Tasty treats: Sherlock Holmes, Chinese crime, John le Carré and some publishing news

All sorts of interesting bits of crime news have come my way in the last couple of weeks…and are now gathered here for your delectation.


A three-volume collection of over 60 new Sherlock Holmes stories appeared on 1st October, edited by David Marcum (MX Publishing). As well as being an absolute feast for Holmes fans, the collection supports a brilliant cause: all royalties will be used to fund preservation projects at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home, Undershaw. You can read more details of how the Undershaw rescue mission and new collection came about – a heady tale of determined fans, thwarted property developers and support from Mark Gatiss (co-creator of the TV drama Sherlock) – in this Radio Times article.

Thanks to Martin Rosenstock for alerting me to the new Sherlock adventures. Martin is one of the authors featured in the collection, and has also contributed an excellent chapter on Swiss crime fiction to our forthcoming Crime Fiction in German volume. In fact, he opens that chapter with a reference to Sherlock Holmes’ apparent demise at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, creating a rather lovely virtuous circle!


Chinese President Xi has been on the receiving end of a charm offensive during his recent visit to the UK, as various deals are sealed including a 25 billion pound nuclear power station at Hinckley Point in Somerset. So I was very interested to see this piece by Bruce Jacobs, entitled ‘Qiu Xiaolong’s Detective Chen novels give clues to unravelling the mysteries of China‘. I read the first in the Chen series, Death of a Red Heroine, a good while ago, and remember liking it, but hadn’t realised that there are now nine in the series. Jacobs shows how the Chen novels give ‘excellent insights into China from the time of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution to the present’, and, as the covers above indicate, explore the interaction of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Chinas. Thanks to Craig Sisterson for posting this piece on Facebook.

John le C

Regular readers to this blog will know that I am a huge John le Carré fan – you can read my appreciation of his novels here. A major new biography by Adam Sisman has just been published by Bloomsbury, which examines le Carré’s life and his career as a spy and writer in detail. There’s a long piece by Sisman in The Guardian today entitled ‘From cold war spy to angry old man: the politics of John le Carré’, which explores how the author’s political views have become more left-wing over time. Sisman uses a great German term to account for this – Alterszorn (the rage of age) – and provides some excellent insights into a number of le Carré’s novels. Well worth a read.


‘My emergency plan: A Prosecco to wake up. Then an expresso with a shot. Around eleven, the first beer. And so on in stages’. Yours, Aunt Poldi

And finally, some publishing news generated by the Frankfurt book fair:

  • No Exit Press has acquired The Harbour Master and Night Market by Daniel Pembrey. They are the first and second installments of ‘The Amsterdam Quartet’ featuring police detective Henk van der Pol.
  • Bitter Lemon Press has acquired the English-language rights to the hilarious German crime novel Aunt Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, which will be published in 2016. Author Mario Giordano will be in London on 10th November at the Goethe Institut to talk about the book. It’s a free event – for further details see here.
  • Orenda Books has secured a three-book deal for Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu Botswana crime novels Deadly Harvest, A Death in the Family and Dying To Live.
  • And Orenda has also acquired World English Language rights for Norwegian crime writer Thomas Enger’s next two titles in the ‘Henning Juul’ series, Coat of Arms and Mortal Wound.

12 thoughts on “Tasty treats: Sherlock Holmes, Chinese crime, John le Carré and some publishing news

  1. Very glad to hear you’ve an interest in reading more of Qiu Xiaolong’s work, Mrs. P. I like the series very much, and I do recommend it.

    • Good to hear, Margot. I have them all on my virtual TBR pile now, but probably need to go back and read the first one again too, as it’s been quite a while.

    • Thanks 😀 Yes, time to line up lots of reading and viewing for those long winter nights. Hope you have regular reading spots in some Portland cafes too x

  2. Will have to get the le Carre book, like you i’m a big fan. I think the bbc hve filmed ‘The Night Manager’, they are certainly advertising something with the same title!
    Speaking of bbc, 4 seem to be showing a series of Swedish crime films with Rolf Lassgard as Eric Backstrom, 2nd one is tonight about 22.00. Have you had any heads up aout them?

    • Should make a nice little spy-shaped stocking filler…

      I haven’t read The Night Manager yet – a TV adaptation will be a good excuse to catch up. Will keep an eye out for a date. Or have you already seen one mentioned?

      I recorded last week’s Lassgard offering after you alerted me to it, but no, I hadn’t realised that there were more, and have missed any publicity about them from BBC4. Again, will have a look to see if I can find out more.

  3. Having just had the misfortune to have watched the first one I know why there’s no publicity, it’s trash, & nasty with it. Will not be bothering with it again! Does anybody vet this stuff befor they purchase it? It’s bad enough they waste money on that overated Dahl rubbish without this. Considering how many warnings they gave out befor it started no wonder they tucked it away
    late on a sunday night!
    No it was one of those ads which just mentions new programmes coming up, no other info about it, just the title.

    • Thanks for the heads up – I’ll put that one aside then. I’ve opted out of the Dahl as well, as I didn’t really get on with the first series (although I know lots of people do like it).

      In terms of quality control – I’m not really sure how broadcasters go about assessing how good a series is (and whether ‘good’ for them equals quality or popularity, which of course can be two rather different things).

      Scandinavian crime novels and crime dramas have a great reputation, and I suspect that sometimes things are let through simply on that basis, even though of course there are vast differences in the quality of programming that’s on offer.

  4. Quick update, just checked it out online, & it is le Carre’s book. Tom HIddlestone & hugh Laurie. There’s a long article about it on bbc.co.uk. Bring it on!!

  5. Watched a few minutes of the one on tonight, first thing I noticed he is a lot older in this one, so must have been lot of time between filming them, not that I’ve a clue how many they made. It’s just strange there’s no publicity!
    Yes an interesting article, but they’ve clearly updated to the present times, so how simular to the book it is, is a moot point! The last film of one of his books they took out a lot of the context of two of the main characters, which just made it a straight spy film. Must admit read the book a long time ago, so think I’ll get it on loan before it starts!

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