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Suggestions for my neighbour - crime fiction

(48 Posts)
ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 01:08:17

My neighbour is in her 80s, she has most of her shopping delivered and I buy her any extra bits she needs. I'll call her Eileen.

Eileen is lovely, lively, great company and despite our age gap I count her among my friends.

However, until lockdown she was volunteering for the local mobile library service. Eileen loves books and is very well read. When lockdown started the local council said that people over 65 could no
longer volunteer for the library service as the risk is too great. In her own words 'I've been made redundant at the age of 83' she was smiling about it.

We were chatting this evening obviously always maintaining social distance, I asked what else I could do to help her to get through lockdown. She says she misses the access to library books hugely. I've been tasked with suggesting new titles and I need some help.

• Eileen loves crime stories.
• No excessive gore but nothing too staid either.
• Eileen used to like Patricia Highsmith, Minette Walters, Jacqueline Winspear but would like something modern, which is why she's asking for my help.
• In general she doesn't want to read a whole detective series and she's fed up with domestic violence she used to volunteer for a women's aid type charity so she's seen too much IRL
• Loves psychological thrillers and unexpected plot twists.

I've said I will write her a list, I've already got:
The Silent Patient
A Dorothy Koomson
An Elly Griffiths
A Jo Spain
One of the Joy Ellis Jackman and Evans books.

More will come to me I'm sure.

Does anyone have more suggestions?

OP’s posts: |
DancelikeEmmaGoldman Tue 19-May-20 01:28:26

Although they have series, they don’t have to be read in order, so Sue Grafton and Sara Patrtsky. Meg Gardiner is good - writes standalone as well as a series.

Lisa Unger does a good line in psychological thrillers.

Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe books are great - he’s a terrific writer.

Linwood Barclay does good, twisty thrillers.

Jane Harper - her first book was The Dry I think.

She might enjoy Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, a large percentage of Child’s fan base is female.

Peter Temple, the much lamented Australian writer. He’s a wonderful writer.

Also Tana French, Denise Mina and Louise Penny.

The crime stories JK Rowling writes under the name Robert Galbraith are terrific.

Binglebong Tue 19-May-20 01:34:16

I love Jane Casey. Would she consider getting a kindle? That way you can load books on for her (if she doesn't have wifi) and she can have no stories, at a print size and brightness that suits her, more or less instantly. You can get fred samples for a lit of books too so she can try to see if she likes the writing style.

Ihaveamind Tue 19-May-20 01:34:39

Ann Cleeves has a few different series but they don't need to be read that way. Each book has a standalone crime story. The sense of place is very well realised. I have never been to either Northumberland or Shetland but I feel like I have!

AquarianSquirrel Tue 19-May-20 02:13:51

Don't know if they're psychological thrillers as such..maybe more pschological and moral quandaries?? but Jodi Picoult books are great.

Graphista Tue 19-May-20 03:43:17

Tricky with someone who's probably read a lot already.

I'd definitely second sue grafton, set in the 80's with a strong female protagonist but not gory though with plenty of action and mystery, while they are a series they can definitely be read as stand alones.

Thinking she may well have already read these but on the off chance she hasn't

Ruth Rendell
Janet evanovich
John Grisham - less "murder mystery" and more "poker game" they're more about the psychologists of the characters involved
Sara paretsky

Ones to avoid due to the gore side (I love them but I also know they wouldn't fit the remit)

Val macdiarmid
Tess geritsen
Kathy reichs MIGHT be ok but as the main protagonist a forensic anthropologist it can rather concentrate on the state of the bodies

Patricia Cornwell - borderline

Don't fit the remit as not "modern" but they're classics for a reason

Agatha Christie
Dorothy l sayers
Raymond Chandler
Arthur Conan Doyle - there's a fair bit of psychology in these too

Hope some of that helps?

Xylophonics Tue 19-May-20 09:07:57

Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine are great , psychological thrillers really.
PD James

More modern- Anthony Horowitz Magpie Murders, The Word is murder, The Sentence is death, all v good.
Harlan Coben
Ian Rankin , you can read them as a stand alone, read In a House of Lies recently

ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 13:41:15

Great ideas, thank you.

I'll chat to her later about having a Kindle, I know she doesn't have one at the moment because she's had such good access to books. Now she's not allowed to use that library and she did say yesterday that she'll have to buy brand new books. Eileen is internet savvy but she might want a physical book in her hand, as many people do, rather than a Kindle but I'll suggest it. I've got a Kindle and I'm quite happy with it!

I'm sure that she will either have read or dismissed some of these, she reads A LOT.

Please do keep making suggestions, particularly if you can think of specific titles that were good smile

OP’s posts: |
theseriousmoonlight Tue 19-May-20 13:45:55

Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels? There was a thread on her this morning about them which reminded me of how good they are although I can't remember how gory they are.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Tue 19-May-20 13:54:20

Sophie Hannah
Nicci French

ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 13:55:42

Btw I've just thought she would like John Marrs, either Her Last Move or When You Disappeared.

