There are many art forms that we Americans like to think of as exclusively ours: jazz, basketball, crime fiction, and deep-fried food-on-a-stick. But whether or not we claim to have originated these things—and we will, reader, we will—there comes a time in every patriot’s life when he or she must recognize that others abroad are doing our thing just as well as we can, if not better. (Hey, even Argentina took home a gold medal in hoops, once upon a time.) What are you waiting for, a guided tour? Well, allow us to introduce your tour guide, Karen Meek. If you don’t know her, it’s a crime—a Euro Crime, that is.
Please describe your publication.
Euro Crime is both a website and a blog; I set up the website in 2004 and the blog in 2006. Euro Crime covers crime fiction written by British and European writers and crime fiction set in Britain and Europe. In addition I have a particular interest in translated crime fiction so you will see Japanese and South American authors reviewed as well. Every week a minimum of six new crime fiction reviews are added to the site and, in addition to the reviews, the site contains over 1,700 author bibliographies with links to any reviews we’ve written as well as details of upcoming publications. The blog was initially set up just to use as a promotional tool for the website but now has a life of its own (!) and I’ve expanded its remit to relevant films and TV as well as books. (Though one of its most popular features are the “Cat-urday” posts containing photos of my beautiful cats.)
Tell us about yourself.
I’d been a big fan of a website called Book Browser which listed bibliographies and series orders with titles linked to reviews. That site was absorbed by one of the big booksellers and became quite different but I was inspired by the dedication of the two people who set it up initially and raised it to an enormously useful and huge website. I thought covering all crime fiction was a big task for one person and I also noticed how British and translated European authors were less well covered on existing sites. I perceived a niche, and so Euro Crime was born.
I began with bibliographies, putting series in order—quite taxing sometimes for translated crime as they are not always published in English in their original order—and creating a list of author homepages. Then I began to include reviews I’d written, which, if I was lucky, would be four a month. Now I have a team of reviewers who work hard to provide me with reviews so I can upload over 30 reviews a month.
Through the success of the website I was invited to be one of the judges on the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger panel and I’ve just completed my third year. When I’m not blogging or updating my database/website I work as a library assistant in a community library.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
As I mainly read crime in translation at the moment, my favourites come from Europe. I’m a huge fan of Jo Nesbo and Fred Vargas. I enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy, especially The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For a modern British mystery then I turn to Martin Edwards and Ann Cleeves.
Tell us about a recent review or article of which you’re particularly fond.
Jo Nesbo has been one of my favourite authors for years and I literally danced around the room when I opened the paperback of The Leopard to see a quote from my review inside the cover. So that would have to be my favourite review!
What does the future hold for your publication?
I increased the review team about a year ago and it looks like I may need to take on more willing volunteers as the number of books in translation continues to rise. I don’t foresee any major changes to the focus of the sites though the look may change slightly. The online reviewing community is being taken much more seriously now than when I started and I have some very talented reviewers working for the site.
Which other mystery magazines and blogs do you believe are must-reads?
There are so many! I don’t want to miss any so I’ll just mention my chief reviewer’s blog, Petrona, written by Maxine Clarke who skilfully reviews crime fiction from around the world. Maxine is also responsible for setting up a crime fiction room on FriendFeed for readers of the genre, in which a number of crime fiction blogs from all over the world are fed in (via RSS) and which can then be commented on and discussed, and so conversations are formed. If you’re a fan of crime fiction do stop by.
Euro Crime Data
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequency of publication: reviews weekly on the website, blog posts most days
Cost to subscribe: Free.