Thursday, February 22, 2018

Peter Grainger--Two Terrific British Series Reads



DEBORAH CROMBIE: For me, one of the biggest treats of a lifetime of reading is discovering a new series you really, really love and reading all the books straight through. Last year my friend recommended a novel called AN ACCIDENTAL DEATH by Peter Grainger. It's the first of a series featuring Norfolk Detective Sergeant DC Smith, and I liked it so much I immediately read all seven books. DC (short for David Conrad) is a former Detective Chief Inspector in the fictional Norfolk city of King's Lake, and has chosen a demotion in order to do real police work rather than management. DC is such an original voice, and the books are complex explorations of character and relationships. The series is now at the top of my list of British procedurals, and that's saying a lot.

But there's more! Peter has another series, set in Cornwall, featuring widowed, middle-aged Emily Willows and her much younger neighbor, mysterious former London cop Summer Lane. In LANE: A CASE FOR WILLOWS AND LANE, Emily is taken hostage by thugs involved in a case her detective son is investigating, and the two women embark on a terrifying escape. I dare anyone to put this action-packed book down! 

And now there's a new Willows and Lane, ONE-WAY TICKETS, in which we learn more about Lane's intriguing past.

When a local man, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, goes missing, his parents have good reason to be concerned. Emily Willows is a friend of the family and says that she knows just the person to find him – and, as Summer Lane soon points out, the fact that this also fits in with Emily’s plan to set up her very own detective agency is surely just a fortuitous coincidence. But it isn’t long before the former detective inspector finds herself on a train heading back to London, and back into situations that she thought she had left behind. Some old acquaintances are renewed and some difficult memories must be confronted as Lane searches for the missing soldier and discovers the shocking truth about what happened to him five years earlier.

Here's Peter to tell us more about DC and Willows and Lane!



Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you started writing?

There is quite a lot of background by now, so I won’t go into too much detail. I think I was always a reader and English was my thing at school. I ended up doing a degree in English Literature and Philosophy and then discovered that the author B S Johnson was right in saying that this is a really bad thing for prospective writers to have done. I spent the next twenty years trying to stop putting every word I wrote under a microscope.

Mostly I wrote poetry from my teens and into my thirties – prose always seemed more difficult. Then it became short stories. I sent things away sometimes but no-one ever accepted anything. In the meantime, I had become a teacher of English as well, but this actually helped my writing, I think. In explaining to young people the basics of good writing, one really has to go back to the beginning and this makes you look again at your own work. But I didn’t get serious about writing novels until I was into my fifties.

You have self-published both series. Can you tell us why you decided to go that route? Both series are among the best I've read in crime fiction in a long time.

Thank you. For the answer to the question, see above! I’ve had the usual politely discouraging letters from literary agents, though not as many as Scott Fitzgerald, who is supposed to have papered a room with them. When ‘An Accidental Death’ did better as an ebook than I had ever hoped, I tried it again with some agents but no-one took it up. Since then, to be honest, I haven’t bothered them, other than a recent attempt to get some interest in the series for television; this was because several readers had said they would like to see the books in that format, so I said I would try. The result was the same!
                            
You have great female characters, both the secondary characters in the DC Smith series, and the two female protagonists in Willows and Lane. Did you have any qualms about writing two female leads?

Yes, lots, but one of the novels I epublished under the name Robert Partridge, ‘The Rink’, had been written from a woman’s perspective, and it was surprisingly well received; I had some emails accusing me of being a woman using a man’s nom de plume! I wanted to write something quite different from the DC Smith novels, having produced six in a row, so that was an obvious thing to try. I’m a great believer in the French saying vive la difference, but I’m not sure that in the things that really matter men and woman are as far apart as some seem to think.
 
The DC books are set in Norfolk (I've assumed from the description that King's Lake is King's Lynn) and the two Willows and Lane books in Cornwall and London. Do you have a particular affinity for those settings?

