Wednesday 28 December 2011

The Bats Have Left The Bell Tower

Alexander McCall Smith on the etiquette of regifting. Of course, there is another alternative. I volunteer for a UK telephone helpline charity and if you got any unwanted gifts, or you have any books - signed or otherwise - that are looking for a good home, I'm helping to organise the annual conference in February, and those would make smashing raffle prizes, so please feel free to re-gift them my way and I will love you forever :o)

And now, we need to talk about Kevin... I haven't read any fiction since I started my Masters Degree in September but, coming back from my Mum and Dad's in the wilds of Mordor after Christmas, I fired up my Kindle and got stuck into K J Wignall (aka Lord Kevin of Wignall)'s BLOOD. It's not crime fiction (although there are crimes in it). It's Young Adult vampire fiction. No - definitely not my usual fare, but Kevin Wignall is one of my favourite writers (who deserves to be far better known than he is) so, since it's been far too long since he had some crime fiction out in English (come on publishers, am I really going to have to learn Finnish to read DARK FLAG? Sinun täytyy olla pilaa (that might be Finnish for 'you've got to be kidding'. Since I got it from an internet translation thingy, it is equally likely to mean 'I've just eaten your grandma's bullfrog')).

Anyway, back to vampires. My last (and probably only) enjoyable encounter with a vampire was with the brilliant Bela Lugosi's Dead by the equally brilliant Bauhaus. My least enjoyable encounter was with that self same Bela Lugosi's 1931 Dracula. I was 13 and babysitting for the Bysouths, who lived down the road. It was nearing midnight and I foolishly turned the TV over, only to discover Bela Lugosi saying "I bid you welcome." I was petrified. I had to phone my mum to get her to come and finish babysitting with me. She was not happy. When she arrived, I didn't
know whether to be more scared of her, or the creak of Dracula's coffin opening.

So...BLOOD. It's bloody brilliant. I'll do a proper review in January, but just in case you're looking for something a bit different, I thought I'd mention it as I absolutely loved it. It was totally captivating. Not your stereotypical vampire story - far from it, in fact. Great characters (I felt very sad for Will - the main character, who's been 16 for the last 750 years. There are also some wonderful wee snippets about how he got to where he is today, and the plot was deliciously twisty and turny. And it was as creepy as hell.

And now, on to Scottish crime fiction.

Our Michael Malone picks his top crime reads of 2011, including Tony Black's excellent TRUTH LIES BLEEDING. And the lovely Julie Morrigan interviews Tony (and look at that lovely snippet of news about a Blasted Heath publication).

Oooooh, doesn't the cover for Russel McLean's next book, FATHER CONFESSOR, look good?

Sherlock Holmes under investigation.

McDroll at I Meant To Read That loved Ray Banks' DEAD MONEY.

The Spectator reviews the Alexander McCall Smith writing machine.

James McAvoy talks about Irvine Welsh's FILTH.

Here's my latest Blasted Blog column at Blasted Heath.

This will probably be my last blog post until 2nd or 3rd of January as I will be partying Hogmanay away in the Lake District, so thanks everyone for being so supportive, and I hope that next year will be a brilliant year for all of you. And here's hoping that I get to hug at least some of you in 2012.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Happy Happy, Merry Merry

No Cramps today, instead, some of my favourite alternative Christmas songs.
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
Stuff The Turkey - Alien Sex Fiend
Shot My Baby For Christmas - The Vaudevilles
The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis - Tom Waits
I Do, Dear, I Do - Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant - Siouxsie and The Banshees
I Don't Believe In Christmas - The Tabaltix
There's Trouble Brewin' - Jack Scott
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
There Ain't No Sanity Claus - The Damned
Run, Run, Rudolph - Humpers
I Want An Alien For Christmas - Fountains of Wayne
Merry Christmas You Suckers - Paddy Roberts
Black Christmas - Poly Styrene
Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope - Sonic Youth
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit - Half Man Half Biscuit

Over at Tony Black's Pulp Pusher a series of recommendations of, and by, Scottish authors and bloggers amongst others: Post 1, post 2 and post 3. And Tony has a lovely, heartwarming, wee Christmas story up too. Manky Christmas, ya bawjaws...

Groovy Daz reviews GUN by Ray Banks. And Paul Brazill on DEAD MONEY.

Sarah at Crimepieces reviews Val McDermid's A PLACE OF EXECUTION,

Lin Anderson recommends her favourite reads. And The Express recommends Anthony Horowitz' THE HOUSE OF SILK and Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD.

Here's Russel McLean with his top 10 books of the year.

Denise Mina with Pepys Christmas.

Stuart MacBride has a wee pressie for Evening Express readers.

A story from Alexander McCall Smith in the Express, and one in The Scotsman (does the man have a team of elves writing for him, I wonder?).

A Christmas Day radio play penned by David Ashton. And Ian Rankin's also on the radio on The Jazz House on New Year's Day.

A muscular Conan Doyle? And is Sherlock Holmes more brawn than brains too? And a treasure trove from the doctor who was the inspiration for Holmes.

Peter May's THE BLACKHOUSE is Richard and Judy's top Autumn Book Club read. And a video trailer for the follow-up - THE LEWIS MAN.

I leave you with the genius that is Douglas Lindsay, talking about the 10 worst Christmas songs.

Have a lovely festive season, Dear Reader. xxx

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Badass Bug

Today's Cramps title.

Win free ebooks for a year from those lovely people at Blasted Heath. And congratulations to Blasted Heath co-genius Allan Guthrie who will have a story in the Sunday Mail on 1st January, called (probably) HILDA'S BIG DAY OUT. Well done, Al. Brilliant news. mum reads the Mail. I'm not sure she's ready for one of your stories...

A review of Kate Atkinson's CASE HISTORIES. And one for STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG. Denise Mina's A SICKNESS IN THE FAMILY is reviewed here, and a couple of reviews of Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD.

Three books loved by Ian Rankin.

Mysteries in Paradise reviews Peter May's THE BLACK HOUSE. And Peter May's very first short story about Ian The Elf, written when he was 4 years old. Awwww, bless.

