Newbooks crime-fiction supplement

Nb mag I picked up a copy of newbooks magazine (May/June issue) in W H Smiths the other weekend, no doubt because of the words "including our special crime-fiction supplement" on the cover. The magazine itself is for readers and reading groups, and is pretty interesting – not least containing special offers and some free giveaways on several rather good novels, including Andrea Camilleri's August Heat. (You pay the postage: I suspect this offer is for the UK only but am not sure.)

The crime-fiction supplement is certainly impressive, and I recommend you try to get hold of a copy if you can (the magazine's main website is here). It is produced in conjunction with the Theakston's Old Peculier crime writing festival, Harrogate, which this year happens on 22-25 July, and is full of articles by or about crime authors, and a few extracts. The first article is an impressive piece by M. R. Hall, author of The Coroner and The Disappeared, on why he stopped being a barrister and turned instead to crime - in the authorial sense, that is - and, indeed, why he chose a coroner as his main character. He writes: "It seems to me that we live in a society which as sought not only to insulate itself from death, but which has increasingly lost the emotional mechanisms and belief systems for dealing with it."

I enjoyed reading the other articles, most particularly one by R. J. Ellory about his awful childhood, his persistence in pursuing his dream of being a writer, and why he chose crime fiction as his topic. (He has now published many successful novels, including A Quiet Belief in Angels and The Anniversary Man.) There are short reviews of new books, alerts of forthcoming titles, and more.

I highly recommend this crime supplement – if you can't get hold of it via the parent magazine, it might be worth trying the Harrogate festival office directly, as I would not be at all surprised if they turn out to have the odd copy.