mandag den 30. november 2009


Flash Fiction Challenge: write a story which takes place in Walmart.

I didn´t quite know what to expect. Perhaps not exactly tweed or pin-stripes, yet I had never dreamed of anything like this. I couldn´t prevent myself from staring at the odd display around us and wonder which kind of shop would sell such garments. ...

The story has now been sold to an American ebook publisher in the anthology "Discount Noir". Buy the anthology to read the rest of the story, plus 41 other flash stories about megamarts.

See my inspiration for the challenge.

lørdag den 28. november 2009

A Christmas Story?

Is there anyone out there who want a Christmas story?

If so, please send me your ideas: which ingredients do I need to make it a real Christmas story?

And don´t worry, no matter what you suggest, I suspect there may be a dead body or a crime in it.

fredag den 27. november 2009

Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None (1939)

This British story was originally published under the title “Ten Little Niggers” long before the term ´politically correct´ had been invented.

Ten people are invited to Indian Island (originally Nigger Island) by the mysterious host, U.N. Owen. They look forward to a free holiday, but once there, they are all accused of having committed murder by a recorded voice.

Then the murders begin, following the pattern of an old nursery rhyme called Ten Little Niggers or Ten Little Indians. The guests die one after the other in Christie´s impressive closed-room mystery, while the survivors begin suspecting each other and forming small groups of allies based on whom they choose to trust.

For readers who are not acquainted with Agatha Christie, this brilliant story with the interesting environment and the strong atmosphere of suspicion will be the perfect starting point.

torsdag den 26. november 2009

Maria Lang, No More Murders (1967)

This Swedish crime novel (featuring a very special cat) was originally published in Sweden under the title "Inte Flera Mord" in 1951. Maria Lang, whose real name was Dagmar Lange, may be considered the Swedish queen of crime of her time with more than fifty crime novels written in the period from 1954 to 1991, most of which are of fairly high quality. Only three of these have been translated into English.

The first line of No More Murders, expressed by professor John Ensted:

“All right, I´ll come with you. But on one condition: No more murders. They´ve been more than enough already.”

When the newly-wed couple Edwin and Puck Bure and her professor father arrive at their idyllic cottage outside Skoga, Edwin´s childhood paradise, they practically stumble upon the body of young Tommy. Tommy is the prodigal son of their neighbour, judge Holt, and three years earlier he was thrown out of his home for some kind of unspecified misdemeanor. Everybody denies knowing the young man had come back, let alone what he is doing in the small community.

Like other books, a crime novel is a product of its time. An example can be found on page 31 when a policeman comments on the moral conduct of Tommy, who turns out to be adopted:

“If I may say so, sir, then it could have been just the same if he had had an extremely strict upbringing. Presumably you are less to blame in this case than the boy´s unknown parents.”

This combination of private detectives (Edwin and Puck) and police procedural (a local police inspector assisted by Edwin and Puck´s dear friend Christer Wick) is a fine, traditional murder mystery. The main characters are well-drawn, and we are soon introduced to a handful of suspects with plenty of skeletons in the cupboard.

Other stories in English: (source: EuroCrime)
Death Awaits Thee (1967)
A Wreath for the Bride (1968)

onsdag den 25. november 2009

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 42

[The beautiful tin belongs to Julia, A Piece of My Mind]

This week´s classic is known under two different titles – with good reason.

Anthony said with a grin: ´The legal life´s narrowing! I´m all for crime! Here´s to it.´
He picked up his drink and drank it off at a gulp.

´Too quickly, perhaps. He choked, choked badly. His face contorted, turned purple. He gasped for breath – then slid down off his chair, the glass falling from his hand.

The Rules:
If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed on Friday.

tirsdag den 24. november 2009

Et reklameindslag

[Blognews for Scandinavian readers]

I forbindelse med mit skrivekursus på Saxo Forfatterskole, har jeg været med til at starte en fælles forfatterblog for en halv snes forfatterskolemedlemmer.

Besøg Skrive-Bloggen.

I dag velkomst, i morgen bliver den første tekst lagt ud.

