Andrew Taylor reviews four new novels: „The Red Road“ by Denise Mina, „Apple Tree Yard“ by Louise Doughty, „Cold Hearts“ by Gunnar Staalesen and „Unfaithfully Yours“ by Nigel Williams.
It’s always a little disconcerting for the rest of us when literary novelists turn to crime. Have they become different writers? John Banville, winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize with „The Sea“, has published seven crime thrillers. He writes as Benjamin Black.
Mark Mills is known for his historical and literary crime novels. „The Long Shadow“ is written in a different mode. It is set in a highly recognisable present; it is a clever, teasing hybrid of genres; and it is fraught with tensions about money, class and the super-rich.
In February 1923, two Norwegians decided to write a book. The theme? A train robbery. Nowadays, the Norwegian Easter crime novel has become a tradition.
Sweeney and Williams’s „Death comes for the Poets“ is an unliterary book with a highly literary subject. Here we have a thriller, but one written by two eminent contemporary poets in which poets are murdered in correspondent ways to their work.
Andrew Taylor, an expert in the realm of murder and mystery fiction, must know the potential pitfalls of detective stories. „The Scent of Death“ is a triumph of genre plotting: a detective story, and a piece of period writing that excites and surprises in equal measure.
Opening in 1929, Barbara Vine’s „The Child’s Child“ takes us to London and the West Country in the throes of the Depression, and thence into the war, with its country-wide dispersal of evacuees.
During the Second World War both Germans and Allies routinely shot civilians in reprisal for attacks on their armed forces. One shudders to think that a ratio could even be set at which such killings could be considered legitimate.
„The history of our love affair with violence“ is how Michael Newton describes his new book, „Age of Assassins“. In fact, its scope is much narrower: assassination in Europe and the US from the murder of Lincoln in 1865 to the attempt on Reagan’s life in 1981.
It is fitting that Bram Stoker is more celebrated in death than life. This week marks the centenary of his death. Numerous events have been held in his honour. It’s a typical jamboree.
Tottenham is a very long way from Tuscany, in every sense. But they were briefly connected earlier this year as riots spread across London. The political class clung to their Tuscan sunbeds for a few more hours while Tottenham burned.
Does Moriarty exist, or not? Well no, not really, and not just in the literal sense of being a fictional character. He’s hardly even that. We have no evidence beyond Holmes’s word, and if you look at Holmes’s behaviour you can see an almost classic case of paranoia.
Is the world in need of a yet another Sherlock Holmes story? Well, with the successful publication of Anthony Horowitz’s »The House of Silk« it seems it is. Horowitz’s novel attempts to give us an authentic Sherlockian adventure.
Colin Bateman is hoping that when Daniel Craig steps out as Mikael Blomkvist in »The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo«, he will do for journalists what he did for Speedos in »Casino Royale«: make them (almost) fashionable.