tirsdag den 18. oktober 2011


Lydfil, Strikkeklubben.

søndag den 19. juni 2011

New Blog

As I seem to have lost more than 50 % of my followers in a few weeks, I thought I´d better try to share my new address with you again.

DJ´s krimiblog - now on Wordpress. 

And I´d be ever so happy to see more of my old blog friends there.

søndag den 29. maj 2011

Moving Day

After a couple of turbulent weeks, I have had enough of Blogger´s whims.

My new address: djskrimiblog

I hope to see all of you there soon.


Writing News

First a reminder: you have two days left to participate in my competition. The chances of winning are still fairly good.

May competition (world wide)
Read "Liquorice Twists" and answer three simple questions. Send the answers to do.hu.ja (at) mail.tele.dk before the end of May, and two of you will win an Amazon voucher (£ 5 or $ 8).

a) what is the name of the baby in story no 8, "A Question of Perspective"?
b) which car brand is mentioned in story no 11, "Swept Away"?
c) what is the name of the main character of story no 18, "In the Dark"


And if you are in the mood for more suspense, you can read my short story "Heather Farm" for free during the launch period (May and June). Plenty of love, ghosts and countryside atmosphere. Enter the coupon code EP59D - and if you like the story, please make my day by spreading the word to your friends.


Latest Liquorice Twists news

I am happy to tell my writer friends that they were right; Amazon offers a large market,  it is often the first place readers search for an ebook, and now I seen had my first sales trickle in there. And while I was in Bristol, Kerrie showed med that I had had my first Amazon review - five stars that made a wonderful day even better: 

"This selection of shorts is naughty but in a good way". 

And I am glad to see that readers of my latest collection appreciate the story ´Catastrophe´ which was a last-minute addition.  

NB: perhaps I should make it clear that I appreciate it very much whenever readers take the time to write a fair and honest review of my stories no matter how many or few stars they give me  :)

lørdag den 28. maj 2011

Vanda Symon, The Ringmaster (2008)

(German title: Der ungeschminkte Tod. My review of Overkill).

Well, I read the second Sam Shephard mystery from New Zealand in German, but I was afraid that if I only gave you the German title, you would not read my review.

"Rosie, warte!" rief er und beschleunigte seine Schritte. Sie drehte sich um, und mit genugtuung stellte er fest, dass ihr Gesicht anfing zu strahlen, als sie ihn erkannte.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard, who now works in Dunedin, and her colleague, Smithy, are trying to disperse a group of people who demonstrate in front of a circus. Soon, the department have more important things to care about, however, as they find the body of a young woman who has been assaulted and drowned in the river Leith which runs through the Botanic Garden.

But as Sam has offended her superior, DI Johns, quite successfully, she is sent off to deal with the less interesting circus case while everybody else works on the murder. As she is a stubborn and determined woman, and perhaps a bit impulsive, she does her best to worm her way into the murder investigation. New trouble hits the circus, though, and whether Sam wants to or not, she gets deeply involved in the affairs of the circus before she can return to the murder of young Rose-Marie Bateman. and at some time she begins to wonder if the occurrences in the circus are related to the murder.

I enjoyed the story just as much as Vanda´s terrific debut, especially for the character of Sam, a female protagonist of the very best kind. A slight minus, though, because Sam has a tendency to run into dramatic situations on her own. It was not as difficult to read it in German as I had expected, but I won´t pretend I understood each and every detail, and I certainly won´t admit how long it took me to read it in German.

I bought the German e-book myself (because the English version is very difficult to come by), and fortunately I have the next volumes ready on my shelf - in English. 

Craig´s review of The Ringmaster (Crime Watch).

fredag den 27. maj 2011

Linda Gillard, House of Silence (2011)

This novel is the British writer´s fourth stand-alone. It is probably more precise to call it gothic romance than mystery.

"I used to wonder if Alfie chose me because I was an orphan and an only child. Was that part of the attraction? I came unencumbered, with no family."

As Gwen Rowland´s mother died from an overdose of drugs some years ago, she is all alone in the world. She falls in love with the actor Alfie Donovan who is her opposite in many ways. He has more family than he cares for at Creake Hall. Four older sisters, an aging mother and a mysterious, yet quite attractive gardener.

Alfie´s mother has written the famous series Tom Dickon Harry, claiming her inspiration was Alfie, her only son. Alfie feels he has lived in the shadows of this fictional character all his life, and even as an adult he finds it very difficult to carve a career for himself as everybody see him as Tom.

Alfie and Gwen are very happy together, though, until Gwen insists on accompanying him when he goes home to Creake Hall for the traditional family Christmas. "... an Elizabethan manor house, a jumble of tall, barley sugar chimneys and crow step gables, red brick walls and a battery of mullioned windows..."

The story is very strong on atmosphere and suspense with a trace of gothic horror and a feeling of being caught in a web permeating the story. It is a very enjoyable read with several intriguing characters though the ending is more romantic than psychologically credible in my opinion. I bought the e-book myself.

Here is an interesting article about Linda Gillard and her ebook.

torsdag den 26. maj 2011

Thy´s Day 52

When I saw Norman´s comment Monday about the flat lands of Denmark, I knew I had to share these pictures with you though I am afraid you cannot really see the depth in them. They are from "Skyum Bjerge", a hilly area not far from our home. (You can click on each photo to enlarge them if you want more details).

onsdag den 25. maj 2011

CrimeFest 2011

You know (or hope) you are participating in a crime fiction conference when you hear someone saying:

´... and then I put the poison in his haemorrhoid cream´
´you got to kill people somehow´
´I do like blowing things up´

In two words; my first CrimeFest was absolutely overwhelming!  I did take a few photos, but most of the time my husband had the camera. And Saturday, the only day when I had it, the battery went flat rather unexpectedly.

