I recently added a number of blogs to the blogroll. They include Dorte’s excellent blog – if you haven’t read her post on the rules of feminist detective fiction, which she mentioned here in recent comments, you may be interested to check them out. Another blog well worth a look is the much-visited blog run by Kate Sutherland. I came across it by chance, via a link from John Baker’s blog. This is one of the things I like about the blogosphere – all the unexpected connections. Wandering from link to link, I sometimes feel like a child entering a vast, sometimes unfamiliar and daunting, yet nevertheless utterly entrancing world.
A third blog that I’ve only recently encountered is that of the East Midlands crime novelist Stephen Booth. Over the years, I’ve done one or two events with Stephen, and the highlight was when we were both in the short-list of six for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Prize for best crime novel of the year, at Harrogate in 2006 (The Coffin Trail was the book of mine that got me there.) Also on the short-list were Susan Hill, Lindsey Ashford, Ian Rankin and the eventual winner, Val McDermid. The last time I saw Stephen was one evening in autumn when we had a drink together in the bar of the Bouchercon hotel in Baltimore. He’s a journalist whose sales success enabled him to become a full-time novelist.
I first came across Stephen through his well regarded debut novel Black Dog and I’ve read several since then. My favourite is The Dead Place, a really excellent mystery that handles the death motif very well. I once told him that, after that book, I felt I couldn’t go ahead with a planned Lake District novel I had in mind, called The Dead Shop (after the old morgue in Appleby). And at that point, he told me he’d once contemplated a book involving a coffin trail…..
Finally, I want to mention my sadness at the passing of a notable member of the crime community, Barbara Franchi. I had the pleasure of meeting her, though all too briefly. She reviewed one or two of my books very positively, and since she was by no means a bland reviewer, I was definitely in her debt. Many others who knew her much better than me have paid warm tributes to her on the internet and elsewhere, making it clear that she will be much missed.