Andrew Taylor rss

Gore Vidal (Photo: Getty)

Brothels, hashish, a poisonous scorpion, a cursed necklace: all excuses for macho antics in the Valley of the Kings

25 April 2015
Thieves Fall Out Gore Vidal (writing as Cameron Kay)

Titan Books, pp.237, £16.99, ISBN: 9781781167922

Gore Vidal has form as a crime writer. In the early 1950s, when his sympathetic literary treatment of homosexuality had brought him into critical disfavour, he turned to writing sprightly… Read more

Lord Shaftesbury (Photo: Getty)

Murder on Grub Street

18 April 2015
The Infidel Stain M.J. Carter

Fig Tree, pp.355, £14.99, ISBN: 9780241146255

Historical fiction is sometimes accused of being remote from modern concerns, a flight towards nostalgia and fantasy. It’s not an accusation you can reasonably level at M.J.Carter’s historical crime novels.… Read more


Murder, mystery and sexual obsession

14 February 2015
Second Life S.J. Watson

Doubleday, pp.432, £14.99, ISBN: 9780857520197

Few first novels are as successful as S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, which married a startling and unusual premise to a tightly controlled and claustrophobic thriller. Its only… Read more

Chilean writer Roberto Ampuero Photo: Getty

Forget Poirot, Holmes or Marlowe: there is nothing urgent or even logical about Chilean detective work

22 November 2014
The Neruda Case Roberto Ampuero, translated by Carolina de Robertis

Souvenir, pp.340, £16.99, ISBN: 9780285642911

If nothing else, a private investigator who has learned his trade from the works of Simenon stands out from the crowd. Cayetano Brulé, the hero of The Neruda Case, sets… Read more


This autumn's crime fiction visits the Isle of Man and enters the Big Brother house

15 November 2014

Phil Rickman isn’t unusual among crime writers for mingling supernatural elements with earthly crimes. What makes him different is his way of grounding his novels in the real world, and… Read more


Hercule Poirot returns – and yes, he’s as irritating as ever

11 October 2014
The Monogram Murders: A New Hercule Poirot Mystery Sophie Hannah (as Agatha Christie)

Harper Collins, pp.320, £18.99, ISBN: 9780007547418

First, a confession. I have never cared much for Hercule Poirot. In this I am not alone, for his creator felt much the same way, describing him as a ‘detestable,… Read more


An unorthodox detective novel about Waitrose-country paedos

4 October 2014
The Soul of Discretion Susan Hill

Chatto, pp.320, £18.99, ISBN: 9780701187644

W.H. Auden was addicted to detective fiction. In his 1948 essay ‘The Guilty Vicarage’, he analysed the craving, which he claimed was similar to an addiction to tobacco or alcohol.… Read more


Creepy, dizzying and dark: a choice of recent crime fiction

2 August 2014

Philip Kerr is best known for his excellent Bernie Gunther series about a detective trying to survive with his integrity more or less intact in Nazi Germany. His latest novel,… Read more


Maigret's new clothes – this month's best new crime novel, published 1931

28 June 2014

The publisher has whipped up a tsunami of excitement around The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (translated from the French by Sam Taylor; MacLehose, £20, Spectator Bookshop, £16). More… Read more

The headquarters of Britain's MI6, London

You know something’s up when MI6 moves its head office to Croydon

21 June 2014
Inside Enemy Alan Judd

Simon & Schuster, pp.336, £12.99, ISBN: 9781471102509

Alan Judd’s spy novels occupy a class of their own in the murky world of espionage fiction, partly because they blend two elements of the genre that are rarely seen… Read more


A Colder War, by Charles Cumming - review

31 May 2014
A Colder War Charles Cumming

Harper Collins, pp.400, £12.99, ISBN: 9780007467471

The title of Charles Cumming’s seventh novel is both a nod to the comfortable polarities of Cold War and also a reminder that our modern world is in some ways… Read more


Recent crime fiction

26 April 2014

Louise Welsh rarely repeats herself, a quality to celebrate in a crime novelist. Her latest novel, A Lovely Way to Burn (John Murray, £12.99, Spectator Bookshop, £10.99) is a dystopian… Read more

Andrew Taylor

A thriller that breaks down the publishing office door

19 April 2014
Writers’ Block Judith Flanders

Allison & Busby, pp.350, £12.99, ISBN: 9780749015237

Like teenage children and their parents, authors and publishers have a symbiotic relationship characterised by well-justified irritation on both sides. Judith Flanders’s career bridges this divide. She is now best… Read more


Pick of the crime novels

1 March 2014

Stuart MacBride’s new novel, A Song for the Dying (HarperCollins, £16.99, Spectator Bookshop, £14.99), is markedly darker in tone than his excellent Logan McRae series. Set in a fictional Scottish… Read more


Isabel Allende's Ripper doesn't grab you by the throat

15 February 2014
Ripper Isabel Allende, translated from the Spanish by Ollie Brock and Frank Wynne

Fourth Estate, pp.478, £12.99, ISBN: 9780007548941

Isabel Allende is not an author one usually associates with the thrillers about serial killers. Ripper, however, lives up to its title. It’s the name of an online game, set… Read more


Have a crime-filled Christmas

30 November 2013

Pity the poor novelist whom commercial pressures trap within a series, doomed with each volume to diminish the stock of options for the next one. It’s even harder when the… Read more

The view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Read any good crime fiction lately?

9 November 2013

No Exit Press is not a large publisher but it has the knack of choosing exceptionally interesting crime fiction. Brother Kemal (translated from the German by Anthea Bell, £7.99, Spectator… Read more

The Red Road by Denise Mina- review

31 August 2013

Denise Mina’s 11th crime novel, The Red Road (Orion, £12.99), is one of her best, which is saying a good deal. Set in Glasgow, it marks the return of Detective… Read more

Holy Orders, by Benjamin Black - review

10 August 2013
Holy Orders Benjamin Black

Mantle, pp.256, £16.99, ISBN: 9781447202189

It’s always a little disconcerting for the rest of us when literary novelists turn to crime. Have they become different writers? John Banville, winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize… Read more

Crime fiction - review

8 June 2013

‘We no longer believe in God but hope nevertheless for miracles,’ remarks Frederic Mordaunt, one of the characters of John Harwood’s third novel, The Asylum (Cape, £14.99). He’s being over-optimistic,… Read more

Crime fiction reviewed by Andrew Taylor

18 May 2013

An epigraph taken from Goebbels’s only published novel certainly makes a book stand out from the crowd. A Man Without Breath (Quercus, £18.99) is the ninth instalment in Philip Kerr’s… Read more

The Dance of the Seagull, by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli - review

23 March 2013
The Dance of the Seagull Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Mantle, pp.281, £16.99, ISBN: 9781447228714

In the first six pages of Andrea Camilleri’s new novel, Inspector Montalbano drinks at least four cups of coffee and watches a seagull dance to its death in front of… Read more

A choice of recent crime novels

9 February 2013

Many novels deal with unhappy families. But happy families are relatively rare, especially in crime fiction, which is one of the many interesting features of Erin Kelly’s third book, The… Read more

Recent crime novels

8 December 2012

Odd couples fascinate Frances Fyfield. Her latest novel, Gold Digger (Sphere, £12.99), centres on the relationship between an elderly man, a wealthy art collector named Thomas Porteous, and the youthful… Read more

Recent crime fiction

20 October 2012

Like mists and mellow fruitfulness, Val McDermid novels often arrive in autumn. The Vanishing Point (Little, Brown, £16.99) is a standalone thriller whose central character, Stephanie Harker, is a ghost… Read more