Following yesterday’s part 1, here’s part 2:
Something a little different
It was great to see Thomas Mogford shortlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger in 2013. With a protagonist based in Gibraltar it would be too easy to assume his books are Gibraltar-based. What marks out Mogford is a choice of setting for the ex-pat world and places of lower taxation. Where his shortlisted debut Shadow of the Rock took Spike Sanguinetti to Morocco, Sign of the Cross sees Sanguinetti in Malta where all is not well with one arm of his family. These are classic crime novels in style and do not suffer from the sometimes over-indulgent 400+ pages.
Marianne Wheelaghan’s The Food of Ghosts is set in Tarawa, a coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific. Again, the style is classic crime but what shines here is Wheelaghan’s sympathy for another culture and fish-out-of-water, normally Edinburgh-based DS Louisa Townsend’s reunion with her distant family.
A D Garrett is the pen name of writing partnership Margaret Murphy – lovely to see her back in print – and forensics expert Professor Dave Barclay. In their first outing, Everyone Lies, the forensic detail infuses the novel with more realism and Murphy’s storytelling ability is well on show.
Elizabeth Haynes’s third novel Human Remains throws light into the work of a civilian police analyst in an investigation. Described as a ‘hymn to all the lonely people’, analyst Annabel’s own life is very close to those who fall victim when alone and unnoticed. It adds an extra and fascinating dimension to what is a gut wrenching tale of sadness at its heart. Moving to a new publisher with Under a Silent Moon (out now in e format), it will be interesting to see what Haynes does next.
Tom Vowler’s What Lies Within is simply stunning. In a remote Devon farmhouse, the equilibrium in the lives of Anna and her family is suddenly thrown off balance. Vowler charts a much less-chosen path in this one and writes from the female point of view too. Exceptional.
Recommended: do not sit down and read this one on Boxing Day as Colette McBeth’s Precious Thing may leave you surveying your presents and questioning all the relationships behind them. The style may prove a challenge but the plotting is exquisite. If you’re not the most secure of people, you have been warned.
More tomorrow. (This series of posts is also being used as a bit of catch-up after some absence in 2013.)