First Monday Crime – A Christmas Special

Festive goody bags provided by No Exit Press

Christmas had come slightly early to First Monday Crime last night with not one, but two fabulous panels in the very festive Brown’s Courtroom. Kicking off was Mark Billingham, Paula Daly and debut author, Corrie Jackson talking to Barry Forshaw.

Barry asked the authors to describe their current books and give us some recommended reads.

Mark Billingham’s current book is Die of Shame. He described it as a locked room mystery within the close circle of an addiction therapy group. It’s difficult to solve because the group is bound by confidentiality and they’re all liars. Mark said that everything we think we know about addiction is wrong. It has nothing to do with chemical dependence but the trauma that triggered the need in the first place. Mark’s recommended reads are Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb (a fantastic book, you can read my review here) and Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb series.

Paula Daly’s book is The Mistake I Made. How do professional people get out of debt? If you were offered enough money to get yourself out of trouble in return for spending a night with your benefactor, would you do it? Her character, Roz, has a decision to make. Her next novel, The Trophy Child is out next year and focuses on pushy parents. Her recommended reads are This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell and Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant.

Corrie Jackson’s debut book is Breaking Dead, set in the fashion industry. Sophie Kent is a journalist who investigates the brutal murder of a young model. As a former fashion journalist herself, Corrie felt free to write in her book what she couldn’t write in magazines. Breaking Dead shows the darker side of the industry. Her recommended reads are Tall Oaks by Chris Whittaker and The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett.


A question from the audience was, do you get stressed about details or do you let it go and then come back to it later?

For Corrie, she was obsessed about getting it right with book one but with her second book she just wanted to get the first draft down and then sort out any issues.

Paula has a different approach. She writes 700 words a day and makes sure that they’re right before moving on.

A question for Mark – do you like writing standalones?

Yes! It helps to not get too bored and sometimes your story doesn’t fit your usual main character.


The second panel had Alex Marwood, Daniel Pembrey and Yrsa Sigurdottir.


Daniel’s debut novel, The Harbour Master, is set in Amsterdam (you can read my review here) and Barry’s first question – how many times have you been to the Red Light District? Daniel first went with the Dutch National Crime Squad on an investigation which helped to spark ideas for his Dutch police detective, Henk van der Pol. The sequel, Night Market, is out next year.

Alex Marwood’s latest book is The Darkest Secret, the dark tale of a missing 3 year old. Alex writes standalone novels and is currently writing a story about cults. She feels that this is a huge thing at the moment and that the internet is feeding into this. It’s now much easier to find large groups of people who agree with you and create echo chambers.

Yrsa Sigurdottir is known as the queen of Icelandic crime writers. Her latest book is Why Did You Lie?, a standalone novel. It’s a story with three interlocking plots but has one thing in common – lying. Her series protagonist is Thóra Guðmundsdóttir and although she didn’t set out to create a version of herself, there are some similarities. As well as a writer, Yrsa is also an engineer. She said it’s not uncommon for people to have two jobs in Iceland as they have such a small population but still have a country to run.

Final quick question – pet hates?

For Barry Forshaw – pictures of cats that are sent to him on social media.

Alex Marwood – people who don’t like pictures of cats.

Yrsa Sigurdottir – no women on the board of OPEC

Daniel Pembrey – 1* reviews (although Alex Marwood secretly enjoys them – hers not Daniel’s!)

So with the panels finished, the Christmas party continued over at the pub. And for me it really was my Christmas party! I’ll have been writing this blog for a year in January and I’ve loved every minute. But it is done in relative isolation so it’s always great to meet up with friends and have a chat over a drink and a cookie! First Monday Crime will be taking a well deserved break in January and will be back in February.

And I’ll be back with my final blog of the year next week, with my top ten crime reads of 2016!


If you’re still looking for presents to buy then maybe you’d like to buy some of the books by the authors

For Mark Billingham please click here

For Paula Daly please click here

For Corrie Jackson please click here

For Alex Marwood please click here

For Daniel Pembrey please click here

For Yrsa Sigurdottir please click here





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