Malice toward everyone – in a good way

Come for the cherry blossoms and stay for the murder! When the last pink petal has fallen, readers and writers who love a nice, light mystery gather in a Bethesda, Maryland hotel, just outside Washington, DC, to celebrate all aspects of their favourite genre. Malice Domestic is a friendly fan convention that features all the usual elements you'd expect when mystery aficionados get together -- dozens of author panels, book sales and signings, interviews with guests of honour, meals and drinks with friends, and the cornerstone of the weekend, a banquet which ends with the announcement of the winners of that year's coveted Agatha Awards and the reveal of the special guests of honour at next year's event.   Two Crime Cymru members from Canada, Cathy Ace and Elizabeth J Duncan, are Malice regulars. In fact, Elizabeth credits her mystery writing career to awards for unpublished writers that she won through Malice. The Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Mystery award includes a one-book contract...
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Crime Cymru at Newcastle Noir

There was a wonderfully warm and energetic welcome from Jackie Collins and her team to the Crime Cymru panel of Gail (G B) Williams, Matt Johnson, Thorne Moore and Phil Rowlands at Newcastle Noir in Newcastle City library on Saturday 4th May. We had a very respectable number at our afternoon session and the chats went well, kept gently on course and time by Gail, after an introduction from Jackie, whose generous parents had sponsored our visit. There were questions from the which could have kept us talking all afternoon if there had been time, but Newcastle Noir is bustling with events so alas we had to stop. But we did succeed in leaving our Crime Cymru bookmarks on every seat! We all enjoyed a chance to attend some of the other sessions, including the evening spotlight on Gunnar Staalesen and John Harvey. Being at NN2019 was a lot of fun for all of us, and for the audience too, we hope. We...
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Crime Cymru Abroad #1: USA with B E Jones

Bev Jones wanders onto dangerous territory, writing about the inspiration for her latest book, Wilderness. Location. Location. Location. Perfect photo opportunity! Stunning scenery! Brilliant place to kill someone? No, not a snapshot of a psychopath’s inner monologue (I hope) but just your average crime writer let loose during holiday season. Unless it’s just me, and I’m a weirdo, I suspect crime writers tend to live in a quantum universe of layered realities, where, even on holiday, especially on holiday, new places always suggest new and dastardly deeds. While we’re taking in the panorama of the azure sea, admiring picturesque ruins or appreciating the Rioja-hazed ambience of an evening al fresco, we’re probably also thinking, that archway is great spot for an assignation, that guy in the terrible suit looks like a spy, you could kill someone with that barbecue fork or that set of slippery steps is an engineered accident waiting to happen… Because, all too often, a great location isn’t just the ‘set dressing’...
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Events for May 2019

May is CRIME READING MONTH, so as is fitting, Crime Cymru is up for a very busy month. Alis Hawkins – well, where to start? She’s on tour for the whole month, visiting as many indie bookshops in Wales as possible, talking about her Teifi Valley Coroner series, starting in Machynlleth on the 1st, Bala on the 2nd, Caernarfon on the 3rd, Llanidloes on the 4th, Carmarthen on the 8th, Chepstow on the 17th, Crickhowell on the 20th, Cardigan on the 25th, Mumbles on the 27th, Haverfordwest on the 28th, Narberth on the 29th and St David’s on the 30th. As if that’s not enough, she’ll be launching her new book, In Two Minds, at Coleford on June 1st! For the full details of places and times, see our Events Calendar.   Another event that spans the month, though less exhausting for the participants, is the Crime Month series of signings (and chattings) at WHSmiths in Cardiff, every Saturday in May. On the...
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The Crime Writer’s Accomplice

Jan Newton, author, significantly, of Rather To Be Pitied, writes about the joys(?) of being married to a crime writer. He doesn’t complain, well not about the writing at any rate. To be fair, he doesn’t complain about very much at all, not even the housework, or rather the abject lack of it. He puts up stoically with the fact that we can completely run out of food and that it takes me a minute or two, once I’ve reached a juncture when I can be disturbed from my scribblings, to realise that I’m not actually in a siege situation in the middle of Manchester, and it’s well past teatime. Mervyn has always been completely supportive of whatever I’ve wanted to do. He’s learned to tolerate the aged horse (who, he says, tries to bite him when he brings her in). He’s been heard (but denies) having long conversations with my pygmy goat, and he’s even sat through, or possibly slept through,...
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Crime Cymru twinned with Canada

