We here at Manda were all very excited and thankful on Tuesday when Billingham, Robotham & Kallentoft, three exceptional crime & mystery authors, stopped by our office to tell us a bit about themselves and their books. All three made appearances at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors as stops on their North American tours. They happen to be incredibly entertaining! If you made it out to see them you may have been privy to some hilarious anecdotes about getting hate mail from avid Phil Collins fans, writing novels set in frigid climates while beach lounging, and buying your book for $60 dollars in Sweden.

Mark Billingham, a Londoner who gave up a career in stand-up comedy to write thrillers,  read excerpts from his newest novel Rush of Blood (Little, Brown - 9781847444226) on Tuesday. He also participated in a round table talk on violence and realism last night. While you may be familiar with Billingham's best sellers starring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, his most recent book is a departure from the series. He was so inspired by his friends’ bizarre holiday story that he “had to have it." His new novel is a cautionary tale about making friends while on vacation - with a few murders thrown in for good measure.

The round table talk at IFOA also featured crime-writer, Mons Kallentoft, visiting all the way from Sweden. At the festival, he read from the first three books in his award winning Malin Fors series published by Hachette Australia: Midwinter Sacrifice (9781444739930), Summertime Death (9781444721577), and Autumn Killing (9781444721621). Often compared by Swedish media to Stieg Larson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the books feature a strong female detective, Malin Fors, as she investigates murders and kidnappings in the little town of Linköping, Sweden. During his Manda visit, Mons joked that one of the advantages of writing from the perspective of a strong heroine is that women often believe that he may understand them better than their husbands.

Michael Robotham is an australian mystery writer known especially for his terrifying storylines and gripping suspense. He read at Studio Theatre from his most recent novel. In Say You’re Sorry (Sphere - 9781847445254) a clinical psychologist named Joe O’Loughlin convinces the police to reopen a cold case involving the disappearance of two teenage girls when two new dead bodies are uncovered. His new thriller has been praised by the likes of Stephen King and David Baldacci as exceptional. Fortunately Robotham’s so down to earth that his major concern is being "uninvited to dinner parties" by friends who think the  psychotic characters in his novel might reflect something about his own nature. More likely, his friends will be so impressed that invitations will be especially forthcoming!