Mysteries of Paris

11 March 2009
The Chalk Circle Man Fred Vargas, translated by Si

Harvill Secker, pp.247, 12.99

Fred Vargas — nom-de-plume of the French archaeologist and historian Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau — took to writing crime novels in 1991. Among the many unusual aspects of her books is the… Read more

A choice of crime novels

21 January 2009

Ruth Rendell’s Kingsmarkham series is set against the changing backdrop of a provincial town over more than 40 years. But her London-based books, though they lack recurring characters and locations,… Read more

Plagued by plagiarism

29 December 2008
And Then There Was No One Gilbert Adair

Faber, pp.258, 14.99

And Then There Was No One, by Gilbert Adair And Then There Was No One is a metaphysical murder mystery, a deconstructionist detective story, a post-modern puzzle — all of… Read more

Unkind hearts and Jews

12 December 2008
Israel Rank Roy Horniman

Faber Finds, pp.414, 15

Israel Rank, by Roy Horniman It was the second or third time that I ever saw Kind Hearts and Coronets that I noticed in the opening credits: ‘Based on the… Read more

Dark and creepy

10 December 2008
The Folio Book of Historical Mysteries Ian Pindar (editor)

The Folio Society, pp.396, 24.95

The Folio Book of Historical Mysteries, edited by Ian Pindar This book, which is a collection of 20 essays on events and people from history, first seriously caught my attention… Read more

Deadlier than the male

26 November 2008

When does a novel stop being a novel and become a crime story? It’s often assumed that there is an unbridgeable gap between them, but that’s not necessarily so. When… Read more