Book musings

#TopTenTuesday – 17 April 2018: Recommendations please!

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists and of books and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

17 April 2018’s #TopTenTuesday is…a Freebie! (Create your own topic)

As such, and in the cheeky hope of getting some new recommendations(!), I’m going to go for: “the very specific #booknerd things in a blurb or review that would make me think: I have to have that book!” 🙂 I might not get all the way to ten things but here goes…

1 – It’s “…like Hitchcock’s Rear Window:

Hands down, this is my favourite film of all time. I will seek out any story that is similar to Rear Window‘s basic premise: an incapacitated person might have seen a murder committed. Give me Disturbia, Body Double, Blow Up, and I am there. I have also loved Rear Window-inspired episodes of TV shows, including The Simpsons, Diagnosis Murder and Father Brown. (But not the 1998 remake of Rear Window; we do not talk about that.)

This love extends to novel form, and over the last few years I have enjoyed Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, Ross Armstrong’s The Watcher and this year’s The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.

2 – It’s got a group of people in a confined space being bumped off one at a time by a mysterious or unseen or unknown killer:

Ok, one of my other favourite films is Clue (yes, that’s how cool I am) and, again, I will lap up any story that’s in the same vein: IdentityThe Cat and the Canary, Murder by Death, What a Carve Up!, even National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, which is actually truly terrible.

In book form, obviously, the best example of this trope is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which is fantastic, and is spoofed in Fred Van Lente’s Ten Dead Comedians and Anthony Horowitz’s I Know What You Did Last Wednesday. I loved Christopher Brookmyre’s Be My Enemy and One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night (also see #4); I enjoyed Simon Kernick’s three-part mini series One by One; and the trope was given a gory makeover in Richard Parker’s Follow You. I am intrigued by Betsy Reavley’s latest, Pressure, which is set on a submarine and, after seeing it recommended by Crime by the Book, I am desperate to read Security by Gina Wohlsdorf.

3 – It’s inspired by the case of Jack the Ripper:

Bit gory this one, and I hadn’t really realised this was such an influence for me, until I saw mention of David Field’s The Gaslight Stalker on another blog recently (I’m sorry that I now can’t remember whose) and immediately bought it. Added to the fact that I’m currently loving Johana Gustawsson’s Keeper and that Sharon (S.J.) Bolton’s Now You See Me is one of my favourite ever books (again, also see #4), and I guess it’s only fair that this is on the list.

4 – It’s written by one of my no-questions-asked, don’t-care-what-it’s-about, go-to authors:

There aren’t many authors where I have read everything they’ve ever written, but I think I have read every book (bar their newest releases) by Sharon Bolton and Christopher Brookmyre. I do not even have to read their latest synopsis (synopses? synopsises??) before the book (hardback, natch) is pre-ordered.

It’s not much of a boast to say that I have read everything Daniel Cole has written but, given how much I loved Ragdoll and Hangman, I genuinely don’t care what the synopsis of the promised third instalment is. *waits impatiently*

5 – It’s part of one of my favourite series:

Obviously, this is very similar to #4, but I cannot pretend that I have read everything that, for example, Christopher Fowler, Angela Clarke or Robert Bryndza have ever written (in genres other than crime) but the minute a new Bryant & May, Social Media Murders or Erika Foster book is announced, I am interested!

Similarly with M.J. Arlidge (Helen Grace), Angela Marsons (Kim Stone), Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike) and Katherine Woodfine (Sinclair’s Mysteries).

6 – It’s a Murder Mystery / classic closed-circle whodunit:

I know I read mainly Crime Fiction anyway, but that covers a pretty wide area: I like a psychological thriller, I like many police procedurals and I don’t mind a ‘savvy cozy’ every now and again, such as those by Simon Brett; but I am not interested in gangsters, crime families etc. or very twee cozies where the amateur detective is helped to solve the crime by their cat or a ghost or something equally annoying…

My favourite sub-genre is the classic closed-circle whodunit Murder Mystery, à la Agatha Christie, where you know for sure that whoeverdunit is one of a certain group of people, rather than, say, an unknown perpetrator in London or New York etc. You can’t beat Poirot or Miss Marple for a good plot and I feel that you don’t get so many new books marketed like that these days; at the moment, Agatha Christie’s would probably all be promoted as “a gripping thriller with a shocking twist”…

7 – It’s a Country House Murder Mystery

Building on #6, I love a traditional country house murder mystery, preferably with a range of guests, a butler, some parlour maids and at least one cad or bounder. And don’t get me started on floorplans. Even better if it’s a bit tongue in cheek like The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy or has a bit of a twist on the genre like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

8 – It’s a Snowed-In Country House Murder Mystery:

‘Nuff said. Bonus points if it’s Christmas!

9 – It’s a black comedy or comedy thriller:

And by comedy thriller, I mean it has to actually be both genuinely funny and thrilling or mysterious or action-packed…preferably with murders! Some of my favourite films fall into this category: those already mentioned above, plus classics including Charade, Some Like It Hot, The Ladykillers (original version!), Ocean’s Eleven (new version!) and perhaps less classic, What’s Up Doc?, Foul Play, Silver Streak, Jumpin’ Jack Flash… (See, I told you I was cool). So anything like these but in book form would grab me.

I guess that’s why I like Christopher Brookmyre and Daniel Cole so much, and I would also include here Ben Elton, (early) Janet Evanovich, (some) Stephen Fry and Colin Bateman.

I think that’s it, unless I think of a tenth immediately after I’ve posted this(!) Basically, if Sharon Bolton could please write a Rear Window– AND Jack the Ripper-inspired, witty, closed-circle whodunit murder mystery, set in a snowed-in country house, where everyone gets bumped off one at a time…


Thank you for reading my Top Ten Tuesday. Please feel free to comment or share yours below. x

4 thoughts on “#TopTenTuesday – 17 April 2018: Recommendations please!

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