It’s been a busy month with travel, writing and final preparations for the launch of my new murder mystery series. Blackmail In Bloomsbury was published this week and I’m excited to see it climbing the charts. Read on for news about my attempts to travel like the 1920s beau monde, reviews of my new book and recommendations for lovers of cosy crime and gritty thrillers alike.
A Riviera adventure
Like all true Agatha Christie fans, I have a romantic view of train travel. So when I had the opportunity of a few September days in Nice on the French Riviera, there was only one way to go.
In Christie’s day, the beautiful people left London on the famed ‘Train Bleu’ via Paris. In her Mystery of the Blue Train, there are first class sleeping compartments, porters to turn down the beds and a restaurant car (where one M. Hercule Poirot enjoys his dinner).
Nowadays you take the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord then the Metro across Paris to Gare d’Austerlitz. That was where the fantasy collided with reality! The station is under reconstruction and my cramped couchette was shared with five strangers. Sadly no dining car and no helpful porters! It wasn’t the most restful night, but it was thrilling listening to the French countryside rushing by past the window, and the views the next morning of the Côte d’Azur were stunning. Happily no-one in my carriage was murdered for their priceless rubies (or their snores, although I was tempted).
Nice itself is a delight and I had a wonderful few days exploring the coast, as well as a cocktail in the iconic (and expensive) Negresco Hotel on the Promenade des Anglais. Will there be a Marjorie Swallow book set on the Riviera? I wouldn’t bet against it!
Reviews: Book bloggers on Blackmail In Bloomsbury
Blackmail In Bloomsbury has been out for review among the book bloggers, and I’m glad to say they thought it was “a solid start to a promising new series.” Here are some of their comments:
“Anna Sayburn Lane has done a fantastic job of bringing 1920s London to life. From the drawing rooms of bohemian Bloomsbury to the elegance of the Italian Rooftop Gardens, the sights and sounds of post-war London leapt off the page.”
“Blackmail in Bloomsbury left me deliciously guessing ‘whodunnit’ until the very end (with quite a few wrong guesses as the story progressed!). The characters are delightful… The thing that makes this cosy is down to the setting, the characters and the dialogue. There’s a beautiful balance between the lightness of the tone amidst some thrilling scenes.”
I found this joyful Christie-esque murder mystery the perfect pick-me-up… Perfect plotting, gentle humour and two fabulously strong female leads: the pages just flew by. Highly recommended for all fans of cosy crime, or anyone just wanting to escape for a while.
Recommendations: cosy countryside and gritty city
I recently asked on Facebook whether my readers preferred gritty contemporary crime (think Ian Rankin’s Rebus) or cosy classic crime (think Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple). Personally I enjoy reading (and writing) both genres, but some people have strong preferences. With that in mind, here are two recommendations for each side of the debate.
Rosie Hunt writes 1920s cosy crime. Her heroine Lady Felicity Quick is a society journalist living in England’s green and pleasant countryside, with a side-line in investigating murders. She’s intrepid, good-natured and inquisitive – I think she and Marjorie Swallow would have a lot in common! You can discover Lady Felicity for free in Murder At Afternoon Tea, the first in her series.
Trevor Wood’s Jimmy Mullen trilogy could hardly be more different, but is equally enjoyable. The hero Jimmy is a rough sleeper fighting PTSD demons as well as crime on the mean streets of contemporary Newcastle. It’s full of dark humour and will make you wonder about the stories behind the people on the streets.