate. The seemingly unconnected victims, who hail from all strata of society, are linked by the same macabre calling card: a bright Fenian green ribbon placed strategically about their corpses. While Hatton’s search for clues leads him into the spell of a blindingly beautiful woman, a widow of one of the slain, rumblings of a bombing campaign led by an agitator priest and his gang of would-be terrorists build throughout the slums. As the orchestra of veiled motives, divided loyalties, and violent retribution reaches a crescendo, Hatton’s skills are tested to the limit. With Roumande, he must race across London to an island with a shipwreck and a secret on a nail-biting race against time in this gripping, elegantly executed Victorian mystery in the tradition of The Dante Club and The Somnambulist.

What inspired you to write, The Devil’s Ribbon?

The Devil’s Ribbon is the second in ‘The Hatton and Roumande Mysteries’ for St Martin’s Press. So where did I get the idea to set it around the Irish in Victorian London? Firstly, my mother’s Irish and I was brought up pure London Irish i.e.: Roman Catholic, mass every Sunday, confession once a month, every holiday available spent on my Gran farm in County Cavan. As a child I definitely felt more Irish than English at times, and so when I started sniffing around for ideas for Professor Hatton’s second mystery, the London Irish community of the 1850s was an obvious theme for me to explore. I thought about what it must have been like for all those desperately poor Irish living in London at that time, who had left their country because of the famine.

And as I started mulling on this, I chatted to my Dad (a South Londoner, born and bred) who’s own mother, I discovered had bound books not only for the British Museum but for Cecil Woodham-Smith who wrote the definitive history book on the Irish famine of the 1930s, The Great Hunger”. Literary lay lines, or what? I just knew it was a sign, and that this was the right theme for me to look at. My dad told me that as a small boy, he’d gone to Cecil Woodham-Smith’s enormous South Ken house with the newly bound books. My Nan who was an impressive working-class woman and a single parent to boot, ran a book binding company from the basement of her house over-looking Tooting Common, which makes a guest appearance in The Devil’s Ribbon. From the moment I made these personal connections, I was hooked and read everything I could on the famine and the early beginnings of the Fenian movement.

After that it was easy. I already knew a lot about Irish Nationalism (my Irish family lived right on the border which used to be gun running territory and a Sinn Fein stronghold) and the mid Victorian period is such a rich one anyway, in terms of the social detail. London at that time was full of radicals, turbulent politics and new ways of thinking. All I really needed were characters who were imbued with the emotions and politics of the famine, and I was off.

In the second book in the series, I wanted readers to learn more about Professor Hatton’s background, his likes and dislikes, his past romances, why he became a pathologist and also more fully examine his close friendship with Albert Roumande. I wanted look again at the new, cutting edge methods of forensic science available in the 1850s – such as they were – and move my trusty aficionados one huge step on, from where I left them in my debut, Devoured (Oct 2010) so there’s a great deal of emphasis on finger printing which – to a greater and lesser extent – is used to solve the crime. Or should I say crimes?

How Do I Write?:

Haruki Murakami says it brilliantly in his book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. That writing novels is very closely linked to the same impulses and challenges of long distant running and I just happen to do both. Writers are very like runners. Writing requires more than just a good idea and the ability to string a sentence together. You really need to be committed and disciplined. To hit 100k and then start all over again (and again, and again in my case), requires stamina. You also need to develop a rhino hide very quickly, as writers all have their sob stories of rejection. Not everyone’s going to love your book, I’ve learned and guess what? some are going to hate it! But I do listen to what my readers say and try to give them more of what they want. I’m not writing for myself, I want to entertain, keep my readers coming back for more and anyway, I owe it to Hatton and Roumande.

In terms of a writer’s MO, I tend to get the first draft done very fast and then rewrite a million times till I get to the place I need to be. You have to really believe in the story, or you’d never get to that finish line. I also would never make to any sort of finishing line at all, without input from my agents at Tibor Jones, and my brilliant Editors at St Martin’s – Peter Wolverton and Anne Bensson. I’m definitely a team player and although writing is a lonely old game, having good people around you who love your work is one of the big buzzes of writing. I get a lot of encouragement and direction and boy, oh boy,do I need it, sometimes.

