Lynn Harvey selects her favourites in today's instalment of the Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2015:
Lynn Harvey's favourite reads of 2015
All five of my 2015 favourites show my liking for a drop of social, political or the psychological in crime – I cannot help it, I am that kind of girl. So, in alphabetical order by writer, let me give you:
Baylis, M H – Black Day at the Bosphorus Cafe
I've come to enjoy this home-grown, North London based series featuring local journo Rex Tracey so much that I demanded the first book (A DEATH AT THE PALACE) as a birthday present recently. BLACK DAY.. is the series' third. As usual, Rex is up to his neck in his chaotic personal life together with the consequences of his intuition about a local death – the apparent suicide of a young PKK supporter. Vivid, witty, compassionate writing from M H Baylis, with more plot than you can shake a stick at.
Mankell, Henning – An Event in Autumn
Translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson
And it is easy to think that I include this novella because of the loss of Mankell to cancer this year. But I don't. It is a precise jewel marked by Mankell's dispassionate observation of both crime and human nature. It is also perhaps a gentler way for us to say good-bye to his creation Kurt Wallander than some readers found true of THE TROUBLED MAN.
Miloszewski, Zygmunt – Entanglement
Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Not a new publication but my first Polish crime-read. It has a classic whodunnit structure dipped into the worlds of psychotherapy and the post-Communist struggle with the tendrils of Soviet secret-policing. It was adapted as a radio play by Mark Lawson for the BBC and broadcast in late 2015. Don't let on, but I didn't like some of the changes made to the characters, so I'm going to read Miloszewski's subsequent crime novel featuring Prosecutor Szacki to see if I read him wrong.
Miske, Karim – Arab Jazz
Translated from the French by Sam Gordon
Karim Miske's social insights contained in this murder mystery set in the multicultural mixing pot of Paris's 19th Arrondissement, although written several years ago, proved horrifically prophetic in the Charlie Hebdo killings which took place shortly after its January publication and the later dreadful events of November. Nevertheless I hope we will get the chance to read more of gentle Ahmed (such a prime suspect for the murder of his neighbour) and the eccentric Lieutenants Kupferstein and Hamelot of the Paris police. This is one for all crime readers who love the distinctive flavour of French crime-writing.
Neville, Stuart – Those We Left Behind
Neville has become a writer to reckon with. Having written a series of gripping, slightly eerie crime books set in post-Troubles Northern Ireland; a factional thriller (RATLINES) set amidst corrupt politics in 1960s Ireland; his latest brings us a new protagonist (DCI Serena Flanagan) and a shift in subject matter with a crime story rooted in the dysfunctional lives of two brothers, one of whom was convicted of murder whilst still a juvenile. A master of suspense and gripping plot, Neville also brings a chilling psychological empathy to the table with this one.
So … I'd like to go on with more titles but five is the rule.