Book Club with Anna Caig…

If, like me, your taste in fiction runs to the murderous, the annual ‘New Blood’ picks by Val McDermid as part of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate are a highlight of the year.

New Blood is where McDermid unveils her top four debut novelists, and if you’re looking for something new to read it is a great way to find writers who are pushing the boundaries of crime fiction. The authors will take part in a hotly anticipated event at the festival where the genre will be debated and celebrated. Val McDermid said: “Choosing the four debut novels for the New Blood panel at the festival and presenting them to the 700-strong audience is the best job in crime fiction. I get to immerse myself in new voices and fresh ideas. My quartet this year have each produced a provocative and entertaining excursion into their very distinctive worlds. I guarantee each of these books is a riveting read.” The books chosen this year are Will Dean’s Dark Pines about a deaf journalist investigating the case of an eyeless corpse in rural Sweden, Dervla McTiernan’s The Ruin set in the dark heart of Ireland, CJ Tudor’s suspense-filled The Chalk Man, and Stuart Turton bringing time loops, body swaps and a psychopathic footman to the murder mystery with The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Tickets for the festival, which runs from 19-22 July and boasts thriller superstar Lee Child as its programming chair, go on sale this week.

Read more …

Festival tickets on sale…

TICKETS have gone on sale for this year’s Gap Festival in Goring.

The biennial arts and culture extravaganza, which was first held in 2014, will take place from Thursday to Sunday, June 14 to 17 and will include a number of additional “fringe” and pre-festival events.

The headliner will be soul singer Mica Paris, who will perform the music of Ella Fitzgerald in the festival marquee on Gardiner recreation ground on the Saturday night.

Crime fiction author Val McDermid will give a talk in the marquee during the day called “Killing people for fun and profit”.
Actor, author and former MP Gyles Brandreth, a patron of the festival, is bringing his one-man show Break A Leg! to the village hall at 4pm on the Sunday. He will discuss his new book of the same name, which tells colourful stories from his life in theatre.

Other attractions include antiques expert Eric Knowles, garden designer Joe Swift, the Goring and Streatley Concert Band, Goring rock group The Lightyears, classical quintet Chamberhouse Winds and twenties jazz band The Pasadena Roof Orchestra.

There will be dozens of exhibitions, talks and workshops showcasing music, dance, arts and crafts, photography, local history, science, drama and poetry. Performers come both from within the community and further afield.

For more information, visit:

Preview – Have I Got News for You…


Last week’s episode seemed unfazed by the recent comments by Hislop and Merton about women appearing on the programme. This may change tonight as there’s a woman hosting.

It seems to be a bit of a quiz theme in tonight’s choice of guests. Victoria Coren Mitchell is hosting tonight, with one of the contestants being Richard Osman. The other guest is the crime novelist Val McDermid, who is no stranger to quizzes herself as she is a regular on Radio 4 cryptic Round Britain Quiz.


Have I Got News for You is on BBC One at 21.30

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Val McDermid