Karen Meek of Euro Crime

As I mentioned the other day, one of the very best experiences was to meet some of my blog friends and get to know them even better. The panels were also very interesting, and it was such a pleasure that the crime writers I have read - and read about - for so long, were so kind and forthcoming. They really seemed to like meeting their readers :)

So apart from Martin Edwards, our walking crime fiction encyclopaedia, whom I mentioned the other day, I had plenty of opportunity to chat with Len Tyler, Christine Poulson, Quentin Bates and Kate Ellis to mention a few.

I wish I could participate every year, but unfortunately May and June are the busiest months of our school year so I won´t win any popularity contests by running off, leaving three days of external examinations to my colleagues again.

Here you see my CrimeFest spoil - I bought the ones by Len Tyler and S.J. Bolton myself, the others are books I won or was given for free.

tirsdag den 24. maj 2011

S is for Silence

(Taking a short break in the streets of Bristol)

For this week´s alphabet in crime meme, I´ll comment on what the crime writer does not tell us. I was inspired by a very interesting CrimeFest panel where the writers discussed the endings of crime novels, their own as well as those of other writers. Good endings, brilliant endings, disappointing endings - and the endings we will never see because their wives or publishers vetoed them.

I don´t think Rob Kitchin will mind if I tell you that his first crime novel leaves a couple of loose ends. The Rule Book was an impressive debut which I enjoyed very much, and the ending worked very well for me, but there are aspects I hope he will take up in later volumes of his great Colm McEvoy series.

Another trend is mysteries of the kind where we know who committed the crime almost from the beginning. There are wonderful examples of the why dunnit around, but after a very promising beginning, the ending of Louise Doughty´s Honey-Dew was a disappointment for me. I didn´t feel she added enough suspense after the first few chapters so in my opinion she should have structured her story very differently, or kept a few surprices up her sleeve.

Do you prefer endings where everything is nicely wrapped up, or is it okay with you when the author hands you the villain but leaves some - or several - unanswered questions?

mandag den 23. maj 2011

Save the Words

Scatterbrained as I am today I keep telling myself that now I´ll begin that blog round, but I run into one distraction after the other (such as five-star reviews on Amazon).

I just visited Rob Kitchin´s blog and was reminded of "Save The Words". Of course I ran off immediately to salvage some word of my own, and I just had to adopt ´magistricide´  ;)


NB: for danske læsere - jeg har lige opdaget, at min lille Thy-historie, Entreprenøren, er blevet udgivet på Skrive-Bloggen mens jeg har været væk.

Back home from CrimeFest

Came home from a wonderful event last night (twenty past one so forgive me if I write sheer rubbish).

CrimeFest in Bristol was absolutely overwhelming.
First of all I met a couple of blog friends, and of course they were just as kind and interesting as I had expected. Norman (Crime Scraps), Kerrie (Mysteries of Paradise) and Karen (EuroCrime), it has been so great to get to know you and spend three-four days together with you. And thank you to Martin Edwards not only for being just as kind and charming as Daniel Kind, but also for winning the pub quiz for us Thursday night. It was a good feeling to participate in my first pub quiz ever - and ´win´ it.

As my husband has been sightseeing in Bristol, I only have a few pictures of the people I met, but I promise to post them later (when I have had time to catch up with life, work and my blog round). If you follow the links to Norman, Karen and Martin´s blogs above, you will see some of us in Bristol, though.

tirsdag den 17. maj 2011

R is for Revenge

- the alphabet in crime is hosted by Kerrie, Mysteries in Paradise -

A few lines written in between washing & packing.

Revenge is not exactly my favourite crime fiction plot, but when it is done well, the result may be a wonderful pageturner. So I will mention a couple of recent reviews where revenge is part of the plot, but without going into detail because it is quite easy to spoil such a story for those of you who have not read it yet.

First, I´ll highlight Jussi Adler-Olsen´s Mercy (UK title) or The Keeper of Lost Causes (US). I re-read the first Carl Mørck story in English earlier this month because I was curious about the English translation. Here a dramatic event acts like a catalyst many years later.

Second, I reviewed Martin Edwards´ standalone, Take My Breath Away as my first May book. Apparently a woman returns from the dead, bent on revenge. There is much else to this story, but the urge to get even is one of the pieces of the puzzle.

What is your favourite story that includes an element of revenge?


Writer´s news:

I created an author´s page on Amazon the other day. While I am writing this, my short biography and two of my works are visible, and "Candied Crime" should also be on the way. So for those of you who prefer shopping via Amazon.com, it is now possible. But I recommend that you check the price. Mobi for Kindle is also available from Smashwords, and their VAT-free version may be cheaper for some of you.

"Liquorice Twists" should also be available via Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Apple and Diesel in a week or two.

mandag den 16. maj 2011

Neil Gaiman, Coraline (2002)

Today I am visiting Kelly of Kelly´s Thoughts & Ramblings. Kelly and I will be ever so pleased if you peep in to say hello, and perhaps some of you also want to know why the vicar´s wife writes crime fiction

This British fantasy is brilliantly illustrated by Dave McKean. I only read Coraline because I needed some fantasy for a challenge (Bogudfordringen 2011), but I enjoyed it very much. 

Once you realize Coraline is a little school girl and neither the teenager she looks like on the cover nor the tiny midget she sounds like, the story works very well.

