Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have stopped trying to read two or three books at once, because my memory confuses one plot with another, it's my age.

Also the general quality of the books I read lately seems to be much higher and I don't get bored with one. That is probably due to the excellent advice I get from various brainy, loquacious and beautiful bloggers. I am sure you know who you are, and can work out which is which. The kindly Karen of Eurocrime also allows me to pick and choose the review copies she sends me, which usually means I pick those authors recommended by my past reading experiences, or on recommendation from bloggers and reviewers.

But this morning we had to take mother-in-law aged 96 to the doctor, and because my current read A Vengeful Longing by Roger Morris [review to appear on Eurocrime in due course] was too large to slip into my pocket I took out and started reading another smaller book.

It was obviously too early for most patients as the wait was not as long as usual, but I was able to get involved in my supplementary read, Looking For Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker. I had collected a number of classic P.I. novels over the last eighteen months to read if the supply of translated European crime novels dried up. I was foolish as I have not had time to read one page of these books before this morning.

The crackling dialogue between Spenser and Rachel Wallace, a militant lesbian feminist, was in total contrast to the polite tones of 1868 St Petersburg in the Roger Morris novel.

It was a culture shock, which made me wonder do people like all types of crime fiction, or are they fixated on one form of the art?

What sub genre of crime fiction is your favourite?

Police procedural or P.I. novels, mysteries in the style of the Golden Age or modern day terror related, European or American, historical crime fiction or psychological thrillers, exotic locations or English home counties?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure.
Police procedural, psyschological thriller or legal thriller. European in translation.
But, good writing, good plot and good chracterisation and I'm happy.

Am I the loquacious one, by the way? ;-)

12:32 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Heaven forfend, but if I had to choose one sub-genre it would be British and European police procedurals. However, the list of authors whose works I currently have on loan from my library is telling: Ken Bruen, Peter Tremayne, Bill James, Peter James, Fred Vargas, Michael Jecks, Ian Rankin, Jonathan Gash, Jan Costin Wagner, Carol O'Connell, Paula Gosling. I don't read anything in the "terror related" or espionage/thriller realm, and in my reading I 'travel' less to the U.S. than I used to, but as that list suggests, I roam fairly far and wide. That the current pile is a mix is no accident. What I pluck next from it depends very much upon my mood, which dictates where I want to go, to what climate, to what ambience, in what sort of vehicle. Would I this day be better off with the lightness and humour of Gash, or is this a day on which I can read Bruen without risk of oppression? Or do I really need to get away, absorbed in the world of Sister Fidelma? I make sure I have as many options as possible in that pile of books. And this is one of the great pleasures and benefits of crime fiction.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Philip; Your library must have a superb crime fiction section. What a range of books, and locations.
You have summed up why we read crime fiction. We can find something for most moods,and sometimes crime fiction is the place to go for excellent information. For instance John D Macdonald on the destruction of Florida's wild places, Sjowall and Wahloo on the collapse of a utopia and growing violence in Sweden, Ken Bruen on the rise of crime in Ireland.

Maxine: I would say the other two classes might be more approriate.;)

I agree I just want a good balance between atmosphere, plot, characterisation, and mystery. This can be provided by the author in virtually any setting. Roger Morris does extremely well in his latest.[ review off to Karen later in week]

7:21 AM  

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