New Sherlock Holmes story discovered, written by Arthur Conan Doyle

sherlock-holmesHistorian Walter Elliot has unearthed the first unseen Sherlock Holmes story in more than 80 years that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote to help save a town bridge.

The 1,300-word tale starring the famous detective was found in a collection of short stories written for a local bazaar.

The story is entitled Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar.

It is believed the story – about Holmes deducing Watson is going on a trip to Selkirk – is the first unseen Holmes story by Doyle since the last was published over 80 years ago.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

Mr Elliot said ‘In Selkirk, there was a wooden bridge that was put up some time before it was flooded in 1902.’

‘The town didn’t have the money to replace it so they decided to have a bazaar to replace the bridge in 1904. They had various people to come and do things and just about everyone in the town did something.

‘The Saturday was opened by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He had written a wee story about Sherlock Holmes and Watson and this was in the book.

‘He really must have thought enough of the town to come down and take part and contribute a story to the book. It’s a great little story.’

Grab a copy of The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes here


Darragh McManus, author of Shiver the Whole Night Through, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

shiver-the-whole-night-throughThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Darragh McManus
author of
Shiver The Whole Night Through

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and reared in Ireland. A little village in County Tipperary, which is in the South-Midwest, if you can follow that. School, hmm…loved primary, hated the first three years of secondary. It wasn’t the school’s fault, they were fine. I just hated pretty much all the kids! Including myself, probably. I grew up a bit and enjoyed the final two years though. Then I went to college in Cork for an Arts degree in English Lit and History. I’ve also done a certificate in Art & Design, and of course have learned some lasting lessons in both the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: either play soccer for Liverpool or be some kind of intergalactic bounty hunter with cool blue skin and bluer eyeballs, toting a crossbow that fired lasers. This was because I read a LOT of comics at the time, mostly Roy of the Rovers and Champ (hence the soccer) and Eagle (hence the daft sci-fi).

Eighteen: probably to have my own grunge band. I’d moved onto an obsession with grunge by that stage. I still love those bands, the image, the sarcasm, the plaid shirts, everything about them – good guys who rocked like all-get-out. Sadly, I was too lazy to bother learning guitar…the dream withered and died.

Thirty: a writer! I’d decided in my late twenties that, yes, I definitively wanted to be an author; I finished my first novel at 29 and the future seemed – potentially? – bright. Didn’t quite go according to plan. That book and my next one (collection of stories) failed to sell. Finally, I was published in non-fiction at 34. And in 2012, a lifetime ambition was realised when AT LAST I had a novel released. Shiver the Whole Night Through is my third published work of fiction (though first Young Adult).

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That communism was both possible and desirable. I think most people, as they get older, move to a more meritocratic philosophy i.e. you should get out pretty much what you put in. (Obviously, this doesn’t mean not looking after those who need it – that’s just basic decency and kindness.) But my desire for a totally evened-out society is gone; I don’t think it’s remotely feasible anyway, even if it was a good idea. Maybe after another 10,000 years of human evolution. Funnily enough, not every youthful passion fades away; for instance, I’m probably more and more of an ardent feminist with each passing year.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc. – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

It’s not a work of art, as such, more a movement – but the aforementioned grunge music has been a seminal influence on me personally and my writing. I did a crime novel, Even Flow, which was basically the grunge ethos in vigilante form. Shiver the Whole Night Through takes its title and much of its tone from Nirvana (and Kurt is mentioned in the first paragraph). Another book, unpublished, called Pretend We’re Dead, is about a bunch of slackers whose lives and thoughts were profoundly shaped by grunge. As I said, I love everything about it: artistically, intellectually, emotionally, socially…maybe even metaphysically, who knows.

FEA_2014-01-29_LIF_044_30297410_I1Twin Peaks was also huge. In fact Shiver was, to some extent, my attempt at writing an Irish version of the great David Lynch drama. Murder mystery, small-town weirdness, supernatural elements, love story…and of course, the forest. It’s a character in its own right, in the show and book. Just that sustained mood of dread and reverie that Lynch evokes…man, it’s stayed with me for decades.

