ITV will be showing the second series of DCI Banks in the UK starting on Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, rather than in January 2013 as originally thought. The series begins with Strange Affair, then continues with adaptations of Dry Bones that Dream (Final Account) and Innocent Graves. Caroline Catz replaces Andrea Lowe for most of the series, as Andrea was on maternity leave, but the rest of the cast remains the same. Watch out for some excellent guest stars.
Watching the Dark is due out on August 16 in the UK, in just two days. If you want to get a head start on the new Inspector Banks novel, here’s a video of Peter talking about how he wrote Watching the Dark.
And you can also read the first chapter of Watching the Dark in advance. Download this PDF file.
It’s been a busy summer so far, and it looks set to get even busier. In addition to a few bookstore events in the UK, I also took part in two major festivals and visited my Hungarian publishers, General Press, in Budapest. They produce beautiful hardcover editions of the books.
Of course, everyone was talking about the amount of rain that fell in the UK in June and July, and driving back to Richmond from a signing at Grove Books in Ilkley in hail, thunder and lightning was quite an experience. As was the mud at the Beverley Fold Festival. This small and friendly festival happens every year in Beverley, an attractive market town in East Yorkshire, and usually manages to get an interesting line-up. This year I got to see Steeleye Span for the first time in about forty years, and they were terrific. Martin Carthy (once a member of Steeleye) was one of the headliners at the festival, and I got to do an event with him on Sunday lunchtime.
Onstage with Martin Carthy at the Beverley Festival, June, 2012.
I had worked with his daughter Eliza Carthy on a few occasions at Beverley and other festivals, but this was my first time with Martin. I wrote a short story specially for the occasion, a story based in the world of folk song collecting and murder ballads, and Martin selected a number of songs to echo and amplify the themes. We played to a full house – or tent – and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, especially us. The story was called “The Variant,” but I have changed the title to “Enchantress,” and it should be published in The Strand magazine before too long. I’m also hoping to post a link to a video recording of the event as soon as it comes my way.
I managed to make time to spend a day on the set of second series of DCI Banks. They were filming in the old Yorkshire TV studio on Kirkstall Road in Leeds, so I was able to get my father and stepmother down there to watch the proceedings. They were both thrilled, though I think a little surprised by the number of times each small scene is filmed.
On set with DCI Banks. My father in the foreground!
This is an unusual series in that Andrea Lowe, who plays Annie Cabbot, was seven months pregnant when filming started and could only take part in the opening of the first episode. The producers and writers managed to come up with a completely new character, someone I have never even mentioned in the books, called Helen Morton. She is played by the excellent Caroline Catz (The Vice, Murder in Suburbia, Doc Martin). The books that Left Bank have adapted for this series are Strange Affair, Dry Bones that Dream (Final Account) and Innocent Graves, and there are many fine guest stars you are sure to recognise. The series is set to show in the UK in January 2013. We still have our fingers crossed for US/Canadian distribution, and most European countries have already picked up the series.
Stephen Tompkinson (Banks) and Jack Deam (Ken Blackstone).
In mid-July it was time for the tenth anniversary of the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate. And what a line-up they had, including international guests such as Laura Lippman, Jo Nesbo, Camilla Lackberg, Harlan Coben and Deon Meyer. You can see some photos here.
My event at Harrogate involved sitting on stage with Ian Rankin at 10pm on Friday evening and chatting for an hour, as we did at the very first festival in 2003. The festival kindly provided a bar on the stage, and Theakston’s brewery supplied a cask of bitter. Mark Billingham poured us the first pint as he introduced us, but after that we took care of ourselves. The chat was wide ranging and often involved quite a lot of laughter. The event was sold out, with around 500 people attending, and a good time was had by all. Afterwards, Ian and I signed books for an hour, then it was back to the bar! Though I value the time I did have chatting with fans from as far away as Liechtenstein and with fellow crime writers I don’t see very often, there were many others I would have liked to have spent more time with. But I had to get back to Toronto the following day.
And now it’s almost time for the book tours to begin again. Watching the Dark is published in the UK on August 16 and in Canada on August 28. US publication is not until February, 2013, and most foreign editions, including those in Sweden, France and the Netherlands, should be out next year. The large format paperback editions should be out in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, among other places, around the same time as the the UK edition. In an exciting move, my Canadian publishers McClelland & Stewart have made some early copies available for my appearance at the Festival of the Written Arts, in Sechelt, British Columbia, August 16 to 19. My 7 pm Saturday night event is sold out, which means an audience of close to 500. This festival is always a great event. The organisation is very professional, the location could hardly be better and the audiences are enthusiastic. McClelland & Stewart are also producing a TV ad for the book to show on PBS.
Banks returns for his 20th adventure in Watching the Dark (UK – 16th August; Canada – 1st September; and February, 2013, in the USA). This time a fellow detective is murdered on the grounds of St Peter’s Police Convalescence and Treatment Centre, near Eastvale, and the investigation indicates that he might have been involved in some dodgy activities. In his investigation, Banks is aided, or perhaps hindered, by a new character, Inspector Joanna Passero, an icy Hitchcock blonde from Professional Standards, eager to prove herself and make the move to Major Crimes. You probably don’t enjoy being told the plot of a book before you read it any more than I do, so I’ll stop there and hope you’re intrigued enough to find out for yourselves how it all unfolds!
Below are the UK, Canadian and US covers. Look for this new Inspector Banks novel in your favorite bookstore very soon.
Peter’s standalone novel Before the Poison has been announced as the winner of 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. Other nominees included Alan Bradley, William Deverell, Louise Penny and Robert Rotenberg.
This is Peter’s sixth Arthur Ellis award, which comes with a wonderful statuette, as shown here.
Peter Robinson was invited by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) to write and read a “five-minute mystery,” or a short story that can be read in less than five minutes. Read this chilling story People Just Don’t Listen on the CBC web site. Or click on Listen to the Story to hear Peter read it himself. While only five minutes long, this story packs a chilling conclusion that you’ll remember for a long time.