"Something moved. It was little more than a shadow, and it scuttled down the darkened hall fast, like a little patch of night."

Coraline and her family move into a new flat in a mysterious house. One rainy day when she is bored, she finds the door which leads to nowhere. Her mother does not lock the door afterwards, and of course you know immediately that this was very unwise of her. The next time Coraline tries the door, it suddenly leads to somewhere - a flat which looks deceptively like her own, but where everything is just a bit different.

And in this other world Coraline realizes she need all her courage and determination in order to change things back so she can return to her ordinary life which suddenly seems incredibly appealing.

I bought the Kindle version myself, and if you like fantasy/fairy tales, this one is strongly recommended.


NB: I know I should be in touch with a few of you who have also invited me to guest blog, but that will have to wait until I have come to my senses after CrimeFest. 

lørdag den 14. maj 2011

DJ Light

- just came home from the hairdresser, considerably lighter (eh, greyer) than before -

As Blogger has played so many tricks recently, most of you had no chance to notice my guest post yesterday so here is the link once again. 

For several reasons you may expect irregular posting and visits from me over the next month or two.
First, I am running off to Bristol to CrimeFest from Wednesday to Sunday, and afterwards the exam period begins. Besides, I have my family and my unreliable health to consider. 

Liquorice Twists Launch

Notes to myself:
- don´t launch on a Sunday which is often the quietest blog day
- add more ghosts; my readers seem to like them

What else?
I am testing the possibilities of Amazon, but as I have had a few technical glitches, I have only published "Heather farm" there yet. The price I set is 99 cents so if Amazon wants more than that (e.g. from Scandinavian customers), I recommend that you go to Smashwords instead. Because they are a minor company, they are not forced to add VAT.

Finally a reminder: there is still plenty of time to participate in my competition or download "Heather Farm" for free (Smashwords coupon: EP 59D).

fredag den 13. maj 2011

Giles Blunt, The Fields of Grief (2006)

[I should have been guest blogging on Thoughts in Progress today, but with Blogger gone awry I don´t know when the post will be up.]

This Canadian police procedural is the fourth John Cardinal story, but the first I have read by this author. See my teaser.

Though I found the story interesting and appealing, it was hard to read as it begins with the death of Catherine Cardinal, John´s beloved wife, who suffered from very severe depressions and is supposed to have committed suicide. The description of his grief and his self-reproach are very realistic, meaning that the story made a great impact.

Besides, there is a story about child abuse. Always a tough theme, but Blunt never goes into uncanny details so for me the theme of depression was harder to handle.

Soon John Cardinal begins to wonder if Catherine really did take her own life, but even though Lise Delorme, a close colleague and friend, offer him some support, the main reaction is that it is just Cardinal´s unwillingness to accept his wife´s suicide.

My overall impression: a really fine mystery with great characters and a fine sense of place. I bought the book myself, and Giles Blunt has gone on the list.

Thy´s Day # 51

Sorry for the inconvenience Blogger has caused my readers. Hope it is back to normal service again.

Don´t leave your bedroom window open - enemies may sneak in -
and they are much faster than you´d imagine.

onsdag den 11. maj 2011

A Teaser

I have not had a bait-in-the-box post for some time, mostly because it is quite difficult to choose books that are neither too new nor too old. But even though you haven´t read this one, I am sure many of you can guess where it takes place.

So let´s play - where, when, what is this? Written by whom?

"Nothing bad could ever happen on Madonna Road. It curls around the western shore of a small lake just outside Algonquin Bay, Ontario, providing a pine-scented refuge for affluent families with young children, yuppies fond of canoes and kayaks, and an artful population of chipmunks chased by galumphing dogs. It´s the kind of spot - tranquil, shady and secluded - that promises an exemption from tragedy and sorrow."

tirsdag den 10. maj 2011

Q is for Quest

[The alphabet in crime meme is hosted by Kerrie]

I suppose you could say most crime fiction is about a quest, yet the feeling is much stronger in some stories than in others. Today, I have selected three (or four) novels for you, in which children are on a quest.

My first example is Alan Bradley´s "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie". Here eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce stumbles on a body among the cucumbers. Soon she realizes that the police suspect her kind, yet somewhat absent-minded father. Flavia knows he is too impractical to be able to save himself so she embarks on a quest to find the real murderer. 

In "Blacklands", Belinda Bauer´s dark but excellent debut, young Steven knows he has to find the remains of his murdered uncle. A black shadow has haunted the whole family ever since Billy disappeared nearly twenty years ago, but Steven is certain that once he has found the body, his mother and grandmother will get some kind of closure and be able to get on with their lives.

In James W. Nichol´s "Midnight Cab" the main character is grown-up, but only just. Walker leaves his adopted family as soon as possible, not because he doesn´t love them but because he must find the mother who left him by the road when he was only three years old. Knowing about his past is such an important part of his identity that he risks everything to find the truth.


Two-Sentence Tuesday 
[Hosted by Women of Mystery]

Three brilliant stories, all strongly recommended, and here you have a bit from my own "Crystal Nights", a Danish novel I am currently editing & translating into English. As I told you Friday, I received a rejection last week, but I have tried to tackle it as well as I could - by writing. The main part of the story is set in the 1960s and deals with a loyal and determined boy´s quest to find his best friend.

- Sonja Jensen left her flat Wednesday morning to go to work in Hjørring, and since then no one has seen ten-year-old Lars-Ole Jensen. Mrs Nielsen in the flat downstairs believes she heard him leave around ten o´clock, but more than forty-eight hours have gone so every minute counts. Holst paused to let the message sink in.