Yes, again. I have lived in all three of them, and after character, getting the setting right is the next most important thing for me when I’m writing. I don’t like description for its own sake when I’m reading a novel – it has to be made significant in some way or it’s just padding. Going back to my academic days, I suppose I’m talking about the pathetic fallacy here. North Norfolk has a beauty and an atmosphere all its own, and there are so many opportunities to make those reflect the emotions and thoughts of the characters. Cornwall is another magical county and I’m already booked up to go there again this summer. One day a sharp-eyed reader will contact me and say that they know where Summer Lane’s name came from!

Your procedural details in both series seem so spot on. Do you have someone you consult? 

It’s a no this time. I am a fan of top-notch crime series on television and have been for years, and sometimes I will make a note of anything that might be useful as far as procedure is concerned. I also get ideas from some of the fly-on-the-wall series about police work. I also read about investigations into actual crimes; some of these can really open your eyes as to what the detectives have to confront. I’ve had three former murder squad detectives write to me saying that they like Smith and that the stories are close to the mark – that has been very encouraging!

Were you influenced by any particular writers?

I will confess immediately that I have not read a huge number of crime writers. When I began to think about moving my writing into a specific genre – ie crime fiction – I did some reading first. Well, quite a lot of reading. I already knew and liked some of Colin Dexter’s Morse novels – having loved the television adaptation – and for the same reason I looked at one or two of the Frost novels. I have certainly learned things from P D James and Ruth Rendell. But I don’t think it would be wise to read a great deal more; there is a danger that one becomes hemmed in by the expectations and rules of the genre, whereas readers are often looking for something that’s a little bit outside the box – but not too much! Beyond that, writers that I admire and re-read are Anita Brookner, Graham Greene and the incomparable Henry James.

Can readers look forward to more books in both series?



That is certainly the plan. Lots of readers assumed that Smith retired at the end of ‘Time and Tide’ but there are some important and unresolved matters to be taken care of, and I am currently listening to them all again, thanks to Gildart Jackson’s excellent recordings, and at the same time puzzling out how those matters can be resolved! I hope to have the eighth story out later this year. And Emily Willows hardly got a word in in ‘One-way Tickets’ – she isn’t the sort to let things rest there!

DEBS: You can find Peter on his Facebook page, and both the DC books and Willows and Lane are available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Any of the books can certainly be read as a stand-alone, but, personally, since they are all available as e-books, I'd highly recommend reading them in order.

Peter will be stopping in to chat from the UK, and has a question for us to start with:

Why do so many American and Canadian readers like crime fiction set in or from the UK?

Oh, and REDs alert:

The winners of Leslie Wheeler's Rattlesnake Hill are Gigi Norwood and Rick Robinson. Please email lesliewheeler at comcast dot net to claim your books! 

84 comments:

  1. Both of these series sound quite intriguing, Peter, and I'm looking forward to lots of great reading.

    I think the appeal of crime fiction set in or from the United Kingdom has less to do with the country itself and more to do with the care the authors take to make the characters, the situations, and the place come alive for the reader. I've never visited there, but when the author steeps me in the setting so that I feel like I know that place, then there's much to like in the writing and the telling of the tale . . . .

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  2. Thanks, Joan. One of the things on my long, long to-do list is to read more American crime fiction - I've only read a handful of the classics such as Raymond Chandler. To be fair, you are not the first person to suggest that British authors write in a different way but I'm surprised that there seems to be such a difference! It isn't as if Americans cannot write character - look at Henry James and Scott Fitzgerald, two I've already mentioned. And then there are John Cheever, Richard Ford, Richard Yates, and the amazing Raymond Carver, who can capture the essence of a character in a single sentence... I would be interested to hear suggestions as to which American crime writers you all think are strong on character.

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    1. Aside from our JRW authors, of course, I think William Kent Kreuger and CJ Box are terrific with series characters. I know I'll think of more as soon as I hit send.

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    2. Well, that's two that I did not know of, so thank you, Lucy.

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    3. I'd add Craig Johnson to that list, while seconding Krueger and Box.

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    4. How about some female authors, folks? (Other than your Jungle Reds!) I confess to being a bit lacking on this front, since I read much more British crime fiction.

