Despite the pandemic, this has been a wonderful year for me in terms of writing. I’ve celebrated 30 years as a published crime novelist, with one award, five nominations, a new Lake District novel, a new bibliomystery, and three anthologies.
I was thrilled when Head of Zeus signed me up to write two more novels about Rachel Savernake, and the third in the series, Blackstone Fell, is now with my editor. The reaction to Gallows Court and Mortmain Hall has been terrific, and I’m delighted to say that, in addition to the US editions, there are to be translations into languages ranging from Italian to Chinese.
The Crooked Shore
The paperback edition of the eighth Lake District Mystery, The Crooked Shore, is published in the UK in February. The novel received lovely reviews in The Times and elsewhere in the press as well as the blogosphere. The US edition is due to appear in summer 2022, but there will be something different about it…
The Life of Crime
My history of the genre, The Life of Crime, is due to be published by HarperCollins in May 2022. It’s a book that is a true labour of love, the result of years of writing and a lifetime of reading.
Harry Devlin is 30!
This year marks the 30th anniversary of publication of my first novel, All the Lonely People., which introduced Harry Devlin and was nominated for the CWA award for best first crime novel of the year. To celebrate, Andrews UK have relaunched the seven Harry Devlin books I wrote in the 1990s with jazzy new cover artwork. The books are available as hardbacks and paperbacks as well as in ebook form. Incidentally, after a gap of a decade, Harry returned in Waterloo Sunset, which is also available.
Howdunit and Crafting Crime
Howdunit is a masterclass in crime writing, conceived and edited by me, and published to celebrate the Detection Club’s 90th birthday. Almost every living member of the Club has contributed new essays, while there are also contributions from distinguished former members. So – everyone from Len Deighton and John Le Carre to Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Felix Francis, Ann Cleeves, Peter James, Mark Billingham, Peter Robinson, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha Christie. To name but a few….The book won the CrimeFest H.R.F. Keating award and earned five other award nominations. The book’s success has prompted me to collaborate with Fiction Feedback on a new online course for aspiring crime novelists – more details coming soon. It is called Crafting Crime.
Murder by the Book is my latest anthology of vintage mysteries in the British Library’s Crime Classics series, launched at a lovely event in Ely. I’ve also edited Many Deadly Returns (Severn House) an anthology celebrating 21 years of Murder Squad and launched with much fanfare (and a special cake!) in Whitley Bay. In addition to stories from friends such as Margaret Murphy and Ann Cleeves, there are three of mine: ‘Lucky Liam’, ‘Bad Friday’, and ‘The Other Place’.
Alibis in the Archives
The historic and wonderfully atmospheric Gladstone’s Library is the home to the British Crime Writing Archives, which I established there a few years ago. This year’s Alibis in the Archives weekend was online and was a fun celebration of crime writing heritage with wonderful guest speakers including the composer, playwright and crime novelist Rupert Holmes.
Otto Penzler, the legendary editor and proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop, commissioned me to write a 15,000 word story – a novella, really – for his famous series of Bibliomysteries, which are available in signed limited edition hardback as well as in paperback.
Lee Child has included my story ‘The Locked Cabin’ in The Best Mysteries of the Year 2021, while my Dagger-winning story ‘The Bookbinder’s Apprentice’ has been selected for inclusion in Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology Daggers Drawn. 2022 will see the appearance of ‘The Crazy Cries of Love’ in Music of the Night, ‘The Woman Who Never Was’ in a Cornell Woolrich tribute anthology, and ‘No Peace for the Wicked’ in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
I’ve enjoyed a number of ‘live’ events lately as well as a host of online events, including the Slightly Foxed Reader’s Day, when I was thrilled to share a bill with Michael Palin, and Liverpool’s Perfect Crime Day, when Sophie Hannah and I talked about Golden Age detective fiction.
Around the world
The Golden Age of Murder has been published in Chinese and Japanese, while The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books has just been translated into Korean..
The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes
My collection of Sherlock Holmes stories is available as an ebook on Amazon. As well as the stories, the book includes various articles and a splendid introduction by leading Sherlockian David Stuart Davies. I’ve also contributed an introduction to a handsome, slip-cased edition of a selection of Sherlock’s greateest cases, published by Arcturus.
TV, DVD and Film viewing
Films I’ve enjoyed recently include A Walk Among the Tombstones, and several old movies which have cropped up on the Talking Pictures TV channel. I’ve also belatedly caught up with all 86 episodes of BBC’s Spooks, which made for great viewing through the long months of lockdown.
I’m currently reading Ethel Lina White’s Her Heart in her Throat and Pat Flower’ suspense novel Shadow Show. ‘Forgotten books’ feature on my blog each Friday.
Collecting Crime Fiction
I’ve acquired several fascinating inscribed books, including an inscribed copy of Ellery Queen’s The Player on the Other Side.
Writing about crime fiction
I contributed an essay on ‘Plotting’ to a weighty tome about the genre, The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction. My fellow contributors are academics from around the world.
I’ve continued to revamp the site, and very much welcome any constructive suggestions from readers.