Thrilling, engaging and impossible to put down, crime fiction is without a doubt one of the world’s most popular book genres. To help get you hooked, here are five of my favourite reads of all time.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
When it comes to psychological genius Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is an absolute masterpiece. The novel was published in 1938 and takes readers on a chilling journey of a young woman’s obsession with her husband’s enchanting, yet deceased first wife. Legendary journalist come feminist Germaine Greer described it as “a superior example of deeply encoded female pornography”. (Love the film as well!)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (1859)
Published in 1859, this novel is one of the greatest Victorian thrillers of all time. “Women can resist a man’s love, a man’s fame, a man’s personal appearance, and a man’s money, but they cannot resist a man’s tongue when he knows how to talk to them,” wrote Collins. The main character Walter Hartright is considered the pioneer of private detective protagonists and stops at nothing to unravel the mystery of an enigmatic woman dressed in white.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (1992)
Now a Danish crime institution, Peter Hoeg first made headlines with his 1992 novel, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. I love the fact that he uses a female heroine, and of course the inclusion of a seriously strange yet captivating sex scene in Greenland.
Fatherland by Robert Harris (1992)
When it comes to points for imagination, Robert Harris takes the cake. This is an incredible example of speculative fiction meets crime thriller, with Harris setting his novel in a world where Hitler was victorious in WWII. As history rewrites itself a Berlin based detective investigates a mysterious death which soon leads to a wealth of secrets. (Bought this one for my partner.)
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (2014)
In 2014 my favourite up-to-the-minute entrant was Antonia Hodgson’s The Devil in the Marshalsea. The author picked up the coveted Crime Writers’ Association historical Dagger Award and after reading her work, it’s not hard to see why. Hodgson weaves a spellbinding tale which sees a distressed man attempt to solve a murder in order to clear his name and nullify his jail sentence. All upholding in the cut throat prison of Marshalsea during 1727. Fabulous stuff!