Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reading tip

I have always enjoyed reading, but it was about thirty years ago, when I was living in Paris, that I became a true paperback junkie. There was an International Bookstand in the Gare de Lyon, a short walk from my flat, where I could get my fiction fix and I was hardly ever en manque.

I'm not sure in what hotel (on a trip to London, with S, methinks) I had just finished breakfast in bed, lit up and opted to allow myself just one more chapter of the latest book authored under the pseudonym Emma Lathen. But I know that in the seventies I consumed at least a dozen tales featuring the protagonist sleuth John PutnamThatcher, in his day job Wall Street banker.

The genre may be dismissed as crime fiction but, whether stories of espionage or detection, over the past decades more and more writers are bending the formalism even of linear police procedurals to write also about issues which are often quite weighty and far from trashy or superficial.

One writer whose every book I have read is Ian Rankin whose Inspector Rebus tells of more than crime, reflecting on the realities of contemporary Scotland.

Christopher Brookmyre is another Scot who has a very individualistic black humour. I just finished Snowball In Hell, in which he lambastes our celebrity-obsessed society with a darkly comic invention which almost leaves you applauding the absolutely bloodthirsty serial killer!

The twelve titles shown also demonstrate the publisher's nous in maintaining a very identifiable visual branding, design as quirky as the text between the covers.


Jessi said...

love this picture! daddy at a time I didn't yet exist :) or did I already?

Macthomson said...

You must have been floating about somewhere up there... But it was ten years before you decided to join us down here!