Criminally good summer treats

First of all, a HUGE THANK YOU to those who took part in last week’s survey and got that kitten tally so high. The result was a phenomenal 188 responses, and I’m incredibly grateful to you for taking the time to help me out. I now have lots of lovely and interesting data to collate, and will share the findings with you in due course.

Now then… Mrs. Peabody will be taking a bit of a blogging breather for a few weeks, as we’re off to the land of Mounties, Moose and Molson to meet some far-flung family. I’m looking forward to finding out a little more about the Canadian crime fiction scene while we’re there as well.

No national stereotyping here, eh?

I have, of course, been stocking up on some summer treats to take along on the journey. Here’s a selection of the novels I’ll be reading, hopefully with a view of the Pacific and a cool drink in my hand.

Anya Lipska’s Where the Devil Can’t Go, a highly-praised debut set in London and Poland. The author is on the ‘New Blood panel’ at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate on Saturday 20 July (along with Derek B. Miller, author of the wonderful Norwegian by Night). I’m extremely sad that I can’t make it this year, especially as there’s also a panel devoted to German Krimis, winningly entitled ‘Dead in Deutschland’…

Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s Ashes to Dust, the third of the Icelandic Thóra Gudmunds-dottir series. I’ve picked this one because it’s partly set in the 1970s, my favourite decade, and I’ve not read any of this author’s novels before (shocking I know).

Geoffrey McGeachin’s The Diggers Rest Hotel, which won the 2011 Ned Kelly Award for best crime fiction novel, and is the first in the Charlie Berlin series. Set in rural 1947 Australia, it looks to have an interesting take on the legacy of the Second World War. The novel is featured in one of Margot’s Kinberg’s ‘In the Spotlight’ posts, which provides a lovely overview.

Before I head off, here are two additional treats for you:

Word reaches me from Raven and Euro Crime that five more Foreign Bodies episodes are airing on BBC Radio 4 this week. This time the focus is on Greece (Markaris/Haritos – see my post on the author here), Argentina (Mallo/Lascano – my review of Needle in a Haystack is here), Northern Ireland (McGilloway/Devlin), South Africa (Meyer/Griessel), and on female crime drama investigators (Miller/Lund/ Berthaud). If you happen to miss any, they are available online for seven days. It also looks like the first series is being repeated from Monday 15 July.

Last but not least, this week’s ShortList features The 39 Greatest Maverick Cops. I’m not sure I agree with all of their rankings or analysis, but there are some good ones in there, including some storming women.

Wishing you all wonderful, relaxing summer days.

36 thoughts on “Criminally good summer treats

  1. Mrs. P. – Thank you so much for mentioning my post. I hope you have an absolutely lovely trip. There’s a lot of wonderful Canadian crime fiction out there that I hope you’ll enjoy savouring. In the meantime, we’ll muddle on as best we can without you…

    • You’re welcome – thank you for writing it! I’m sure we’ll have a lovely time, and as I’m pretty ignorant about Canadian crime, I’m looking forward to lots of browsing in bookshops.

      I’m sure you’ll muddle on wonderfully 🙂

  2. Mrs P – how wonderful that you’ll be visiting Canada. Now that I’m a VP for Crime Writers of Canada I suppose I can extend an almost official welcome! I happily accept the delightful moose as a chuckle-worthy icon . . . and hope you get to see some during your visit. If you come to my part of Canada, Beautiful British Columbia – it must be true because it says it on our number plates – then maybe you’ll also enjoy seeing the bald eagles, bears and even the coyotes (one of each of which I’ve seen from my writing room desk just this morning!). I also hope you’re able to take some time to pick up some wonderful Canadian crime fiction while you’re here and export it back to the UK for reading at your leisure. Check out: This address will take you to the Crime Writers of Canada website where ANYONE can sign up for Cool Canadian Crime – a quarterly publication listing current and forthcoming Canadian crime titles. Wherever you visit in this fantastic, adopted country of mine, have a wonderful time. Safe journeys!

    • Thank you, Cathy – I’ll be sure to check out the link with an eagle eye before landing, and I’m sure others will too.

      I was actually hoping to hear from you, because I will indeed be down your way! We’ll be spending most of our time on Vancouver Island, but hope to have a few days in Vancouver as well. Perhaps if the stars align we could meet up for a coffee?

      • Mrs P – that would be super! 1) Upon which dates are you most likely to be in Vancouver itself, or do you not yet know? 2) How would it be most convenient for you to contact me whilst traveling? 3) Would you like to e-mail me, rather than replying here?