The Irish Independent with what's likely to be hot next year.

Maxine at Petrona on Karen Campbell (also mentioning Denise Mina and Aline Templeton).

NPR on the enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes. And a review of A GAME OF SHADOWS.

The latest Scottish delicacy - deep fried butter. I feel quite ill.

And, finally, I thought we'd seen the last of those lovely paper sculptures but here's a video of a final (?) one.

Monday 19 December 2011

Can't Find My Mind

Soon, I will run out of Cramps titles. But not yet.

Writers talk about their bookshelves.

Lots of reviews today. Maxine at Petrona reviews Aline Templeton's LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, The World According To Who? reviews Stuart MacBride's BROKEN SKIN, Clover Hill Book Reviews talks about Craig Robertson's RANDOM, Emily Mah on THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB by Alexander McCall Smith, whose THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH is reviewed in The Boston Globe. Sarah's Book Reviews enjoyed M C Beaton's AS THE PIG TURNS and the lovely Declan Burke reviews the equally lovely Aly Monroe's ICELIGHT in The Irish Times, and the Book Nook on Denise Mina's THE END OF THE WASP SEASON. Finally, a couple of reviews for Anthony Horowitz' THE HOUSE OF SILK.

A review...nay, poetry (and very clever)...of Allan Guthrie's BYE, BYE BABY from Conniephoebe.

An article on Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. And a review. Or there's the TV version with Benedict Cumberbatch which returns in the new year.

Denise Mina in A Year In Reading. And more on the graphic novelisation of The Girl Blah Blah Blah books (possibly the only Denise Mina penned stuff I will never read, since I didn't care for the first of the Larsson books and didn't read any more of them).

Seven Questions with Ian Rankin in which he reveals he would be a maverick cop. And here he talks about how he kills people off. And he's requesting a Robert Louis Stevenson Day. And if you're in Chichester on 20th January you can hear Ian reading from his unpublished first novel.

Win a copy of Peter May's THE BLACKHOUSE. I'd be entering with Amphetamine Westerly if I didn't already have a copy.

And you can win a copy of Helen Fitzgerald's THE DONOR over at Stephen Moyer's page. Ooooooooh, nice!

TRICK OF THE DARK by Val McDermid is one of Oline Cogdill's top reads of 2011. And Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG is in the Washington Post's best of list.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Queen of Pain

The Cramps again, of course.

I am now down at my parents to be spoiled over Christmas and it reminded me of a trip a few years ago. It's not just buses, you see. Public Transport and I have one of those love/hate relationships. I hate it, and it loves making my life a misery. Whenever I step on a train, or a plane, or a bus, or into a taxi, I take a deep breath and pray to everyone I can think of that I'm going to be sane at the end of the journey.

A couple of years ago I spent Christmas, as usual, in the soft and comfortable bosom of my family near Peterborough. After a wonderful time, we set off home. Now, I should state here that on Christmas Day I got the flu and I was feeling pretty ill. So I wasn't really looking forward to travelling anyway, but it was made all the worse by the fact that British Rail, in their infinite wisdom, had ripped up the railway tracks between York and Darlington, at the busiest time of year, so part of our train journey was done by bus.

Our seats were booked for the first part of the journey in Coach F. When the train arrived at Peterborough, we walked along past all the carriages - A, B, C, D, E, G, H. No F. So we walked back, just in case a tipsy carriage assembler had put coach F somewhere else. Still no Effing F. I spied a guard, a way up the platform, so, battling through the thronging hordes, and slamming myself into a pillar in the process (I didn't get transported to Platform 9 3/4 so I guess I won't be off to Hogwarts this term), I ascertained that Coach F was now Coach C through the miracles of Alphabet Soup so we managed to get a seat just before the train left.

At York, we all trooped out of the train, through a muddy bog that the station staff euphemistically referred to as 'car park' and onto buses. By this point we were already running 15 minutes late. Not to worry, said the guard on the train, the train would be waiting for us at Darlington. Absolutely. It definitely wouldn't be going anywhere until we arrived, we had his assurances on that.

So we all piled onto the bus. The bus was one of those posh ones, where you go down a little flight of stairs to the loo. Good, since by this time I was desperate to go to the loo. I walked up the bus and descended the stairs, only to hear the booming voice of the driver over the bus's tannoy "Could someone tell that woman that the toilet isn't working". About 17 people called down the stairs "Oy, you, the woman with the red face, the toilet isn't working."

We arrived at Darlington 40 minutes late to catch our connecting train (you remember, the one that on no account, absolutely definitely posilutely would not have left without us?), only to find that it had left without us, and the next one wasn't for another hour or so. Since we'd missed the train we had seats booked for, we didn't have seats booked for this one but there would be a whole load of people who would have had seats reserved. You could tell who they were - amongst the hordes of people on the platform they were the ones with really smug looks, the 4 bus loads of people who'd all arrived too late for our train just looked increasingly desperate, and were eyeing up those less fit than themselves, to determine their best chances of elbowing people out of the way to get a seat. By this time, I felt really, really awful, and promised the train guard (a different one from the lying sadist at York station) that I would vomit all over his shoes if he couldn't promise me a seat. He leaned over and whispered "I'll give you a tip since you're not well - Coach C has all the unbooked seats on it."

"My saviour. Thank you, thank you." I kissed his hands, sobbed into his British Rail jacket and promised him my uneaten British Rail sandwich (uneaten for very good reason I might add).

The train arrived. We sped down the platform past coaches H, G, F, E, D, B, A... D, B, A???? Had anyone reported this wholesale theft of railway carriages? Was someone, somewhere, setting up home in two cozy GNER carriages called F and C on a disused stretch of line somewhere between York and Darlington?

So, we grabbed seats in Coach D. I'm afraid I may have made rather a fool of myself as I clung to it sobbing "You'll never get me off this seat, never. Just leave me to die here. I've never harmed anyone." Anyway, it seemed to do the trick, no-one asked me to move for the whole journey. Not even the nice man in the white coat carrying the large butterfly net who hovered by my seat for the rest of the journey.

Now, enough of the nonsense. Scottish crime fiction news coming up.

