Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Andrew Taylor

I’ve mentioned Andrew Taylor and his books several times in this blog. I was reading his crime novels long before I met him – he started his career young, and began with a series featuring the amoral William Dougal that is often described as ‘quirky’. It’s almost a cliché, but it’s still a fair description, because the Dougal books are definitely unusual and different. One of my favourites is The Sleeping Policeman.

As a full-time writer, Andrew has turned his hand to many kinds of projects. He even produced five novels based on the Bergerac TV series, under a pen-name, Andrew Saville. Every now and then he has turned out a stand-alone psychological suspense novel, and my favourite of these is The Barred Window – really good.

His next series was set in the 50s in the fictional Border town of Lydmouth. It features the relationship between a married cop and a female journalist – one book, cleverly, focuses on the story of the cop’s wife. This series began quietly, but the later books are exceptional. I’ve written an article about Thornhill, the cop, which Andrew included on his website, and I mean to update it some day.

The Roth Trilogy is, arguably, his masterpiece. I’ve written about it before on this blog. Suffice to say that it’s one of the most impressive trilogies I’ve come across in crime fiction – a study, going back through time, of the making of a sociopathic killer.

Then there are his historical novels. The American Boy is the best-known, and I reviewed The Anatomy of Ghosts recently. It's shortlisted for the Harrogate Festival award this week and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him.

I’d particularly mention Bleeding Heart Square, which is superbly done. He always conveys the atmosphere of the period, and the setting, splendidly, and Bleeding Heart Square has a very good plot and also some resonances with present day Britain. A very good writer, whose work is varied and highly literate. If you don’t know his work, do give it a try.


Anonymous said...

Martin - A recommendation I heartily endorse.

Deb said...

I loved BLEEDING HEART SQUARE and strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it: a strong, satisfying, well-plotted, beautifully-written book with several unexpected twists. I wish our local library had more of the Thornhill books--I've only read a couple and I'm eager to find out what happens between Thornhill and the female journalist.

Anonymous said...

The Lydmouth series is one of my absolute favourites, but I preferred the early volumes, mainly because they go back to a period I love reading about.

And I am glad to see that you recommend Bleeding Heart Square and The Barred Window - as far as I remember they are both on my TBR.

Dorte H.

J F Norris said...

I recall CAROLINE MINUSCULE as being very much like a Patricia Highsmith suspense novel. I enjoyed it immensely. Then I started looking for all the others in that series. Of his recent books I have ANATOMY OF GHOSTS on my TBTOL list (to be taken out of the library) since I have put a moratorium on new book purchases.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments. He is a jolly good writer - and also a very nice person.

Beth said...

I recently read The Anatomy of Ghosts after reading your review, and was delighted. I've just had to delete the next sentance I wrote because it sounded like a recipe review - what I mean is I found a fresh,clear and reviving voice, telling an intriquing story. Now to go back through your reviews and the informative comments, then I'll fire up the kindle!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Beth, glad you liked the book as I did.