Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crime Fiction on the 'Net: Weekly Round-up

There's been several interesting crime fiction stories on the Web the past four weeks I've been away - from newspapers, magazines, and fellow bloggers. Hopefully you will all like finding an interesting article or two linked here, from recent stories, that you enjoy reading.

Crime Watch Weekly Round-Up: In the News and on the 'Net
  • As English-speaking readers become more aware of great crime fiction translated from other languages, Tom Kington of The Guardian looks at how Italian crime might be looking to knock the Scandinavians from the top of the bestseller lists, thanks to a new TV adaptation of the Aurelio Zen novels.
  • In an interesting feature interview with Joanne Sasvari of the Vancouver Sun, bestselling author Louise Penny - the only person ever to win three consecutive Agatha Awards - talks about readers being "literary tourists", the place of hope and compassion in her novels of murder and mystery, the fictional Canadian town of Three Pines, and much more.
  • Publishers Weekly has broadcast some fascinating findings of a recent research study on the mystery/crime fiction book-buying market sponsored by Sister In Crime and conducted by Bowker’s PubTrack service. Amongst the statistics (US-based I believe): Women bought the most mysteries, accounting for 68% of purchases, 66% of mystery buyers were over 45 years old, and "Knowing or liking an author" was the top reason cited by readers for buying a particular mystery - underlining the importance of author branding and the 'tribal' nature of crime fiction readers.
  • In a review of Bradford Morrow's 'The Diviner's Tale' and Jed Rubenfeld's 'The Death Instinct' for the Los Angeles Times, the always-excellent Sarah Weinman also talks about the perils of sales trends-focused publishing for 'mid-list' and up-and-coming authors, and some of the creative tactics being used to break through (in a sales way).
  • In an interesting article that may have some parallels for local crime fiction in countries like New Zealand, Chris Thurman of MediaClubSouthAfrica has some interesting thoughts on the growth and slowly increasing recognition of South African crime fiction, and questions about why South African readers have been slow to embrace locally-written stories while buying international crime fiction by the bucket load.
  • Jenny Shank of New West - Books and Writers conducts an interview with Denver's Cortwright McKeel, the founder of Murdaland crime fiction literary magazine, about his own "funny, talented debut novel" SHORT.
  • Jay Strafford of the Richmonds Times-Dispatch has an interesting 'top 5' mystery novels of 2010, ranging from books by James Lee Burke and Louise Penny, to a "deft combination of Agatha Christie manor-house whodunit, Erle Stanley Gardner courtroom drama and Dan Brown thriller" written by JRR Tolkien's grandson.
  • The New York Times has a nice obituary for Joe Gores, "a crime writer whose spare, chiseled sentences and deadpan dialogue put him squarely in the Dashiell Hammett tradition and persuaded Hammett’s daughter to let him write a follow-up to THE MALTESE FALCON", who died earlier this week in California. Read some of the other great tributes to Gores from the San Francisco Chronicle here, the Los Angeles Times here, and The Rap Sheet here.
  • The Wall Street Journal takes a look at some new crime fiction, including the latest Lord Peter Wimsey book from Jill Paton Walsh, who was deputised by Dorothy Sayer's estate to continue the series from unpublished manuscripts and letters left behind by Sayers, and has now written a Wimsey tale from scratch, THE ATTENBURY EMERALDS.
Why do you think most crime fiction readers are female, and older? Do you largely follow particular crime writers with your reading? Have you read any/many of the books or authors discussed in this week's articles? What do you think of crime writers continuing series created by other authors (eg Gores with Hammett, Paton Walsh with Sayers)? Comments appreciated.


  1. Craig - Thanks for this roundup, as always. I think it's fascinating to see the development in South African crime fiction, actually. It's exciting to see it evolve.

    And about women and readers of crime fiction? Hmm...far too much for me to say to clutter up your blog post with my comments....

  2. perhaps you'd like to do a guest post for Crime Watch Margot? I'd love to have you as a guest blogger, on whatever topic you'd like to discuss...

  3. Re your question about older, female readers - lots of surveys show that most readers of any book are older and female (not counting children's books and probably excluding sci-fi;-) ). So I don't think crime fiction is any exception.