Tuesday 17 March 2020

Crime, Comfort Reading, and Coronavirus

There is more - much more - to crime fiction than comfort reading. I'm sure we'd all agree about that. But I hope we'd also agree that there's nothing wrong with comfort reading. Reading and writing can, in my non-scientific opinion, have enormous and incalculable value in terms of making one feel better. And if ever we needed to feel better, it's right now, when we find ourselves in the midst of a situation that none of us have experienced before. Again, speaking as a non-expert, I have a feeling that coronavirus poses almost as much of a threat to our mental well-being as to our physical health.

I've always been a believer in the value of the imagination and the associated attractions of escapism. In the current situation there's a lot to be said for escapism, just as there is for staying positive, ignoring negativity, and for making a conscious effort to be kind to each other. Crime fiction deals with a subject that is inherently dark, yet it offers so much pleasure and so many different types of satisfaction.

The irony has not escaped me that a few short weeks ago I was worrying how I was going to meet various writing commitments, given the large number of events I had scheduled. Well, as long as I stay fit, writing time won't be in such short supply now! There won't be a launch event for Mortmain Hall, alas, and numerous events around publication time have necessarily been cancelled, including Murder Squad's 20th birthday party in Chester, which we were all looking forward to. Never mind, the main thing is for everyone to try to stay fit and for those of us who catch this virus (presumably most of us, in the long run) to shake it off with no lasting ill-effects. Here's hoping...

Anyway, tomorrow I'll post a list of ten crime books of different kinds which I think offer plenty of enjoyable light entertainment and which I hope may help others to get through the weeks ahead in as positive a frame of mind as possible.   

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