Today I'd like to give a bit of coverage to a trio of new books by writers who don't have the benefit of Dan Brown style publicity teams. Their names may not yet be widely familiar but the three authors are starting to build a career in "interesting times" so far as the publishing world is concerned. One of the names, in fact, I have mentioned very recently on this blog. Helen Smith was on a panel with me at Crimefest and although I hadn't read her work previously, I was delighted when she presented me with a copy of her recent novel Invitation to Die.
This book has its focus on a writers' conference, but it definitely isn't a thinly veiled Crimefest. Not at all, it's a conference for writers of romantic fiction and the cast of characters includes an American blogger called Winnie Kraster. who, as we are told in the opening paragraph, accepts an "invitation to die", that is, to attend the conference. A very intriguing premise to kick off a book published by Thomas and Mercer, which I gather is an Amazon brand. Helen, by the way, has also written a novel with the a title I really love, Alison Wonderland.
Amazon is also the home of a straight-to-Kindle book by Roger Forsdyke. Roger is a former police officer whose enormous professional expertise has benefited a number of crime writers, including Cath Staincliffe and myself. The Frozen Shroud is the latest example of a novel of mine where he gave me invaluable help in ensuring authenticity in the portrayal of Hannah's working life. Roger is also the current convenor of the northern chapter of the CWA, having taken over from Peter Walker some years back. He brings his inside knowledge of police work to bear on Panther, his second novel, which is a fictional version of the hunt for the Black Panther, aka the late and unlamented Donald Neilson. The Black Panther case was one of the most chilling and memorable of its era, yet as far as I know, Roger is the first novelist to have adapted it for fictional purposes.
Finally, a book by a new writer previously unknown to me, Stuart Fifield. His Fatal Tears introduces an Egyptologist called Rupert Winfield, and is a conscious take on the Agatha Christie tradition of crime writing, with a Nile paddle steamer setting. Len Tyler, author of Herring on the Nile, took such a trip a while back, and strongly recommended it to me. Well, maybe one day. In the meantime, this book is a reminder of the continuing interest in Eqyptology which has fascinated crime writers from R. Austin Freeman to Kate Ellis in the modern day.