Besøg og kommentarer værdsættes højt. Hvis du har lyst til at skrive fiktion (eller kender en håbefuld forfatter), har vi masser af plads til flere skribenter.

H for Hall

For this week´s
ABC-meme I have decided to revisit M.R. Hall, The Coroner (2009).

When Jenny was eleven, she saw her first dead body.

“The first dead body Jenny ever saw was her grandfather´s. She had watched her grandmother, sobbing into a folded handkerchief, draw the lids down over his empty eyes and then, as her mother reached out to comfort her, sharply push the proffered hand away. It was a reaction she could never forget: accusatory, vicious and utterly instinctive.”

It is not her last, however, because many years later she is appointed coroner. An important step forward for a woman who has just gone through a divorce and a breakdown, and who is still dependent on tranquillizers.

Are you curious? And would you like to know why I gave this British debut five stars in March? Then visit my first post about The Coroner.

See Maxine´s review (which made me so curious I couldn´t wait to read the book).

M.R. Hall´s second novel about Jenny Cooper, The Disappeared, is well on its way and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

mandag den 23. november 2009

Cat in Crime

A warm-up before an oncoming review of an old Swedish thing.

I have read this one several years ago, but decided to revisit it for three reasons. First, Karen Meek of the fantastic EuroCrime blog bought exactly the same edition recently and showed the cover on her blog.

Second, it includes a clever cat. (I am not as catty as certain of my readers, but I believe in giving people what they want – once in a while)

Third, there is a pinch of Egyptology in it (see Louise´s guest post on crime and Egyptology).

The charming cat belongs to John Ensted, Professor of Egyptology, and her rather misleading name is Thotmes III. Meet the beauty:

“Thotmes III had majestically taken her place on top of a pile of books and typewriters, and was energetically working with her pink tongue to make her soft white coat even whiter… No one knows what she had been up to before the day she appealingly stretched out her pink nose to an astonished Swedish archaeologist down in a newly opened Egyptian royal tomb.”

The book will be reviewed on Thursday.

søndag den 22. november 2009

Margot Kinberg, Publish or Perish (2008)

This American crime novel is the author´s debut.

Nick Merrill is a young graduate student and teacher at Tilton University. Besides teaching psychology, he has designed a promising computer programme, and at the beginning of the story he is informed that he has received the university´s prestigious fellowship for the coming year. As if that is not enough, he is very happy with his girlfriend Angel, and he also enjoys his affair with his more experienced teaching colleague, Dr Carrie Woods!

When the very ambitious student Rose Shelton learns that she did not get the fellowship, she is not exactly thrilled, and when she stumbles upon her mentor, Carrie Woods, in the arms of Nick Merrill, she is certain she has been cheated of a prize which was rightfully hers. And from this moment on, things begin to collide in Nick´s life like a juggler dropping his clubs one after the other until he is finally found dead outside his flat. Did he slip in the bad weather?

Professor Joel Williams of Tilton University who is a former police detective teaching criminal procedure wonders whether Nick´s death is really an accident, perhaps because he knows the academic setting from the inside: the envy and the backstabbing and the pressure to produce several articles every year or you will not get tenure. Professor Williams realizes that the faculty members are ready to lie, cheat, steal – and possibly kill – for promotion.

An engaging and well-written debut by an author who clearly knows the academic setting she writes about.

Margot Kinberg´s inspiring blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.

A thorough review written by Maxine who kindly gave me the book.

lørdag den 21. november 2009

Just a teaser ...

When he got there, Nick was still so intent on keeping his balance that at first, he didn´t notice the jacketed figure waiting halfway up the stairs.

He looked up, startled, when he heard his name.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I want to talk to you, away from campus.”

Want to hear more about Nick Merrill and Tilton University? Well, you could try to google them – or you might come back here tomorrow for a full review of this American debut.

fredag den 20. november 2009

Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors (1934)

[Dansk titel: De ni klokkeslag, 1949]

This excellent classic is the eleventh Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. It begins on New Year´s Eve, when Wimsey and his faithful butler, Bunter, end up in a ditch during a snow storm in the Fenland. They seek help at the nearest house, the vicarage, and soon kind, bewildered Reverend Venables has engaged Lord Peter to assist the local bell ringing team who are struck by a severe flu. They have ambitious plans to ring a nine-hour peal (for more information, read the story). The ringing is carried out very successfully, but in the course of the night the squire´s popular wife dies.