Finally, I’d like to pick a book but there are just so many… I’ll go for Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, one of my very-favourite novels. (Incidentally, I consider it a great work of YA literature too: the core story is about a lad of 14 and his fraught journey to some kind of emotional maturity and adult responsibility.) I was blown away the first time I read it, especially by the language Burgess invented for his narrator: English-Russian-Cockney-Gypsy and who knew what else. It really showed me the limitless possibilities of fiction. Great, great book. Real horrorshow, oh my droogies…

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

God – good question! I should have been a musician or painter or movie director or one of those lunatics who mutilates their own body and videos the whole thing and runs the video in a gallery and… Probably I write because A) I’m reasonably good at it, B) I love reading anyway so why not read my own stuff, C) as I say, I was too lazy to learn an instrument, D) I’m colour-blind so visual art is out and E) films cost billions to make and I’m way too neurotic myself to be dealing with tantrums and egos of actors.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Shiver The Whole Night Through.

It’s a YA mystery – sort of a noir-style detective story, with paranormal/horror elements, set in a small Irish town. The basic plot is: after months of bullying and romantic heartbreak, seventeen-year-old Aidan Flood feels just about ready to end it all. But when he wakes up one morning to find that town sweetheart Sláine McAuley actually has, he discovers a new sense of purpose, and becomes determined to find out what happened. One night Aidan gets a message, scratched in ice on his bedroom window: ‘I didn’t kill myself.’ Who is contacting him? And if Sláine didn’t end her own life…who did? Now Aidan must hunt down Sláine’s killers, and unravel the darker secrets surrounding the town. And he’s about to find out that in matters of life and death, salvation often comes in the unlikeliest of forms…

shiver-the-whole-night-throughNeedless to say, it’s great! Seriously, the reviews so far are very positive, and Shiver is on the (UK) Daily Telegraph’s Best YA 2014 list. Think Twin Peaks meets Twilight meets Let the Right One In meets the teen-detective movie Brick meets old Gothic horror stories. Or don’t think that at all, and just go into it blind.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

This one specifically, a feeling that they’ve been thrilled, chilled, moved and entertained. For all the things we may say about our books, first and foremost you want to entertain the reader. Beneath that, I hope they get a sense of empathy and sympathy for bullying victims; it’s the scourge of society and always has been. Nothing worse than a bully. I hope they debate some of the themes with their friends e.g. is revenge ever justified? And I hope they’d have become as fond of Aidan, Sláine and Podsy as I am.

In general, I’d like to think people will put down one of my books and – whether they loved it or liked it or were indifferent or worse – at least they’d think it was authentic, distinctive, made with care and sincerity. I hope they’d think, “This guy’s writing isn’t like anyone else’s.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Oh wow, so many. Anthony Burgess, again: the man was just the most incredible virtuoso. Could write anything, any style and any genre, better than virtually anyone else. Jorge Luis Borges, because his ideas and technique were so unusual that he was almost an art-form unto himself. Margaret Atwood for being so witty and clever and making it look so easy. George Orwell for writing 1984, probably the greatest book I’ve ever read. Don DeLillo, for having the most unique literary voice I’ve ever read, and for somehow expressing the inexpressible in our existence, and illuminating the deep mysteries of it all… I’d better stop now or I really will keep going and going, possibly forever.

 9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To write and publish a sequel to Shiver the Whole Night Through. To write and publish the several other ideas for YA novels that I’ve begun sketching out, plotting, pottering about with. To have my first novel and short-story collection published. To have that slacker novel published (dude). To write lots of screenplays and get filthy rich in Hollywood. To win an Oscar for one of them…and then refuse the Oscar. Ha!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Everyone says this, but…read. Read, read, read. Not the internet or magazines; read books. All sorts of books, with a good smattering of classics. That can mean anything from Homer to Dickens to Graham Greene – whatever. Just something outside your comfort zone, outside your normal realm of thinking/reading (and they are, in a sense, two sides of the same coin). Something that stretches your mind. Read. Keep reading. Then start writing, but keep reading. Don’t ever stop reading! I cannot stress this enough!

Darragh, Thank you for playing.

Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Peter Swanson

author of The Kind Worth Killing & The Girl with a Clock Heart for a Heart

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Carlisle, a farming town in Massachusetts, although it’s not much of a farming town anymore. It was a great childhood, one in which I had a lot of freedom and a lot of outdoors to explore. I went to public schools, and then to college in Connecticut. I now live in Massachusetts, which means that I’ve spent almost my entire life in New England. I guess I was lucky enough that I was born in a place that I love.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

This is boring, I know, but I wanted to be a writer, a writer, and a writer, although at twelve I wanted to be a writer/adventurer, kind of an Ernest Hemingway figure. Best-selling books and African safaris. At eighteen I wanted to be Martin Amis, sleeping and boozing my way around some city. Oh, and also with the best-selling books. Then at thirty, I’d have settled for making any kind of money whatsoever from writing. A small paycheck and one reader would have made me very happy.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Author: Peter Swanson

Sticking with the theme of being a writer, I think I had the very mistaken belief that part of being a writer is developing a writer’s personality. Drinking scotch, smoking unfiltered cigarettes, acting like a jerk, when, in reality, becoming a writer is only about doing the writing.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Number one would be the films of Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve been obsessed with his movies since I was about ten years old. He just made so many terrific, and unique, thrillers, really pushing the art form. Number two would be the early novels of Robert Parker, who wrote the Spenser series of detective thrillers. Again, I read these when I was young, and they were my entryway into the world of thriller novels. Third would be John D. MacDonald, another American thriller writer. He wrote the Travis McGee series of books in the 1960s through the early 1980s. He was a brilliant writer who also knew how to plot a really exciting thriller. Not easy to do.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Trust me, there were very few artistic avenues open to me. Can’t sing, can’t act, can’t paint. I’d love to be able to do any of those things well, but it’s not going to happen in this lifetime.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

It’s called The Kind Worth Killing and it’s about what happens when two strangers meet in an airport bar and decide to tell each other their secrets.

(Publisher’s blurb: Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?)

Grab a copy of Peter’s new novel The Kind Worth Killing here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they take away a memory of being caught up in a thriller that made them forget about all the things we hope to forget about when we pick up a book. And I hope they think twice the next time they see someone attractive at a bar and decide to spill some secrets.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Stephen King. He’s the only contemporary writer who I am convinced will still be read in a hundred years. He’s written so many horror classics, plus a few duds, but he keeps challenging himself, and keeps putting in the work. Also, I’ve never met him, but everything I hear makes it sounds like he’s a guy worth knowing.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Honestly, to sell enough books so that I can keep doing this as a career. That’s about it. For a long time, my only ambition as a writer was to get one book published. That happened, and I upped my goals, so maybe I’ll up them again. A bestseller list? Sure, that would be nice.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write every day until you finish whatever it is that you’re working on, and then go back and edit. Getting the story right is so important, and I think that happens when writers push forward, spending time every day with what they’re working on.

Peter, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Kind Worth Killing here

The Kind Worth Killing

by Peter Swanson

‘Hello there.’

I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.

‘Do I know you?’

Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night.

About the Author

Peter Swanson’s debut novel, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, was described by Dennis Lehane as ‘a twisty, sexy, electric thrill ride’ and in the Observer as ‘very hard not to read in one sitting’. He lives with his wife and cat in Somerville, Massachusetts.

 Grab a copy of The Kind Worth Killing here

GUEST BLOG: Emily Webb, author of Angels of Death, on getting away with murder

Angels of DeathOne of the things I have discovered from my years of reading true crime – and now writing it – is that some people do get away with murder. Really bad things happen and the person or people responsible may never face court or punishment. This is despite the tireless efforts of police and lawyers.

I have spent the past three years doing lots of research for my books Murder in Suburbia and the latest one Angels of Death and what is endlessly intriguing to me is how someone could do the worst to people and just get on with their lives. Of course, some perpetrators of murder and violent crime may be in jail for other crimes or may have died but it’s true that there are people going about their lives that have done the most horrible things and the families and loved ones of their victims are still waiting for answers.

