A WARM STORY FOR A COLD WINTER
THE VISITOR by Chris Simpson
Hill farmers Jos Roberstshaw and his wife, Emily, are used to being self-sufficient in the hard and sometimes bleak Yorkshire landscape. On their farm, life follows a familiar routine, with everything as it should be and few surprises around the corner. but when a mysterious visitor comes knocking and they open the door of their self-contained world, nothing will ever be quite the same again.
Chris Simpson lives on a narrowboat with his wife Cathy on the edge of the beautiful North Yorkshire Dales. Born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, he could never have known then just how much the landscape and the people would shape his world and future in writing and music. After a variety of occupations, from post-mortem assistant to traffic engineer, he founded the acclaimed Magna Carta acoustic group. So far he has made 23 albums and sold over 8 million records around the world, travelling through 87 countries. He is, on occasions, a musician, lecturer, speaker, radio presenter and raconteur. Each line of this beautifully crafted story evokes the rugged and beautiful countryside that the author loves and returned to after his many international tours with Magna Carta. He is quick to note he was never far away in mind from the heartlands, the land of the Dales up there in God's own country. Through it all, Chris Simpson remains a Dalesman, first and foremost, and sees his simple stories as a kind of memorial to an age of forgotten values. An enthralling storyteller as well as a superb writer, he enjoys sitting and exchanging tales with his fans, as much as he enjoys singing to them. He is currently finishing a memoir, Seasons in the Dales, which has inspired one reader to call him The Yorkshire Garrison Keillor.
'The Visitor is a moving, evocative story that touches on the many aspects of my own experiences, those childhood memories of Christmas at my home in the West Riding of Yorkshire.' Patrick Stewart, actor
'Chris Simpson is a master storyteller from the heartlands of the Dales. This tale will take you there and touch your heart.' James Herriot, author
20,000 MILES by Christopher Fenwick
If in 2017, a group of young men had decided to emulate this odyssey, they would probably only have managed a part of the journey. Conflict and bureaucracy would have barred their entry to many of the countries they tried to cross. However, in 1960, three young Cambridge graduates bought themselves an Austin A40 and set off on a marathon trip via Colombo to attend a friend s wedding in Cape Town. They took the long way there. Christopher Fenwick, along with his friends Robin Gaunt and John Maclay, set off across continents on the motoring adventure of their lives through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Their staple diet was Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie, usually eaten at the roadside. They even meet old schoolfriends along the way in Iran and had tea with Mr. Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, with his daughter Indira Gandhi and grandson Rajiv who were to follow in his footsteps. Their loyal saloon car suffered the ravages of potholed roads and mountains but friendly mechanics always came to their rescue, while the men soon became quite adept themselves at repairing and cannibalising the vehicle as it suffered various breakdowns en route. Eventually they made it to Ceylon from where they embarked for the last leg of their trip by boat via the Yemen, flying from there to Ethiopia and onwards through Africa to raise a glass of champagne in Cape Town.
Christopher Fenwick MBE was born and raised in Newcastle where he became a director of the family business of Fenwick, a leading group of department stores. With his brothers and colleagues, he worked to rebuild both the original stores and form a national retail concern. However, before starting his business career, he d already developed a thirst for adventure while doing National Service in 40 Commando Royal Marines, seeing active service in the Cyprus Emergency and Suez landings, in advance of attending Cambridge University. Now retired, he lives in Pangbourne with his wife Paula and travels frequently back to the North East to make use of his Newcastle United FC season ticket .
ELVIS LEFT THE BUILDING – FORTY YEARS AGO!
A new biography published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the ‘King’s’ death on the 16 August 2017
With a Foreword by RUSSELL WATSON
Spencer Leigh, renowned music historian, biographer and broadcaster has written another masterful account of a legend of our age, full of the insight and humour that we have come to expect from his books.
Not content to just write a biography purely focusing on the life of the protagonist, Spencer takes the reader on an evocative journey of time and place. He delves into the history of America’s Deep South and discusses how music became an integral part of the location that was to be Elvis’s birthplace.
Crammed with anecdotes and recollections from the musicians and singers who preceded Elvis, the stage is now set for this extraordinary performer.