Of course this is not only a story about campanology. Around Easter the squire himself dies, and when the sexton finds an extra – mutilated – body in his wife´s grave, the perplexed vicar asks Lord Peter for assistance. It appears that the dead man is connected to a case about some emeralds that were stolen several years ago, and an important clue is a cipher which seems to be related to bell ringing.

What is so excellent about the story is the way the old bells and the crime story are intertwined, for example in the title which refers to the nine ´tellers´ which are rung when a man dies. And as usual, Ms Sayers is able to keep up the excitement without employing too much blood and gore.

torsdag den 19. november 2009

The Lord Meren Mysteries

Meet my guest blogger, Danish Louise from Lou´s Pages. Thank you so much, Louise, for combining two of your interests: crime and Egyptology!

Forfatteren og antropologen Lynda S. Robinson udgav mellem 1994 og 2001 en serie krimier, der alle foregår i det gamle Ægypten, nærmere bestemt i det 18. dynasti (1550-1292 fvt) under barnekongen Tutankhamon. 18. dynasti s sidste år var prægede af uro, og Tutankhamon besteg tronen i et land, mærket af det regime, der havde været under hans far, den kætterske Akhenaten. Akhenatens dronning var den navnkundinge Nefertiti.

Hovedpersonen er Lord Meren, der er faraos ”øjne og ører”, hvilket vel nærmest må siges at være en form for kriminalbetjent/detektiv. I Lynda S. Robinsons univers, var det oldægyptiske samfund fyldt med præster med skjulte dagsordener, skrivere, der befinder sig på det forkerte sted på det forkerte tidspunkt, gravrøvere, ludere, lommetyve og alskens andre lyssky typer.
Lord Meren og hans hjælper, adoptivsønnen Kysen, er naturligvis retskafne oldægyptiske borgere, der vil gøre alt for at opklare de forskellige forbrydelser. Farao ønsker at deltage i opklaringsarbejdet, men Lord Meren, der anser Tutankhamon som en slags søn, vil ikke tillade at farao kommer i fare. Under overfladen bobler også Lord Merens mørke fortid, der kaster lange skygger ind over hans nuværende liv. Vi aner, at der skete forfærdelige ting under Tutankhamons forgænger hans far Akhenaten. Og var der måske et eller andet mellem Lord Meren og Nefertiti?

Der er seks bøger i serien, men jeg har kun læst de første fire. De er letlæste og sådan set ganske velskrevne, men efter fire bøger orkede jeg ikke mere Lord Meren. Handlingen havde det med at skride en anelse for langsomt frem og efter et par bøger er det ikke så spændende at læse beskrivelserne af det gamle Ægypten. Holder man af krimier, der foregår i oldtiden er de fint underholdende.

Bøgerne skal læses som fiktion. Bortset fra beskrivelser af steder og enkelte personer, fx farao Tutankhamon, er der ikke noget belæg for at sige, at bøgerne bygger på virkeligheden eller virkelighedens personer. Lord Meren og de forbrydelser han opklarer, er fri fantasi.
Serien består som sagt af seks bøger. Ingen af dem er oversat til dansk.

Mange tak til Dorte for at lade mig skrive mit første gæsteblogger-indlæg på hendes blog.

The Lord Meren Mysteries

Writer and Anthropologist Lynda S. Robinson published six mysteries between 1994 and 2001, all taking place in Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 BCE) during the reign of boyking Tutankhamun. The last years of the 18th Dyansty were tumultuous, and Tutankhamun took the throne in a country still marked by the regime his father and predecessor Akhenaten ruled Egypt under. Pharaoh Akhenaten, whose queen was the well known Nefertiti, was later named “The Heretic”

Protagonist is Lord Meren, Pharaoh’s ”Eyes and Ears”, which can best be described as a sort of detective or private eye. Ancient Egypt was, in Lynda S. Robinson’s books, a society brimming with priests with hidden agendas, scribes being in the wrong place at the wrong time, tomb robbers, whores, thieves and lots of other shady types.

