Friday 20 December 2019

Last Minute Christmas Presents?

Bought all your Christmas presents yet? If you're anything like me (though I trust that many of the readers of this blog are a bit better organised!) the answer will be no. So I thought I'd offer a mixed bag of ideas for last minute stocking fillers. These are, for the most part, books I haven't mentioned previously on this blog - though my publishers would shoot me if I didn't point out that Gallows Court is still available on a Kindle monthly deal at an absolutely bargain price!

With novels, of course, one is spoiled for choice. Christine Poulson's An Air That Kills recently received a rave review from Jake Kerridge in the Sunday Express, and is high on my TBR list. During my enjoyable visit to the Isle of Wight for their literary festival, I met James London, and his mystery set on the island (not many crime novels are based there, oddly enough), The Island Murders, offers the opportunity to revisit a very pleasant part of the country. A belated mention too for Mark Brend's Undercliff, an atmospheric read.

Among the big bestsellers, my favourite recent read is Steve Cavanagh's Twisted, which I really enjoyed; it appealed to me even more than his Gold Dagger winning novel The Liar. As regards Lianne Moriarty's megaselling and highly readable Nine Perfect Strangers, it was really the comic lines, some of them very good, that stood out for me ahead of the plot. In contrast, Lucy Foley's The Hunting Party has a plot that twists and turns from the start to finish and although I felt the puzzle element did have a weakness (don't want to give a spoiler, but I wasn't convinced by her account of student life at Oxford) I did find it a gripping story.

For those readers of academic inclination, for a while I've been meaning to mention a couple of definitely niche but interesting textbooks. The Disabled Detective by Susannah B. Mintz  is a wide-ranging book, one of the few to discuss John Trench's books (for instance) in any detail. The Bible in Crime Fiction and Drama, edited by Caroline Blyth and Alison Jack boasts an afterword by Liam McIlvanney and is another unexpected but informative book (I certainly didn't expect to come across mention of The Golden Age of Murder in a couple of footnotes!)

And finally, a fun book. I've waxed lyrical about the British Crime Classic often enough and Kate Jackson's Pocket Detective 2 is a follow-up to her previous puzzle book based on the series. If you fancy yourself as a sleuth, you'll find a good deal to enjoy here.

Happy reading! 

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