What is your favourite crime story or thriller which includes a quest? 

mandag den 9. maj 2011

Deborah Crombie, Leave the Grave Green (1995)

OBS: at some point today (when the Americans are up and about) I´ll be visiting Margot Kinberg´s brilliant blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist as part of my "Liquorice Twist" launch. If you pop over and say hello, Margot and I will be so happy!


This American novel is the third police procedural featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James from Scotland Yard.

"He´d fallen in, landing on his back with his arms and legs splayed awkwardly ´It´s cold,´ he said, his face registering surprise. He scrabbled towards the bank, laughing, shaking the water from his eyes."

Twelve-year-old Matthew has not even realized yet that he is going to drown, but tragedy hits the family of Sir Gerald Asherton, the conductor, and his wife, the soprano Dame Caroline Stowe when they lose their prodigy. And twenty years later they are struck again when their son-in-law Connor Swann drowns - also in the Thames.

As the police are not sure Swann´s death was an accident, Thames Valley CID call in Inspector Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James to take a closer look at the circumstances. And no matter what Sir Asherton and his wife say, Connor Swann does not seem to be universally liked - not even by his own wife, the somewhat capricious Julia, who left him a year ago.

An entertaining and fairly cosy mystery with plenty of British atmosphere, including high tea and scones.

I bought the book myself, and Crombie will be on my radar from now on.

søndag den 8. maj 2011

Liquorice Twists - Launch Party

Cover art: Elisabeth & Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen.

Today is the official launch day of my 
second volume of Daim Stories, Liquorice Twists
Please share a virtual glass of champagne with me, dear readers! 

Contrary to my happy-go-lucky launch of "Candied Crime" in February, I have done my best to create a suitable cover (assisted by my youngest who is deft at making those slipknots), test the content and the technical aspects of the book beforehand and plan a few guest blog posts.

I have selected twenty flash fiction stories for you this time, only half as funny but definitely twice as chilling as volume I, and ten of them have never been published on my blog. According to one of my beta-readers they are ´nasty in a good way´. So now there is nothing for it but to send my tiny stories out in the world to fend for themselves.

The first stops on my blog tour will be tomorrow on Margot´s delicious blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.

May competition (world wide)
A launch surely calls for a competition. Buy "Liquorice Twists" and answer three simple questions. Send the answers to do.hu.ja (at) mail.tele.dk before the end of May, and two of you will win an Amazon voucher (£ 5 or $ 8).

a) what is the name of the baby in story no 8, "A Question of Perspective"?
b) which car brand is mentioned in story no 11, "Swept Away"?
c) what is the name of the main character of story no 18, "In the Dark"?


And if you are in the mood for more suspense, you can read my short story "Heather Farm" for free during the launch period (May and June). Plenty of love, ghosts and countryside atmosphere. Enter the coupon code EP59D - and if you like the story, please make my day by spreading the word to your friends.

lørdag den 7. maj 2011

That sinking feeling

Self-pity - the murky monster

The other day it happened again.

"Thank you for your submission to xxxxx. I regret to inform you that we are unable to use it at this time."

It is far from my first rejection, and it will not be the last one either. It does not leave me quite as devastated as the first ones, yet I do get grumpy or dejected for a day or two, depending on how important the submission was. And it would have been really nice to tell my readers I had sold a story right now - just to prove that I am not only a self-publishing writer.

Well, they have a point (the ending being too abrupt), and that is why agents and editors come in handy, I suppose. They have that distance to your work which you can never achieve yourself. So now that they have showed me the flaw, I may have a better story for you at some other time.

And in the meantime, let me prop up my self-esteem a little bit:

The opening paragraph is wonderful -- compact and developing. I also liked the progression of the piece in its structure and believability of interactions. ... The descriptions are well written.

So perhaps I should just find someone who is a better ´plotter´ and become a brilliant ghost writer? :)

If you are a writer, how do you handle rejections?

fredag den 6. maj 2011

Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Keeper of Lost Causes (2011)

I enjoyed the first volume of this series very much when I read it in Danish a couple of years ago (Kvinden i buret, 2007), and it is a pleasure to see that my countryman is on his way to the USA as well as the UK (under the title of Mercy). No matter what it is called, this is a fine debut, and you have something to look forward to as the next volumes in the series are even better!

"She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands. At least ten times she had fumbled her way to the steel door and stuck her fingernails in the crack to try to pry it open, but the door could not be budged, and the edge was sharp."

The woman in the dark keeps fighting to get out, determined not to let her captors win by breaking down.

After this meeting with the captured woman we are introduced to the protagonist Carl Mørck, recently scarred by a gunshot, but perhaps his internal wounds are worse. Earlier he was a dedicated criminal investigator from Jutland, but after his colleague Hardy was hospitalized and their third mate Anker was killed, Mørck has turned into a somewhat reluctant detective.

In between the scenes from a police perspective, we meet Merete Lynggaard, vice chairperson for the Social Democrats, a very secretive politician, who disappears during a trip on a ferry.

As Carl Mørck has grown ´lazy, surly, morose´ and hopeless to work with, his superiors decide to solve their problem by ´promoting´ him. They appoint him the leader of the new Department Q, a kind of cold-case unit, and equip him with a dark office in the basement. When Mørck grows tired of solving Sudoku and insists on having a couple of men he can boss around, they send him Hafez al-Assad. It seems as if Assad has not quite realized his role is to brew coffee and sweep the floors, but not a word more about one of my favourite sidekicks.

The story offers a nice touch of humour, interesting characters, and a find and exciting plot.
My example was a free review copy from NetGalley, published by the Penguin Group and expertly translated by Tiina Nunnally.

