A reminder of what we asked:
Auntie Marjorie has form on Christmas Day. As soon as lunch is over and the Queen’s speech comes on the telly she likes to disappear into her boudoir with a good crime novel. She doesn’t emerge until Boxing night. You know she’s depending on you to satisfy her eclectic tastes, so what will you place under the tree for her this year?
Here, 5 authors put their parcels under the tree and Auntie Marjorie says her thank yous…
[Click on the pics to go through to non-affiliated Amazon pages.]
Yes, Aunt Marjorie is a big crime fiction fan, but she never reads my books, does she? “It’s all those Russian names,” she moans. That’s her excuse, though I know it’s because she’s never liked me. Anyhow, I know what to get her. William Ryan’s outstanding The Holy Thief. (I myself will be locked away with The Bloody Meadow, the next in the series.) Wonderfully authentic (Soviet-era – ssh!) atmosphere, marvellously put-upon and beaten-up central character, a ruthless killer, deadly double-dealing, and extreme tattoos… all the ingredients she loves. Just don’t tell her about the Russian names.
“Bonjour, David. You look glum. Having second thoughts about exercising that veto?”
“Gosh, no, Nicolas! A chap’s got to do what a chap’s got to do – or so my backbenchers tell me, anyway. It’s the Christmas present for my aunt Marjorie I’m worrying about.”
“Does she resemble you, David?”
“Like two blobs of caviar on a blini, me old gumdrop.”
“Then what about Simon Brett’s Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess? Very amusing – rather like Britain’s policy on Europe. Good clean fun – rather like Angela Merkel. And all looking back to a time when a Brit could tell Johnny Foreigner where to get off, and being outnumbered 26 to 1 just added to the fun.”
“Corks! – you’re well-informed for a froggie, Nicolas. Do you know? – I might just get one for Boris too.”
Auntie Marjorie (or Marge as we call her) would love to get her cold-creamed, mittened paws on KISS ME QUICK by Danny Miller. It’s a class act detective story set over the Mods and Rockers riot weekend down in Brighton, so it would probably bring back a few memories for an old girl with form such as Marge (especially as, judging by her greying quiff and Eddie Cochran LP collection, she was more than likely there at the time). It’s packed with terrifying villains, bent coppers and stunning femme fatales, and stars a detective so cool you could stock him in Iceland.
I know Marjorie’s habits well, which is why I’ve wrapped up ‘Gutshot Straight‘ by Lou Berney for her to sink her dentures into. It’s got poker, strip clubs, and a slick, sexy plot that hinges on ancient, priceless foreskins. It’s like Elmore Leonard knocked up Robert Crais and they had a love child who now writes books. If she doesn’t like it then she’s getting socks next year, and not even nice ones.
A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
Through a chance acquaintance with a Turkish police officer in Istanbul, crime writer Charles Latimer is shown the body of a dead man. Intrigued, Latimer sets out to investigate the dead man’s history, and is led on a journey across 1930s Europe and into a dark and dangerous underworld where his own life is at risk. In this exotic and mysterious thriller, Ambler brings together a cast of flawed, unheroic characters to weave a fascinating study of evil. His prose style is a delight, economical and tight, and, whilst the novel is plainly of its time, it’s still a powerful read.
Auntie Marjorie started opening her presents in part 1 here.