      • Okey dokey, Mrs. P, and good for Kathy d for mentioning some excellent Canadian writers…I’ll take the chance to also mention Linwood Barclay, Louise Penny, Peter Robinson, Alan Bradley…okay, I’ll stop now, but readers could check out the Crime Writers of Canada website for a list of this year’s, and past years’, winners of the Arthur Ellis Awards – Canada’s “Daggers”. Canada has a diverse landscape, a rich heritage of multi-culturalism and a depth of unique crime writing.

  3. I saw summer treats and thought “Oh no, recipes for sweets from Mrs. P.” But I should have known it was healthy treats. Have fun in Canada, I have been reading a lot of Canadian mysteries lately and enjoying them a lot.

    Looking forward to the reviews of those books when you get back.

    • Thanks, TracyK. Yes, healthy treats on paper, though if you’re reading and nibbling, things may look a little different…

      Are there any particular Canadian authors you’d recommend? I’m keen to have some leads!

      • Sorry, Mrs. P, I did not see your request until now, although I was seeing all the other comments on suggestions for Canadian writers. So mostly they have covered them. Some others…
        Howard Engel writes a series of private eye novels set in Ontario. I am especially interested in reading more of those because the 11th book (Memory Book), the protagonist has alexia sine agraphia ( loss of ability to read but not to write ), a condition which Engel had due to a stroke. Maureen Jennings has a series set in 1895 Toronto (Murdoch Mysteries) which has been made into TV movies and a TV series. Giles Blunt has a series set in northern Canada, which I found to have too much graphic violence, but still very, very good overall.

        Other Canadian writers who write series set in other countries are: J. Robert Janes (France, World War II) and John Brady (Dublin, Ireland).

        Brief overviews here:

      • Thanks very much for getting back to me, TracyK. Lots of wonderful leads now and I’ll have an enjoyable time following them up in various bookshops 🙂

  4. Have a great time in beautiful Vancouver, city and island. I have heard nothing but raves about that area and from what I see, it’s the perfect place for taking in scenery while reading good crime fiction.
    There are several good Canadian mystery writers, such as Anthony Bidulka, whose Russell Quant series is hilarious. Gail Bowen’s series is interesting. R.J. Harlick writes a terrific sense of place mystery. And then there was L.R. Wright whose first book The Suspect won a prize in the mid-1980s competing against Ruth Rendell. Though not a Canadian, M.J. McGrath’s White Heat set on Ellesmere Island is fascinating, although the food might not be appetizing to read about. But you have many to choose from.
    Can’t wait to read your review of Where the Devil Can’t Go. Also, I like Asa Larsson’s series but think Until Thy Wrath Be Past is better than the rest. Even with a supernatural element, it is good!
    Thanks so much for the tip on the BBC4 series. I will listen to it.
    And I’m glad your survey was successful and it’s finished. I couldn’t take any more adorable kittens. I had to keep reminding myself I have allergies or I would have run out and adopted a whole batch of them.

    • Thanks very much, Kathy! You’re a fount of knowledge and I’ll try to put your recommendations, and those of Cathy Ace (see above), to good use. The only one I’ve read on your list is White Heat, and I enjoyed that very much. McGrath was at CrimeFest in Bristol and gave a wonderful insight into her research and into life in the Arctic Circle.

      Yes, we couldn’t have gone on indefinitely with the kittens 😉 We’d have ended up overdosing on their cuteness and doing rash things like buying real ones.

  5. I’m into rescuing cats and dogs. Over here the shelters are filled, especially now as animals tend to mate in the spring. The TV segments on animal adoption are quite heart-rending. So I’d promote rescues.

    • Yes! Really keen to read more Australian crime fiction, Diane, and I’ve seen a couple of good reviews of this one.

  6. Welcome to Canada! I suspect you will be overwhelmed with the wonderful homegrown fiction we have here in Canada. Kathy has kindly recommended my Russell Quant series, and I’ll chime in to say my latest book released this spring is a new series featuring Canadian Disaster Recovery Agent Adam Saint: When The Saints Go Marching In.
    Gail Bowen, Louise Penny, Rick Mofina, Vicki Delany, MJ Maffini, Barbara Fradkin, RJ Harlick, Kay Stewart, Cathy Astolfo, Melodie Campbell…the list goes on and on! Happy reading to you!

