A Spy Novelist in Russia

Category: Featured

Earlier this month, author Charles Cumming was invited on a trip to Russia, organized by the British Council, as part of the 2014 ‘UK-Russia Year of Culture’ programme. They stayed in Moscow and Tarusa, visiting some absolutely incredible places – Tolstoy’s house at Yasnaya Polyana, Chekov’s country estate, the Kremlin – and soaking up the local culture (and, we assume, a sensible amount of vodka).

In case you didn’t catch Charles’s live tweets from Russia, we’ve provided a recap below. And if you want to see more of his accomplished photography, head on over to his facebook page ( to get a peek inside the Grand Kremlin Palace, see close-ups of Chekov’s writing desk, and James Bond’s swimming trunks!

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 7

Inside the Grand Kremlin Palace on Saturday afternoon pic.twitter.com/ID9F7PjpaE

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 Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 8

At Kim Philby’s grave in Kuntsevo cemetery @StMartinsPress @HarperFiction #BritishCouncil #Moscow2014 @BenMacintyre1 pic.twitter.com/TBQAbrNDz9

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(If you have read Charles’s novel, The Trinity Six, you’ll appreciate this photo of him standing by Kim Philby’s grave.)

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 9

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The room in which he wrote War & Peace #Tolstoy #BritishCouncil pic.twitter.com/FYqMNw9ZmE

Alex von Tunzelmann @alexvtunzelmann · Sep 8

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UK authors visit Anton Chekhov’s house. The only one tall enough to ring Chekhov’s lunch bell is @CharlesC umming. pic.twitter.com/2HrHAYw70T

 

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 11

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Chess players in Gorky Park. The man in the cap beat me in 18 moves

 

Charles Cumming @CharlesCumming · Sep 9

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Tolstoy’s grave in the forest at Yasnaya Polyana pic.twitter.com/aByJLbiNRQ

 

Alex von Tunzelmann @alexvtunzelmann · Sep 8

breakfast pic

The most anguish-inducing breakfast I have ever seen. Welcome to rural Russia! @Tussymarx @CharlesCumming pic.twitter.com/oiyuevI6qn

 

Charles Cumming’s latest novel is A Colder War. You can follow him on twitter here and find him on facebook here 

A Colder War

Why are women so attracted to crime fiction?

Category: News

Genevieve is currently working with the Crime and Thriller department for two weeks in order to gain work experience. Look out for another article from her on her experience in our department.

 

 

“Crime novels are about life, death, love, loss and broken minds”

Alex Barclay

 

I read a fascinating article in the Irish Examiner about female crime fiction writers and it got me thinking…why are women so attracted to this particular genre?

 

The presumption is that men, seen as naturally more aggressive, are more inclined to read novels of crime, violence, blood, guts and gore. But it seems as if the opposite is true.

 

The article, Murder, She Wrote by author and journalist Declan Burke, explores the opinions of four of the leading lights of the current wave of Irish crime writing – Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt, Niamh O’Connor and Ava McCarthy. All women who prove that the female author is very often deadlier than the male.

 

One of the explanations given for this gravitation towards the more sinister side of fiction is due to what Barclay sees as “a compulsion to understand” a broken mind; a need to know how the darker side of humanity works. Perhaps the reason for this attraction is that crime fiction gives women an opportunity to explore the psychological motivations of a killer in the safe confines of the pages of a book.

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