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.