Lord Meren and his helper, his adoptive son Kysen, are naturally fine and righteous men, doing everything they can to solve the mysteries and crimes. Young Pharaoh wants to join in on the work, but Lord Meren, who sees the boyking as some sort of a son, will not allow that Pharaoh gets into any sort of danger. Lord Merens dark past bubbles under the surface of it all, casting its shadows into his present life. Something terrible happened under the heretic Akhenaten. We also get the feeling that perhaps there was some unresolved business between Lord Meren and Nefertiti.

The series consists of six book, but I’ve only read the first four. They are easily read, and as such well written. But after four books I grew tired of Lord Meren. The stories tended to move a tad too slow, and after a couple of books, even the fine descriptions of Ancient Egypt became slightly boring. If you like mysteries taking place on an ancient scene, they are entertaining enough though.

The series must be read as fiction. Apart from the descriptions of places and a few persons, for instance Pharaoh Tutankhamun, the stories does not rely on anything which has happened for real. Lord Meren and the crimes he solves are products of the author’s imagination.

I want to thank Dorte for letting me post my very first guest-blogger post on her blog.

1. Murder at the Place of Anubis:

2. Murder at the God’s Gate:

3. Murder at the Feast of Rejoicing:

4. Eater of Souls:

5. Drinker of Blood:

6. Slayer of Gods:

onsdag den 18. november 2009

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 41

[This perfect box for today´s book was sent to me by
Tim Duncan, Edinburg]

Not exactly new, this one, but you do remember it, don´t you? If not, it must be time to read it again.

“Well, sir, it´s about this here grave. I thought I better come and see you, being as it´s a church matter, like. You see, when Dick and me come to open it up, we found a corpus a-lying inside of it, and Dick says to me ….”

“… It´s a man´s corpus, that´s what it is, and it du seem as though it didn´t have no right to be there…”

The Rules:
If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed on Friday.

Tomorrow´s post: Danish guest blogger!

tirsdag den 17. november 2009

G for Gilman and Grimes

This week´s ABC meme is for Cozy Crime.

American writer Dorothy Gilman & Mrs Pollifax
Have you met Emily Pollifax, New Brunswick, New Jersey? This heroine is a widow who is so tired of gardening and cookie baking that she hunts up CIA and asks for a job in the spy business. By mistake she is sent on her first mission as a courier to Mexico City. Things do not go quite as expected, and suddenly the sprightly sexagenarian is in great danger.

If you like humour and cozies, this series should be up your alley.

American writer Martha Grimes & Jury and Plant.
Like Elizabeth George, this American author uses a British setting for her series about Superintendent Richard Jury and his little helper, the nobleman Melrose Plant (who tries to run away from his title). The novels usually (always?) take place in an isolated village with an atmospheric inn.

If you like your sleuth noble and your environment remote and old-worldly, this series is quite entertaining. Perhaps you shouldn´t read too many of them in rapid succession, however.

mandag den 16. november 2009

Mushrooms and Toadstools

Write a short story which leads up to a given ending. Try to tie beginning and ending together.

He bought it for an old song in the cosy little antiquarian bookshop in Whitechapel. A gorgeous old book about British mushrooms and toadstools. A few of the pages looked the worse for wear, but it was still a really fine book. Such a treasure for a few pounds.

Back home in his study he let his hands slide down glossy plates in four-colour print and was fascinated by this new world of all the various fungi in their natural habitats. He read about gill and boletes mushrooms. He learned about mycelium, spawn, spores and fruiting bodies. The foreign words appealed to him. Like the former owner he dwelled on certain pages and learned the detailed descriptions by heart.

Sometimes he even ventured into the woods accompanied by his book. Tricholoma pardinum, Chlorophyllum molybdites, Inocybe erubescens and Amanita phalloides. Those marvellous names nearly made him drool.