OP’s posts: |
Jemimatheragdoll Tue 19-May-20 14:00:34

I’m working my way through the DCI Ryan series by LJ Ross - recommended by my 80 yr old dm

Book 1 - they’re often fairly cheap on kindle if your neighbour can be persuaded to get one otherwise eBay is full of cheap books - just need to leave unopened for 3 days first!

MilkshakeandFries Tue 19-May-20 14:01:38

Some really good suggestions here, has anyone also said Patricia Cornwell, Elizabeth Haynes or Peter Robinson?

Stuart Macbride is also good, I don't think there's much gore in there and it's also quite humorous - love his characters.

Anthony Horowitz writes good crime fiction - particularly enjoyed Magpie Murders.

And yes to the previous suggestion of Dorothy L Sayers. In a Lonely Place is timeless IMO.

Jemimatheragdoll Tue 19-May-20 14:06:59

I also love Lindsey Davis series based in Ancient Rome - Falco is an extremely likeable private detective-they don’t really need to be read in order but I did as some threads do follow on, mostly his personal life.

Just remembered Sue Grafton alphabet murders, dm really enjoys those too, as do I and am very sad I’ve read them all!

Br1ll1ant Tue 19-May-20 14:09:26

Jonathan Kellerman

HollowTalk Tue 19-May-20 14:11:27

I have a Kindle Fire which links to my library account - I can take out six books at a time and they are automatically returned after 21 days, though they can be returned earlier. I love it.

Shosha1 Tue 19-May-20 14:18:23

Stuart McBride. Especially his later Logan MaCrae ones, funny as well as a really good crime read. I love Tartan Noir and he is one of the best. I've been listening to the Tartan Noir Podcasts as well. lots of really good crime writers recommended on it.

ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 16:01:51

Thanks theseriousmoonlight interesting you recommend Kate Atkinson.

I'll admit to a prejudice of my own here; I read Transcription after so many people had raved about Kate Atkinson and I was so underwhelmed that I haven't read anything else that she has written since.

However, this isn't about me. Eileen might read any Kate Atkinson and love it. I'll put it on the list.

OP’s posts: |
Nowisthemonthofmaying Tue 19-May-20 16:14:55

I love Patricia Wentworth! And I'm a massive crime fan but hate gory things or death porny stuff. My recommendations:

Like a pp said she might well enjoy Ann Cleeves, her Shetland series are great
I've recently got into Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books which are all set in a small village in Quebec and really gripping
I also love Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series, set in Alaska, and Susan Hill's Simon Serrailer books.
Has she tried Robert Galbraith? They are a little bit graphic but not gratuitously so.

These are all series but I would say all the books stand up to independent reading.

I also read a great one a few years ago called the Last Kashmiri Rose which was a murder mystery set in the Raj.

hidingmystatus Tue 19-May-20 16:18:04

Second LJ Ross. Robert Galbraith. Minette Walters. More action - David Baldacci.
Scandi noir - Hemming Mankell, among others.
With a touch of romance - not too much - JD Robb, SR Garrae, Kathy Reichs, and if she wants something a bit silly Janet Evanovich.
Older - Georgette Heyer wrote a few detective novels, which are good. Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Edmund Crispin, Margaret Mitchell.

ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 16:19:06

That's very useful to know about the Kindle library Hollowtalk, I'll pass that on.

For people recommending an author do you have any one title in particular that you especially enjoyed? For example; I've read all of the John Marrs books except for the latest, which is in my TBR list. I'm going to recommend Her Last Move or When You Disappeared, probably the latter because I think that it would appeal most to Eileen.

Jemimatheragdoll I think I've read all of the DCI Ryan books, I have put Penshaw on the list because it was my favourite though I'll always take other suggestions depending on your own preference.

Every series has some books that are better than others.

OP’s posts: |
ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 16:31:25

I'll add the older books to the list but she gets through a book every day or two and had access to a library. If it's an older title my guess is that Eileen has either read it or not decided she doesn't want to.

I do know that she's read every Minette Walters, she loved them.

What Eileen doesn't do is look at Goodreads or anything else like that. When I mentioned The Silent Patient she hadn't even heard of it so anything recent is probably a good bet.

Nowisthemonthofmaying you've hit the nail on the head when you write about death porn. She's fine with contextually appropriate gore or violence I think. To take Minette Walters as an example IIRC it's not cosy crime.

From our conversations I do know that she found Agatha Raisin irritating grin

OP’s posts: |
ThatShallot Tue 19-May-20 16:33:16

Good grief, my double negative there confusedObviously that should have said or decided not to.

OP’s posts: |
thecognoscenti Tue 19-May-20 16:35:25

Anthony Horowitz has done some very good crime novels, minimal gore, clever and twisty. The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, and my favourite The Magpie Murders - I think your neighbour will like these.

Veterinari Tue 19-May-20 17:18:38

Janes Oswald's inspector Maclean series
Nick Louth
Damien Boyd

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