I’m very rigorous about writing, no matter what. In the morning, for example, I go for a run which takes me past an old Victorian “spill over” graveyard near a church called St Mary’s in Twickenham near on the Thames and it’s a constant source of inspiration. In the early Nineteenth Century, graveyards were overflowing and the stink from putrefying corpses so dreadful that heaps of bodies had to be moved to newly consecrated ground. Many of the gravestones are in a state of disrepair and sadly unmarked – pauper’s graves – but there is a large, impressive tomb along a winding path where a little baby was buried with his father in 1864. The baby was only six weeks old when he died and was called Adolphus Hatton. This is where I got the idea for my protagonist’s name and the hero of my books has become very real to me. I go and visit the grave a good deal. It’s become a bit of a talisman when I’m trying to get to the end of something. Sure, Adolphus can be annoying at times, and a bit of a prig, distracted by his work but like so many of my real-life friends he’s complex and above all, honorable.I certainly feel I’m discovering new things about him with each book I write. In The Devil’s Ribbon, Hatton falls in love. There’s no better way than to test the mettle of your hero, then by introducing him to an alluring woman. Poor Professor Hatton!

Likewise with his doughty French assistant – who if you read my books, you will know is barely an “assistant”, at all – Monsieur Albert Roumande. Albert Roumande is such a joy to write. Of all my characters, he’s the one I would turn to in times of trouble. He’s an ace shot, full of passion and is prepared to risk his own life for others. He loves his wife, his family, and counters balances Hatton’s priggishness with all sorts of antics and slap stick humour but he’s not always so gung ho. He likes a bit of joke, sure, but he has a troubled side and sometimes is little melancholy, which I touch upon in The Devil’s Ribbon and I hope we will see more of, as the series progresses. Hatton and Roumande share two key things, I suppose which is what the books revolve around. Two hard working men who love their work, respect each other and who have a very clear, innate moral compass, which will be tested again and again.

Why the Victorians?

Well, I think firstly, because they still feel so close, just in reach and yet, they are not so. I live in Victorian House, my garden used to be a Victorian orchard and I walk in their footsteps, breath the same air, peer at the outside world through the very same windows.

And when you start to delve into the history about the period, there really is something amazingly energetic and enterprising about the Victorians. And I love that. Plus, I suppose my passion for the great Victorian writers and their wild, gothic imaginations – Dickens, Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Mrs Gaskell, George Elliot, and the Brontes. London must have been an extraordinary city to visit in the 1800’s. The Victorian period oozed civic achievement on a monumental scale - Gladstone and Disraeli, Bazlegette and Faraday. And there were so many extraordinary thinkers, whose ideas still resonate today make the whole period so exciting to research– Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Ruskin, John Stewart Mill, and Harriet Martineau.

But set against this, there were still public hangings, dog fights, cock fights, an agonising loss of faith amongst the middle classes, rampant pornography, child labour, increasing crime rates, a burgeoning police force to stamp it out and of course, the first proper breakthroughs in the development forensic pathology or as the Victorians called it, Medical Jurisprudence.

In many people’s eyes, these new methods were deemed un-Christian and held in a mixture of both contempt and suspicion by the ordinary members of the public. However, for a small, but growing number of admirers from medical and law enforcement circles, the possibilities of the forensics were just beginning to be understood. Many CSI style techniques that we now take for granted - such as finger-printing, trace samples, time of death, toxicology reports, serology, analysing blood stains – were deemed experimental but, at the same time, extremely enticing. And this is the exact point, where the Hatton and Roumande Mysteries begin. With a new detective on the scene, the flamboyant Inspector Jeremiah Grey, these untested methods are pushed to the very limit of what was known in the 1850s. He’s a man with a corrupt ambition and he wants the case concluded any which way and how. He’s a larger than life character (with some quite serious problems of his own) and adds a lot of humour to the book, which I hope my readers will enjoy.

Oh and one last word. The cover for the The Devil’s Ribbon, I hope you agree is amazing. What a startling image and I am so lucky it on my book! I would just like to give credit where it’s due and say a big thank you to David Baldeosingh Rotstein and Tom Hallman at Minotaur Books, St Martin’s Press. Writing novels starts as one person and an idea, but the end product is the work of a lot of talented people, and I don’t mean the author.

