I’ve received a number of new and forthcoming books published by Pan Macmillan, and the range of titles illustrates the wealth of talent in that company’s list. Pride of place has to go to a book by someone I knew before she was famous! This is Ann Cleeves, whose marvellous Shetland Quartet is to be concluded by Blue Lightning. In this book, Jimmy Perez returns to his native Fair Isle, a place which I’d love to visit myself one day. I say ‘concluded’, but who knows whether Ann can be tempted to continue with a pleasurable series? I certainly hope so.
The Cemetery of Secrets is the latest novel set in Italy to be written by David Hewson. ‘In the ancient burial ground of San Michele, a young woman’s casket is prised open, something is wrenched from her hands, and an extraordinary story begins.’ It’s dubbed ‘A Venetian Mystery’ - competition for Donna Leon, then.
And then there is The Disappeared, by M.R. Hall, the follow up to his widely applauded novel The Coroner. Again, the central character is Jenny Cooper. The author’s CV includes screenwriting , television production and a career as a barrister, and this experience informs his fiction. Incidentally, I've learned that the author is not, as I deduced (so much for me as a literary detective), the Mathew Hall who wrote a pretty successful thriller called The Art of Breaking Glass some years ago. The Coroner is one of the books competing for the CWA Gold Dagger tomorrow night - an impressive achievement in any circumstances, but all the more so in the case of a debut novel.