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The last month continued to be a mix of the latest thrillers out there with old favourites which are like a comfort read during this bizarre time of lockdown. I have just finished a Ruth Rendell Wexford from 1973, (having decided to read them in order) and comparing it to her later novels, especially those written under the Vine name, you can see how crime fiction has grown and developed over the years. In ‘Some Lie and Some Die’ Rendell focuses solely on the case in hand of a woman’s body found at a music festival. Here we have Wexford wishing he was young again, appreciating the music of the current generation, whilst Burden is more than capable of being old beyond his years! It is revealing how Wexford refers to his wife without naming Dora and how in later novels, Wexford’s family were to take a bigger part on the stage and make Wexford more of the man, rather than just an instrument of justice.

Author of the Month stays for the next few weeks as Iain Maitland and his astonishing psychological thriller, The Scribbler. Maitland’s book finds a new department that investigates cold crimes involving the LGBTQ+ community. Their first case is one from the late 1980s and killings by a man the newspapers tagged ‘The Scribbler’. He disappeared as quick as he surfaced, now thirty years later there is another death – this one with the hallmarks of The Scribbler that were never released to the press. Has The Scribbler been dormant all these years, or has he been quietly killing without anyone knowing? Gayther and Carrie now try to bring this criminal down. This is a tense thriller I raced through and I am sure you will agree with me.

Fresh Blood is The Memory Wood the stunning debut from Sam Lloyd. This is the story of Elissa, a thirteen-year old girl kidnapped from a Chess tournament. Waking up in an underground cell, Elissa finds she has a visitor in the form of Elijah and so begins a battle of wits as Elissa tries to trick Elijah to get help. The only trouble is that Elijah wants to keep his new-found friend.

This is an astonishing and disturbing debut and one that will grip you as the battle of wits between the two intensifies, leading to a disturbing revelation that Elissa is not the first to inhabit the cell in the Memory Wood, nor that Elijah has been telling her the whole truth.

Reviews this month includes a number of new writers alongside established writers. They include Craig Robertson, Mark Edwards, Helen Fitzgerald, John Marrs and many more.

Classic Crime features the prolific and sadly undersold Gladys Mitchell with her wonderful creation, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. This was a comfort read, spiriting me away from the troubles of the present, back to 1979 and a superb case for Dame Beatrice under the title of Nest of Vipers. Although this is one of her later books, it shows how Mitchell was still at the top of her game and producing great mysteries like the one chronicled here. Who could not love a murder in a house full of eccentric residents? Thankfully, you can dip in and out of Mitchell’s novels so they can be read in any order. If you have never read her books before, then this is a great one to start with. If you enjoy it, then you have sixty-five other cases to catch up on!

Events features the books by Ted Lewis who many of us will know through the Michael Caine film, Get Carter. The Empress of Noir herself, Cathi Unsworth has written what is basically a love letter to Ted as two of his books, GBH and Plunder are given gorgeous covers. If you haven’t already, Lewis is definitely an author to investigate, read and cherish.

My Lockdown Top Ten features new reads we have reviewed since January 2020 and ones I have suggested would be perfect to entertain and enthral you during the lockdown. I am certain you will find a gem or two here for you. I know we loved them!

To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you can’t recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed a huge number of books during Crimesquad.com's thirteen years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!


If you have any comments or have a particular author you would like to see highlighted on this website please e-mail me at chrissimmons@crimesquad.com.

Chris Simmons
Online Editor.