Episode 3 - Ann Cleeves, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Killer Women

Shetland and Iceland offer the perfect muses.

Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Yrsa Sigurdardottir

2 November 2016

Mark Billingham is joined by Shetland author Ann Cleeves and Nordic Noir author Yrsa Sigurdardottir to discuss being marooned with murder.

Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

Firstly, Ann took us through her latest releases Too Good To Be True and Cold Earth while Yrsa's new book Why Did You Lie? is also currently available and The Legacy is coming out soon. One bombshell from Ann was the announcement that, on its release in two years time, the next and eighth Jimmy Perez book will be her last in the series. At least we've got more of the TV series to look forward to.

Both Ann and Yrsa have strong ties to two islands, Shetland and Iceland, and we hear more on what it's like to write fiction based there and how islands themselves can have a heavy influence on crime stories.

Islands have been used to great effect in crime, with the Shetland adaptation being an obvious example or even Bergerac and Death in Paradise which can be currently seen on Drama.

Both Ann and Yrsa talk passionately and perceptively about their respective island locations. We hear about the social, economic and cultural aspects of the regions, how that shapes crime stories. Yrsa goes on to offer her insight into why Scandi and Nordic Noir has such a distinctive feel...

A Scandinavian or Nordic mentality is this appreciation of gloom

We also get to hear our guests' thoughts on whether the characters of Thora Gudmundsdottir and Jimmy Perez would survive in the isolation of a prison...

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Meanwhile, Paul Hirons visits Killer Women to reveal more about this brand new festival. Paul speaks to co-founder Melanie McGrath about setting the event up, authors Paula Hawkins, Louise Doughty and John Connolly about featuring on panels at the event, and finally Sarah Naughton on what it's like for a new writer.

Guest Recommendations

In each episode we ask our guests for a recommendation for a good read and a good watch, with Ann and Yrsa offering up suggestions based on our island crime theme.

Ann picked the "fun and warmth" of Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano series as her good read, pointing out that the Sicily-set books do contain some politics but are mostly about food, good wine and sunshine! For a good watch Ann went slightly off piste, picking a translation as we talked somewhat about travel, with the French series Spiral. In it we see "a Paris that you don't see anywhere else".

We head to Iceland for Yrsa's suggestions with Ragnar Jonasson's Dark Iceland series or Lilja Sigurdardottir's Trapped if you want a good read, or the second series of the crime drama Trapped which Yrsa helped to write and is coming soon.