The Welsh Dragon has been enthusiastically waving a maple leaf recently. After serving as toastmaster at Left Coast Crime, Welsh/Canadian author Cathy Ace has been awarded the IPPY Bronze Medal for best regional E-book fiction, for her latest thriller, The Wrong Boy. Conducted annually, the Independent Publisher Book Awards honour the year's best independently published titles from around the world. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published books released each year. Cathy says “The Wrong Boy is set in Wales, so I am especially pleased to receive an award which recognizes the fact that the book reflects a specific region. Entries were considered across all types of fiction, from around the world.” And Cathy has been profiled in this month’s The Big Thrill, talking about The Wrong Boy. A slight error in it: Cathy attended University College Cardiff, not Cambridge – but close enough. *** And for more transatlantic news, we have been joined by Canadian...
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Domestic Crime #1: Family Affairs

Here's the first in an occasional series on Domestic Crime, the story of Harold Greenwood revealed by Judith Barrow. “You never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors. You only know what you see or what you think you see…” Quote from Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of John Phillips, the guitarist for the Mamas & the Papas in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That nobody knows what happens behind closed doors may be a cliché but there is a whole wealth of truth behind the trite words. Secrets – family secrets– can range from the trivial to the unthinkable; from minor transgressions to … murder. Sometimes the secrets kept within a family are ultimately revealed, sometimes they stay hidden. Sometimes the whole truth is never known. Take the case of Harold Greenwood, a young solicitor who moved his practice from Yorkshire to Llanelli in 1898 having bought a house in Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire, with his wife Mabel. Over the years they...
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Book Launch: Rather to be Pitied, by Jan Newton

Jan Newton writes about her second book launch, which took place in Builth Wells on March 15th. Two years ago, the publication by Honno of my first novel, Remember No More, was an absolutely amazing experience. From seeing the book with its beautiful cover for the very first time, to its unforgettable launch in Builth Wells, was a massive whirl of emotions. There was apprehension - would people come to the launch, and then would they like the book? There was amazement that so many people did come, and gratitude for a fanfare from the brass band I play in, for surprise cake and wonderful flowers, and that people laughed in all the right places at what I had to say at my first engagement as an author. In the weeks and months that followed, I was completely bowled over by the fantastic response. People from all over the UK and beyond, took the trouble to write reviews or send e-mails and...
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Alis Hawkins’ indie Bookshop tour

Crime Cymru founder member and current chair, Alis Hawkins, talks about her upcoming publicity venture #IndyBookTourCymru2019. If you’re going to make a success of a historical crime series set in a very specific geographical area, it makes sense to make sure that the people in that area know about it. So, having launched None So Blind, the first in the Teifi Valley Coroner series in St Dogmaels in 2017, it seemed like a good idea to try and organise a book tour of west Wales to launch the second book in the series, In Two Minds, in the summer of 2019. But, as I started to plan, a bigger idea presented itself. Why not do a book tour of the whole of Wales? As far as the internet could tell me, nobody’d ever tried to visit every single independent bookshop in Wales* in one go before. And so #IndyBookTourCymru2019 was born. In consultation with my publishers, The Dome Press, I decided that the tour...
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Criminally Good Fun: Left Coast Crime 2019

Our Cathy Ace has just been acting as toastmaster (mistress?) at the prestigious 2019 Left Coast Crime Festival, Whale of a Crime, in Vancouver. Here is her report. Hello there, Cathy Ace here. I was born and raised in Swansea, attended UC Cardiff, worked in London, around Europe and North America for twenty years, then migrated to…British Columbia, Canada! I’ve been here now for almost twenty years – though my mum and sister are still in Swansea, and I’m also married to a Swansea Jack. Although I’ve always written for a living (working in marketing communications, brand building and PR) my crime writing life has all happened since I moved to Canada, so I’ve always approached it with a view that I have to get out and about to get known. As such, I travel far and wide to as many crime fan conventions as possible each year – a wonderful way to meet readers and fellow authors – and I’ve promised...
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