As I started jotting down all the crime fiction novels which I enjoyed reading in 2017, I realised the list was growing too long, so I had to divide it into translated and English-language fiction. So this is the second part of that post, crime fiction written in English. regardless of the origin of the writer or the setting. You might spot a preference among crime authors for a London setting, yet each of these was different.
Sarah Vaughan: Anatomy of a Scandal – London – coming out in January 2018
Political and legal thriller meets domestic drama – a cynical but all too realistic view of politicians and husbands, just right for these times full of sexual harassment cases
Stav Sherez: The Intrusions – London
Another extremely topical police procedural, about online stalking, hacking and spying. There was also something about the transient backpacker population all converging onto London which tugged at my heartstrings.
Eva Dolan: This Is How It Ends – London – coming out in January 2018
Dolan is the queen of weaving in a thrilling story to explore her anger about social injustice. Here it’s property developers vs. ordinary people, political campaigners vs. the police, and betrayals among those you believe to be on your side.
Chris Whitaker: Tall Oaks – US
I read both of Chris Whitaker’s novels this year and this one won by a cat’s whisker (I’m trying to only mention one book per author): that mix of humour, insight and depth of feeling which is quite rare.
Susie Steiner: Missing, Presumed – Cambridge and London
Same thing with Susie Steiner: I read both of her novels featuring the delightful Manon, but the first one in the series just had an additional edge to my mind. Police procedural with characters that you want to get to know better.
Aga Lesiewicz: Exposure – London
Sometimes you just need a high-paced urban thriller set in a Shoreditch which has all the trappings of Manhattan, including spyware, trendy lofts and media types. The glamour of the lifestyle was just so different from my experience that all my voyeuristic tendencies came to the fore: call it my version of ‘Hello’ magazine!
Emma Flint: Little Deaths – New York City
For a change of pace, a meticulous recreation of a period and place (Queens, 1960s) and an alternative interpretation of a notorious true crime. I didn’t read it so much for the plot, however, but for the way it portrays society’s indictment of mothers and women who don’t behave according to general expectations.
Louise Penny: The Beautiful Mystery – Canada, Quebec
Reading a Louise Penny mystery is always a treat, and this one has echoes of another old favourite The Name of the Rose, with its monastic location and thorough examination of human propensity for both good and evil.
Adrian Magson: Rocco and the Nightingale – Picardie, France
Another recreation of time and place, this time one that is close to my heart: France in the 1960s and a detective that I have a bit of a soft spot for: Lucas Rocco. This time an assassin seems to be after Rocco, but of course he doesn’t have the luxury to just go away and hide.
As I finished compiling the list above, I realised that I have personally met (in person or online) six of the nine authors featured, and they are all very charming. But although that might make me eager to read their work, it does not influence my final selection into the ‘best of’ literary canon.