Now and then his wife would interrupt his absorbing studies. “Arnold, dinner is on the table.” “Arnold, your tea is getting cold.” But most of the time Mildred left him to his book. He even considered getting himself a camera so he could immortalize particularly beautiful specimen from his perambulations.

He went out to put on his galoshes; the wood could be damp and chilly even on a sunny afternoon. Mildred stood in the doorway with her shopping list. “Arnold, I thought perhaps we should try a mushroom stew tonight.”

And then he threw it out.

søndag den 15. november 2009

Martin Edwards, Waterloo Sunset (2008)

This novel is the eighth in the series about Harry Devlin, lawyer in Liverpool, who does not really feel comfortable in his brand-new office. That someone sends him his own obituary does not exactly make anything better.

“In Memory.
Harry Devlin.

Died suddenly, Liverpool,

Midsummer´s Eve.”

Harry Devlin is divorced and has no family left. He claims it suits him “to be beholden to nobody,” but he does not seem to mind when no less than three women take an interest in him: Juliet May, an old flame with a dangerous ex-husband, Ceri Hussain, the beautiful coroner, or Gina Paget, a young woman who cleans his office and seems to be an interesting acquaintance.

Apart from Devlin´s private ordeal, it seems that a mass murderer is at work. A young girl has been murdered, and soon after another one is killed in the same way. Furthermore, someone attacks his business partner, Jim Crusoe, in the parking area behind their office building, and leaves him, badly wounded.

Have I made you curious? Well, you should be; this story is good! And womanwise, I think Harry makes a wise choice. (Sorry, couldn´t help telling you that one).

Have you read Martin Edwards´ very fine Lake District series?
The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden, The Arsenic Labyrinth.

fredag den 13. november 2009

P.D. James, Death of an Expert Witness (1977)

[Dansk titel: Mord på laboratoriet, 1979]

This crime novel is the sixth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. Even though this story begins with a body in a clunch field, the main setting is Hoggatt´s, the Forensic Science Laboratory in the fen, the staff and all the people who are connected to this old institution one way or the other.

We meet the newly-appointed director, Maxim Howarth, self-confident and single but living together with his strong, independent sister (not unlike Alix and Alice Mair in Devices and Desires). Important staff members are laid-back, well-meaning Dr Middlemass and Dr Lorrimer, hated and despised by most of his colleagues, except young Brenda Pridmore, the enthusiastic receptionist. Dr Howarth´s secretary, Angela Foley and her friend, Stella Mawson also play important parts in this intricate mystery.

So this rather closed setting around the forensic lab is one of the really strong points of this novel. Well-drawn characters that I remember, not necessarily because they are likeable, but because they are so human, and as usual P.D. James has constructed a complex plot, worthy of Dalgliesh´s experience, which is not solved until the very last pages.

torsdag den 12. november 2009

Ellis Peters, Black is the Colour of my True Love´s Heart (1967)

Ellis Peters may be known to many of you as the author of the Cadfael series. I have only read this modern crime story, however, and was inspired to re-read it when I came across this post, written by Kerrie.

This fine old crime story begins when Edward Arundale, quite uncharacteristically, gives a young girl with a guitar case a lift to Follymead, a musical college. It is the sixth in the Felse series. As far as I have understood, father and son (Dominic Felse) solve the stories in turns.

Some of the main characters are Dominic Felse, son of a policeman and an amateur sleuth, and his girlfriend, Tossa Barber. It is also clear from the beginning that we are supposed to notice Lucien Galt and Liri Palmer, two of the famous folk singers that participate in the folk music course, plus Edward Arundale´s beautiful wife and his gawky niece, Felicity.

Very soon there is an atmosphere of jealousy and anger, and finally, on page 65, someone disappears, leaving only trampled grass and – perhaps – a few drops of blood. Young Dominic calls in his father, D.I. George Felse to take a discreet look so no one will be scared away from the college.

If you like a quiet, entertaining crime story in the best British tradition, you will like Ellis Peters.

onsdag den 11. november 2009

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 40

You have not forgotten this one, have you?

