Top guns: Britain’s favourite crime writers

American thriller writer James Patterson is very popular with library users in Britain. Not only is he the author of Sail, the most borrowed book last year, but of 17 others on the list of 250 most borrowed books. Most of them, however, were collaborations with other authors. That leaves the field clear for another […]

Books most borrowed in America, Britain, Singapore

American thriller writer James Patterson is the author whose books are borrowed most often from libraries in America and Britain. Malcolm Gladwell topped the non-fiction list in America with Outliers: The Story of Success, according to Library Journal.com. American authors dominate the list of 250 books borrowed most often in Britain in 2009. Patterson is […]

Social inequality and sense of place in crime fiction

Ian Rankin fans will enjoy reading his conversation with the Indian communist leader Prakash Karat, who has read all his 17 Inspector Rebus novels and did his Master's in politics at the University of Edinburgh, in Rankin's hometown. Rankin talks about his working-class parents, his being the first from his family to go to university […]

The Complaints: No Rebus but pure Rankin

Police procedurals don't get better than The Complaints. Ian Rankin is in riveting good form. I couldn't put down the book until I finished it. And it doesn't even feature Inspector Rebus, who had his swansong in Exit Music, published in 2007. The Complaints, published last year, presents a new hero: Inspector Malcolm Fox, also […]

Who is Britain’s greatest living author?

Clockwise from top left: Amis, Pinter, Naipaul, Rushdie, Rankin, Stoppard, Rowling and Hornby (in the centre). If Martin Amis isn’t Britain’s greatest living author, who is? asks the Guardian today. Amis is certainly the flashiest. His brilliance with words simply dazzles. No one comes close except Salman Rushdie, whose name also came up in the […]

A rare English novel

I just finished reading Ian Rankin’s Fleshmarket Alley. What struck me was not so much the storytelling or the characterisation — Rankin has done better in earlier John Rebus novels which go deeper into characters and atmosphere. But this is a book one should read not only as a crime novel. What sets it apart […]