14 September 2012

Pardon me, ladies and gentlemen, but the grey matter is a little frazzled for the moment. My third novel has just been spellchecked, has had its hair combed, smut dabbed from its grubby cheeks and its shoes polished before it was pdf’d and dispatched to my editor to be mulled over. {Read more about: Frazzled}

Sockpuppet paranoia

4 September 2012

A shit review of one of my books popped up the other day, and while I wasn’t chuffed about it and a few seamanlike expletives were let fall, not least because this was one of those reviews that appears under a soubriquet and not the reviewer’s own name, it didn’t occur to me to start sticking pins in a wax effigy. {Read more about: Sockpuppet paranoia}


8 August 2012

I went to Romania once, children, way back in the twentieth century. This was in the 1970s, when the Ceausescu regime was very much in power and still had a good few years left of its stranglehold. How did this happen? I’m really not sure. {Read more about: Romania}

“Großartig zu lesen. Man fiebert dem nächsten Fall entgegen.”

26 July 2012

Copies of Kalter Trost, the German translation of Cold Comfort, have just arrived chez Gráskeggur and they look great, complete with Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s endorsement on the back cover; “Großartig zu lesen. Man fiebert dem nächsten Fall entgegen.”


I’m deeply grateful to the mighty Yrsa for finding the time to read the draft version of Cold Comfort, at a time when she was also busy finishing a book of her own against a tight deadline and also in the throes of moving house.
Anyway, I have some spare copies of Kalter Trost. So if any of my lovely German readers would like a free copy – signed if you so desire – let me know and one will be on the way to you.

I should have copies of  Schrale Troost, the Dutch version of Cold Comfort, in a few days and a similar offer wil be open to my delightful Dutch and Flemish readers.


Outlining – planning and plotting

23 July 2012

We all do this our own way. There are writers who produce an outline of a book that’s half as long as the book itself. Others sit down with excel open in front of them and plot a spreadsheet with every chapter laid out in advance, and then write a book without deviating one iota from it.
I had thought I was on my own winging it, writing this stuff on the fly. {Read more about: Outlining – planning and plotting}

Bodies in the Bookshop – the review

17 July 2012

Henry Kissinger and Patrick Stewart are on the walls in low-key monochrome. This place has seen speakers from the heavyweight to the celebrated. Churchill, Attlee, Nehru and Roosvelt have all spoken under the oak beams, not to mention Clint Eastwood and Tony Robinson. {Read more about: Bodies in the Bookshop – the review}

Bodies in the Bookshop 2012

11 July 2012

Saturday 14th July from 10am. That’s next weekend, ladies n’ gentlemen. I’m on at the end with Barry Forshaw, taking Scandinavian crime.


Join us in the Cambridge Union for our biggest crime fiction event of the year!  This year Bodies in the Bookshop is relocating to the Cambridge Union where we have a fantastic line-up of crime authors who will be taking part in a series of themed talks and panel discussions.
The Union Bar and Cafe will also be open all day for food, drink and socialising and the traditional drinks reception will take place in the bar at 6.30pm.
10am  Crime Through Time I 
Jane Finnis, Ruth Downie and Patrick Easter take us on a journey through time and space as they talk on historical crime fiction from Ancient Rome to Nineteenth Century England.
11am  Experts in Murder 
Nicola Upson, Catriona McPherson and Laura Wilson give us a glimpse of a pre-war world of murder and mystery which their canny heroes and sharp heroines set about solving, while Sally Spedding adds a more sinister edge to the historical theme.
12 noon  Poison in the Parish 
Settle in with Ann Purser, Veronica Heley, Rebecca Tope and Jayne Marie Barker who will be discussing mysteries with a distinctly English and traditional character.
1pm  Break for Lunch 
Lunch will be available at the Union Cafe

1.30pm Crime Through Time II 
Follow Ros Barber and Rory Clements to the criminal depths of Tudor England while Chris Nickson and Robin Blake transport us the 18th century and Peter Moore sheds light on the true crimes which took place in a rural Georgian village.
2.30pm Scene of the Crime 
Jim Kelly, Alison Bruce and Elly Griffiths discuss their novels set in Cambridge and the surrounding area, bringing crime a little too close for comfort.
3.30pm  International Intrigue 
Roger Morris, Edward Wilson and Adrian Magson take us from prerevolutionary Russia to 1960s France via the Cold War. Detectives, spies and mysteries abound.
4.30pm Comic Cuts 
Len Tyler and Suzette Hill in discussion on the funny side of crime.
5.30pm Death in a Cold Climate 
Leading crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw and Quentin Bates, author of a crime fiction series set in Iceland, explore the growing popularity of Nordic Noir and Scandinavian settings. Listen out for ideas on what to read after Stieg Larsson


9 July 2012

My daughter got married at the weekend. I had to stand up on my hind legs and give a speech. Well, I didn’t have to, as she reminded me several times. But I did it anyway. I couldn’t not say something. It’s not the kind of thing that happens often.

It was a remarkable day. Never one to do things the same way as the rest of the herd, she got married in bare feet to my brand-new son-on-law in a giant teepee, with the only formal bit of the do conducted by a specially imported Icelandic priest who’s also her cousin.
So it was quite a magnificent day, and it all went on into the early hours as the bluegrass band fired themselves up and the oldies (like me) started to trickle home.

It was deeply touching to see just how many people turned out to see them set off into wedded bliss and a joy to see just what a disparate and delightful bunch of friends they have to wave them off and cheer them on – one of whom pulled out a copy of Frozen Out and asked me to sign it. Hope you enjoy it, Jen.


Hospitality, Faroese style. The Faroe Islands, part 4/4

5 July 2012

What is striking about this tiny society is its hospitality, borne presumably of its isolation. {Read more about: Hospitality, Faroese style. The Faroe Islands, part 4/4}

Small and perfectly formed. The Faroe Islands, part 3/4

3 July 2012

Even for someone used to living in a small society, having spent a decade living in Iceland, the Faroes represent a micro-society no bigger than a small market town in mainland Europe. Everyone knows everyone, or at least will know someone related to anyone else. Degrees of separation between individuals are in the order of two. {Read more about: Small and perfectly formed. The Faroe Islands, part 3/4}

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