His career was full of controversy and ELVIS PRESLEY: CAUGHT IN A TRAP sorts the facts from fiction. What separated him from his contemporaries, his bizarre relationship with his manager Colonel Parker, just how old was Priscilla when they first met, how did he reinvent himself for Las Vegas, did he have to die so young, and why does his legend endure?
To answer these questions Spencer Leigh spoke to band members, songwriters, friends, fans and many people who worked with the King, and he examines the evidence with the scrutiny of a forensic scientist.
Spencer Leigh was born in Liverpool in 1945 and still lives there. He is an acknowledged expert on popular music, both as a broadcaster and journalist. His On The Beat programme has been on BBC Radio Merseyside over 30 years and he is regularly featured in Record Collector, Now Dig This and Country Music People. His many books include Best of the Beatles: The Sacking of Pete Best, The Cavern Club, Love Me Do to Love Me Don’t: The Beatles on Record, Frank Sinatra: An Extraordinary Story and Simon and Garfunkel: Together Alone, all for McNidder & Grace.
For further information, a copy of ELVIS PRESLEY: CAUGHT IN A TRAP or to talk to Spencer Leigh please contact:
Linda MacFadyen Tel: 0191 280 1080 Mobile: 07768 390172 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Menace in Malmö: The fifth Inspector Anita Sundström mystery by Torquil Macleod
On a late summer evening, the train from Malmö to Ystad is involved in a crash. The deaths at the scene seem straightforward until one of the bodies is identified as a well-known conman. It's someone who had crossed swords with Chief Inspector Moberg in the past and he is keen to find out what the dead man was up to. Before long it develops into a far more sinister investigation for Inspector Anita Sundström and the team at Skåne County Police.
THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE
McNidder & Grace were delighted that R.J. Mitchell’s The Shift was a finalist in the fiction category for the national competition The People’s Book Prize.
THE SHIFT BY R.J. MITCHELL
THE SHIFT is an exceptionally gritty thriller and one that will transport the reader back to the summer of 1989 and is based on the author's experiences after he joined Strathclyde Police on July 31, 1989. It is interwoven with a fictionalised account of the Ice Cream War and the Northern Ireland troubles spilling into Glasgow.
Drawing heavily from his experiences as a Glasgow cop Mitchell has created the critically acclaimed and award nominated DS Thoroughgood detective series.
THE BOOKBAG'S TOP TEN CRIME NOVELS OF 2015
MURDER IN MALMO (Anita Sundstrom Mysteries) by Torquil MacLeod
Inspector Anita Sundstrom has been on sick leave for a few months. To some extent it's been political: she was involved in a high-profile case which went tragically wrong and left her exposed and emotionally vulnerable. Now she's back at work and there's a lot going on that's exciting. Someone is killing rich local businessmen and one was made (rather clumsily) to look like a suicide, but the reason isn't obvious. At the other end of the economic scale, a gunman is shooting at immigrants and there's fear in their communities. They're aware that they're not well-liked in Sweden and now they're actually getting shot at. But Sundstrom is not going to be allowed to get involved with the murder cases - she's not trusted - and finds herself stuck with the new trainee detective whilst she investigates the theft of some modern art.
There won't be any spoilers in this review, but you need to know that Murder in Malmo doesn't read well as a standalone. A lot of what happens, and most particularly the way that Sundstrom is treated arises out of what happens in the first book in the series. You'll understand this second book better if you've read the first book - and if you read this book first (yes, you could) it will spoil the pleasure of reading Meet Me in Malmo.
I can't think of another police procedural where all the investigators come off the page so well. You begin by thinking that they're going to be a bit stereotypical. Westermark looks as though he's going to be the standard randy copper, lusting after anything in a skirt and Sundstrom in particular, but even she acknowledges that he's a good detective. Moberg, her boss, is gross, misogynistic and on his third marriage. He's quick to put Sundstrom down when she returns to work and to tell her that she could be out of a job if she's not careful - but he recognises her talents when it's important. I liked Nordlund (the older detective who's mentored Sundstrom) and Hakim the new trainee. They knit together into a credible team.