In Murder in Suburbia, I featured several cases where families are desperate for answers – the unsolved 1984 murder of Melbourne mother Nanette Ellis who was stabbed to death in her home and discovered by her then 16-year-old son. The Victoria Police’s cold case unit are reinvestigating this case and are very hopeful it will be solved. Then there’s Lyle Allan whose lawyer brother Keith was murdered in 2000 by his law clerk and two other men. The men are now in jail but Lyle, from Melbourne, just wants to know where the body of his brother has been buried.

When cases are not solved it can be for many reasons – lack of evidence, lack of resources (DNA and scientific advances mean there are things that can be done now that just weren’t possible decades ago), inadequate police work, people giving false alibis… There are also cases where people are sent to trial and are found “not guilty”.Emily Webb

In Angels of Death I wrote about the case of Texas nurse Genene Jones who was convicted of the murder of a 15-month-old girl and the attempted murder of an 18-month-old boy. Jones was jailed in 1985 but under a Texan law that was introduced to reduce prison overcrowding, her 99-year sentence was reduced to a third.  Jones is suspected of killing many babies between 1971 and 1984 when she worked as a paediatric nurse at several Texas hospitals and a clinic. Some believe she may have killed more than 40 children. Now, she is eligible for mandatory release in early 2018 unless prosecutors can bring new charges against Jones, who will be 68 when her sentence is finished. There is an active Facebook page called “Victims of Genene Ann Jones” whose membership is made up of many people who believe their siblings, sons, daughters died at her hand. I spoke to one woman for the chapter who believes her baby sister was killed by Jones in 1981.

In many of the cases in Angels of Death, these serial killers were preying on victims for years before they were caught. When I was researching the cases for this book it became clear that a hospital provides a ready-made hunting ground for killers who were in an industry that is all about looking after people and in many cases, preserving life.

Grab a copy of Angels of Death here

Emily Webb is a Melbourne-based journalist for Leader Community Newspapers whose first true crime book Murder In Suburbia was released in January 2014.

Emily is Aussie-born and spent several years living in London where she tripped about, did lots of different jobs (including transcribing undercover police tapes at The city of London Police), married a Welshman and had a career diversion where she retrained as a high school English teacher.

She lives in suburbia with her husband and two children.

Angels of DeathAngels of Death

by Emily Webb

It’s hard to imagine that anyone in the healthcare industry could have murder on his or her mind.

But some do.

The nineteen cases in this book range across Europe, US and Australia, documenting horrifying and sinister betrayals of trust.

From Harold Shipman, Britain’s worst serial killer who murdered over 200 patients, to Roger Dean the Sydney nurse who in 2011 set fire to the nursing home where he worked killing 11 patients, these stories will make you wary and leave you shaking your head in horror.

Grab a copy of Angels of Death here

What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her recent reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.

It was all romance and crime fiction this month, with a blockbuster cherry on top!

Rivers of London / Moon Over Soho

by Ben Aaronovitch

What a delight this series is, like Harry Potter for grown-ups! The lead character, Peter Grant, is witty, brave and, in my humble opinion, just a little bit sexy. He doesn’t seem to have trouble getting the girls, that’s for sure (except maybe the one he really wants). Think urban fantasy police procedural with magic, and brilliant fun. I’ll definitely be reading more. Highly recommended.

Grab a copy of Rivers of London & Moon Over Soho 


by Candice Fox

Ooh, now this was different and in the best possible way. A crime thriller with memorable, flawed characters that’s dark ‘n dirty and right up my alley. When homicide detective Frank Bennett is teamed with Eden Archer he thinks he’s won the police partner lottery, but Eden is as mysterious as the serial killer they’re hunting. And might even be as dangerous. This won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Novel. The sequel, Eden, is out now and I plan to read it soon.

 Grab a copy of Hades here

Call Me Irresistible

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Loved it! Phillips is a romance superstar in the US but until this runaway bride story I’d never read any of her books. Now I wish I’d read her years ago. The hero, Ted (perfect man and groom) and heroine, Meg (the bride’s best friend who, according to everyone in Wynette, causes Ted to be jilted) were fascinating and their unexpected and unwanted attraction worked perfectly. Loads of quirky characters, a believable romance, plus buckets of warmth, humour, and small town mayhem. Fabulous.

