In The Spotlight: Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse — October 13, 2016

In The Spotlight: Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse

A thoughtful review by Margot Kinberg of Ray Berard’s Inside The Black Horse.

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

>In The Spotlight: Carl Hiaasen's Skinny DipHello, All,

Welcome to the first of four special editions of In The Spotlight. I got requests from a few folks to say a bit more about the finalists for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, so I decided to do just that. Starting today and going on for the next three weeks, I’ll put the spotlight on each of the four finalists, so that you can learn (I hope!) a little more about them. Let’s begin with this year’s winner, Ray Berard’s Inside the Black Horse.

The Black Horse Bar and Casino is a pub that also offers off-course betting services (Incidentally, Berard was a supervisor for off-course betting outlets for the New Zealand government). Located in a rural town on New Zealand’s North Island, The Black Horse is owned by Toni Bourke, a recently widowed Māori who’s trying to do the best she can…

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Packing it in … — September 9, 2016

Packing it in …

Following on from last week’s WORD festival in Christchurch, members of Dunedin’s crime-writing fraternity shared a curry last night with the very entertaining and knowledgeable Scott Pack. Toured the peninsula today. Not a penguin to be seen, but some very nice cake!

Eating cake at MacAndrew Bay, Gay Buckingham and Scott Pack
Crime Fiction News Break — August 5, 2016
The Strange Case of Kiwi Noir and the Dunedin Detective Club. — July 7, 2016

The Strange Case of Kiwi Noir and the Dunedin Detective Club.

Earlier this week, at a meeting with Liam McIlvanney, Paddy Richardson and Vanda Symon,  we founder members of the Dunedin Detection Club agreed our oath. Borrowed from that of the original Detection Club, formed in 1930 by  a group of British mystery writers who included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G K Chesterton among others, our New Zealand version is shorter and has replaced Death-Rays, Super Criminals and Chinamen with Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings.  Full version below.

Detection Club Members

Detection Club of Dunedin Oath 

 The Ruler shall say to the CandidateIs it your firm desire to become a Member of the Detection Club?

The Candidate shall answer in a loud voice: That is my desire.

The Ruler shall say to the Candidate: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them, using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on, nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence or the Act of God?

I do.

Do you solemnly swear never to conceal a vital clue from the reader?

I do.

Do you promise to never include the use of Ghosts, Hypnotism, Identical Twins, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Aliens, Time Travellers, or any character from the Lord of the Rings?

I do.

Will you honour the Queen’s English?

I will.

The Ruler shall ask:  Do you swear to observe faithfully all these promises which you have made so long as you are a Member of the Club?

The Candidate shall answer All this I solemnly do swear. And I do furthermore promise and undertake to be loyal to the Club, neither purloining nor disclosing any plot or secret communicated to me before publication by any Member, whether under the influence of drink or otherwise.

The Ruler shall declare:

A N Other, you are duly elected a Member of the Detection Club, and if you fail to keep your promises may other writers anticipate your plots, may your publishers do you down in your contracts, may total strangers sue you for libel, may your pages swarm with misprints and may your sales continually diminish.


Not pure murder, after all — May 11, 2016

Not pure murder, after all

Murder In The Library went off smoothly last night. The crowd was enthusiastic, the panel witty and charming …

Screenshot 2016-05-12 at 9.42.54 AM

It being my first such public outing I was not without qualms, but Liam McIlvanney was a great host, Matt, Vanda and Paddy polished and poised.

Big thanks to Craig Sisterson and the Ngaio Marsh Award for arranging the whole thing, and for Bronwyn Wylie-Gibb for bringing along (and selling) our books.


Murder In The Library — April 6, 2016
Launch! — December 31, 2015
Twister features in Down In Edin —
Review — December 30, 2015


First review for Twister, by Graham Beattie, Beattie’s Book Blog.


“This most impressive first novel has been launched by its publishers, Rosa Mira Books and Makaro Press.

I was captivated, reading it in several long sessions over two days. I guess you could call it a cross between crime fiction and family drama. No matter how you define it, it is a superb piece of writing.

I hope the author is already at work on her next novel and that she will keep Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd as her protagonist in future titles.”



Twister – Nineteen Days to the Launch — November 14, 2015

Twister – Nineteen Days to the Launch

The countdown has begun,  the edits are over and the ms is being formatted ready for publication. Yesterday I spent the afternoon having my photo taken by Caroline Davies, who is featuring Twister in the next issue of her on-line magazine Down In Edin, due out mid December. Our interview complete, Caroline has been running all over Dunedin taking fantastic shots of locations featured in Twister. I can’t wait to see the end result. In the meantime check out her magazine.

My photo of the Salt Water Pool - you'll have to wait for the decent ones.
My photo of the Salt Water Pool – you’ll have to wait fo the decent photos.