Crime Fiction Lover is very pleased to bring you Classics in September – a month of good old crime books – with the support of Bloomsbury Reader. Advertising on our site and providing us with great prizes for you on Facebook, Bloomsbury Reader is the ideal partner for our classic-themed month because the folks there have been reviving some of the best old novels for modern readers.
And now, just like a vintage radio station, the time has come to say, “And now a message from our sponsors…”
Reaching a new generation
Bloomsbury Reader’s mission is to discover out of print books that deserve to be re-published and make them available to a new generation of readers. We also occasionally publish new books that we read and love. When we started in September 2011, we spread our net widely and re-issued books in many genres from crime to romance, biography to military history, young adult to sci-fi. Crime has always been one of our favourite genres, though, and we’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Crime Fiction Lover’s Classics in September 2014.
We’ve listed a few of our favourite discoveries below which we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we have, and look forward to hearing from you – do you have any favourites that you think deserve to be re-issued? You can reach us on Twitter @bloomsreader.
We launched Bloomsbury Reader with Margery Allingham’s first crime novel, The White Cottage Mystery. Initially serialised in The Daily Express in 1927, this epitomises classic, some might say, cosy crime. It’s no wonder that Margery Allingham is JK Rowling’s favourite crime writer. We continued in the cosy crime vein with Ann Bridge, author of the memorable Julia Probyn series starting with The Lighthearted Quest; and Jane Aiken Hodge, a prolific author of historical romances but also crime thrillers. We recommend A Death in Two Parts as an introduction to her crime fiction.
For those who like a touch of comedy in their crime, there’s Bernice Rubens, perhaps best known as the first woman to win the Booker Prize in 1970 with The Elected Member. We recommend her wickedly funny Nine Lives, a black comedy that mixes whodunnit with whydunnit. For cricket fans, The Amazing Test Match Crime is bonkers but brilliant. Don’t take our word for it, Brian ‘Jonners’ Johnston, the king of gaffes and giggles said: “I am sure that you – like me – will find it the funniest cricket book you ever read – and also the most lovable, with its gentle digs at all and sundry in the cricket world.”
Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen novels are also humorous, albeit more traditional, whodunits mainly set in the fictional institution of St Christopher’s College, Oxford. We suggest the last book in the series, The Glimpses of the Moon, set whilst Gervase Fen is on sabbatical in Devon, with a memorable cast of characters and a plot verging on parody. Keeping with the Oxford theme, JC Masterman’s An Oxford Tragedy arguably established the tradition of Oxford-based crime fiction that became so prevalent.
For a slightly more modern twist, try Nicolas Freeling’s Van Der Valk series, including A Long Silence, bestsellers in the 60s and immortalised by Barry Foster in the hit TV series in the 70s.
For the literary, Nicholas Blake, the pen name adopted by Cecil Day-Lewis for his crime fiction since, “I have a feeling,” he once remarked, “that people who read detective novels don’t like the detective novelist to be anything like a serious poet.” If you haven’t tried one of his crime novels, then The Deadly Joker is a must.
HRF Keating needs no introduction, but for those who haven’t ventured beyond the Inspector Ghote Mysteries, we recommend trying The Bad Detective.
Our selection process is based on a combination of recommendations from readers, writers and agents, our own love of a book and great quotes from earlier editions, as was the case Gavin Lyall’s The Wrong Side of the Sky with this memorable quote from PG Wodehouse: “Terrific! When better novels of suspense than this are written, lead me to them.”
Lastly, we’d like to bring your attention to a new crime novel, The Lazarus Prophecy by FG Cottam. Whilst this doesn’t fit the Classics in September theme since it is a new book, we just couldn’t put it down, so wanted to draw your attention to what we think will become a future classic.
We hope you enjoy reading these books as much as we have.
For more information about Bloomsbury Reader click here.