Thursday 20 August 2009

New Agatha Christie Stories

I am one of the lucky few to have already read two previously unpublished stories by Agatha Christie which will be published for the first time, along with notes and exceptional other material which was lain undiscovered for decades, on the 2nd September this year.

John Curran came across the notebooks after being invited to examine Dame Agatha's papers at Greenway, her holiday retreat in Devon. When the notebooks were found and analysed by him, the draft of an unknown and unpublished Hercule Poirot story emerged. As a lifelong Christie fan, for many years he edited the official Agatha Christie Newsletter and he acted as a consultant to the National Trust during the restoration of Greenway House, Dame Agatha’s Devon home, he said this was 'like dying and going to heaven'.

Curran has painstakingly threaded together the secret handwritten notes. The jottings were scattered with other notes throughout some of 73 exercise copybooks.
Mr Curran's four-year labour of love means that from beyond the grave, one of the nation's best-loved and all time best-selling authors has effectively rekindled the wily Belgian sleuth's career.

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks is published on the 2nd September by HarperCollins.

Read more about this book at

Thursday 13 August 2009

Booker Promotion - Well done him!

Graham Fudger, a book lover, has used his time on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth to celebrate the longlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Mr Fudger, is one of the 2,400 people chosen to participate in Anthony Gormley's One & Other Project which allows them to stand on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London for one hour.

Mr Fudger said his favourite of the longlisted books was James Lever's Me Cheeta - the purported autobiography of the chimpanzee Cheeta, who gained Hollywood stardom in the Tarzan movies.
Other books on the long-list include The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Brooklyn by Colm Tobin, Summertime by JM Coetzee and The Children's Book by AS Byatt.

Apparently, Mr Fudger decided how to spend his hour on the plinth after meeting three of the Booker judges. Good for him, I say. Any way to promote books is good in my opinion. I just wish that I had the idea!

The shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 8 September.
The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on Tuesday 6 October at London's Guildhall.

Monday 10 August 2009

And This Is True by Emily Mackie

Hardcover: 320 Pages

Publisher: Sceptre (4 March 2010)

'Everything must start with a BANG' so begins this remarkable and brilliant debut by Emily Mackie. Nevis Gow loves his Dad. No. He is in love with his Dad. Nevis is 15 years old and for the last 11 years he has lived in a van with his dad travelling around the country. Until one day Marshall, his Dad, crashes the van and everything changes. Stranded on a remote Highland farm amid a family overshadowed by grief, Marshall tries to steer them back to normality while Nevis fights to keep things the way they were. Soon, though, he comes to realise that nothing about his lost life in the van was quite as it seemed. Nevis meticulously details his 'true' record of events for the last 11 years living with his Dad, but lines blur between love and obsession, reality and wish-fulfilment, dreams and memory. The plot is raw and shocking, the writing funny, poignant, and strikingly accomplished. This is a debut novel by a young writer of remarkable talent.

Goldsboro Books Rating:

Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn

Hardcover: 250 pages
Publisher: Macmillan New Writing (6 Nov 2009)


This is one of the best crime novels I have read this year and possibly 2009’s most unnerving literary thriller, based on 1964’s most notorious real-life murder, this is the debut novel from an L. A. Screenwriter, Ryan David Jahn. Katrina Marino is about to become America's most infamous murder victim. This novel is about her, and the story of her murderer. It is also the story of Katrina's neighbours, those who witnessed her murder and did nothing: the terrified Vietnam draftee; the woman who thinks she's killed a child, and her husband who will risk everything for the truth; the former soldier planning suicide and the man who saves him. And others whose lives are touched by the crime: the elderly teacher whose past is catching up with him; the amateur blackmailer who's about to find out just what sort of people he's been threatening; the corrupt cop who believes he is God's 'red right hand'. From the very first page this is a shocking and gripping novel and a cinematic tour-de-force, a terrifying crime novel unlike any other. More please!

Goldsboro Books Rating:

Friday 7 August 2009

Book of the Month - August 2009

This month we have chosen Afterlife by a debut author and published poet, Sean O'Brien.

'Compelling and hypnotic' - Helen Dunmore. 'A convincing, darkly comic and painful take on the astonishingly poisonous world of poetry and literary aspiration' - Andrew Greig
Martin and Alex meet at university and - although Martin can never quite work out why - become friends. When they finish their undergraduate studies, and with the summer ahead of them before they have to think about the future, they and their respective girlfriends - Susie and Jane - rent a house in the middle of nowhere. While Jane writes and Susie finds a job at the local art college, the two boys spend their days doing little other than sleeping, drinking, smoking and trying to keep cool in scorching temperatures. As the heat builds, however so does the tension between the four; then, when a glamorous, hedonistic American student arrives in their midst, events and emotions escalate still further. A novel about power, rivalry, jealousy and - in the end - murder, "Afterlife" is a gripping exploration of how some outcomes are decided long before we're even aware of the options.

This is a novel about four literary types won’t always set hearts racing, but the reader’s faith is rewarded by the consummate skills on show. Fans of the outraged humour and tough passion of O’Brien’s poetry will find plenty in evidence here. Afterlife is a richly rewarding portrait of friendships under siege, full of vibrant characters and atmospheres that linger in the mind and the heart long after you finish it.
Signed & Dated First Editions are available from