Between the Covers 21/07/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books
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The Independent Culture

Great news for fans of the wonderful Val McDermid: on 10 October, Little, Brown will publish her 27th novel, Cross and Burn, in which "guilt and grief have driven a wedge between long-time crime-fighting partners psychologist Tony Hill and ex-DCI Carol Jordan but … someone is killing women. Women who bear a disturbing resemblance to Carol Jordan …." McDermid was one of the first to spot the potential of the mysterious debut crime writer Robert Galbraith, whose new book The Cuckoo's Calling, she wrote, "embraces the best of traditional mystery fiction, private eye pace, and the kind of writing that reminds me why I love this genre". Galbraith, of course, has since been exposed as the nom de plume of J K Rowling. As a Little, Brown stablemate, perhaps "Galbraith" will now offer a similarly glowing endorsement of McDermid's new book.


Between the Covers was very pleased to hear the most alliterative books news of the season: A Boy and A Bear in A Boat has won the Brandford Boase Award. Even better, the announcement was made on the BBC.


The Tudor takeover continues, at least into 2014. Hodder & Stoughton has just announced its acquisition of a major new biography of Thomas Cromwell who is best known now as the hero of Hilary Mantel's award-winners Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The author is the historian Tracy Borman, who is the joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces and the chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust. Her previous books include Elizabeth's Women, Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England, and King's Mistress, Queen's Servant (about Henrietta Howard, the mistress of King George II). Thomas Cromwell will be published in autumn 2014 and Between the Covers hopes that Borman knows what she has let herself in for. Her previous books may have made her think that the British public appreciates being educated about the people closest to power in our history – but that's when they know nothing about them. By writing about Mantel's famous "character", she may find herself up against the kind of outrage voiced by people who still believe that Shakespeare's Richard III was a fly-on-the-wall documentary.


We're Going on a Bear Hunt, at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, is proving a popular adaptation of Michael Rosen's beloved poem, and has earned the endorsement of the man himself: "This production … takes everyone on the journey – not under, not over, oh no – through it! – in a funny, exuberant and loving way." However, the collection of bear-themed children's games put together by the show's PR team reads a bit like the Pippa Tips spoof book of pregnancy advice (When One is Expecting: A Posh Person's Guide to Pregnancy and Parenthood) which has recently got its authors into hot water with Ms Middleton's lawyers. For a teddy bear's parade, for example: "All the children arrive with their teddy bears and have a grand parade marching in a circle holding your teddy bear up high." Has Pippa heard about this new rival for her "Queen of the Blindingly Obvious" crown?