A crime novel so incompetent it might have been written by a child

First, a quote from the novel under review. The context: it is a flashback scene of the behaviour of a…

Poirot won’t be drawn

The sad demise of the amateur sleuth: it’s all the fault of better policing

‘The crime novel,’ said Bertolt Brecht, ‘like the world itself, is ruled by the English.’ He was thinking of the…

Crime fiction - review

‘We no longer believe in God but hope nevertheless for miracles,’ remarks Frederic Mordaunt, one of the characters of John…

Crime fiction reviewed by Andrew Taylor

An epigraph taken from Goebbels’s only published novel certainly makes a book stand out from the crowd. A Man Without…


A date with death

On 8 January 1937, an old man was taking his prize songbird for an early morning walk in the eastern…


The American way of justice

Conrad Black sympathises with the NatWest Three — victims of British cowardice and a corrupt US legal system



How to bury a body


Art for ransom

These two books make mutually illuminating and surprisingly contrasting companions, given the similarity of their subjects.

Recent crime fiction

John Lawton’s Inspector Troy series constantly surprises.

Recent crime fiction

Mo Hayder has a considerable and well-deserved reputation as a writer of horrific crime novels that often revolve around the physical violence men do to women.

Recent crime fiction

Henning Mankell bestrides the landscape of Scandavian crime fiction like a despondent colossus.


Massacre of the innocents

‘La justice flétrit, la prison corrompt et la société a les criminels qu’elle mérite’ — Justice withers, prison corrupts, and society gets the criminals it deserves.

When the best defence is no defence

This remarkable book is the account by their lawyer of the trial, imprisonment and sentencing to death in the late Eighties of a group of young men who came to be known as the Delmas Four.


Theatre of the macabre

Sam Leith marvels at Victorian Britain’s appetite for crime, where a public hanging was considered a family day out and murder became a lurid industry in itself

Mean streets

The best recent crime thrillers have an urban setting, according to Andrew Taylor

Troubled waters

This is the fifth in C. J. Sansom’s engrossing series of Tudor crime novels.


Innocents abroad

In John le Carré’s fiction, personal morality collides messily with the grimly cynical expediencies of global politics.


Dark Satanic thrills

If you have not yet gone on holiday, do pack The Anatomy of Ghosts. It is excellent airport reading; and this is no trivial recommendation.


Fearful symmetry

Kate Atkinson’s latest novel is the fourth in her series about Jackson Brodie, the ex-soldier, ex-police officer and ex-husband who now works in a desultory way as a private investigator.

A choice of first novels

Write what you know. Isn’t that what aspiring novelists are told?


Good at bad guys

Thriller writers, like wolves and old Etonians, hunt in packs.

King and his killer

In the late days of the Bush administration, it was fashionable among liberals to call George W. Bush the ‘worst’ president since the founding of the republic and to suggest that under his leadership America experienced its own version of the Dark Ages.


In and out of every dive

Robert Coover’s Noir is a graphic novel.


Out for blood

Unless you have spent the last couple of years packed in soil on a boat bound for Whitby, you will have noticed that vampires are back in fashion.


The loss of innocents

Here are two novels about that most harrowing and haunting of subjects — children who go missing.