    • Thanks for dropping by, Anthony, and for the kind welcome. I’ve not quite touched down on Canadian soil yet, but am on my way! Looking forward to lots of bookshops and lots of browsing 🙂

  7. I just stayed up all night, riveted to The Collini Case and give it a 5 out of 5. It tells an amazing story, brings up shocking aspects of “international law” during WWII and exposes horrible aspects of German laws. The fact that it got these issues stirred up in Germany is a good thing, and so is the result that these laws were re-examined. Were any changes made? I do not know but will do more reading about this.
    Yes. The book does deal with guilt for war crimes and criticizes the limitations placed on prosecutions for those crimes and protections for many of the guilty. I am reeling from the protections given to many perpetrators of the worst acts.
    I’m glad there’s been so much discussion about it, and that it was nominated for the CWA Dagger.

    • Thanks, Kathy, and I’m so glad that you like this one.

      I’m not sure that there were actual legal changes made as a result of the novel. I’ve seen that claim made on a couple of sites, including the Dagger page, but when I’ve looked for German confirmation I’ve not found it…But there was a government commission set up to look into the limitations placed on the prosecutions in the 60s – a way of acknowledging the injustices they created at least – and that development was due to the novel in large measure.

      Yes, I agree – it’s *really* good that the novel has generated so much discussion.

  8. Oh, so no changes but a commission to look at the limitations placed on prosecutions for WWII crimes. It is shocking that the “accessories” to war crimes could get off on the “only following orders,” as they weren’t the commanders. I didn’t realize this is still true in Germany. So “the only following orders” defense isn’t just WWII-movie dialogue; it actually is so. Outrageous. That let thousands off the hook, not to mention the other limitations put on prosecutions.

    • Hi Kathy – yes, the novel is a really searing criticism of post-war legal loopholes. If I remember rightly international law has addressed/challenged the ‘only following orders’ defence. I will follow this up in a bit more detail when I get back from Canada.

    • Thanks, Lindsay – looking forward to Anya Lipska’s novel very much. It’s been on my TBR pile far too long…Very glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  9. I see I am chiming in very late, but I have only just discovered your fabulous blog. As you see from the many comments, we have a wealth of fabulous crime writers in Canada, many of which have already been named. As Cathy Ace suggests go to the Crime Writers of Canada website for a good place to start. As for me, I write a wilderness-based series with an underlying native theme. There are currently 5 books, all set in Canada, with the sixth one, Silver Totem of Shame, due out in 2014. To learn more check out Hope you have a terrific trip.

    • Thanks very much for dropping by and for the links. Sadly, we’re leaving for home tomorrow, but I’ll enjoying staying in touch via more Canadian crime fiction.

      • I hope you had a delightful visit. I see you were visiting one of the more beautiful places in my country, where mountains and the seas collide. In Canada we have several crime writers who set their mysteries in B.C., William Deverell, Lou Allin, Vicki Delany, Deryn Collier, Michael Blair, Stephen Legault, Kay Stewart to name a few. And if I may blare my own horn, my forthcoming, Silver Totem of Shame is set on the very edge of the continent in Haida Gwaii, the islands of the Haida.

      • Thanks – we did. Back now after three weeks of Canadian sunshine to a very rainy Wales. We saw posters promoting Haida Gwaii on the ferry – sounds like an excellent location for a crime novel!

  10. To R.J. Harlick: Note that I listed your mysteries in a comment above, and mentioned that they have a terrific sense of place, also respect for Native people’s culture and customs.

    • Thanks, Kathy, I very much appreciated it, especially being included in such an august list of Canadian authors. I see you are well versed in the great crime fiction Canada has to offer. I also hope Mrs. P had a safe and uneventful trip back to the motherland.

  11. I was so excited to come across this post because I recently read a fantastic Canadian crime fiction novel by author Philip Fleishman. The book is entitled, “The Gemini Factor” It is a fast-paced thriller about a pair of serial killers in two geographic locations that are doing the exact same crime at the exact same time! I think the author has come up with a unique and riveting plot line and well developed characters. Even though this is his first book, his sense of place (Tucson and Toronto in this case) is as well developed as any seasoned writer – I felt as if I could visit either city and follow his directions to visit the scenes of the crimes, and his description of the city definitely made me want to visit Toronto. I can’t say much more without giving it all away. The book is thoughtfully laid out and it is an easy to read thriller

    • Thanks, Julia. It sounds like an intriguing premise, although I have to confess that serial killer novels are not really my cup of tea. Glad to hear you enjoyed though, and that it made you want to visit Toronto.

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