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    5. Let me add to the love for C.J. Box!

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    6. I’ll second all of the above and suggest [along with the Jungle Red Writers ladies] J. T. Ellison, Laura Griffin, and J. D. Robb . . . all of whom have the same sort of wonderful series characters and who make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the story they are telling.

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    7. Tony Hillerman, Dana Stabenow. Numbers one and two, in no particular order.

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    8. Failed to mention Stephen Havill. Or is it Steven?

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  3. I'm up in the wee hours--thanks to Jax, our latest addition to the pack who feels it necessary to come in from the cold and snuggle under the covers with me. All sixty-some pounds of him.

    I'm so thrilled to see Peter here. I have to take credit--I found the DC Smith books first, fell in love with the characters and the writing, and insisted Deb had to read them. As a fan, I noticed when Willows and Lane came out and had to read it. I was struck by how Peter managed to mesh two women with such different personalities, strong in different ways, into a surprising team, and was delighted that he wrote another adventure for them.

    For me, reading British procedural novels is fascinating as it gives me a glimpse into another culture. Yes, we share a *somewhat* similar language, but there are unique differences in attitudes. Dick Francis was the first British crime author I read--credit goes to Deb, who introduced me to his works--and was hooked on that particular portion of the genre.

    I agree with Deb that his DC novels should be read in order. Peter has a gift for continually building on what happens in each novel. Yes, they can be read out of order, but I suspect some of the richness and complexity would be lost. And Willows and Lane are a formidable team that I'm delighted to see as a continuing series.

    I know JRW readers have towering TBR piles, but don't miss out on these two excellent series. Oh, btw, DC Smith is also available on audible or whispersync.

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    1. Thank you, Diane, for the recommendation!!!!!

      I actually read the first two DC books, then the seventh (was that the Bookbub promotion?) Then I went back and started over and read all seven books in order. It's a much richer experience that way.

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  4. Ah, Dick Francis - I'd forgotten about him! I haven't read loads - and there are loads - but the ones I have were very tightly and professionally written; definitely a craftsman at work.

    I too have a dog issue at present. My wife is away in sunnier climes, and as soon as this happens Jenna assumes that she can take her place on the sofa of an evening. She can be quite insistent!

    I must say thanks to Diane and all the Facebook people who have made writing and publishing a more worthwhile and rewarding experience for me.

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    1. Peter, can you tell us a bit about your lovely dog?

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    2. Sorry, I keep missing things in the page! Her name is Jenna and she is about five years old, a rescue dog. We've always had boys before - and I can say with confidence that she is about as smart as all of them put together. She has the friendliest nature you can imagine but is also a serious pursuer of anything that runs or flies when we are out in the countryside. Fortunately she hasn't caught anything yet. And her favourite place in all the world is probably the wonderful beach at Holkham Gap in north Norfolk, where Smith himself has been known to take a stroll.

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  5. And now, Diane, Deb is constantly reminding me that I need to start reading Peter's excellent books! I think they sound intriguing, but I really don't like the e-book format, and am reluctant to buy yet another electronic gadget for the sake of a paper white screen. Yes, I am an old fogey. Any hope of print on demand versions, Peter?

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    1. I have taken a look at this, Gigi. Most ebook authors report little take-up of print on demand copies after the time and effort that goes into producing them. You are not alone, however, and I have members of my own family saying they will read them as soon as they are 'proper books'! You don't strictly have to buy another device, as I'm sure ebooks can be read on phones, iPads etc using various apps, but you are still looking at a screen rather than a page. I guess all that comes down to the answer, which is not at present, I'm afraid!

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    2. Gigi, for what it's worth, I started out with e-books on a Kindle but now, when I read in e-book form I usually do so on my tablet, where I have loaded the Kindle app. The Kindle technology is a tiny bit easier on the eyes, but the convenience of being able to switch to other online things on the same device far outweighs it to me.

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  6. So glad to 'meet' you, Peter. Like Gigi, I have a hard time with e-books. I kept losing my place and then I lost the e-reader. Sounds like I'll need to figure out how to read these. (Loved Dick Francis. P.D. James. And so many Scots... Denise Mina. Val McDermid. And of course Ian Rankin. And Deborah Crombie and Rhys Bowen)

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    1. Yes, Hallie, I lost my Kindle for quite a while. Eventually I found it in one of my bookshelves, which must mean something! There is quite a group of good Scottish crime writers, and I was impressed by the three written by William McIlvanney about the detective Laidlaw.

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    2. Oh I do hope mine turns up on the bookshelf. Sadly I lost it on a plane.

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  7. Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleeves, Martin Walker, PD James. I read them all because I'm hooked on the characters. And in many cases, the setting becomes an additional character. (OK, Walker is a Brit who writes about Bruno, a French policeman). I'll give your books a try, though reading on a tablet is a hassle.

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    1. I certainly agree that settings can be like characters in their own right, and have as much influence on a narrative. I'll admit that most of my own reading is still from traditional books but space is becoming an issue - might have to move house soon!

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  8. I second Joan's reasoning above--the series I read which are set in England--I keep coming back because of the quality of the writing. Also, Louise Penny is superb. And besides Deborah, one of my first JRW authors was Julia Spencer Fleming--Three Pines and Millers Kill have become real places to me--filled with characters I'd love to meet. And another much-loved favorite is Tony Hillerman--his novels are set in the southwest and his characters are enduring--I often re-read the entire series.

    And I love my e-reader as much as a 'real' book--will be looking for the first in both your series, Peter.

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    1. High marks for Louise Penny and the Gamache series. So much more than mysteries. Also Julia’s series is high on my list. Is it over? Keep hoping for the next one.......

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  9. Also, I have a question in terms of your self-publishing. Did you generate interest simply by word of mouth? One reader recommending you to another and so on? Did you find reviewers willing to review your work? And if so, how did you find them? Do you read reviewers' blogs regularly? It's wonderful that you were able to do this and find your audience!

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    1. Hello, Flora. I wrote and self-published some novels on Amazon's KDP platform about four years ago - not crime novels but more literary, stand-alone things under the name Robert Partridge. They are still there and I hope to do more some day! These did not sell in great numbers but they did find some very kind readers who reviewed them favourably, and this encouraged me to keep going. Obviously I had to begin again when using the name Peter Grainger for my detective novels, but again the reviews came quite quickly and were (mostly) favourable. Yes, it was pretty much by word of mouth and people seeing the ratings. I didn't have a Facebook page for three years, and I've only ever had one paid promotion on Bookbub. I don't have any contact with reviewers' blogs or such things. It is amazing that I found an audience after conventional agents and publishers never showed any interest!

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    2. The books published under Robert Partridge are just beautiful. Highly recommend, especially Asher and Afon.

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  10. I agree with so many above about why I read series books, particularly series set in England and Canada and really wherever in the world. I love the setting and love to learn new things about our world when setting is so vivid. That being said, I also love to get involved with the characters and find out the why of their lives and what will happen next. Series make that possible. And, I love the puzzle of the crime novel. The twists and the logic. Can you tell I really, really like the mystery genre in all it's glory?

    Oh, I love my Kindle. My eyes are not what they used to be and I am addicted to being able to change the font size. Plus take a million books around with me. I am delighted to have a 'new' series to explore. I will definitely be trying both of these. Thanks for sharing with us, Peter, and thanks for featuring him, Deb.

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    1. And I'm delighted to have found a new reader, Kay! Looking back, one of the best decisions that I took was to plan it as a series from the beginning, because of all the benefits that you have mentioned. I frequently read that ebooks have already had their day but I just don't see that. There are so many advantages to them, not the least being holiday reading; I have three family members abroad at the moment and all are serious readers. No more worrying about the weight of the suitcase, you can take a library in your handbag!

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    2. There were doom and gloom predictions that e-readers would completely kill off paper books and that hasn't happened. I'm not sure now whether e-books sales are actually declining or if paper book sales have just made a bit of a comeback.

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  11. These sound like fascinating books. More for the TBR pile!

    I like British crime because it's close, but not quite, to what I know and there is always such a dry, pointed humor to them. I have a serious crush on DS Hathaway from "Lewis."

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Ah, I'm a big Hathaway fan. It was very clever of them to introduce him after Morse and his acerbic wit had departed. I still cannot watch the final 'Morse' without a lump in the throat!

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    2. I've still never brought myself to watch the last episode of Morse!!!

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    3. Oh me too....I ‘go to Oxford’ every night and watch an episode of Lewis. Totally in love with Hathaway, and have always loved Lewis too. Morse videos are also well-worn and the last episode is so emotional. I also am enjoying Endeavor and like Sean Evans. They are a bit dark for before-bed watching, but are very good.

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  12. I just want to chime in with gratitude to meet another crime fiction author who didn't read mysteries! I was almost completely unfamiliar with the genre until I started writing a novel that turned out to be... a mystery. More proof that the genre chooses the author, and no the other way around.

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    1. That's an interesting idea, that the genre chooses the author... Crime fiction chose Peter Grainger in an odd way. He was the central character in my first novel on Amazon, called 'Afon'. He had had many problems and retreated to solitude in Wales to try and solve some of them by writing a second novel. I wanted him to be successful, so when, a couple of years later, Smith came along, I gave him to Peter. And bizarrely, it worked!

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    2. Now I have to read this book, too!

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    3. Julia, not to get off topic here, but I'm just now working my way through your series and I'm so grateful that mysteries found you!

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    4. Julia, Archer Mayor is like that as well.

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    5. Deb, it's not as complicated as it sounds, though some readers who found it for themselves have written to me asking for an explanation! Be gentle - it was my first ebook.

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  13. Welcome Peter. After Deb's recommendation, I've ordered the first of the series. I read on my Kindle primarily, only read print if the book is not available on Kindle, and if I really feel I can't wait until it is. People who only read print obviously don't get tired eyes and need to increase the font as the day progresses. Also, I buy perhaps three times the number of books that I would otherwise. So all you authors take note. I also sell more books for you, I think. It used to be that I passed a new hard cover on to a friend or family member. Now I pass on the recommendation!

    And when I find a memorable line, I share it on Facebook or Goodreads, encouraging others to take a look. This works, and I think everyone should do it. It widens the possibilities for us all. Reviews do much the same thing, if you take the time to read them. Many people don't. (Sorry Kristopher)

    I also prefer central heat to a coal stove, like indoor plumbing as opposed to an outhouse, and have never woven my own cloth for clothing. No Luddite here.

    Why do so many American and Canadian readers like crime fiction set in or from the UK? For me, my first experiences with the genre begin with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, PD James, Ruth Rendell, and of course Conan Doyle. For a long time I thought all mysteries were set in the UK, preferably in a country house. I then expanded my reading to the US but that is rarely my first choice in a venue. Canada is always a sure bet, and I adore Nordic noir.





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    1. I do treasure my signed first editions. However I rarely read them, prefer to buy the ebook and keep the print versions virgin!

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    2. Thank you for that order, Ann. Like you, I do wonder how many reviews are actually read - just the latest two or three, maybe? But if there are hundreds, and they are mostly good, that probably encourages people to try something new, though for myself I always read several pages of the 'Look Inside' before I buy.

      As for the UK, well, there are still many mysteries here, not the least being the current state of our politics! And as far as Nordic is concerned, I still think the Beck series takes some beating.

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    3. Unfortunately Beck is at an end. But it is possibly the best of the best

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  14. Welcome, Peter! And cannot wait to read. Here's my e-book secret. I read on my phone. It is FABULOUS. I saw someone doing it a year or so ago, and sneered. Then I thought--wait. Could this work? And it does! SO now I can read anything, anywhere. It's great. And my Kindle, too, is ...somewhere.

    As for UK novels? Morse! (yes, LOVE Morse. My passion is well known.) Rutledge! Rebus! And the psychologicals: Gilly MacMillan and Clare Mackintosh and Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena (okay, Canada). And Mo Hayder. There's something about the tone, and language.