  Grab a copy of Call Me Irresistible here

Her Christmas Earl

by Anna Campbell

My new favourite Anna Campbell! Okay, so maybe that has something to do with the fact that I read it on Christmas Eve and was right in the mood for something romantic and seasonally themed, but this was a fast fabulous read and I loved it. Can’t beat a reformed rake trope and the sheer warmth of the story and its characters had me sucked in from the first page. Plus who would have thought so much fun could be had in a wardrobe?

Click here for more from Anna Campbell

Big Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

Good writing buddy Rachael Johns pleaded with me to read this and what a fantastic tale it was. The way the story explored suburban lives reminded me a lot of Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap. The view isn’t always pleasant but Moriarty tackles the dark and complex issues she raises with sensitivity. On a basic level, it’s a whodunnit – we know from the outset that a death has occurred but not who died or how they died – but it’s so much more than that. The cliques, politics, gossip and sometimes sheer weirdness of being a school parent was brilliantly done, and I especially liked the structure, which made this a compelling page turner.

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you’ve read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

Now living in Melbourne, Cathryn writes full-time.

Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The French Prize

by Cathryn Hein

An ancient riddle, a broken vow – a modern-day quest for a medieval treasure.

Australian-born Dr. Olivia Walker is an Oxford academic with a reputation as one of the world’s leading Crusade historians and she’s risked everything on finding one of the most famous swords in history – Durendal. Shrouded in myth and mystery, the sword is fabled to have belonged to the warrior Roland, a champion of Charlemagne’s court, and Olivia is determined to prove to her detractors that the legend is real. Her dream is almost within reach when she discovers the long-lost key to its location in Provence, but her benefactor – Raimund Blancard – has other ideas.

For more than a millennium, the Blancard family have protected the sword. When his brother is tortured and killed by a man who believes he is Roland’s rightful heir, Raimund vows to end the bloodshed forever. He will find Durendal and destroy it, but to do that he needs Olivia’s help.

Now Olivia is torn between finding the treasure for which she has hunted all her life and helping the man she has fallen in love with destroy her dream. And all the while, Raimund’s murderous nemesis is on their trail, and he will stop at nothing to claim his birthright.

Grab a copy of The French Prize here

The Hercule Poirot Boxset – A must for every fan!

Agatha Christie’s lovable creation Hercule Poirot is one of crime fiction’s most memorable characters. Methodical and meticulous, he has inspired countless imitators in books and on screen. The Hercule Poirot Boxed Set brings together some of Christie’s most iconic Poirot cases as he utilises his “little grey cells” to find the culprit.

PS: We ran a Facebook competition recently to find the biggest Poirot fan out there, congrats to  Trudy Schmitzer on being a winner! Trudy, please email us at with your details.

1402_A G O T_PBb.inddHercule Poirot Boxed Set

Seven Classic Hercule Poirot Mysteries

by Agatha Christie

A new paperback slipcase featuring seven of Hercule Poirot’s very best cases. ‘My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.’

This new boxed set of paperbacks collects seven of Hercule Poirot’s most famous and best-loved cases, perfect for readers who who would like to be introduced – or introduce their friends – to some of the twentieth century’s most iconic murder books.

Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders, Five Little Pigs and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas are accompanied by the book that started it all, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which is published for the first time complete with its original courtroom ending, and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, in which Poirot and Hastings are reunited for a final time in the house where they solved their first case together.

Grab your Hercule Poirot Boxed Set here

NEWS: Crime Novelist P.D. James dies aged 94

Source: People Magazine

Source: People Magazine

P.D. James, well known for her crime novels including the bestselling crime fiction starring the detective Adam Dalgliesh, The Children of Men and Dead Comes to Pemberleydied peacefully at home in Oxford on Thursday morning.

It had always been her “intention” to become a writer, and she began writing about a detective partly as an apprenticeship for writing “serious” novels, as she explained to the Paris Review in 1994. James had always loved crime novels, was unwilling to explore the “traumatic experiences” of her own life in fiction and was well aware it would be easier to find a publisher for a detective story…

Read more at The Guardian



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,340 other followers

%d bloggers like this: