A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I had a ‘murder mystery’ phase when I was a teenager (it was in between my Thomas Hardy phase and my Stephen King phase). During this time I read everything by Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.
The books that I reread the most often and therefore have the fondest memories of are The Hound of the Baskervilles, Curtain: Poirot’s Last Call, The ABC Murders and Murder on the Orient Express.
I loved the writing, the twists and turns and the characters of the detectives in these stories. There is a reason that Poirot and Holmes have lived over and over again in various incarnations. From Rathbone to Cumberbatch, from Ustinov to Suchet; these characters are infused with fascination for the reader, they are deliciously flawed, superhuman and yet missing some essential elements of humanity which means that they need to be counter-balanced by their all too ordinary assistants (Watson and Hastings).
After watching and being drawn into Hitchcock’s Rebecca I got Daphne Du Maurier’s book from the library and loved it, so dark and creepy. I adored the psychological side of Rebecca.
Another film that led me to a book was The Name of the Rose with Sean Connery and Christian Slater (I was such a fan of Christian Slater years ago). After seeing Christian Slater’s monk lose his virginity I bought the book and read both The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. The Name of the Rose remains with me to this day.
Although it feels a little like cheating because these books are funny, they are officially crime and have won awards, so I’m going to mention Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. I particularly like Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly and Four to Score. Evanovich’s portrayal of character is laugh out loud excellent. I love the early Plum novels.
And on the subject of crime comedy, I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels based on Sam Vimes, another of my favourite literary characters, Thud! and Snuff are particularly good crime fictions.
I very much enjoyed Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), who has written yet another memorable (one-legged) detective.
What I love about all these books, which range hugely in publication date and style, is that all have fantastic characterisation and that is something I seek in all my reading and what my favourite books all have in common.
The enjoyment I had when reading these murder mysteries was a huge influence when I wrote The Weight of Souls which has, at its heart, a murder mystery. Yes, it is a paranormal thriller which includes ghosts, Egyptian curses and an army of zombified killers, but it is the murder mystery that keeps the story moving forward. Taylor has to find out who killed Justin and bring his killer to justice. I had a great time ‘killing’ Justin, working out who did it and how. My early ideas were crazy. In one version is it his mother who kills him by making him drink Anbesol (a children’s liquid antiseptic which should not be drunk as it paralyses the muscles of the throat). Needless to say that version did not get past the first edit. I won’t tell you how the final murder ended up, obviously you need to read the book to find out!
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Bryony Pearce lives in the Forest of Dean and is a full time mum to her two children, husband and cat. She is vegetarian and loves chocolate, wine and writing. People are often surprised at how dark her writing is, as she is generally pretty nice.
When the children let her off taxi duty and out of the house she enjoys doing school visits, festivals and events. For more information on Bryony, please visit her website www.bryonypearce.co.uk follow her on Twitter @BryonyPearce or like her FaceBook author page BryonyPearceAuthor.