International Booksellers’ Week, The Puzzly for June 2012 and more!

It’s Independent Booksellers’ Week in the UK from 30th June to 7th July and what better excuse to plug my local Independent Bookseller again, along with an upcoming event that any fan of crime-writing is going to want to go to, and sort out some other stuff about the blog, not least the awarding of the Puzzly (the In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel Book of the Month) for June.

Let’s start with my local bookseller, Formby Books.

Independent Booksellers’ Week

I would strongly encourage anyone passing through Formby, a rather lovely little town just twenty five minutes north of Liverpool, to stop at Formby Books. Oh, fair’s fair, go and see the red squirrels first – you’re only human – but then go to Formby Books. It’s hidden away at the back of Derbyshire’s Card Shop, but if you can find it, then it’s got a great selection of crime writing and Tony, the man in charge, is a font of wisdom regarding his stock – although I’ll overlook the recommendation of The Man Who Died Laughing

The best way of getting about upcoming events is to sign up for the newsletter, as the upcoming events page isn’t updated very often, but this Thursday evening, 7:30 for an 8:00 start, there is a Crime Writers Association event, as attended by crime-writers Stephen Booth, Frances Brody and Martin Edwards. Tickets cost £7.50 for adults (including food) and £2.50 for children.

Stephen Booth is the author of twelve novels set in the Peak District, featuring police officers Ben Cooper and Diane Fry. He’s won and been nominated for a number of prizes for them. I read one of them years ago, and, to be honest, can’t remember much about it – or even which one I read – but there should be a review of his most recent paperback, The Devil’s Edge coming soon.

Frances Brody has published three novels featuring Kate Shackleton, set in Yorkshire between the wars. I’m afraid to say that I know next to nothing about these books, but have just bought the first, Dying In The Wool, from Formby Books, so hopefully I’ll get a review of that up soon as well.

As for the third author, no idea who Martin Edwards is… just kidding, obviously. Martin is the writer of the Harry Devlin series, of which Waterloo Sunset is the most recent and the first, All The Lonely People, has just been re-issued in a series of classic crime novels from Arcturus Press. He also writes a series set in the Lake District, featuring DCI Hannah Scarlett  and historian Daniel Kind. These include The Cipher Garden and The Arsenic Labyrinth and expect to see a review of the fourth book, The Serpent Pool, up in the next day or so. I think I can safely say that I have never been disappointed by one of Martin’s books and he is one of my favourite authors. Oh, and he’s got a blog, Do You Write Under Your Own Name?, where he said a nice thing about me as well… but that’s entirely coincidental.

So, if you’re in the area, please pop into the shop or get in touch with them via the website, to get a ticket and come along on the evening. If you’re not in Merseyside (and as more than 85% of my visitors aren’t even in the UK, that’s quite likely) then please do find the time to pop into your local independent bookshop (or bookstore, depending on your local) and pick up something new.

The Puzzly for June 2012

As with the posts for the previous months, this is tied to the Mysteries In Paradise book of the month meme. In June, I read eleven new books (well, fourteen, but I haven’t written the reviews for three of them). They were:

On top of that, I launched my quest to find the ideal introduction to Dame Agatha and banged on a bit about my issues with Series 4 (aka Season 4) of The Mentalist.

Looking at that list, it comes down to two – and, because I always favour newer writers in a tie-break, Mrs McGinty’s Dead loses out to The Last Policeman, a truly outstanding novel by Ben H Winters, concerning a policeman on a planet Earth which only has six months before an asteroid wipes out civilisation. It’s not out in paperback over here until August, but it’s available on Kindle from the 10th of July. Highly recommended.

Challenges Update

Well, it’s midway through the year and let’s have a look at the challenges that I set myself back in January.

  • The Global Reading Challenge

Three continents out of six – Africa, Australasia and South America left to go, and I haven’t decided on the “other” seventh continent yet.

  • Historical Fiction Challenge

Easily surpassed the twenty books with twenty eight so far.

  • Sort Out Your Bibliographies – Ellery Queen

Not so good – two out of twelve. Can’t seem to muster the enthusiasm for old Ellery at the mo, but hopefully The Four of Hearts will be coming soon.

  • Sort Out Your Bibliographies – Sir Henry Merrivale

A bit better – two out of six with more to come. Look out for He Wouldn’t Kill Patience coming soon.

  • Seek Out New Writers

Twenty three so far, with three more, at least, in the next week or so.

  • The Historical Fiction Extra Challenge

That is, twenty different authors – well, I’ve hit sixteen so far, with two more imminent, so this one’s well in hand to.

All in all, not bad – just the bibliographies that need a little focus.

Talking of bibliographies, if you can’t find the Ellery Queen tab, it’s under Classic Bibliographies, along with Sherlock Holmes, as I was running out of room.

Talking of running out of room, looks like I’m in danger of doing just that, so, that’s it for now.

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