And the plot is good - complex and with plenty of red herrings, clever without being too clever and with a very unusual killing for the first murder which it takes the investigators some time to work out how it was done, never mind by whom. The three murder cases all seem to be completely unconnected. Are the connections which do emerge just coincidences or something more sinister? I'm normally far too busy to spend a day reading a book, but I finally had to be reminded yesterday evening that dinner might be a good idea and I was shocked to find just how late it was as I'd been completely wrapped up in the book. After I read Meet Me in Malmo I thought that Torquil MacLeod might be an author to follow and I'd be happy to read his next book. Now I can't wait for the third book in the series.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Murder in Malmo (Anita Sundstrom Mysteries) by Torquil MacLeod is in the TOP TEN CRIME NOVELS OF 2015.
SIMON & GARFUNKEL : TOGETHER ALONE by SPENCER LEIGH with a foreword by Suzi Quatro.
SIMON AND GARFUNKEL is a definitive account of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's career together. With unique material and exclusive interviews with fellow musicians, promoters and friends, acclaimed author Spencer Leigh has written a compelling biography of some of the world's biggest musical stars. With remarkable stories about the duo on every page, the book not only charts their rise to success and the years of their fame, but analyses the personalities of the two men and the ups and downs of their often fraught relationship.
EURO CRIME REVIEW : MURDER IN MALMÖ By Torquil MacLeod
Tommy Ekman, the charismatic head of an advertising agency, is found dead in his shower. With no tangible evidence the suspicion falls first on his employees, and then on his wife Kristina, daughter of the powerful and rich industrialist Dag Wollstad. Tommy’s death has been caused by inhaling gas, similar to what was used in Nazi gas chambers. The discovery is shocking and completely incomprehensible. Soon another prominent Malmö businessman is found murdered, and the investigating team stumbles in the dark, trying to dig into the backgrounds of victims and to connect conflicting motives. A third murder follows…
At the same time a gunman is targeting immigrants in Malmö, shooting to spread the fear, and then shooting to kill. No traces are left but the message is clear and disturbing. The ghost of the King Gustav Adolf, famous for leading Sweden to military supremacy in the seventeenth century, seems to be lurking in background…
However, Inspector Anita Sundström is not allowed to be involved in either of these investigations. Returning to work after her disastrous error of professional judgement (set out in a first novel MEET ME IN MALMO) she is side-lined and sent to track a stolen modern piece of art. That case is more to please the well-connected Commissioner Dahlbeck rather than to seriously find the painting. Anita’s previous protégé is sent to Stockholm so she is teamed with Hakim, a young conscientious but hot headed policeman of Iraqi origin. She feels equally annoyed and motherly towards Hakim but has no say within the boundaries set by her antagonistic boss Chief Inspector Moberg and her colleague and nemesis Inspector Karl Westmark, a particularly unpleasant person, lusting after any attractive woman he sees and chasing after people who could further his career. He would become a caricature; however, MacLeod’s skilful characterisation builds up tension where it is needed and moves the story forward.
I confess I want Inspector Anita Sundström to be my friend. She messes up, kills the wrong man, falls in love with the killer and cannot move on. She’s big on self-pity. Occasionally she disobeys orders. But she definitely wants to do her job to the best of her abilities, and although reluctantly, she can admit that misogynist opportunist Westmark is actually an excellent cop. Only a clever author can create a believable protagonist, flawed and honest.
Fast paced, with a strong plot and full of references to the history of Sweden and geography of Skåne, where Malmö is located, the second novel by Torquil MacLeod is very visual, with a very rich sense of location. Anita Sundström’s stories would make a great TV dramas. I would also recommend it to the fans of the much darker Kurt Wallander’s series: Ystad is not that far from Malmö. Read, compare and enjoy.
Ewa Sherman, November 2015
FINANCIAL TIMES interview (Saturday 21 November 2015) with John Donald, author of PRECIOUS STATEMENTS.
PRAISE FOR JOHN DONALD
'John Donald's work is a wonderful example of innovation and expression. It's a time capsule spanning five decades since the 1960's that British jewellery will never witness again.' JOANNA HARDY, Independent Fine Jewellery Specialists.
'The combination of John Donald's creative vision with exquisite craftsmanship has also been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, his principal patron of Modern Jewellery, but also by many private clients.' ROSEMARY RANSOME WALLIS, Art Director and Curator, The Collections of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London.
OUT NOW - FRANK SINATRA : AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE.
With exclusive interviews with fellow musicians, promoters and those who knew him, FRANK SINATRA : AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE, with much unique material, will be the definitive account of Sinatra and his career. FOREWORD BY SIR TIM RICE.
