Women to the fore in 2018 round-up of crime genre
The feminine imagination seems to be the fertile breeding ground of detective fiction as testified to by the fact that four of the 2018 top-5 picks by 'The Guardian' are women writers.
Women dominate 'The Guardian's year-end round-up of the best of detective fiction. Laura Purcell's enthralling gothic chiller 'The Corset' set in Victorian England, is inspired by the case of milliner Sarah Metyard and her daughter Sally, who were hanged in 1762 for mistreating one of their young apprentices so badly that she died. Ruth Butterham, a 16-year-old seamstress, stands accused of murdering her abusive mistress and is visited in prison by Dorothea Truelove, a young heiress who combines good works with the study of phrenology, another Victorian fad. Young girls, with bleeding fingers and swollen eyes, working agonizingly long hours as dressmakers, was 19th century’s harsh reality.
'Brothers in Blood', the debut novel from Amer Anwar, and the first in the Zaq and Jags series., is set in Southall, West London. After being released from prison, Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders' yard. All he wants to do is keep his head down and put the past behind him. But when Zaq is forced to search for his boss's runaway daughter, reminiscent of the concept of 'dishonour' he quickly finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge. With time running out and pressure mounting, can he find the missing girl before it's too late? And if he does, can he keep her - and himself - alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead? After leaving college Amer had a variety of jobs, including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, a driver for emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps. He eventually landed a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent a decade and a half producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainment industry. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award.
The hefty 647-page 'All This I Will Give to You' by bestselling Spanish author Dolores Redondo is an entertaining read with plenty of plot twists. When novelist Manuel Ortigosa learns that his husband, Álvaro, has been killed in a car crash, it comes as a devastating shock. It won’t be the last. He’s now arrived in Galicia. It’s where Álvaro died. It’s where the case has already been quickly closed as a tragic accident. It’s also where Álvaro hid his secrets.
The man to whom Manuel was married for fifteen years was not the unassuming man he knew. Álvaro’s trail leads Manuel deep into one of Spain’s most powerful and guarded families. Behind the walls of their forbidding estate, Manuel is nothing but an unwelcome and dangerous intruder. Then he finds two allies: a stubbornly suspicious police lieutenant and Álvaro’s old friend—and private confessor—from seminary school. Together they’re collecting the pieces of Álvaro’s past, his double life, and his mysterious death. But in the shadows of nobility and privilege, Manuel is about to unravel a web of corruption and deception that could be as fatal a trap for him as it was for the man he loved.
'Half Moon Bay' is the latest novel from New York Times bestseller Alice LaPlante. Much of the suspense in this eerie, tense and finely written novel emanates from the protagonist Jane O’Malley’s too often challenged hope that, at age 39, her own life will ripen — in particular, that she will survive the death over a year ago of her 16-year-old daughter, Angela, in a traffic accident. Jane’s husband has abandoned their faltering marriage. The third in a line of 10 children, she suffered the abuse of an alcoholic father that numbs her still. The steady cadence and muted tone of her observant, but trancelike first-person narrative bespeaks a wounded life. two themes fuse in the work the mystery of the missing children and the misery of Jane’s attempt to survive her losses.
Ann Cleeves’s 'Wild Fire' has deft plotting, strong characters and the masterful evocation of a rugged landscape. Ann has been writing crime fiction for over 30 years. When she was 19 Ann travelled to Fair Isle, on the remote Shetland Islands, to work as a cook. She fell in love with the rugged beauty of the place. She also fell in love with Tim, a birder who was visiting the islands, who later became her husband. The Shetland series of detective novels draw on her experience of the culture and history of the islands. She has just published Wild Fire, the final book in her Shetland series. Last year, the crime writers’ association presented Ann with the Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing.