Mark Bailey Radio

Radio Highlights in February 2016 – dramatisations of Rebus: A Question Of Blood by Ian Rankin and Charles Paris: A Decent Interval by Simon Brett.

I just want to signpost 2 radio highlights for crime fiction fans on BBC Radio 4 in February 2016.

On Saturday 13th February at 14:30, a 2-part (2 x 60 minutes) adaptation of A Question Of Blood by Ian Rankin starts – “When a known criminal dies in a house fire the forensic evidence suggests he was murdered before the fire started. Rebus – the last person to see the victim alive – becomes the main suspect. Meanwhile, a fatal shooting at a private school near Edinburgh unexpectedly leads Rebus to an army helicopter crash on Jura in a case involving diamonds and drug smuggling.”

More information is at Rebus – A Question Of Blood

On Friday 19th February at 11:30am, a 4-part (4 x 30 minutes) adaptation of A Decent Interval by Simon Brett starts – “Charles, bit-part actor and amateur sleuth, returns to the stage as the ghost in Hamlet, but rehearsals are fraught as both Ophelia and Hamlet are being played by reality TV stars and soon it’s not only Shakespeare’s lines that are being murdered. As the body count rises, so do Charles’ suspicions. Whilst at home, meanwhile, Frances fears she may have come to the end of allowing her semi-detached husband to remain as her lodger.”

More information is at A Charles Paris Mystery: A Decent Interval

Elly Griffiths Mark Bailey

Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue (2016)

Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue (2016)

Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue
Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue

Quercus, Hardcover, 368 pages

Expected publication: 4th February 2016

ISBN13: 978-1784292379

 The Woman in Blue is the 8th in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths.

The medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions so Ruth’s friend Cathbad takes it in his stride when he sees a vision of a woman in a white gown and blue cloak in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting. Walsingham has strong connections to the Virgin Mary and Cathbad as a druid feels that visions come with the job. But it becomes clear that Cathbad’s vision was all too human when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation and they quickly establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.

Ruth has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk but an old university asks to meet her in the village and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters that contain references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.

Then another woman is murdered – a priest.

As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…


Personally, I am a big fan of the Ruth Galloway novels but should warn you that this is best enjoyed if you are following the series through in order but I still do think you can pick up most of the background needed to enjoy the novel as you go along.

Why am I a fan – well here there is the usual excellent characterisation that one expects in Elly Griffiths’ books that gives you believable albeit flawed but ultimately likeable ongoing main protagonists (Ruth Galloway, Harry Nelson & Cathbad especially in this one) along with a sufficiently twisty plot to keep you engaged and a well-researched backdrop to hang the story on.

If you have a liking for modern cozies with a hint of grit than I would strongly recommend this to you.


Adrian McKinty Mark Bailey Reviews

Rain Dogs (Sean Duffy 5) by Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty – Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

Trade paperback: 336 pages (December 2015 in UK)

Publisher: Serpents Tail

ISBN: 978-1781254554

This is the fifth Sean Duffy novel set in and around Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The novel starts with DI Sean Duffy in charge of part of the crowd control for a visit by Muhammad Al to Belfast in 1987 which is a break from his usual routine of riot duty, heartbreak and cases solved that can never get to court. Financial Times journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle – she has been following a group of potential Finnish investors to Northern Ireland. It looks like a suicide but some things don’t add up and this bothers Duffy who has met and solved a locked room murder before. He finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond.

Again this a very assured police procedural with multiple serious themes (the peace process is still in the background, economic regeneration is in the middle and a cover up in the foreground) and great writing which is strongly literate but still keeps you engaged & turning the page.

I still want to see how Duffy handles the Patten Commission reforms and the shift to the PSNI as it looks like he is stuck in the RUC until retirement.


2015 reading challenges vintage mystery bingo gold

Final state of the Golden Age Card of the Vintage Mystery Bingo in 2015

I took part in the Golden Age Card of the Vintage Mystery Bingo in 2015 (where Golden Age Vintage Mysteries are defined as having been first published before 1960).

More details are available at the My Reader’s Block website

My final card is :

Vintage Golden Bingo Card 2015 to date
Vintage Golden Bingo Card 2015 to date

My reviews of the books read are as follows:

  1. Edmund Crispin – The Moving Toyshop (1946) – L3 entry “Read One Book with an Amateur Detective” – Edmund Crispin – The Moving Toyshop (1946)
  2. Dorothy L. Sayers – Gaudy Night (1935) – L5 entry “Read One Academic Mystery” – Dorothy L. Sayers – Gaudy Night (1935)
  3. Edmund Crispin – Buried for Pleasure (1948) – N5 entry “Read one book written by an author with a Pseudonym” – Edmund Crispin – Buried for Pleasure (1948)
  4. Edmund Crispin – Frequent Hearses (1950) – L1 entry “Read one book set in the Entertainment World” – Edmund Crispin – Frequent Hearses (1950)
  5. Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (1936) – L2 entry “One Book that has been made into a Movie or TV Show” – Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (aka The Alphabet Murders) (1936)
  6. Margery Allingham – The Case of the Late Pig (1937) – L4 entry “Read one book with a man in the Title” – Margery Allingham – The Case of the Late Pig (1937)
  7. Agatha Christie – Death in the Clouds (1935) – L6 entry “Read one book that involves a mode of transportation” – Agatha Christie – Death in the Clouds (1935)