For more on "The Hatton and Roumande Mysteries" and D.E. Meredith go to her website at

Hardcover, 304 pages

more details... ISBN 0312557698 (ISBN13: 9780312557690)

The Devil's Ribbon

Hatton and Roumande Mystery #2

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Harry Bosch comes to London

The release of a Harry Bosch novel by Michael Connelly is an event, and at Shots Ezine we’ve been long time followers of the dark investigations that Bosch has had to traverse over the years. Coming shortly is the 17th novel in the series THE DROP

Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two.

DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? The latter possibility could compromise all of the lab’s DNA cases currently in court. Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics. Councilman Irvin Irving’s son jumped or was pushed from a window at the Chateau Marmont. Irving, Bosch’s longtime nemesis, has demanded that Harry handle the investigation. Relentlessly pursuing both cases, Bosch makes two chilling discoveries: a killer operating unknown in the city for as many as three decades, and a political conspiracy that goes back into the dark history of the police department.

Click Here for Michael Connelly talking about The Drop on video

Incidentally, if you want to get an interesting set of three Harry Bosch short stories in the e-Book Collection SUICIDE RUN, click here as it is less that £1 and downloads as fast a round from Bosch’s sidearm.

In “Suicide Run,” the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. In “Cielo Azul,” Bosch is haunted by a long-ago closed case — the murder of a teenage girl who was never identified. As her killer sits on death row, Bosch tries one last time to get the answers he has sought for years. In “One Dollar Jackpot,” Bosch works the murder of a professional poker player whose skills have made her more than one enemy.

These stories were previously published in print in various
short story anthologies. “Cielo Azul,” was originally written for the web site’s mailing list in 2001, before the release of A Darkness More Than Night. Then it was published in a short story collection in 2005. ”One Dollar Jackpot,” was first published in 2007. ”Suicide Run” was also first published in 2007.

This collection is available now in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Get the second collection: Angle of Investigation.

Incidentally I recall ‘One Dollar Jackpot’ vividly as it was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger Award in the Short Story Dagger 2008, as I was one of the judges in a hotly contested shortlist.

Michael arrived in London at the weekend with his two friends [and colleagues of Detective Harry Bosch], the Florida based scientists Larry Gandle [Assistant Editor of Deadly Pleasures Magazine] and Ignacio Ferras. Both Gandle and Ferras were scientific advisors for Connelly’s remarkable novel The Overlook, which first appeared in a serialized form. The two scientists surreally found themselves as characters working alongside Bosch, uncovering a threat to ‘Homeland Security’ in The Overlook. Though being a partner to Harry Bosch does come with a price, as Ignacio ‘Iggy’ Ferras found out in the follow-up 9 Dragons. I did my best to shield Larry Gandle from a similar fate, over the weekend, while Connelly smiled at my bodyguard antics.

On Friday evening, Mike Stotter, Roger Ellory and I met Larry and Ignacio for dinner, reliving some of our adventures at Bouchercon St Louis. The following day, we all met up with a jet-lagged but cheery Michael Connelly at his hotel, as he arrived late the following evening. Mike Connelly treated us to Breakfast, before we headed into London’s West-End and ended up at Goldsboro books, where Roger Ellory signed early copies of his novel ‘Bad Signs’ which incidentally is released next week, as is Michael Connelly’s THE DROP. So after a short stroll to Trafalgar Square where the US NFL had erected giant screens. Roger Ellory and I then left the three men from Florida to enjoy the delights of London, thanking them for bringing the sun with them.

It appears that Michael Connelly, Larry Gandle and Ignacio Ferras had come to London in order to support their US NFL Team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were taking on the Chicago Bears at Wembley Stadium; which was a designated day of relaxation before Michael embarked on a promotional tour of the UK and Ireland for THE DROP.

If you get a chance I urge you attend one of the events, because Connelly’s insight into the genre, most revealing -

Tuesday 25 October, London, England

12.30-1.30pm Lunchtime signing at Waterstone’s1-3 Whittington Avenue, Leadenhall Market, Call 0843 290 8439 for details.

Leicester Place, London WC2. Tickets available from Waterstone’s Piccadilly:

tel: 0843 290 8549.

Wednesday 26 October, Birmingham, England
12.30-1.30pm Book Signing at Waterstone’s 24-26 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SL.
Call 0843 290 8149 for information.

Wednesday 26 October, Nottingham, England
7pm Talk and signing at Waterstone’s 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR.

Call 0843 290 8525 for ticket details.