Luca Veste over at Guilty Conscience talks about his top 5 books of 2011. Not only does he include Ray Banks' DEAD MONEY and Helen Fitzgerald's THE DONOR, but his number 1 is also one of my own favourite books of the year - the amazing BLACK FLOWERS by Steve Mosby. Luca obviously has excellent taste, I shall have to read the other two in his top 5 - Nick Quantrill's BROKEN DREAMS, and Neil White's COLD KILL.

More Ray, as The All Purpose Monkey muses over DEAD MONEY. And Ed Kurtz - another man with exceedingly good taste - picks it as one of his top books of 2011.

Doug Johnstone's busy year.

Conan Doyle's Moriarty on the big screen. And a review of A GAME OF SHADOWS.

Metaliterature reviews Philip Kerr's THE ONE FROM THE OTHER, Savidge Reads reviews M C Beaton's AGATHA RAISIN AND THE LOVE FROM HELL, and Crime Fiction Lover reviews Alex Gray's SLEEP LIKE THE DEAD.

Ian Rankin talks about which literary character he'd like to sleep with and other topics.

More on the Denise Mina comic book adaptation of the Stieg Larsson books. And more on the Unbound 26 Treasures project which Alexander McCall Smith is part of.

Irvine Welsh to write Britpop musical.

The Scotsman talks about their books of the year and note that Denise Mina and Ian Rankin show the "range of what the crime genre can do".

Monday 12 December 2011

Confessions of a Psycho Cat

I thought this Cramps song was apt.

Since I have told a few Glasgow bus stories recently, and I'm feeling lazy, I thought I would dig out an old bus story to accompany today's post, so here it is.

It was a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon, so I decided to go into the city centre to buy a new pair of sandals. Yes, I know - the World Shoe Mountain currently resides in my spare bedroom, but, well, you never can tell when that rumoured Slingback Shortage is going to occur, so, abiding by that old Girl Guide motto 'Be Prepared', off I trotted. (For the purposes of this tale, it's actually irrelevant that I was thrown out of the Girl Guides due to my reliance on my own personal motto 'Be a Pain in The Arse'.)

So there I was, sitting on the bus, gazing out of the window and listening to my ipod (The Clash if anyone cares). About half way into town, I noticed someone sitting down next to me. When I say 'I noticed' what I actually mean was 'I couldn't help noticing because he sat on my knee and breathed stale beer fumes all over me'. Oh good, that most annoying of Bus Pests, the Glasgow drunk. He apologised profusely. I mostly couldn't hear what he was saying due to the music so I I just smiled and turned away. Then he spoke to me again and I just nodded and smiled and looked out the window. So he tapped me on the shoulder and spoke again. I pointedly took out the earpiece from the ear on the Bus Pest side and said "Sorry?"

"Oh! Are ye listening tae music hen?"


"Whit are ye listening tae?"

"Just a mixture." (My patented method of getting rid of The Bus Pest is be brief, be polite, don't give them too much information, they'll only ask more questions).

"Is it some of that meatrocker music?" (OK, so my patented method needs a little work). "Ah'm an Elvis man maself. Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra... Ah'm no much o' a singer mind." I breathed a sigh of relief - thankful for small mercies - at least I wasn't going to be treated to a rendition of My Way. "Although, I dae a pretty guid Ma Way, if I dae say so maself." I cast about feverishly for a hole of swallow-me-up size, but luckily he decided not to sing.

In one way, I would have loved to have seen him sing. He had apparently recently been to the false Teeth Shop but was obviously in a hurry on teeth shopping day. I knew this because a) he had the most perfect set of top teeth (apart from the fact that they moved independently from his gums) and b) he had 2 yellow bottom teeth (and I don't mean he had two yellow bottom teeth in an otherwise perfect set. I mean he had only 2 bottom teeth, and they were bright yellow). Watching him speak was like watching a badly dubbed Hungarian film. When he finished speaking, his top teeth were still in motion - moving away from his gums, out over his bottom lip and, on a couple of really scary occasions they were sucked back into his mouth and disappeared towards his throat. I was mentally practising the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Instead he held out his hand "Ah'm Big Chick. Pleased tae meet ya hen. And you are?...."

"Donna", I said quietly.

"Did yez hear that?" he announced to the rest of the bus "The lassie's called Donna. Whit time is it Donna?"

"Ten past one."

"Ten past wan? Ten past wan in the MORNIN'?"

", afternoon" What, did he think Glasgow had sneakily moved locations while he was down the pub and was now situated in the land of the midnight sun? At that point, a woman got on the bus and he said to her "Dae ye want ma seat pal?" She shook her head and moved on, despite the pleading look I gave her. Big Chick leaned over to me and whispered (and, when I say 'whispered' what I actually mean is 'boomed loudly') "She's just jealous 'cos ah'm sittin' with you instead o' her." Yes, I should imagine the whole bus was positively emerald green with jealousy at my good fortune by now. At least, those who weren't sniggering with glee at my predicament and increasingly red face.

"Where are ye fae' Donna?"

"Here. I live here."

Again, the announcement of this titillating piece of information to the rest of the bus "Did yez all hear? Donna lives in Glesgae."

Someone up the back of the bus laughed. My Bus Pest turned round, taking his jacket off "Hey youse up the back - haud yer wheesht. Dae yis want tae fight me?" Luckily no one took him up on this. I say luckily because he then turned back to me and said "Ah'm a bouncer." Oh. Really. Since 'Big' Chick was less than 4 feet 6 inches tall and more than 104 years old, I found this a tad difficult to believe.

"Ah'm gettin' aff at the Sandyford." I breathed a sigh of relief. The Sandyford was a pub a couple of stops further up. "Are ye coming in? Ah'll see you right." I didn't know whether he meant for a drink, a fight or a lumber*, but frankly, I didn't want to ask.

"Errr, no, thanks all the same but I have to go into town."

"Okay hen, well you come in and see me on Monday. I'll be in the Sandyford fae' aboot 10 in the morning. It's a great wee boozer. It opens at 8am, so if ye get up and ye feel like a wee drink, ye can just stoat along."

Great. Hold me back.

