Sunday, 13 June 2010

Three Crime Fiction Authors

Kathy Reichs: 206 Bones, Steig Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shamini Flint: Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Mystery

With all the travelling I’ve been doing lately by train and plane, there’s been plenty of time for the kind of light reading I enjoy. I love any kind of puzzle, but the plot convolutions of crime fiction are my all time favourites.
I was attracted to Kathy Reichs when she began to publish because I was fascinated by the unpleasant details of forensic science. Who, in their right mind, would fancy picking someone’s toe nails out of the bathroom carpet, analysing maggots, or trawling the suspect’s sewage system for traces of blood? The feisty Tempe Brennan, apparently. But as the books have gone on being written, they have become more and more the same. Although the names may change the plot always follows the same pattern. I read 206 Bones because I wanted to find out who did it (although I had guessed before the half way mark), but the book itself bored me and I probably won’t bother to pick up any more.

Steig Larsson’s trilogy has had a lot of press coverage and much hype, so I picked up the first book with some reservations. They didn’t last beyond the first two pages. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is as good as and probably better than its reputation. I was enthralled by the characterisation, the complexity of the plot and the originality of the story. Above all it is the depth of psychology that puts this book in the Premier League of crime fiction authors. I can’t wait to read the rest now!

I’m always on the look-out for new crime fiction authors and, having recently been to Singapore and about to return, I picked up one of the Inspector Singh novels as the result of an Amazon ‘like-for-like’ recommendation. But they didn’t get my tastes quite right. Shamini Flint writes very well, with good characters and an original and beautiful setting, but I found the book a bit cosy. If you like Alexander McCall Smith’s detective fiction then you’ll probably like this.

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