Saturday, December 5, 2015

Books of the Year - James Doig

James Doig, Wormwoodiana contributor, and author of Friends of the Dead, writes:

I can't recall buying many new books this year, and mainly dipped into the past, though not necessarily the distant past. A couple of novels that made an impression were James Long's Silence & Shadows (HarperCollins, 2001), about a man coming to terms with his past while leading an archaeological dig in a Cotswold village, Hannah Kent's Burial Rites (Pan Macmillan , 2013) an assured first novel about a woman condemned to death for the brutal murder of two men in northern Iceland in 1829, and Kersten Ekman's Under the Snow (Vintage 1997), a short crime novel first published in Sweden in 1961 and presumably translated after the success of Blackwater.

A lot of literary non-fiction appealed - I blogged here earlier in the year on Lucy Sussex's Blockbuster!, about Fergus Hume's Mystery of a Hansom Cab, which went on to win the History Publication Award funded by the Victorian state government. Other books that made an impression were Martin Edwards' Golden Age of Murder (Harper Collins, 2015), a fascinating account of members of the Detection Club, Judith Flanders' The Invention of Murder (Harper Collins, 2011), which shows the intersection of real life crime and popular crime fiction in Victorian England, and John Sutherland's Lives of the Novelists (Yale 2011) a thick book of 300 biographical essays.

Favourite magazines include Justin Marriott's Paperback Fanatic (Justin has recently launched a new colour magazine called Pulp Horror) and Chris Mikul's Biblio-Curiosa. I also dipped into a lot of fan magazines of the 1970s and 80s which came my way, including CADS, The Armchair Detective, The Paperback Pulp and Comic Collector, and Paperback Parade amongst others - all great sources of obscure information.

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