Today I'd like to draw your attention to three very varied new books which, taken together, should appeal to a wide range of tastes. The first is a collection of short stories, The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 11, edtied by Maxim Jakubowski and published by Robinson. It's dedicated to the late Bob Barnard and Nick Robinson, and contains a very wide range of stories, including one by me. More famous contributors include Lee Child, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith and Simon Kernick. Maxim is a very widely read fellow, and I've enjoyed devouring his collections for many years. If you like short stories, it's a terrific compilation.
I've been singing the praises of Priscilla Masters for about fifteen years now. She is an under-rated writer of traditional mysteries, and her latest,The Devil's Chair, has just been published by Severn House. Cilla is best known for her books about Joanna Piercy, but this is an entry in her equally appealing series featuring Martha Gunn, who is a coroner. The setting is Shropshire, and I think it's fair to say that Cilla evokes the mysterious atmosphere of that green and pleasant, yet sometimes eerie county better than any other crime writer with the distinguished exception of Ellis Peters. Cilla has beaten me to it in retiring completely from her day job, and I hope this means that we'll see even more of her fiction in the future.
Finally, a first novel by a writer whom, unlike Maxim and Cilla, I've never met. The Vistiors, by Simon Sylvester, is published by Quercus and is set on a remote Scottish island called Bancree. Why are some people mysteriously disappearing from Bancree? This is a book which doesn't really fit into the conventional pigeon-hole of detective fiction, but it's nicely written, and reflects the vogue for books set on Scottish islands, a fashion perhaps inspired by the great success of Ann Cleeves and Peter May. I think Simon Sylvester will be a name to watch in years to come.