I grew up in 1980s rural Scotland so reading was a way to escape the horrors of tartan, tinned vegetables and horizontal rain. Eschewing deep-fried mars bars I instead devoured everything written by dear Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators mysteries and Willard Price’s Adventure series. Slightly trashy and entirely predictable literature was the making of me.
I still read moderately formulaic books and occasionally dabble in “lowbrow” literature. I generally alternate between literary fiction and police procedurals or psychological thrillers but I also throw in medieval history non-fiction titles, interior design books and the odd memoir. When not reading I have a penchant for vintage cosy-ish crime TV shows (Poirot, Foyle’s War, Endeavour), Zombies (The Walking Dead), Time Team and anything about Denmark, oh and a spot of light crochet.
- 2015 Crackers! "Best of the Year"
- Jump on the bandwagon with Psychological Thrills Just about every second book being published at the moment is promoted as the "next Gone Girl", or "perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train". Until psychological thriller fatigue sets in scare yourself silly with some of these head-wreckers.
- The Strangler Vine & The Infidel Stain by Miranda Carter. A muscular, thrilling historical adventure/mystery series featuring the enigmatic sleuth Jeremiah Blake. Miranda Carter is a historian to trade and drops the reader into a fully realised and meticulously detailed past. There is also lots of juicy social commentary relevant to the neo-liberal world of today.
- Jeeves and Wooster! I have recently re-encountered the delights of the omnipotent Jeeves and the totally gormless Bertie Wooster. Overdrive has a selection of full-cast BBC Radio 4 plays recorded in the 1970s and 1980s with a host of British lovies. Lots of fun.
- Girl waits with a gun by Amy Stewart. Based on the real story of Constance Kopp the first American female sheriff this thrilling romp is soaked in period detail and touching family drama. Set in Paterson, New Jersey in the early years of WW1 the novel follows the travails of Constance and her sisters as they attempt to get recompense from a wealthy factory owner whose motor car collided with their horse and buggy. His reluctance to pay escalates to threats and violence but Constance is undaunted! The first in a projected series so more high jinks are set to follow.
- Orphan Black. Bit scared of spoilers here but I'll give a few clues. Sci-Fi. Thriller. Eugenics. Clones. Secrets. Love. Loyalty. Now on its fourth series it stars Tatiana Malsany who is incredible. Watch.
- Jim Crace. A phenomenal writer. His last novel Harvest was short-listed for the 2013 Man Booker prize but got beaten out by New Zealand's Eleanor Catton. Being Dead is the book of all books but given that it tells the tale of a murdered couple decomposing on an isolated beach I realise it may not be everyone's cup of char!