This week has seen lots of interesting crime news – a veritable smörgåsbord of delights.
The confirmation that the bones found under a Leicester car park are indeed those of King Richard III, has resulted in some knock-on coverage for Scottish crime writer Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time. This 1951 classic tops the Crime Writers’ Association list of 100 best crime novels, and shows Inspector Grant ‘re-open’ the case of ‘the princes in the Tower’ whilst laid up in hospital with a broken leg. Can he really prove that Richard is not the callous murderer that history paints him to be…?
An interesting article in the Canadian Globe and Mail explores the value of the novel’s critique of history, and its assertion that many historical narratives are falsely constructed for political ends. Nikolai Krementsov, professor of the history of science and technology at the University of Toronto, gives it to his students to illustrate the difference between primary and secondary sources, and says ‘I know no book that gives such as clear account of what history is and what its function is in society … It should be mandatory reading for historians, investigative journalists and policemen’.
He also points out that Tey is writing at the beginning of the Cold War, a time of enormous political transition when lots of inconvenient wartime facts were in the process of being forgotten. ‘In that atmosphere, she wrote a definitive account, not of Richard III, but of how history can be manipulated’.
This week saw the birth of a new crime fiction blog, Petrona Remembered, which has been set up in memory of the wonderful crime blogger Maxine Clarke.
The team behind the site aims ’to develop a resource for current and future fans of the genre and we want you to help us. We’re asking writers, bloggers, readers, translators and anyone else who loves a crime or mystery novel to send us a submission about that book. It can be a review, a pitch, a love letter, a poem or, a video. Or something else entirely. Each week we’ll post a new submission and, over time, this site will become a jumping off point to a world of much-loved crime fiction’.
I personally like the idea of a crime haiku . Submissions great and small are welcome, and you can find out more here.
A new annual award, The Petrona, for the best Scandinavian crime novel, is also being established. Maxine was particularly partial to some top-notch Scandi crime, so this feels very fitting.
Last but not least, for those of you suffering withdrawal symptoms from Borgen, help is on the way in the form of Spiral series 4. Parisian Captain Laure Berthaud and her colleagues are back as of tonight for 12 gritty episodes, taking over the BBC4 Saturday evening ‘international slot’ from 9.00pm until 11.00pm.
Further information and a clip from the first episode can be found here.