    Off to click!

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    1. I see increasing numbers of people phone-reading, I have to say, especially now that phones seem to be getting bigger again...

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    2. and bigger, lol! My phone is now a little more than half the size of my Kindle!

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  15. You can add me to your list of new readers, Peter. I just downloaded An Accidental Death to my Kindle and can't wait to start it. You cannot come with a better recommendation than one from Debs.

    I'm with Kay in that I love my Kindle. I still read hard copy books too but love the portability of ebooks and the ability to change the font size. And then there's the instant gratification factor -- I can't deny that I love being able to get a book within minutes. My credit card may see it differently...

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    1. Thank you for that download, Christine (and Debs)! Getting a book virtually instantaneously is highly addictive. I've never timed it but one can probably choose a book and be reading it within a minute - presuming you have fibre broadband.

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  16. P.D. James once suggested that British society was more ordered then American society, therefore the crime of murder was more shocking, and the urge to return that perceived order more intense.

    Is that still a valid insight, Peter?

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    1. As to who has the most ordered society these days, that's a close call, I'd say. Things feel pretty uncertain (OK, chaotic) here at the moment. I think the Brits have always enjoyed a good murder, and as a result we have a long history of detectives and writers interested in them. It certainly goes back at least as far as the Victorians with The Moonstone, and one of my favourites, Inspector Bucket in 'Bleak House'. So this tradition is at least 150 years old, and that gives British crime writing an unusual context and depth - that might be a part of the explanation, I suppose. I've realised, rather late on, that crime writing is much more than entertainment, of course - it is a way in which we can confront our deepest fears (and maybe urges...) but at a safe distance, and we do need to see order and sanity restored if we are to go on believing in a civilised society. Heavy stuff!

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  17. Chiming in on the Kindle. I was a resister, too. I read ebooks on my Android tablet but was not crazy about it. Then a year or so ago I got a Kindle Paperwhite and I absolutely love it. It goes everywhere with me, it's easier on the eyes and the hands, I can read in the dark, and if I go to sleep reading and drop it on the floor, it keeps my place!

    I still love paper books, and I don't see this as an either-or choice. I tend to buy new recommended books more often in paper or hardcover simply because I share them with my daughter and my friend Gigi. We have quite a lending library thing going!

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  18. I read mysteries more than any other genre. I think maybe the reason we don't think of US mysteries in the same way we do British mysteries is that ours tend to be broken down into regional mysteries, or sub-genres like cozies or procedurals or thrillers. I can think of British mysteries I've read that were more like a cozy or (most commonly) mainly procedural, but one doesn't usually break them out that way. And the US regional thing is huge, while novels can be set in different parts of Britain without completely changing the feel of them. Or at least, it seems that way to me.

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    1. The sub-genre thing still puzzles me when I have to categorise a book for Amazon before I publish it there. I'm sure my books aren't 'cozy' but on the other hand, there is little violence, even less sex and no serious swearing... I'm not really sure what they are!

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  19. I'm not one for ebooks so while both series sound quite interesting, I can't read them if they aren't available in physical form. I've had to turn down some authors on Goodreads that offered me free downloads because they read some of my reviews. It's a bummer for sure but I have enough print stuff to read as it is.

    As for the question of the day, I don't know if it is the same for crime/mystery books vs. TV or movies from Britain, but I've found that as far as the TV stuff goes, the quality seems higher for some reason. Not that the US crime dramas don't have their shining lights, but then there are so many that describing them as run of the mill is being kind.

    I read a few series that are set in the UK. And I've reviewed a number of books that have been set in all sorts of locales around the world.

    As to Deborah's comment about discovering new series (and by extension, authors), I love it when that happens. I've discovered some through Goodreads, and then there's the spotlighted authors here on JRW like Aimee Hix, amongst others. I just finished her debut the other day.

    I discovered Jon Land's Kamal & Barnea series from walking into the local bookstore one day and he was there doing a signing. I bought all four books in the series (to that point) that day. And then there's the regular perusing of the bookstore shelves and stumbling onto someone new. Plus I read the reviews in Mystery Scene and have picked up books that sounded good.