Thursday 27 October, Manchester, England

12.00-1.45pm Book signing at Waterstone’s

91 Deansgate, Manchester M3

Thursday 27 October, Belfast, Northern Ireland

7pm Talk and signing with No Alibis Bookshop at the Ulster Museum.

Call 028 9031 9607 for details.

Saturday 29 October, Dublin, Ireland

12.30-1.30pm Book signing at Eason & Son Ltd

40 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin.

Call 0035318583800 for details

The Drop will be available in the UK and Ireland on October 27, 2011, in Australia and New Zealand on October 31, 2011, and in the USA and Canada on November 28, 2011. It will be available as an eBook, an audiobook, and in large print format, too and click here to read the opening

If you’ve not read Michael Connelly, you need to catch up fast, as the Harry Bosch novels are masterworks of the police procedural genre.

Photo © 2011 Ali Karim of Larry Gandle, Mike Connelly, Ignacio Ferras and Roger Jon Ellory in London.

White moves back to Penguin

We recently reported that Selina Walker had moved within the Random House UK imprint Transworld Publishers to Century and Arrow Imprints, and now we heard that Publishing Director of the new Swordfish Imprint at Orion Publishing, and military writer Rowland White is moving back to Penguin UK as reported by The Bookseller

White said: "Orion provided me with a wonderful opportunity and I've enjoyed working there alongside some very talented publishers. The invitation to return to Michael Joseph was impossible to turn down and I realised that Penguin was where my heart lay."

Moore added: "I am truly delighted that Rowland is coming back to Michael Joseph. The team here has missed him and his commercial publishing skill—his return will be hugely welcomed by all."

White joined Orion from Michael Joseph in January 2010, this year launching his commercial non-fiction imprint there called Swordfish, which began publishing this summer. The Bookseller understands the future of the imprint is currently under discussion, with White's end date at Orion and start date at MJ still to be confirmed.

Read More Here

We were delighted with Rowland’s first Swordfish acquisition – Matthew Dunn’s Spartan [aka ‘Spycatcher’].

Last week, The Telegraph featured an interesting interview with former MI6 Field Operative turned Thriller Writer – Matthew Dunn

Dunn was born in London, the son of a merchant seaman turned photographer. Educated at a state school, he read politics and economics at the University of East Anglia before taking a PhD in international relations at Cambridge. It was there that a tutor raised the matter of his future.

“There was a discussion about doing something academic. Part of me was attracted to that but I also had fire in the belly. I mentioned the diplomatic service and at some point he said there was another aspect of the service that might be of interest, also involving travel and complex situations. We knew what we were talking about.”

Six months of selection followed, involving tests of mental agility, role playing, repeated interviews and intrusive vetting. Five of the dozen people on his course were women, the successful ones a cross-section of society.

“MI6 is not some elitist club. The officer has to able to interact with any kind of person. You can’t have people who have lived only in a gentlemen’s club environment. It’s not like joining the Household Cavalry.”

What bound the new recruits? “We all felt anything was possible. You don’t enter with the mindset that 'this is impossible’. You just have to think of a way to do it. One of the questions in interview was, 'Who do you look up to?’ My response was, 'Frankly, nobody’. A degree of self-confidence is required, but not arrogance.”

Part of the selection process was conducted at Fort Monckton, the MI6 training establishment near Portsmouth. Candidates were sent into the naval town to test their ability to extract information.

“They might ask you to come back with 10 passport numbers,” says Dunn. “I had to sit in the pub and ingratiate myself with a group of strangers, getting as many personal details as I could. I did OK – some did tarot card readings or magic tricks to get details.”

A black tie dinner at Monckton marked Dunn’s formal acceptance into SIS. It was 1995 and he was 27. He was to find himself at the sharp end of SIS operations. “The Directorate of Requirements and Production is the operational side of the service. Officers operating in particularly hazardous areas were those who had excelled in the paramilitary side of training. I worked with the Increment, the SAS unit attached to SIS.

They provided back-up for anything that might be extremely dangerous. I was trained in close quarter and unarmed combat. I was good at it, I enjoyed it. Yes, there is an element of James Bond. There were no watches that could burn holes through walls but you might have a letter with explosives in it that could blow off a door.”

Dunn’s first job was with a team targeting rogue states. Officers are eased into operations – non-lethal ones first – often shadowing experienced colleagues. Dunn became an agent runner, responsible for about 20 in all. Some of those he recruited would have been tortured and executed if exposed.

Read More from The Telegraph here