Crime Fiction

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What we read in September

Books we discussed and recommended at our last meeting.
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Our book group doesn’t run with a set reading list so our choices are varied, even if we have a different reading theme each month. We want to enjoy what we read!

Our group runs on very informal lines. At our first meeting we all agreed we weren’t particularly comfortable with the idea of literary criticism, and the thought of all of us giving an opinion of the same book didn’t appeal. So we agreed we’d think of a different theme each month and read at least one book that fitted into that. We’ve done classic crime, female authors, books set overseas (but not in the USA), books that have been turned into films or TV series etc. So far we haven’t found it difficult to find a theme.

The big advantage of this approach is that each meeting provides us all with a list of new authors to try, because invariably we like different things. All of us bring notebooks to our meetings and swapping recommendations is a big part of what we enjoy.

The reading theme for September was ‘Female Detectives’ and, as is the way with these things, the discussion at our meeting was free-ranging and covered everything from female detectives, authors and assassins, to the BBC TV series ‘Killing Eve’ (which was highly recommended!). In the end we agreed that our theme had rather morphed into ‘Female Protagonists’.

And yes, a few of us had read books we didn’t enjoy but let’s not waste time on those. Instead let’s look at some of the authors and titles we did recommend to each other. And to avoid favouritism, I’ve listed them in alphabetical order!

Margaret Atwood – ‘Alias Grace’
Set in Canada in the 1840s this follows the story of a young girl who was tried and found guilty of murdering her employer and his lover/housekeeper. She escapes the hangman but her punishment is harsh, and was she actually guilty anyway? Our reader listened to this as an e-audiobook on BorrowBox and, having read the book many years ago, found the talking book gave a completely new perspective to both the plot and characters.

Mark Edwards – ‘The Retreat’
A dark, psychological thriller which pulls you in. Our reader recommended all Mark Edwards’s books, especially ‘Follow You Home’ which was rated as 'very scary'.

Judith Flanders – ‘A Bed of Scorpions’ and ‘A Murder of Magpies’
Light-hearted, amusing, and good if you’re looking for a change of pace in your reading.

Thomas Sweterlitsch – ‘The Gone World’
Described on Fantastic Fiction as “’The Silence of the Lambs’ meets ‘Interstellar’” Freyja said this was a mixture of detective fiction and sci-fi. She found the book heavy going because it’s long and dense but she can’t get the plot out of her mind. We all reckoned that has to be a recommendation! (It looks as if it will soon be a feature film, because Twentieth Century Fox have apparently bought the film rights.)

Kerry Wilkinson – the Jessica Daniel series
There are 12 books in the series so far, and our reader has read all of them. And enjoyed them all too.

For next month’s meeting we’re trying something new, which we’re calling ‘Alphabet Soup’! Basically, we’ve each drawn a letter of the alphabet from an envelope and will read at least one book by an author whose surname starts with the letter we picked. Or (because we don’t have a rule book!) we may decide to read a book with a character whose name matches the letter we picked. There are lots of possible permutations …
Cornish Eskimo