Big Chick heaved himself out of the seat and walked to the front of the bus, turning round at the front to give me a last beery wave "Bye Donna hen. Ah'll have a wee pie and a pint waitin' fer ye on Monday mornin'."

Mmmmmm, can't wait.

* Lumber - Glasgow slang for a hot date.

And now, your Scottish crime fiction news.

The Picky Girl reviews Catriona McPherson's DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS, Marion Public Library on Alexander McCall Smith's THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH, which is also covered by A reviw of Stuart MacBride's A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a review or an academic dissertation...

Holmes and Watson to star in Some Like It Hot remake? And the Ottowa Citizen talks about the Sherlock Holmes film.

Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG is one of the top crime fiction books for 2011 for the Seattle Times. And the Irish Independent includes Ian Rankin and Val McDermid on its list of stocking thrillers. Doug Johnstone has a rather excellent top 10 list which includes Ray Banks and Helen Fitzgerald, as well as my lovely friend Christa Faust. Nice list, Doug.

Ian Rankin will be at the Oxford Literary Festival in March 2012.

Denise Mina to adapt the Stieg Larsson series into graphic novel format.

And now, back to an essay on social justice and empowerment. Ta-ta, dear Reader.

Thursday 8 December 2011

The Crusher

Today's Cramps title is courtesy of Scotland's weather. Do the hammer lock you turkey necks...

I am supposed to be going through to Edinburgh tomorrow for the CWA Christmas Lunch but, since we are in the midst of Hurricane Bawbag, (which even has its own Wikipedia entry), I may not make it. I'm waiting for Scotland's next hurricane - which will presumably be called Hurricane Fannybaws. It was my day for being at the wonderful Glasgow Women's Library today but, as we watched a streetlamp swaying outside the window, debating whether Glasgow was going to close down, a Swedish bloke came in. "Can I sit in here and read for a while?" he said.

"Well, normally, the answer would be yes, but we might be shutting in a minute," I said.

He looked very puzzled. "Yes, the main library is shutting, too. Is it because of the weather?"

"Yes. We're not very good at weather. You may have gathered that." He went away still puzzled. Poor bloke.

My bus trip home was quite eventful. A guy nearly blew away at the bus stop. Only by hanging on for grim death to the side of the bus shelter did he manage to keep his feet on the ground. Me and the other woman standing in the bus stop looked on with interest and, obviously, complete unconcern. When we were getting on the bus the woman made me sit next to her. Then she leaned over and said "Can I ask your advice?" Oh dear. I said yes, quite nervously. "Can you tell me what's the best way of cleaning my kitchen counter tops?"I assumed that she had mistaken me for some sort of domestic goddess. Then a few minutes later she reached into one of her plastic shopping bags and pulled out a can of Tennents Special Brew. "Ah'm alright when the storm comes. Ah've got maself an aw day breakfast for two quid - black puddin' white puddin' an' some square sausage, and a wee bevvy for later, hen."


Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG makes Time Magazine's Top 10 of Everything lists. And Books and Reviews recommends WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? as a gift idea.

Novelists China Miéville and Denise Mina, and illustrators Mark Stafford and Alice Duke talk about Poe and Lovecraft.

A review of a book about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's letters, There Is No Easter Bunny reviews Craig Russell's LENNOX, and the Las Vegas Review Journal reviews Alexander McCall Smith's THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH.

Helen Fitzgerald guest blogs at Weegie Wednesday.

Shona MacLean does some push-ups at Tony Black's Pulp Pusher.

Ian Rankin talks to Crime Time.

I love these Hilariously Badass Magazine Covers (courtesy of the lovely Bill Crider who always finds such brilliant stuff).

Tuesday 6 December 2011

More Psychogeographic Psychos

Another little outtake from my psychogeographic tour across Glasgow. This is all the stuff which, sadly, can't make it into my essay but which were the best bits for me.

I should say at the outset that Glasgow's East End has a bit of a reputation. It has the lowest life expectancy in Europe, some of the worst gang violence, and it has the horrific Bellgrove Hotel (I once read a brilliant review of the place that said "First class place, close to all local amenities - Barlinnie (jail), Haddows (off licence) and Glasgow Royal Infirmary (nearest A&E department). There is also a lot that is good about the East End. It has a lot of character, some great people, and some excellent community projects. However, the fact remains that it is not a place that someone would normally send a tourist. Hence my surprise when coming back into the city centre on my psychogeographic journey, I had the following encounter.

The bus was fairly empty - a few people at the front and myself and one other person towards the back. Just opposite the aforementioned Bellgrove Hotel a guy got on. He was wearing a San Francisco 49ers shirt and shorts. My interest was piqued. You don't see that very often in Glasgow.

My interest was further piqued when he said to the driver in an American accent "How much is it to get my black ass out of here?" Incidentally, he was not black. He then had a conversation with the driver about not having slept for 48 hours. I pulled out my notebook. I had a feeling this was going to be gold dust for a postmodernist flâneur such as myself. He came swaggering towards the back of the bus, saying "How you doin'?" to various people as he passed them. They all ignored him. He didn't seem bothered.

As he passed me he stopped and said "Girl, green is your colour. Damn." (I was wearing a turquoise coat, he wasn't referring to the colour of my face." I smiled politely. When accosted by the Bus Nutter I try not to speak. It only eggs them on.

He sat down behind me and engaged the guy opposite in conversation with a classic opening gambit. "Women are crazy, huh?" The guy gave the perfect comeback (albeit one possibly fraught with danger) "Ah dinnae ken, pal. Ah'm gay."

It did not stop the American bloke. "How long until we're into the city?"

"Two minutes, pal."

"Two minutes? I bet you £2 it won't be two'll be four."

The gay guy catches my eye. He taps his head in the ubiquitous sign for 'we've got a right bugs case here'. I grin and turn back to making my notes.

"So, is it right that Glasgow is the murder capital of the world?" This, in a very loud voice.

"Naw, pal, just Europe," says the gay guy.

The American bloke is silent for a few seconds, apparently taking this in. Then, right behind my left ear I hear "Oh-oh, she's taking notes." I have apparently been rumbled, but continue taking notes, just to pretend I'm not. "I knew this guy once - good looking guy, not as good looking as me though, ya know? So, we're out and I tell him to watch my style, take notes. I hope you're not taking notes?"

I turn round. "No, no, I'm just writing myself a reminder," I say, trying not to sound guilty.

"Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, I love your accent." This is one of the reasons I do not like to speak to the Bus Nutter. "You wanna go for a drink?"

"Um, no thank you."

Of course, it is too late. Me and the gay guy are now in the loop. "You sure? I'm just in from the US and I'm jetlagged, can't sleep, totally wired."

"No, you're OK, but thanks."

"I mean, I know you're a little older than me...what are you? 34? 35?"

"I'm 49."

"49? Man. You're looking hot, babe."

"Errrrr...thanks. I think. But I think that's the jetlag."

He nods philosophically and turns to the gay guy. "I suppose you're waiting for me to ask you out now?"

I ask him why, if he's just landed, he's ended up in the East End of Glasgow. Apparently, someone has told him that the best fish and chips are in the East End and so he had to have some. The gay guy and I tell him he needs to be careful about who he listens to. Eventually, having tried to get me to go for a drink one more time he gets off the bus with a cheery high five for us and a cheery wave for everyone else on the bus.

The gay guy and I watch him swagger off. "Do you think he'll be OK?" I say, worriedly. "Aye. I think it's Glasgow you need to worry about, rather than him."

Anyway, Scottish crime fiction news:

Ooooooh! Paul Johnston has a new book out, and you can read the first chapter of THE SILVER STAIN here.

Val McDermid and a host of other luminaries part of The Library Book.

Alexander McCall Smith's Yuletide festivities.

Guitars and Life reviews Charles Cumming's THE TRINITY SIX.

Sometimes, the brilliant Douglas Lindsay is a miserable ****. And sometimes, he gives us treats.

How do you fancy a nasty story for the 12 days of Winter? Then check out this from Stuart MacBride, with a new story every day.

Ian Rankin at the University of Sussex in January.

A wonderful post from Aly Monroe about Spain's Robbed Children.

Those lovely paper sculptures again.

And, finally, what Glasgow swapped for the new pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Eyeball In My Martini

Hello, Dear Reader. I hope you had a lovely weekend.

No live version of today's Cramps blog title, I'm afraid.

Russel McLean is looking for some love and, in return, he'll give you some too.

Kate Atkinson's STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG makes the Kansas City Star's top books of 2011. The book also gets a mention in the NYT's Sunday paperback reviews. And both Denise Mina and Philip Kerr get a mention in the New York Times' notable crime fiction books of 2011. Philip Kerr also features in the St Louis Post Dispatch's 2011 list. Audiobooks of the year in the Independent include Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD and Anthony Horowitz' THE HOUSE OF SILK.

On the other side of the equation Philip Kerr, Alexander McCall Smith and Val McDermid recommend their favourites in The Scotsman. Philip Kerr recommends Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD and Val recommends the truly brilliant BLACK FLOWERS by Steve Mosby.

UK Chica reviews THE FALLS by Ian Rankin, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviews THE COMPLAINTS and Mystery File reviews DEAD SOULS.

A hunt for Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe in Sleuthing Botswana.

Aberdeen MP Anne Begg is a big fan of crime fiction, and Scottish authors feature heavily on her list.

Over at the Blasted Heath Blog, I get to talk about sex (Dad, that link is not for you. Have some Antiques Roadshow instead.)

Last Monday, I went to the Christopher Brookmyre event put on by Doug Johnstone. Here, finally (blame two essays), is my brief summary of the event. Luckily, most of it is not printable, but if you do get a chance to see Chris Brookmyre, do ask him about the roast chicken story, about the mad woman from Dundee Book Events and the crucifix story.

Brookmyre also told a story about doing an event in Clydebank Library. He noted that a library open after hours, with the lights on, is a bampot magnet. "It's the flame, and all the moths are wearing Burbery". A bloke in a Burbery cap came in and hovered for a while before telling Brookmyre that his dad "loves the Glasgow crime books." He told Brookmyre that he had never actually heard of him, but that he would get his dad a book. "Now, what was it you done?" It became clear that the guy thought that Brookmyre was a criminal. Brookmyre was tempted to say "Ah murdered hunnerds of guys" but, in the end, settled for telling him it was fiction. "What, you're making it up?" said the guy.

Brookmyre said that he started writing at the age of 6, and most of his early stuff was a straight rip-off of what he was reading (he spent two months writing nothing but stories about sharks eating people after seeing Jaws). He had a great teacher at school and, when he wrote two versions of the same story in class (one cleaned up and one with swearing and necrophilia) she told him it was the best thing he had ever written. She supported him in writing it and gave it to the headmaster. Unfortunately, she did not choose her words carefully enough when she said to the headmaster "I think you really ought to see this."

Brookmyre wrote three books before his fourth was accepted. He said that for some reason publishers are not very tolerant of "books that are shite."

He worked for a newspaper in Edinburgh, doing football reports at a time when the results were brought to the paper by carrier pigeon (Hibs and Hearts both had pigeon coops on their roof. Oh, yes, there's another story I can't tell about one of the misprints...

He talked about crime writers he admired - including Val McDermid and Mark Billingham (and, incidentally, said that he thought Mark had done well to get out of the playground titles (Scaredy Cat and Sleepy Head) before he was reduced to Specky Four Eyes and Smelly Bum). This then led to him to worrying about Sue Grafton who must have thought that A Is For Alibi was a good idea until she got to K is For Kicking The Arse Out Of It. He wondered how she feels as she gets close to having to write a mystery where an important plot point has to revolve around a xylophone).

The follow up to WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED will be called WHEN THE DEVIL DRIVES and will be out next summer. Winning the Wodehouse prize was the least comfortable Brookmyre has ever felt professionally as he had to do a photo shoot with a very rare breed of pig that had its own escort. The pig wouldn't come out of its trailer (Hollywood style huff) and sent its piglets instead. Carrying a large jeroboam of champagne and surrounded by tiny pigs, Brookmyre said he looked like a hobbit. He's also writing a sci-fi/computer gaming novel called BEDLAM which allows him to make up a complete universe.

At the end, he read out a brilliant 'Irvine Welsh does Jane Austen story'. I wish you could have heard it, Dear Reader.

Friday 2 December 2011

Psychotic Reaction

Your Cramps goodness for today.

This week, I have been busy at Uni doing an interesting task: a dérive otherwise known as a psychogeographic stroll. I would describe myself as a flâneuse. However, while the masculine version - flâneur - means one who loafs and strolls, the feminine version means a prostitute, so maybe I'd better not. Our brief was to visit an area of Glasgow, or a specific location (shopping centre, train station etc) and just wander for a couple of hours taking notice of who uses the space (and, more importantly, who doesn't), what it says (or doesn't) about identity, hegemony, post-modernism, transgression, ideologies,signs and semiology. I decided to do mine all along the number 40 bus route in Glasgow. Not only did this mean that I could sit down the whole way, but it also meant that I was travelling from West to East across Glasgow taking in loads of different areas. The comedian Kevin Bridges has things to say about this bus route.

It was a fascinating experiment. Funniest moment was when I got off the bus at the terminus in Easterhouse (I use the term 'terminus' very loosely - it's a patch of waste ground). I tried to upload a wee video but my technical skills failed me, so here are a couple of photos instead. I had been the last person on the bus for quite a few stops and, when I came down the stairs the driver looked really shocked.

"When do you go back?" I said.

He looked puzzled. "Where do you want to go, hen?"

"Back the same way I came."

"But where are you going?"

"Back to where I started."

"Are you wanting to go into town?"


He looked relieved. At last, something he could work with. "There's a number 41 leaving in a couple of minutes."

"Nope, it has to be a 40."

Silence for a moment. Then the cautious question: "What are you doing, hen?"

I thought about this.I didn't want to sound all intellectual and shit (sorry, Dad) so I decided not to go for the French. "It's for my university course. We have to do some psychogeography."

His face cleared. "Ah, well, there's plenty of psychos out this way, hen." I do believe he considered me to be one of them.

Anyway, on to Scottish crime fiction.

Two new books out from the wonderful Blasted Heath this week. Both of them I've read, both are wonderful. First of all, Douglas Lindsay's THE BARBER SURGEON'S HAIRSHIRT is a piece of genius madness. Here's my review of it. Next is Damien Seaman's THE KILLING OF EMMA GROSS. It's a dark and dirty police procedural set in Dusseldorf (sorry, can't find an umlaut) during 1929. The book takes as its background the crimes of notorious serial killer Peter Kurten (sorry, still can't find an umlaut) and the unsolved murder of a prostitute, and then spins out from there. It's full of heart and soul and a deep underlying sadness. Detective Thomas Klein is an excellent protagonist and Damien makes you really care about all the characters.

Talking of Douglas Lindsay, conniephoebe reviews THE END OF DAYS, Eurocrime reviews Karen Campbell's SHADOWPLAY, and a review of Philip Kerr's PRAGUE FATALE in The Independent.

The Star Telegram reviews Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, and NPR reviews THE COMPLAINTS. You can hear Ian talking about THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD on Australia's ABC radio's Book Show. And he answers questions posed by The Open University.

More on Alexander McCall Smith and broken society.

Have a lovely weekend, Dear Reader.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Goo Goo Muck

Yes, it's The Cramps again.

Books of the year in the Herald. Mentions by and mentions of various Scottish crime writers. And Doug Johnstone talks about his favourite books of the year.

M J Nicholls at Quiddity of Delusion talks about Denise Mina and Denise Mina talks about female detective fiction to the Christian Science Monitor. Maxine at Petrona reviews THE END OF THE WASP SEASON, as does NPR, which also reviews a couple of Sherlock Holmes related books - Anthony Horowitz's HOUSE OF SILK and Michael Dirda's ON CONAN DOYLE.

A review of Alexander McCall Smith's THE PERILS OF MORNING COFFEE, and one of THE CAREFUL USE OF COMPLIMENTS (the man is a writing machine). And 2606 Books And Counting reviews Philip Kerr's PRAGUE FATALE. Smithereens also reviews Philip Kerr, this time IF THE DEAD RISE NOT. The Washington Post reviews Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD.

Stuart MacBride at Jura Writer's Retreat, including a new short story.

More on those wonderful book sculptures. And lucky Ian Rankin has this one. Here's a site which puts them all together. Just look at the detail in the feathers of the last one. How beautiful they are - it makes me really happy to see them.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Sunday Girl

Hope you had a lovely weekend, Dear Reader. This weekend's cinematic viewing was the French Canadian film INCENDIES - a really powerful, chilling film about a mother whose dying wish is that her twin son and daughter find their family (specifically the father they thought was dead and the brother they never knew they had). To do this they have to visit an unspecified Middle Eastern country. The film moves between past and present and the very first scene - set in the past - is stunning.

My latest Weird Sister blog over at Blasted Heath is up - this one about music. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will spot some familiar references.

Lots of reviews in the virtual and actual spheres today. First of all, reviewingtheevidence review Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD and M C Beaton's THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET, Eurocrime reviews Karen Campbell's SHADOWPLAY and Tony Black's TRUTH LIES BLEEDING, The Nerd of Noir loves Ray Banks' DEAD MONEY, a review of Aline Templeton's LYING DEAD, the Daily News in South Africa reviews Morag Joss' ACROSS THE BRIDGE and Philip Kerr's PRAGUE FATALE, and the Richmond Despatch reviews M C Beaton's AS THE PIG TURNS. Phew.

On the audiobook front, the Guardian is all Scottish this week with reviews of Ian Rankin, Tony Black, Peter May and Denise Mina. Nice.

It's that time of year when newspapers ask people for their recommendations for books to give at Christmas. Here's an interesting selection from The Guardian which includes Philip Kerr.

There's also a heap of stuff about Sherlock Holmes - a report on Anthony Horowitz' recent trip to Toronto, The Umbrella Organisation looks at Horowitz' HOUSE OF SILK, and the Los Angeles Times reviews Michael Dirda's ON CONAN DOYLE.

More about the stories inspired by portraits, including Alexander McCall Smith's. Ian Rankin donates a tie for charity, and World of Books Blog features Robert Louis Stevenson.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?

Today's Cramps title is in honour of today's last item of news.

A report from the East Ayrshire Book Festival, Imprint.

Alexander McCall Smith on how society is broken.

Eurocrime reviews Aly Monroe's ICELIGHT (which Aly reports is number 2 in the Daily Telegraph's list of thrillers for 2011 - well done, Aly!), Maxine over at Petrona reviews Aline Templeton's LYING DEAD, a reviewlet of M C Beaton's A SPOONFUL OF POISON.

Stuart MacBride will talk about his new book, BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD, in Aberdeen on January 9th.

Quintin Jardine talks about the Reading Crime Writing Festival.

Booked podcast reviews Ray Banks' DEAD MONEY and interviews Allan Guthrie about Blasted Heath. And Ray Banks is interviewed over at Guilty Conscience.

Whatculture! asks how faithful Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is to the original. And, just in case you can't be bothered to read Anthony Horowitz' Holmes noveL, HOUSE OF SILK. the Guardian has it as a digested read.

Goodie - my favourite award of the year: the shortlist for the bad sex awards is revealed in all its throbbing glory. The Guardian says that the Tsiolkas entry is unfit for publication in the mainstream press. Now I'm really interested to know what it is. The Literary Review are tweeting some of the entries.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Call Me Irresponsible

Just a quick round-up post today. I've been out giving training all day and this evening we're off out to see The Vaccines. I have a soft spot for them, not least because last time we saw them they came on stage to the Ramones. This weekend's film viewing was THE HELP which I enjoyed more than I thought I was going to.

A review of Anthony Horowitz' new Sherlock Holmes story THE HOUSE OF SILK. It's also reviewed in The Telegraph, along with M C Beaton's AS THE PIG TURNS.

Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan at Glasgow's Bibliocafe on 2nd December.

Alexander McCall Smith on the portrait of 'False Mary', as writers create imaginary lives for portraits with unknown sitters. What a lovely idea.

Allan Guthrie gets a mention in The Edinburgh Evening News.

Kirkus Reviews best 15 of 2011 (is it that time already?) includes Ian Rankin and Charles Cumming. Talking of Ian Rankin, The Hindustan Times reviews THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD.

Reading Matters reviews Doug Johnstone's SMOKEHEADS. And Auntie Em reviews Denise Mina's THE END OF THE WASP SEASON.

Apparently, once you turn 40 you turn to biographies rather than fiction, economics books are going to be the big things next year (good grief, spare me), and it's irresponsible to read fiction in tough times. Well, call me irresponsible.

Friday 18 November 2011

Daisies Up Your Butterfly

Post title courtesy of the Cramps, of course - and no, I don't know what it means, either.

An interview with the dear and lovely (and sometimes deluded) Russel McLean over at Pulp Pusher. And The Crime Of It All interviews William Meikle.

The New York Times reviews Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, and Brandywine books reviews A QUESTION OF BLOOD. Stromness Library has Ian as their author of the month for November.

M&C on Conan Doyle's Moriarty in the media.

Yesterday was the first ever Robert Louis Stevenson Day. Whoops.

A review of Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION. And a great interview with her.

Stuart MacBride will be talking about his new book and the Million For A Morgue project, amongst other things, in Dundee on 4th February. Closer to home, here's a free event with Christopher Brookmyre on Monday if you're in Glasgow. I'm going along so will report back.

A review of Anthony Horowitz's Sherlock Holmes novel, THE HOUSE OF SILK, one of Craig Russell's THE LONG GLASGOW KISS, a reviewlet of Alexander McCall Smith's CORDUROY MANSIONS, and one of Philip Kerr's PRAGUE FATALE.

The Scotsman interviews Philip Kerr.

Finally, Edinburgh has been named the world's best literary city. I think Glasgow might have something to say.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

I Was A Teenage Werewolf

Here's your daily gratuitous Cramps title for no reason at all.

A round-up of a couple of events at the Reading Crime Festival, including M C Beaton and Stuart MacBride.

The Nerd of Noir interviews Allan Guthrie. I don't know about the rest of you, but I really want to read BIG DUNC'S HAMMER. And you can catch Al at the Electric Bookshop tomorrow.

A David Ashton radio drama starring Billy Connolly and Brian Cox.

ON CONAN DOYLE - a new book about...errrrr...Conan Doyle.

The National Library of Scotland on Robert Louis Stevenson.

Damien Seaman on why Ian Rankin's Rebus is actually Batman, the Morning Star reviews THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, and Ian himself on being an accidental crime writer.

Helen Fitzgerald talks about book titles. And a nice review of THE DONOR over at Fair Dinkum Crime.

Just in case you missed out on free e-books from Blasted Heath, you can get them for the rock bottom bargain price of 99p/99c for the next week. 99p? I think those boys are crack addicts.

The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts sounds good. Although coming across a giant head on some wasteground is a typical Saturday night out in Glasgow.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Dames, Booze, Chains, Boots

Here's your Cramps video for today.

Helen Fitzgerald interviews herself over at Nigel Bird's gaff, and here's an audio interview with her at Blogtalkradio (starts 4 mins 5o-ish in).

Lots of reviews today. First of all, Undiscovered Scotland discovers Russel McLean, with reviews of THE GOOD SON and THE LITTLE SISTER. A trifecta of goodness for Allan Guthrie, as Connie Phoebe enjoys SAVAGE NIGHT, Paul Brazill reviewsTWO-WAY SPLIT and The Morrison Pen Review escapes into SLAMMER. Dorte looks at Ian Rankin's KNOTS AND CROSSES, and the Winnipeg Free Press reviews THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD. Paul Brazill reviews Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION, and Declan Burke enjoys Denise Mina's THE END OF THE WASP SEASON for the Irish Times.

The Telegraph calls Aly Monroe "a gloriously defiant individualist." And here she is talking about WASHINGTON SHADOW.

Conan Doyle and the case of the vanishing football trophy. And more on the new Anthony Horowitz Sherlock Holmes.

