Hakan Nesser at Crimefest 2009

Hakan Nesser, the prizewinning winning author of the Swedish Inspector van Veeteren novels, will be attending Crimefest next year (14 – 17 May 2009). His first two books translated into English are Borkmann's Point and The Return, both highly enjoyable police procedurals, full of dry wit and social comment, as well as featuring a main character that I can only define as "out-of-date maverick", lovely! I haven't read his latest, The Mind's Eye, but clearly must before next year's festival. The fourth book of Nesser's to be translated, Woman with a Birthmark, will be published next year.

Crimefest is launching an online reading group. The first title to be discussed will be Jericho Point by glamorous but dangerous Meg Gardiner, toastmistress at next year's Gala Dinner. Meg has just started a new thriller series with the excellent The Dirty Secrets Club, "but her Evan Delaney books paved the way for her international success. They are as addictive as a class A-drug, but a lot more fun. The first 20 people to contact the Crimefest organizers with their postal address will receive a free copy of Jericho Point with details of how to sign up and participate in the online reading group."

Other authors attending the festival are Simon Brett, author of the Fethering series, the Mrs Pargeter novels and the Charles Paris detective series, and of various radio and television scripts; M.C. Beaton of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series, who spoke amusingly at this year's Harrogate festival; Giles Brandreth, author of many books including crime novels featuring Oscar Wilde as the sleuth; and Andrew Taylor, twice winner of the Historical Dagger and shortlisted again this year for Bleeding Heart Square. And to celebrate 21 years of bookshop Murder One, its owner Maxim Jakubowski will be the festival's special guest.

There's also a competition. "You have until November 17 to come up with tagline for next year's Crimefest. For the 2006 Left Coast Crime we had 'For a bloody good time' as the tagline. This year it was 'a new international crime fiction convention'. For our second outing we are looking for something new–'simply the best' is too easy and not allowed–so if you can come up with something original (email suggestions here) we will reward the winner with a selection of prizes."