Also reviewed today by Kerrie, Mysteries in Paradise. 

torsdag den 5. maj 2011

Thy´s Day # 50

To celebrate my 50th Thy´s Day (and my daughter´s birthday) 
I will share with you our darling buds of May.

onsdag den 4. maj 2011

A Few Steps Forward

I have not written much about my challenges lately so perhaps it is time for a progress report.

First, the Danish challenge "Bogudfordringen 2011".
January - crime before 2000.
February - short stories
March - female Danish writers
April - books from the 1800s.

So far, no problems, but May is fantasy month. I bought Neil Gaiman´s Coraline the other day, hoping it would be to my taste.

Second, the 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge
I finished this challenge last week, and I really enjoyed reading a couple of books and stories I would not have chosen otherwise.
Margery Allingham, Hide Your Eyes (British 1958)
John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (Scottish – 1915)
Palle Rosenkrantz, Hvad skovsøen gemte (Danish - 1903)
Blicher, The Rector of Vejlby (Kindle - 3 Danish short stories, 19th century)
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley´s Secret (British – 1862)
Arne Magnussen, Den vidtudråbte besættelse i Thisted (Danish - 1699/1891)

Third, Ireland Reading Challenge
Five books read, one to go. And my, this challenge has been a pleasure. Five great reads, all strongly recommended.

Declan Burke, The Big O (2007)
Tana French, The Likeness (2008) 
Brian McGilloway, Gallows Lane (2008)
Colin Bateman, Mystery Man (2009)
Jane Casey, The Burning (2010)

For my last challenges I will keep you updated when I have news for you.

tirsdag den 3. maj 2011

P is for Prison

- thank you to Kerrie, Mystery of Paradise, for hosting the alphabet in crime meme -

While most traditional crime novels end when the criminal is apprehended, perhaps sentenced to prison, some thrillers include long sections where we follow an inmate of a prison, or where a character has just been released from prison.

In Belinda Bauer´s Blacklands, we meet Arnold Avery, the paedophile murderer who has already spent several years in Dartmoor Prison. Avery´s way of handling life is prison is being the model prisoner, keeping to himself and doing what he can to achieve an early release. Another aspect of the book is the powerful psychiatrist and his importance for the prisoner´s chances of being released.

In Gretelise Holm´s Møgkællinger, Jonas Kamper goes to prison for a murder he claims he did not commit. For the good-looking and charming teacher it is a shock to realize that there are prison warders who just do not like him and are ready to abuse their power if he breaks any of their unwritten rules.

In Simon Brett´s The Witness at the Wedding (to be reviewed later), Michael Brewer is released after thirty years in prison. In this story an important theme is what happens when someone returns to society after having been locked up for so many years.

A similar plot can be found in Brian McGilloway´s Gallows Lane which begins when James Kerr is released from prison. Inspector Benedict Devling is told to keep an eye on the ex-con to find out if he really found Jesus or if he is bent on revenge.

What is your favourite thriller about life in prison?


mandag den 2. maj 2011

Martin Edwards, Take My Breath Away (2002)

This British legal mystery is a stand-alone which will be published in the USA in July. It is set in London.

"The dead woman smiled. So far, so good."

Nic Gabriel, the writer of a true crime story about Crippen, is somewhat surprised when he meets Ella Vinton at a party in a friend´s flat as ´a stone in a Sussex graveyard bore her name´.

The woman seems to be very much alive, though, and before the party is over, she has killed Dylan Rees, the host and the man who was supposed to be the reason that Ella committed suicide five years earlier. And Dylan´s last words are just as mysterious: "Why not jazz?"

Nic Gabriel feels he should have been able to prevent the woman from stabbing his friends right in front of him so he decides to look into the background of Dylan´s death. His search leads him to the high-profile human rights law firm Creed, and to their new paralegal Roxanne Wake. She is sure she has finally landed her dream job, but for some reason she has omitted to tell her bosses that Roxanne is not her real name.

Apparently, most characters in this story have skeletons in their closets which they are very keen to keep in place. As a reader you assume that Dylan´s death and Roxanne´s story will be connected at some point, but you do not know how or why. And do we really get the full truth of this finely plotted mystery?

A fine mystery with a very apt title which offers an insight into the life of lawyers, but hopefully they are not all as devious as the book makes you think.

I bought the book myself, and this cover is from my British edition of the book.

søndag den 1. maj 2011

The Notice Board

This week´s notice bord post was sent to me by the Danish crime writer Kim Jørgensen. Unfortunately the book has not been translated into English.



– af Kim Jørgensen

Min nye krimi er inspireret af virkelighedens mange samvittighedsløse personer, der får spalteplads i medierne. Har vi ikke ofte tænkt, at nogle slipper for let fra deres forbrydelser, mens deres ofre må lide? I "Den røde boomerang" gav jeg mig selv chancen for at rette op på dette misforhold.

Hovedpersonen er en magtsyg byggematador, Klaus Winther. Hans opvækst var præget af en streng far, der ikke skyede nogen midler for at nå sine selviske mål, selvom det betød, at han trådte på alt og alle. Han lærte sin søn at gå lige til stregen og gerne lidt over, hvis det kunne gøres inden for lovens rammer.

Klaus Winther fandt hurtigt ud af, at det var svært at følge sin fars råd. Han kunne sagtens undgå at forbryde sig mod loven, samtidig med at han forbrød sig groft mod sin samvittighed. Men da han først havde slidt sin samvittighed rund, var det nærliggende at foretage sig noget ulovligt, hvis det var det mindste påkrævet. Det gjaldt blot om at skjule sine ulovligheder.