“We´ve got a body. On the wasteland – a clunch field – a mile north-east of Muddington. A girl. Strangulation by the look of it. It´s probably pretty straightforward but as it´s close …”

Shutting the window with careful hands, he tugged trousers over his pyjamas and pulled a polo-necked sweater over his head. Then he picked up his torch, switched off the bedside light and made his way downstairs, treading warily and keeping close to the wall to avoid the creaking treads. But there was no sound from Eleanor´s room.

The Rules:
If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed on Friday.

WANTED: tins with British and American flavour.

Thank you, Kerrie, Margot and Tim, for your contributions. But I still have plenty of space on my ´shelf´.

tirsdag den 10. november 2009

F for Ferrars

[Dansk titel: Mord i gamle klæder]

I could have chosen a living Scandinavian author for the letter F in the ABC meme, but I foresaw that one of the other participants would write about her.

Instead I have selected Elizabeth Ferrars, a British writer whose real name was Morna Doris MacTaggart Brown. She lived from 1907 to 1995, and she was a prolific writer who produced more than seventy novels during her long career.

I have only read six, a random selection found in second-hand bookshops, and of these I would like to recommend my personal favourite The Pretty Pink Shroud, published in 1977.

A woman disappears after a fancy dress ball, and the pretty pink costume she wore appears in the local thrift shop, torn by a bullet. Intriguing, don´t you agree?
Do you know Elizabeth Ferrars?

My November Book Budget:

Thank you for all your votes and recommendations!
Without impoverishing my family completely, it should be possible to buy the books with five and three votes:

Daniel Woodrell, Winter´s Bone 5 votes
Colin Cotterill, The Coroner´s Lunch 5 votes
Peter Temple, Bad Depts 3 votes
Pierre Magnan, The Murdered House 3 votes

søndag den 8. november 2009

What Shall I Buy?

I must have been busy. The first week of November has passed, and I have not spent my ´book allowance´ yet!

Here are some books I want to read:

Val McDermid, Fever of the Bone 1 vote
Denise Mina, Garnethill 2 votes
Colin Cotterill, The Coroner´s Lunch 5 votes
Adrian McKinty, Fifty Grand 2 votes
Louise Doughty, An English Murder
Aline Templeton, Dead in the Water
Peter Temple, Bad Depts 3 votes
Pierre Magnan, The Murdered House 3 votes
Daniel Woodrell, Winter´s Bone 5 votes
Adrian Hyland, Moonlight Downs 2 votes
Fred Vargas, Have Mercy on Us All 1 vote
Deborah Sharp, Mama does Time 2 votes
Paul Cleave, Cemetery Lake

What should I buy first? Which ones do you think will suit my taste?

See my Salomonic solution above.

fredag den 6. november 2009

Minette Walters, The Breaker (1998)

As some of you guessed, the book in this week´s bait box was Minette Walters´ thriller.

And now I owe you a review, but today is one of those hectic days when you just have to skip something. Should I skip the washing? Work? Eating? Brushing my teeth? Or reviewing my book?

Review my book, you say. Thank you! (Perhaps I will survive the next twenty-four hours now).

This is what fantasticfiction says about the plot:

"Twelve hours after a women's broken body is washed up on shore, her traumatized 3-year old daughter is discovered 20 miles away, alone and abandoned. Police suspicion falls on an actor whose boat is moored yards from the toddler and the victim's husband."

Furthermore, it is an extremely thrilling thriller - somewhat scary and sometimes unpleasant, but nevertheless I liked it very much. It might give some readers nightmares, though.

And just to spice today´s impossible post up a bit: if you have read the book, what do you think?

And if you should have reviewed it, pleeease send me a link.

torsdag den 5. november 2009

The Blue Vase I

“Are you sure it´s okay? I mean, perhaps she locked it because she doesn´t want us to to …” Chubby little Blomquist prattled nervously.

“Are we supposed to be sleuths, or what?” Jennings drawled while trying to insert another rusty key in the keyhole. He found one which seemed promising, but could not turn it around. He gave the old trunk an experimental kick. “Bobby Lou 1898” the faded gold letters said.

“I just …” Blomquist began when the next key suddenly did the trick. The lid of the old trunk creaked open, and the two boys took a step back into the shadows of the dusty attic.

They laughed sheepishly, and Jennings threw it wide open. “Is that … do you think that is …”


As I plan to publish this story in an anthology soon, I have removed the public version.

Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen. 

onsdag den 4. november 2009

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 39

[This week´s box belongs to Cathy, Kittling Books]

This thriller is a stand-alone, and it is not a debut. Have you shuddered at this one like me?

“She drifted with the waves, falling off their rolling backs and waking to renewed agony every time salt water seared down her throat and into her stomach. During intermittent periods of lucidity when she revisited, always with astonishment, what had happened to her, it was the deliberate breaking of her fingers that remained indelibly printed on her memory, and not the brutality of her rape.”

The Rules:

If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed on Friday.

tirsdag den 3. november 2009

What´s Up

you may well ask.

Well, first of all Tuesday is the day when my online writing course publish the new task.
Week 2: write a story which ends with the following words: “And then he threw it out.

Here you see my first draft of a flash fiction piece of 2-300 words.

I was afraid the demands would be more restrictive, but this one suited me rather well. And when you have the beginning and the ending, there is not much left to do.

Second, I am planning the promised Blue Vase Story. I have made some progress so I think I may have a story for you some time before Christmas.

Third, I have helped Norman of Crime Scraps a bit with a translation from Swedish.

Fourth, I try to read a bit once in a while. I really do (try, I mean).

Oh, and then there is work. And my family. And the washing ...

mandag den 2. november 2009

E for Egholm and Edwards

For this week´s alphabet meme I should like to draw attention to a Danish crime writer, Elsebeth Egholm.

Unfortunately, her very fine series about the journalist Dicte Svendsen has not been translated into English yet. They are published in Germany, Holland, Norway and Sweden, and I know that she has ´sold the rights´ to an English publisher so hopefully …

Egholm´s debut was a portrait of the 1980s, and she did not consider it a crime novel herself. Many reviewers did, however, and her second book, “Hidden Errors” (called Skjulte fejl og mangler in Danish) is certainly a crime story, and a very fine one indeed. It features the body of a baby, but it is not very graphic.

Since then she has written six novels about Dicte, generally solid books with convincing plots, but lately they have struck me as less convincing as Dicte is always personally involved in the very serious crimes. (Not to the extent of Patricia Cornwell´s Kay Scarpetta, but still).

Elisabeth Egholm´s home page in English.

My second choice is Martin Edwards, the author of the great “Lake District series” with protagonists Hannah Scarlet and Daniel Kind, but also an older series about the Liverpool Lawyer Harry Devlin.

I have read and reviewed “The Coffin Trail”, “The Cipher Garden” and “The Arcenic Labyrinth” earlier this year.

Last night I began reading “Waterloo Sunset”, my first Harry Devlin story (the eighth and latest in the series).

A teaser from the first page:

“Harry Devlin stared at the announcement of his death.”

Of course you will get a review later, and you can visit Martin´s interesting blog here.

søndag den 1. november 2009

Spring Cleaning II

Well, for the benefit of Margot.

”I am damn sorry, but I don´t really believe in all this any more.”

“What do you mean?”

Larry indicates the red farm bathed in the April sun. “This. Us.” I have never noticed before that his shoulders stoop.

I plant the spade in the vegetable patch and lean against the handle. Nearly two hundred square metres newly dug mould.

”Well, it doesn´t really swing any more, does it? What I mean is, what is left between us, except work, work, work?”

And now I am supposed to start crying or yelling.

“Liz, for crap´s sake … You must also have noticed that the spark has gone. “

“Nope.” I am not looking at him but the farmhouse with the freshly painted windows.

“Oh, it is just impossible to discuss with you!” He has run out of words, and he turns around while I pull the spade out of the ground.

Afterwards I deliver him at the rubbish dump, nicely wrapped up in black plastic sacks labeled “organic waste”, before I return to my spring work.

Well, which one do you prefer?