Bookworm In Your Ear: Where Crime And Literature Intersect
Crime fiction is presently the best selling genre in publishing; and here are two that show just how wide a range that genre can encompass and why they still thrill readers today.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This literary mystery is as mind-boggling and attention grabbing as it can get. We’re invited to the secluded estate of the Hardcastles, somewhere in the English countryside, and when the novel opens we’re introduced to one of the guests who as it turns out is in just one of the myriad of persons he will ‘occupy’ in the course of this novel. And each time he awakens in one of the assembled invitees, he spends a day in that body tasked to solve the mystery behind who is behind the death of the Hardcastle daughter, Evelyn. Think of it as an extended Groundhog Day, but waking up as a different person each time. And of course, everyone one is a suspect, with dark family secrets and darker motives proliferating. It’s experimental writing disguised as crime fiction!
Spook Street by Mick Herron
When a suicide bomber at the Westacres mall turns a flash mob into a deadly terrorist attack, all of British Intelligence is put on alert. Ironically, this includes Slough House, where Jackson Lamb rules over a haven for ‘slow horses’ - the term used for operatives who have either outlived their usefulness or have some disciplinary blight on their records. Ironic because in no time at all, Slough is at the centre of the maelstrom. River Cartwright is the grandson of retired Old Bastard (OB) Cartwright, a legend of the past; and when someone arrives in England and attempts to liquidate the OB, a connection between the Westacres attack and the rub out mission surfaces. What’s great with Herron is how he makes old school espionage tie in with the current state of affairs. Really brilliant!