    Finally, there's that legendary day of grocery shopping where I discovered Ingrid Thoft's 1st Fina Ludlow mystery. And look how that turned out?

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    1. Hello Jay - I'm sorry that there seem to be quite a lot of readers who are still only buying the traditional form - sorry for myself mainly, of course! It's frustrating when one has made determined efforts to get published in the conventional way and failed, often. There will not be a shortage of new books for you to read, obviously, but in the longer term I suspect that ebooks will be the mode of choice for many publishers as well. The number of hardback deals for new crime writers is already vanishingly small, and authors make very little from paperback agreements unless they are in the tiny minority that comes up with a bestseller. I know several successful authors on the Kindle forums who have quit their agents and publishers and self-published. Without exception they say that their only mistake was not doing so years ago.

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  20. Yay! I'm always looking for a "new to me" series set in England! Welcome, Peter, and I can't wait to get started!

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  21. I have contemplated ordering your books before this but now with Deb’s recommendation, I will finally press the button and go for it. My TBR list is so long now. Charles Finch’s latest and Rhys Bowen’s new book are calling to me from my iPad. I love British mysteries, always have! I’ve been an Anglophile since 12 when I picked up a historical novel about William the Conqueror that my mother was reading. I wish I knew the title and author of that book!

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    1. Thank you, Teri - if I ever get across the water, it looks as if I'll be buying Deb a drink at the very least!

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  22. You had me at Norfolk and Cornwall. First one of my top three favorite contemporary (I also have series set in the past) English series is Elly Griffiths'/Domenica de Rosa's Ruth Galloway series set in Norfolk and King's Lynn (the other top favorite series are, of course, Debs' Gemma and Duncan and Anne Cleeland's Doyle and Acton). And, Cornwall is the place I most want to visit in England, as my ancestors are from the southwest part of England. So, how could I not be interested in your series, Peter. Then, with Debs' enthusiasm for them, well, I'm in. I just added the first books in each of your series to my Kindle.

    I trace my interest in British mystery/crime back to Agatha Christie and reading all of her books in my late twenties/early thirties. And, I've just always be drawn to England, maybe because of my ancestors, the Boones. But, I didn't become the heavy hitting mystery/crime reader I am now before the last ten years. That's when most everything I read started coming from the genre, and that's the time period in which I attended my first Bouchercon.

    Debs talks about how much fun it is to binge read a new series, and one of my best years for that was in 2013 when I binge read Debs' series, Julia's series, Rhys' multiple series, Hank's series, Lucy's series, Hank's first in the Jane Ryland series, and Hallie's stand-alones. That was such an exceptional year of reading. I am looking forward to the DC Smith and the Willow and Lane series being some great binge reading. Of course, I also have on my binge reading list this year Jenn's Library Lover's Mystery series (first on is in my bed reading pile now) and I just this week ordered Ingrid's first Fina Ludlow novel, Loyalty. I am a devoted Jungle Reds' reader, an easy task to tackle.

    Thanks, Peter and Debs, for bringing me two new English series to feed my Anglophile tastes.

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    1. Kathy, you are a gift to writers!!!

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    2. Deb isn't wrong, Kathy - that's some serious reading! But thank you for downloading those books, and I hope that you enjoy them. The Cornish coastline is beautiful and I'm sure you won't be disappointed when you see it for yourself.

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    3. I am very excited to read your books, Peter. I read almost exclusively on electronic devices,because I can make the print LARGE and I can get any book I want on demand! Just ordered your first book in the Norfolk series. Deborah and Julie's series are my all time favorites. And I have to say Agatha Christie was also my first interest in this genre. I have a good selection of the paperback versions of her books on my bookshelf. I've been looking for a new British series so looking forward to yours.

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    4. Thank you, Ann, it's so good to find another reader - every one counts! Although I will always love 'real' books, there are so many advantages to e-ones that over time their popularity will continue to grow. I hope you enjoy getting to know the team at Kings Lake Central.

