No post last week, since I spent the week on a training course called Creative Reading? Why Not! in Lublin, Poland, where I met a lovely group of people from all over Europe, learned to juggle, went out and about in the streets of Lublin asking complete strangers to swap something they owned for a banana and ate far too many dumplings. Lovely.
First of all, the lovely people at Saraband - a smashing independent publisher based in Scotland - sent me debut novel FALLING FAST by Neil Broadfoot, which is due out in May. FALLING FAST is a deliciously twisty thriller that never lets up the pace.Edinburgh journalist, Doug McGregor, is on the trail of a particularly nasty ex-con - a convicted rapist who has been exposed for who he is and forced to go on the run. Meanwhile Doug's pal - and fount of much useful information - DS Susie Drummond is dealing with the case of a politician's daughter who has, apparently, killed herself by jumping from the Scott Monument. Thrills, spills, chills and kills. Good stuff.
Now, on to the Scottish crime fiction round-up. I'm guessing we're going to get quite a few Independence or not posts in the run up to the Referendum in September, so here are a couple to be going on with. Firstly, Lin Anderson on why English readers don't need independence from Scottish writers.And, then there's the always funny Douglas Lindsay whose Dr Ian Shackleton - senior lecturer at the Glasgow School of Politics and Football - is blogging for the Herald. Do read his first column. It's totally brilliant, but be aware that it is Mr Lindsay and not me who is responsible for images left in your brain of a bare chested Putin-esque Nick Clegg or Alex Salmond "swinging butt-naked on a wrecking ball." Cheers for that, Douglas.
Several pieces of Sherlock Holmes news today. More about the Conan Doyle home being turned into a school, and the newly discovered (on April 1st) Sherlock Holmes story. Then there's the strange connection between germs and Sherlock Holmes, a new exhibition in Sidmouth, and a slew of amateur sleuths caused by Sherlock.
You know you've arrived when your portrait is in a gallery. Ian Rankin looks happier to be outside the portrait than he does in it. And, if that's supposed to be Val, I doubt she's going to be best chuffed.
If you're in New Zealand, you can win an evening with Alexander McCall Smith.
An interview with my son Chris Ewan (grandma is proud, young Christopher) about his new thriller Dead Line.
Finally - man breaks into a business using a flower pot, cooks macaroni cheese and passes out.