mystery

Crime Fiction Anyone?

Donna LeonCrime fiction books are forever popular, as a look at any weekly bestsellers list will demonstrate. Think 'The Girl on the Train' (which I've just finished reading, and enjoyed), it's been a bestseller for umpteen weeks. Liz Nugent was topping the Irish bestsellers for a number of weeks recently with 'Lying in Wait', while James Patterson's name features regularly on such lists, albeit with books penned by other authors.

Right: Donna Leon in Dubray Bookshop, Dublin, April 2013. (See larger image)

Most of my reads are of crime novels in translation, as I like to travel the world a bit, at least in print. This literary journey recently took me even as far as Argentina and new-to-me author Claudia Pineiro (see below), an author I might not have discovered if it weren't for the International Dublin Literary Award. The inclusion of novels in translation adds greatly to the standing of this Award and differentiates it from most other book awards, and you could do worse than visit the Award site where you will be presented with hundreds of books to choose from, many in translation.

Magical book found in Dublin - READ All About It!

The Boook of LearningWe invite children to delve into the world of Ebony Smart, a 12-year old girl whose world has just changed forever  - a new home in Dublin that is full of secrets, a magical book that unlocks the mystery to her past and a mysterious boy called Zach who befriends her – for the Citywide Reading Campaign for Children 2016.

The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Public Libraries, in partnership with Mercier Press, and runs from January to March 2016.

More Crime Reads to Savour

Gone GirlIn recent months I have continued apace with my crime fiction reading, and here I share with you just some of those reads, they being books by Gillian Flynn, Donna Leon, Thomas Enger and Fred Vargas. So read on!

Who at this stage is not familiar to some degree with the story that is 'Gone Girl' 4.5 stars seeing how the film version was such a hit? Gillian Flynn's book, upon which the film is based, has proved a huge success, being the 25th bestselling adult fiction title of all time and spending 8 weeks at the top of the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. 'Gone Girl' is the classic tale of a wife going missing and the finger of suspicion regarding her disappearance pointing at her husband. Where is Amy Dunne, and has loving husband Nick got something to do with her disappearance?

The Luminaries wins the Man Booker Prize

The LuminariesEleanor Catton, a 28-year old New Zealander born in Canada, has become the youngest ever winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize with her novel 'The Luminaries'. And The Luminaries, at some 832 pages, has become the longest ever novel to win the Award. Catton becomes only the second ever New Zealander to win the prize (following Keri Hulme with 'The Bone People' in 1985).

The Luminaries is a murder mystery set in a New Zealand gold mining town in 1866. Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. 

Stephen King is King

11.22.63Recent winner in the mystery/thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes for his novel '11.22.63', Stephen King is a name so well known that little introduction is needed; think The Shining, Carrie, It, Misery, Christine, Pet Sematary, Salem's Lot, Insomnia, to name just a few. I think it interesting that he has won this award insofar as I have seen it said that in the past critics have not viewed him as a serious writer. But whatever the views of the critics past or present, such a view if it is held has never detracted from his popularity with the reader.

As an aside, also nominated in this category was Irish author Eoin Colfer for his book, 'Plugged', and the subject of a previous post here on our blog.

'11.22.63' is the story of a time traveller from 2011, a young teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, who gets the chance to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Watching the detectives

Miss MarpleThere is something very comforting about whodunnits.  Unlike real life, there are never any unsolved mysteries or loose ends; the murderer is properly unmasked, Scooby-Doo fashion, at the end; and the whole thing is a gentle exercise for the old brain cells as we get to play along, working out clues and chasing red herrings. They’re the television equivalent of toast: warm, cosy, and easy to digest. A whole host of detective series is available on DVD in libraries now, including a pretty hefty set of Miss Marple that would make an admirable murder weapon in itself.

Laos Coroner is Crafty Crime Solver

Colin CotterillLondon-born writer Colin Cotterill has lived and worked in various countries, but he has spent most of his latter years in either Thailand or Laos, and it is in the latter that his series of novels starring coroner Dr Siri Paiboun are based.

The first thing to say about this series is that humour is bountiful and makes this mystery series a joy to read. As the state coroner, and an unwilling one at that (the position being foisted upon him as he was about to retire, and being the country's only remaining doctor), he nonetheless is in the ideal situation to get involved in investigating curious deaths. Siri is in his early seventies, and though a communist and well connected, he has a rather sardonic view of his country's regime and the everyday effects of its societal changes.

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