'In Spencer Leigh's mammoth and wonderful tome on Frank Sinatra, he has superbly given us Americana through the long life and career of his subject which began way before his did. Sinatra's agents, lovers, dodgy associates, showbiz friends and enemies, passions, hatreds, bravery and recklessness, finesse and crudity, worldly wisdom and naiveté, are all part of the complex whole and Leigh captures them all. Whether there has been a better telling of the Frank Sinatra story than Spencer Leigh's version only someone who has read all the myriad other attempts can say. I can say for sure that after reading FRANK SINATRA : AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE you may want to read more about him, but you won't need to.' - Sir Tim Rice
OUT NOW - BEST OF THE BEATLES : THE SACKING OF PETE BEST.
In this unique book, based on extensive research and interviews with those close to the events, Spencer Leigh has gathered all the clues together to try and solve the greatest Beatles mystery of all.
'A wonderful book!' - HAROLD KRÄMER, THE BEATLES MUSEUM
'An accomplished writer of musical biographies, this is a typically authoritative book.' - CHOICE MAGAZINE
'A remarkable book. It has been a great pleasure to read.' - DAVID CHARTERS, LIVERPOOL ECHO
MURDER IN MALMÖ by TORQUIL MACLEOD : BLOG TOUR 9 - 24 AUGUST 2015
Visit the bloggers following this exciting blog tour that took place in August 2015 for Murder in Malmö by Torquil Macleod. Catch up with Anita in the second instalment of the Inspector Anita Sundström mysteries.
A gunman is loose in Malmö and he's targeting immigrants. The charismatic head of an advertising agency is found dead in his shower. Inspector Anita Sundström wants to be involved in the murder investigations, but she is being sidelined by her antagonistic boss. She is assigned to find a stolen painting by a once - fashionable artist, as well as being lumbered with a new trainee assistant. She also has to restore her professional reputation after a deadly mix-up in a previous high-profile case. Then another prominent Malmö businessman is found murdered and Sundström finds herself back in the action and facing new dangers in the second Anita Sundström Malmö mystery.
'I hope that Anita Sundström will be assigned to more cases in future books.' - EURO CRIME
'A great new addition to the crime genre... pretty terrific.' - LIZ WILKINS
'Anita Sundström deserves a place alongside the best Nordic detectives.' - QUENTIN BATES
April 15, 2015 is the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Bergen - Belsen.
To commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the camps and Holocaust Memorial Day the Jewish Museum London has invited Zdenka Fantlová to speak about her experiences on Sunday 25 January 2015 at 10:30AM - 12:30PM.
In 2010 McNidder & Grace published Zdenka Fantlová's memoir THE TIN RING; a unique and incredible story of love,human endurance and will power. How a seventeen year old girl survived the horrors of six Nazi concentration camps.
'An unforgettable memoir... deserves to be read for it's unique story and for its shared message about the unrelenting human spirit.' - PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY
'These are the stories we must read and never forget.' - CHIEF RABBI LORD SACKS
'Zdenka Fantlová and her story made a lasting impression. She survived six concentration camps, endured horrors the like of which most of us can't begin to comprehend, yet never lost the will to live or her optimism for a better future. During her time in the camps she kept a little tin ring, made for her by her boyfriend. She risked her life to keep this humble object that meant so much to her.' - FIONA BRUCE, BBC'S ANTIQUE ROADSHOW
Now 94, Zdenka Fantlová is one of the few living eye witnesses to the horror of the Holocaust, to which she lost her entire family. For as long as she lives Zdenka is determined to tell her inspiring story of great love, and of what happened in the Holocaust to as many people as possible. If you wish to see a copy of the book or speak to Zdenka, please do get in touch with Linda MacFayden. Email : email@example.com . Tel : 0191 280 1080 . Mobile : 07768 390172 .
The Portico Prize is awarded biennially to the highest quality books set mainly or wholly in the north of England. The winners of the £10,000 prize in each section (fiction and non-fiction) will be announced at a gala dinner on 22 November in Manchester Town Hall.
The Portico shortlisting coincides with the paperback launch, in October 2012, of William Armstrong, Magician of the North, which has received numerous accolades since it was first published in hardback in the autumn of 2010.