Friday 18 April 2014

"A thief or thieves ate a piece of chocolate cake"

Some writers get all the fun: Allan Guthrie and Denise Mina in Trinidad and Tobago. It's a hard life. Although, if you prefer, you could just relax at home with a tribute to Ian Rankin - the Rebus Rob Roy cocktail. Although...whisky, cherry liqueur, martini and lager? When I was five and my parents had a New Year's Eve party, I apparently got up early on New Year's Day, quietly went downstairs to a scene of apocalyptic devastation, ate a few soggy crisps and dried out cheese, pineapple and pickled onion on sticks and poured a few dregs into a glass and downed them. I think I invented the Rebus Rob Roy over 45 years ago. I felt awfully sick. But that might have been the cheese, pineapple and pickled onions. /anyway, I wonder if Ian drank a Rebus Rob Roy in honour of Bonham's auction of THE FLOOD. And I wonder how much it ended up going for.

And, talking about crime fiction authors in exciting places, Alexander McCall Smith goes to the opening of a meerkat enclosure.  And a night out with Irvine Welsh and the Jesus and Mary Chain.

Charles Cumming on the cost of train tickets to Scotland for Edinburgh Spy Week.And on spying and writing.

Louise Welsh talks about all sorts of things, including the first in her dystopian crime thriller trilogy A LOVELY WAY TO BURN. And more from Louise here.And a review in the Independent.

More reviews - this time for Val McDermid's re-working of NORTHANGER ABBEY.And another one from girlwitherheadinabook.

Caro Ramsay on inventing an island.

Finally, man hijacks plane with a Toblerone. About as much use as a chocolate sword. And, in other sweet-toothed crime, methinks drugs were involved somewhere along the line.

Enjoy your Easter eggs, dear Reader.

Friday 4 April 2014

"We want to tax kittens"

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.