I may have mentioned that I’m a woman of a certain age – and you know what that means don’t you – it means I’m addicted to detective fiction. Not for me the bedroom romps of chick-lit, or bodice ripping historic romances, no, what I most like to tuck myself into bed with at night (apart from the husband of course), is a good old-fashioned detective story.
Over the years, I’ve lumbered through the streets of Edinburgh with John Rebus, accompanied Inspector Morse to umpteen Oxford murder sites, marvelled at the murder rate in sleepy Chiltern villages with Tom Barnaby and practically morphed into Miss Marple. I love a good murder mystery and I love a good old cranky detective to solve it.
One of my hobbies is finding detective stories at charity shops. This is really quite easy with the more prolific authors, fortunately many of their readers seem happy to pass on their used paperbacks, often quite soon after they’ve been published. I managed to find the complete collection of Ian Rankin’s books over the period of a couple of years, just shopping in our local charity shops, but it was harder to find Caroline Graham’s books. I was beginning to worry that I’d have to pay full price, when as luck would have it, our local British Heart Foundation shop suddenly took possession of two titles in one week (I suspect a fellow enthusiast had kindly donated their collection).
But after years doing this, I find myself lacking inspiration. Who should I read next? I don’t like a lot of blood and gore, I’ve tried a few Ruth Rendells and CP Snows, but I’m not that big a fan, I love Phil Rickman’s books, but I’ve read them all, so what I need now is inspiration. Who should I try next?
Are there any modern-day Dorothy L Sayers out there? That’s the sort of thing I’d like. If you’ve any recommendations, do let me know.