The delicious Christa Faust and the dastardly Ray Banks interview each other brilliantly over at Crimeculture.

And another interview - Philip Kerr in The Scotsman.

You can win stuff over at Blasted Heath by guessing who their new columnist, Weird Sister, is.

Finally, if you read this blog regularly, you know that I love the book sculptures that have appeared in Edinburgh over the past months, so I was interested to read this article about what to do with books. I'm going to be doing a creativity project working with young women as part of my university placement. I think I'll do some altered books with them. I really like the idea of making poetry from random words on the page and then decorating the rest of the page.

Friday 11 November 2011

Don't Get Funny With Me

Another Cramps-inspired title today.

Not only do we have Douglas Lindsay goodness over at his regular blog, but he's also going to be blogging weekly at Blasted Heath, and this week's is a cracker.

Alan Cranis reviews Ray Banks' BEAST OF BURDEN at Bookgasm. And Eurocrime reviews Lin Anderson's THE REBORN.

Jamie Bell talks about Irvine Welsh's FILTH.

The New Statesman on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

More on the Reading Festival of Crime which includes Stuart MacBride, Quintin Jardine, Denise Mina and M C Beaton.

An interesting post from Aly Monroe on history, film and books.

Have a lovely weekend, dear Reader. Tomorrow, Ewan is doing musical stuff so I am going to do some Crimefest programming . All author slots are now full (although you can sign up for the waiting list for panels). The website hasn't been totally updated with attendees and there are a couple of exciting names to be added. If you're coming and you have any panel topic suggestions, or special requests, please let me know and I will try and accommodate you.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Bikini Girls With Machine Guns

Sorry - no bikini girls or machine guns in this post - just another Cramps song title. Having said that, fans of bikini girls and/or machine guns should probably click on that link. Dad - that doesn't mean you. Here's a clip of Gardener's World for you.

More news on Scottish publisher Blasted Heath, with an interview with co-founder Kyle MacRae. And my annoying little brother Damien Seaman reads from his new book THE KILLING OF EMMA GROSS, which is published on 1st December. It's a great historical police procedural which fuses fact and fiction. It has as its backdrop the real life murders carried out by Düsseldorf serial killer Peter Kürten in the late 1920s (and every appearance of Kürten on the page sent a shiver down my spine), but it's about so much more than that and the fictional element is wonderful and full of heart. I loved it. And Heathen Ray Banks' BEAST OF BURDEN is reviewed by the perspicacious Alan Cranis at Bookgasm.

Sarah at Crimepieces (not Norm at Crimescraps!) with a very thoughtful review of Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION.

An interview with Ian Pattison. And the NZ Herald interviews Ian Rankin.

Joe Barone reviews M C Beaton's AS THE PIG TURNS, and Cyprus Life reviews AGATHA RAISIN AND THE TERRIBLE TOURIST.

Malcolm Redfellow on Philip Kerr.

More about the Anthony Horowitz Sherlock Holmes novel.

Off to see The Vaccines and The Arctic Monkeys tonight, then another day at university tomorrow. Anybody would think I was 18...well, until they saw me. 18 stone, maybe...

Sunday 6 November 2011

"If you saw a councillor up against a tree what would you think?"

All Hail the Heathens - Blasted Heath are getting a lot of nice buzz. The Scotsman calls them 'gifted' , there's an interview with Ray Banks over at Shotgun Honey and Detectives Beyond Borders talks about Anthony Neil Smith's THE WARRIORS. And if you rush over to the Blasted Heath site itself, you might still be in time to pick up Ray Banks' brilliant DEAD MONEY for free. And you can also watch Ray being interviewed by possibly the worst interviewer in the world...very funny.

The Vancouver Sun on Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, which is reviewed by the Globe and Mail.

Anthony Horowitz' new Sherlock Holmes novel - THE HOUSE OF SILK - is published this month.

Denise Mina will be at the New Zealand International Arts Festival next year. Closer to home, it's two for the price of one with the Mulgray Twins at the Portobello Library in Edinburgh on November 8th.

Talking of Denise Mina, the New York Times enthuses over THE END OF THE WASP SEASON.

The Book Dilettante has a reviewlet of M C Beaton's AS THE PIG TURNS.

And this happened where my parents live. Dad - better tell Mum to be a bit careful with the secateurs when she's out pruning the bushes.

Friday 4 November 2011

The Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon

Another Cramps title, just in case you're wondering. It also describes how I feel, after spending the last week writing an essay every spare minute I have.

The Guardian reviews Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD. And he's featured by George Stroumboulopoulous (I checked that 3 times and I'm still not sure I've got it right...), including a video interview, and Ian on his experience of committing murder, and on his favourite villains. Book-A-Day enjos WITCH HUNT. Finally, Ian talks to the Vancouver Sun.

Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe on Radio 4.

Dead End Follies reviews Ray Banks' GUN. And Ray is interviewed by Tony Black over at Pulp Pusher.

An article on Philip Kerr. And PW reviews FIELD GRAY. I'm not certain, because I haven't read the book, but the last line of the review looks like a spoiler to me.

Helen Fitzgerald wants your best and worst pitches.

Anthony Horowitz on Sherlock Holmes.

Read the brilliant Douglas Lindsay over at Blasted Heath and get THE LONG MIDNIGHT OF BARNEY THOMSON free - today only. Go on, make Lindsay eat Pot Noodle.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Blasted this, and Blasted that

It's launch day for the marvellous Blasted Heath today. Just look at the goodies they have in store. And here's an article in today's Daily Record with a wee £3 off treat. And if you're in the US, Grift have a few Blasted dollars off too.

And, in other news (yes, it's not all about the Blasted Boys, you know...

Peter May on winning the Cezam and being piped onto the stage like a haggis.

Kate Atkinson's CASE HISTORIES on TV.

NPR on the mystery of those gorgeous paper sculptures.

More on the Million For A Morgue campaign.

Publisher's Weekly reviews Alexander McCall Smith's THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH.

And just to sandwich this short post with the bread of goodness, those lovely lads at Byker Books have made all their titles available on the Kindle for less than a quid.