Ved at følge denne farlige opskrift er Klaus Winther efterhånden kommet så langt ud, at han end ikke viger tilbage for mord.

Historien tager sin begyndelse en mørk og iskold vinteraften, hvor to mænd mødes i hemmelighed på et øde sted for at finde en løsning på et fælles problem – men mødet får katastrofale følger.

Du kan læse anmeldelser af bogen her:

Bogsyn.dk - Den røde boomerang

Litteratursiden - Den røde boomerang

Bogen kan lånes på biblioteket eller købes bl.a. på Forlaget Facets hjemmeside. Her kan du også læse de første tre kapitler.

fredag den 29. april 2011

Final cover: Liquorice Twists

I won´t even tell you how many pictures I have taken, or how much liquorice I have consumed during the process, but here it is - the final cover of Liquorice Twists.

Thanks to my wonderful beta-readers I am also confident that the sixth edition is in fairly good state so now I´ll ´just´ have to plan a blog-tour and prepare some brilliant guest posts. That should be a piece of liquorice, eh? I have received some invitations to visit blogs, but I think I can manage a few more if ...

And the big launch day? Hm, first half of May, hopefully.

torsdag den 28. april 2011

Thy´s Day # 49

The fragile-looking anemone is one of my favourite spring flowers, 
and what could be prettier than a whole carpet of them?

onsdag den 27. april 2011

Arne Magnussen, Den vidtudraabte besættelse i Thisted (1699/1891)

[This is a Danish account of the last witch trial in Denmark. The witches and their ´victims´ lived in my region, Thy, which aroused my curiosity. Unfortunately this interesting book has not been translated. I read the free e-book for the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge # 6]

Denne forholdsvis korte bog handler om en hekseproces i Thisted, ifølge indledningen den tids kriminallitteratur, men også "et Billede af Livet i en afsidesliggende, dansk Provinsby i Slutningen af Kristian den femtes Regeringstid..."

Det hele begyndte da "en Bondepige i Jylland udi Vendsyssel i Aalborg Stift ved navn Maren Spillemands" som trettenårig blev syg med epilepsi-lignende symptomer. Familien henvendte sig til flere forsellige præster i området, men de var ikke meget for at afgøre, om det drejede sig om fysisk sygdom eller en besættelse. Derfor henvender familien sig til den ansete præst i Thisted, Magister Oluf Bjørn.

Magisteren når frem til, at pigen er blevet forhekset af "en gammel Bondekone der i Nærværelsen ved Navn Anne Kristens Datter i Skinderup, som deromkring holdtes for at være en Troldkone", og nidkært begynder han at søge efter andre personer, som kunne være besatte.

"Imidlertid haver man intet synderligt fornummet til hendes Syge førend siden i Januario 1696, da Mag. Oluf erklærede hende offentlig for alle, at hun af Djævelen legemlig var besat." 

Og herefter går det løs; magister Olufs studenter kaster sig ind i jagten på hekse og onde ånder, og de finder snart en ånd, som erklærer, at "hvis Amtmanden ikke vilde lade dennem brænde, vilde de fare baade i hannem og alle hans børn."

Gamle Anne Kristensdatter bliver ført til Thisted, og sagen kommer biskoppen for øre. Jens Bircherods dagbogsnotater udgør en del af bogen, og mens han understreger, at kvinderne skal for en læge, er Mag. Oluf ivrig "for at faa en skarp Inkvisition sat i Værk efter Troldkoner..." Men underligt nok glemmer han alt om lægeundersøgelsen. 

Jeg skal ikke røbe mere om den interessante og letlæste beretning om sagen, som til sidst kommer for kongens højesteret, bare fremhæve, at en lang række mennesker, inklusive lokale præster, forsøgte at tale Magister Oluf imod. En æra af retsløshed og forfølgelse af kvinder, som skiller sig ud, er ved at være slut.

tirsdag den 26. april 2011

Two-Sentence Tuesday

Here is a teaser from my current read. It is far from the first time I am reading a novel by the British writer Martin Edwards, and I know you will enjoy the first two sentences as much as I did:

"The dead woman smiled. So far, so good."

And here is a taste of my own work, Crystal Nights.

"Though Morten Haugaard did not like to interfere, Niels had made him feel vaguely uneasy. Niels was only ten, but he was a clever boy, and if the said Lars-Ole was not at home, he was probably right."

mandag den 25. april 2011

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley´s Secret (1862)

This British novel is a combination of mystery and romance. It is not the writer´s first work, but the story that made her rich and famous. According to Wikipedia, her own life was quite adventurous (warning: the article sums up the full plot).

"The house faced the arch, and occupied three sides of a quadrangle. It was very old, and very irregular and rambling. The windows were uneven; some small, some large, some with heavy stone mullions and rich stained glass; others with frail lattices that rattled in every breeze; others so modern that they might have been added only yesterday."

Not uncommon for the Victorian novel, there are several pages of description - the setting, the house, the characters - before we get to the actual story. Sir Michael Audley, the owner of Audley Court, has remarried recently. Pretty, blonde and blue-eyed Lucy Graham is much younger than her wealthy spouse. Despite her youth and beauty, she has a few skeletons in the cupboard.

Sir Michael is in the seventh heaven but his somewhat spoilt daughter Alicia dislikes her merry, childlike stepmother from the beginning. His nephew, the barrister Robert Audley, is taken by her beauty at first, but when his close friend Robert Talboys disappears, he begins to suspect that Lady Audley may be involved.