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  23. Peter, how fantastic! I love mysteries set in the U.K. and Cornwall is a particular favorite area for me! I am so looking forward to reading your work. I am a huge fan of the Morse books as well, so I am sure we are kindred spirits.

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    1. Hello Jenn, good to meet you! I was fortunate enough to live in Cornwall for a couple of years, and I could easily be tempted back there. It was the televised Morse with its brilliant casting that first led me to read a detective novel. Enough said!

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  25. Hi Peter! I'm so excited to have you join the Reds. I love the DC Smith series. I love DC. And the team. You write him with such wisdom, humor (lots of it), and make him a fabulous mentor to the younger detectives - and they're all younger. I'm so glad there will be more books as there are several open issues. Thank you!

    I've listened to the audiobooks. Gildart Jackson does an amazing job. Is there any plan to produce the Willows and Lane series as audios? Pretty please.

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    1. Marianne, as I suspect Peter has gone to bed, I just wanted to tell you that I've heard Willows and Lane are in the works!

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    2. I signed the contracts yesterday, Marianne. Now the search begins for a lady to narrate them - I think it has to be a lady this time. But no-one but Gildart Jackson can ever read Smith!

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    3. Thank you, Peter. I'll preorder as soon as available - as I do with the Smith audios. Looking forward to them.

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  26. I've been following this all day, when not busy with the next Rutledge, and I think Debs is right, this is a series I can't wait to find and read! I know King's Lynn, and I'm hoping to catch glimpses of it in the new series. And I love Cornwall! We've set two books there. So Peter, you've got a new reader. And I've got TWO whole series to enjoy. That's like striking gold, for a mystery reader. Thanks, Debs, for this one! This is Caroline, by the way.

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    1. Hello Caroline, and thank you for getting in touch. I am amazed at how many readers know Kings Lynn - I'd always imagined that it was in global terms the back of beyond. But readers from all over the world have told me that they have been there, especially readers from the USA; I couldn't make this out until I remembered the air force bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall... I will look up your Cornish books.

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  27. And I'm really looking forward to chatting with you tomorrow!

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  28. Peter Grainger, welcome to Jungle Reds! Did I meet you at Bouchercon in Toronto? I am such an Anglophile. Haha. I started reading Agatha Christie, then I started reading Dorothy Sayers. I also read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I loved the Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis tv series. I cannot believe I never read the books, though. Perhaps it's time to read the books. And I love the Midsomer Murders tv series, based on books by Caroline Graham.

    Do you live in Norfolk? I visited Northamptonshire when we visited Althorp Hall. It was so beautiful.

    Adding your books to my TBR list,
    Diana

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    1. Hello Diana. No, I've never been to Toronto. I don't live in Norfolk now but I have done so in the past, and it's still one of my favourite places. People here have some impressive TBR lists but I'm delighted to be on yours!

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  29. I'm sure I am just echoing others in writing that I've always been an Anglophile, and have a special weakness for English mysteries. I just ordered the first book in each of your series, and hope I can refrain from diving into them until my long flight next month.

    I'm also echoing the delight of discovering a new to me series (that was Louise Penny for me) and reading with the Kindle app--on my phone, my iPad, work computer, etc. It's the only way I can keep up with personal reading and books for my middle school library.

    And as an aside to all the authors here, we need more middle school mysteries! I have 1925 avid readers waiting:)

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    1. Thank you for ordering those, Mary, and I really hope that you enjoy them. As a former teacher myself, I know there is a market for good writing for younger students, and mystery/crime is a genre hardly ever offered to them, at least in the UK. Food for thought! The format is an issue, though; in my time schools were only buying traditional books, so if one has no contract... But if schools were to switch to ebooks, as they probably should, that might change the game.

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  30. Thanks for your reply! I didn't think about your books being ebook format only. I have surveyed my students many times, and they prefer print books. I can't figure it out, as they are always on their phones, even to do research when there are laptops with larger screens right next to them. Oh well,no one ever claimed middle schoolers were logical!

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