There are always loads of books on the nightstand. A few of them are Sharon Bolton’s A Dark and Twisted Tide, Seán Haldane’s The Devil’s Making, and Robin Blake’s The Hidden Man. You can tell I enjoy novels with history woven in…
Who is your favorite novelist of all times?
Agatha Christie is my choice. She had so much impact on the genre, and her ability to create ingenious plots is legendary. That’s not to mention that hers was the first adult crime fiction I read. I do love the work of other authors too – I really do. My list of ‘Margot’s top authors’ continues to grow as I read more. But Christie is a special ‘top of the top’ for me.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
People might be surprised to find that I’ve got several books by Dave Barry and by Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker books have some of the best wit I’ve ever read. And Barry’s done some great things, too. So has Bill Bryson (I have a few of his books). Sometimes wit is just what the doctor ordered.
Who is your favorite fictional hero?
That’s hard to say, because I have several. One is Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. I love his view that ‘Everybody counts or nobody counts.’ He’s no superhero, and he has as many faults as anyone. But he has integrity and he’s dogged. I really like his character. I also very much like Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn Shreve and Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway. Both are good at what they do. Both are smart and interesting people, and neither lets her ‘baggage’ get in the way. And it’s nice that neither is – erm – twenty any more. Nice to have fictional protagonists showing that you don’t have to be in your twenties or thirties to be fully engaged in life.
What book do you return to?
When I’m not reading crime fiction, it’s always nice to return to James Michener. There’s just something about his historical sagas that draws me in. For crime fiction, there really isn’t just one author or book I re-read. It’s probably more accurate to say that sometimes I come back to some of the great Golden Age writers (Sayers, Marsh, Christie, Simenon, Queen, Carr, Stout, Upfield, etc…). I know a lot of crime fiction fans prefer modern crime fiction, and there are good reasons for that. But I like to re-learn the lessons about plotting, setting and so on that are in the best GA crime fiction.