The plot involves bigamy, deceit, conspiracy, a court case and a discerning dog, to mention just a few pieces of the intricate puzzle. Modern readers may not be impressed by Robert Audley´s somewhat slow detective work (or the slow pace of the book); yet you will probably appreciate these words of his:

"Circumstantial evidence... that wonderful fabric which is built out of straws collected at every point of the compass, and which is yet strong enough to hang a man."

The sensational story was inspired by the true Constance Kent case in 1860. There is plenty of drama and atmosphere, but perhaps not much realism.

My review of "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher", a non-fictional account of the Constance Kent case.

I read this free e-book for the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge # 5 + Bogudfordringen 2011 (novels from the 1800s).

søndag den 24. april 2011

Happy Easter

Actually I had decided not to blog today as my mother is here, and we are not only celebrating Easter, but also my daughter´s birthday. But these days even my mother spends much of her time getting the knack of Facebook so writing a blog post seems more polite than reading a book :)

So let me wish everybody a Happy Easter - we have had a marvelous service in our beautiful, old church.

And now that I am here, I´ll also take the opportunity to tell you that I just published my romantic ghost story "Heather Farm" via Smashwords this morning. If you liked the story when I published it on my blog in September and want to make me very happy by giving the story a few stars, you can send me an e-mail and ask for a free coupon.

lørdag den 23. april 2011

Falling Off Stairs

See my review of Falling Off Air.

As Robin Ballantyne´s older sister Lorna suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), this illness is one of the themes of the book. It is not that relevant for the plot, still it made me think.

"Lorna´s room is the most peaceful place I know. That night she had chamber music playing softly and the lights were dimmed. She glanced over as I entered, but she said nothing. She was lying on her bed. By this point in the day she is usually exhausted, but even when she sleeps the quality of her rest is poor.

´You don´t feel like joining us?´ I asked gently. She smiled and shook her head of red curls, gesturing that I should leave her plate on the table by her bed.

´Busy day,´ she said softly. Her voice was a contralto, surprisingly vibrant coming from her weary body.

Often, we would eat together. Once the most sociable of people, Lorna´s instinct was still to seek out human contact even if it drained her of the last ounce of energy, which it always did. A year earlier, when the CFS was at its worst, I´d sometimes had to carry her to bed..."

Of course I was interested, but I can´t say I identified with Lorna. First, my health is so much better that I am able to work part time. Second, I have never felt depressed because of my illness. Crisis and problems in my family may get to me, but while it keeps annoying me that there are many things I cannot do any more, I have been able to look around me, thinking "what can I do then?" [Blog, read and write crime fiction, obviously]

Generally, the description of Lorna seems credible, but it is not my impression that CFS prevents anyone from walking up and down stairs (when they are up and about, I mean). The problem is that a few trips up and down may make you feel you have tried running a marathon without training first for several days.

fredag den 22. april 2011

Catherine Sampson, Falling Off Air (2004)

This British novel is the first Robin Ballantyne story and Sampson´s debut as a writer of fiction.

"I am about to pull the curtains and shut out the weather when, at the margin of my vision, a woman falls out of the sky. I do not see how it began. All I see is that she falls, feet first but tipping forward, arms stretched out as if to break her fall, her clothes as chaotically twisted and tossed as the rain, and the weight of her body carrying her down through the currents of air straight to the earth like an anchor."

Robin hears a heated argument, and shortly after, a woman falls past her window and hits the street below. Robin is the single mother of the baby twins Hannah and William, but after this shocking experience, the renewed contact with the buzzing media world makes her yearn for her career as a journalist.

Soon after Robin´s ex-boyfriend Adam, the twins´ biological father, is killed by a hit-and-run driver - in Robin´s car. The police appear on her doorstep, and in the course of a few days it is apparent that the title applies to Robin as well as to her late neighbour.

Though I don´t really regard the everything-whirling-out-of-control plot as very plausible, this was a well-written and exciting story that I sped through in one day. Furthermore, Robin Ballantine is an intelligent and interesting character I am looking forward to meeting again.

I bought the book myself, and it may not take long until I grab the second volume which is ready on that TBR.

torsdag den 21. april 2011

Thy´s Day # 48

I know I have told you this before, but for the benefit of new readers 
- in Denmark daffodils are called Easter lilies 
so nothing could be more appropriate for Thy´s day this week.

onsdag den 20. april 2011

Jane Casey, The Burning (2010)

This novel is the Irish writer´s second thriller; a stand-alone which is set in London. My review of The Missing.

Young Kelly Staples has been looking forward to a night out, but a couple of hours later she finds herself in the loo, very drunk and wondering why she wasn´t smart enough to leave together with her friends. A kind gentleman offers to drive her home, though.

Kelly is not as easy a victim as she seemed, and she knows a serial killer is around so after a few pages it seems that the killer is apprehended. But while D.C. Maeve Kerrigan is talking to Kelly, the police find a fifth victim, Rebecca Haworth.

Despite the serial-killer label, this novel is not the tacky introspection of some gruesome psychopath. After the first chapters, we follow Louise North, Rebecca´s close friend, who seems curiously preoccupied by Rebecca´s life, and D.C. Maeve Kerrigan who struggles to solve these atrocious crimes against women. Besides, she is the victim of sexual harassment at work and personal problems with her yuppie boyfriend, so Kerrigan has her hands full. The stubborn Irishwoman trusts her instincts and her intelligence, however, and proves her worth on more than one front. 

I bought the book myself, and Jane Casey´s third book looms high on my wish list.

Ireland Reading challenge # 5.

tirsdag den 19. april 2011

Two-Sentence Tuesday

Two-sentence Tuesday is hosted by Women of Mystery

Today I will share a teaser with you from my current read, a classical crime-cum-romance story (or vice versa):

"There was not much in it; neither gold nor gems; only a baby´s little worsted shoe rolled up in a piece of paper, and a tiny lock of pale and silky yellow hair, evidently taken from a baby´s head."

Not bad, eh?

And a couple of sentences from my own work "Crystal Night" - back to school in the company of Niels:

Niels glanced at the empty chair next to him, wondering when the history lesson would end.  If only Mr Petersen would allow them to talk about the American space programme and the astronauts of the Cape Kennedy base instead of German history.

mandag den 18. april 2011

O is for Order

- for the alphabet in crime meme -

I know that several of you agree with me that engaging, credible characters are what make you read one volume after the other year after year once you have stumbled on a new crime series.

Now there are different crime genres, but have you thought about the similarities between the structure of a traditional crime novel and a Renaissance drama?

A serious crime takes place, most often a murder, and the structured, predictable world of the bereaved falls apart. The police or detectives appear on stage, and over a couple of hundred pages they solve the crime. Order is restored, the relatives achieve a feeling of closure, and the reader can relax in her comfortable armchair.

Which genre do you prefer? The traditional (conservative) mystery or the darker thriller which may seem more realistic, and where you don´t quite know which kind of ending to expect?

Personally, I like varying my reading, but I don´t necessarily buy the idea that modern, fast-paced crime novels convey a more real picture of our society. The darker setting and the brutality may be true of many places of the world, but not the tendency to escalate the number of bodies or the spectacular endings that are in vogue nowadays. Crime fiction is just fiction, a few hours of entertainment or escapism, and though some questions may be left open, I am sure most readers want to know who, how and why.

søndag den 17. april 2011

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Aske (2009)

Denne islandske spændingsroman er den tredje i serien om Thóra Gudmundsdóttir.

En prolog bruges somme tider til at sløre, at der ikke sker så meget i de første kapitler, men i Aske lægger forfatteren ud med et voldsomt mord. I kapitel et er der yderligere spænding plus en regulær cliff-hanger, og i kapitel to ruller hovederne for alvor. Læseren bliver fanget fra første side, men til trods for alvoren er der en dejlig, ironisk tone over sagføreren Thóra Gudmundsdóttir og hendes undersøgelse af den usædvanlige sag.

En kort præsentation af det spegede plot: Thóra repræsenterer Markús, en klient som insisterer på at få adgang til sit barndomshjem i Vestmanna, før arkæologer giver sig til at kortlægge ´Nordens Pompei´ efter vulkanudbruddet i 1973. Han får lov at fjerne en kasse fra kælderen, men da Thóra, Markús og arkæologen omsider står i huset, opstår en uventet komplikation: ud over det menneskehoved, Markús havde håbet på at smugle ud, ligger der ligene af tre mænd. Så nu er hans eneste chance, at barndomsveninden Alda vil bekræfte, at hun bad ham om at opbevare kassen, da alle indbyggerne måtte flygte fra Vestmanna.

Denne roman på fire hundrede sider føles meget kortere, fordi Thóra som sædvanlig flyver af sted i højt gear, travlt optaget af sin sag og sit komplicerede privatliv med børn, svigerdatter og barnebarn. Der er ikke meget tid til hendes langdistancekæreste Matthew denne gang, men da han overvejer at flytte til Island, hører vi måske mere til ham i fremtiden. Til gengæld træder advokatkontorets umulige sekretær, Bella, mere i karakter denne gang som en person, der har andet end tværhed og sit kiksede udseende at byde på.

Jeg kunne lide forfatterens debut, jeg var begejstret for tooeren, og treeren er ikke bare hæsblæsende spændende - den giver også et fascinerende indblik i følgerne af vulkanudbruddet i 1973, en naturkatastrofe som på fornemste vis væves sammen med et kompliceret krimiplot. Fem-stjernet spænding, lånt på biblioteket.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ashes to Dust (2010).
This Icelandic thriller is the third story about the lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdottir.

Sometimes a prologue is used to hide the fact that nothing much happens in the first chapters, but here the author serves up a violent murder, followed by escalating excitement in the first chapter, and in the second chapter heads begin to roll quite literally. The reader is captured from page one, but despite the serious and unusual case, there is a fine, ironic tone and not nearly as much gore as one might fear.

A short introduction to the intricate plot: Thóra is hired by Markús, a client who insists on getting access to his childhood home in Vestmanna before the archaeologists begin to map the Nordic Pompeii after the volcano eruption in 1973. He is allowed to remove a box from the basement, but when Thóra, Markús and the archaeologist can finally enter the house, an unexpected complication arises. Apart from the human head Markús had hoped to smuggle out, he finds the bodies of three men on the floor. Now his only hope is that his childhood friend Alda will confirm that she asked him to store the box for him when everybody had to escape from Vestmanna in the middle of the night.

This novel of four hundred pages felt considerably shorter because Thóra darts off at maximum speed, busy with her case and her complicated private menagerie with children, daughter-in-law and grandchild. There is not much time left for her long-distance relationship with the German Matthew in this volume, but as he is considering moving to Iceland, we may hear more of him in the future. Thóra´s hopeless secretary, Bella, plays a more central role this time, however, and we begin to see her as more than just a snarky failure.

I liked Yrsa Sigurdardottir´s debut, I enjoyed the second very much, and the third one is not only a fast-paced thriller - it also offers a fascinating insight into the consequences of the volcano eruption. Five-star excitement!

I borrowed the book in the local library.