Reviews

‘absorbing second mystery . . . stunning resolution.’ [Stage Fright]

- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Does it matter if you guess the ending?

51kJSUiz08LJoan Smith thought After the Crash was ‘one of the most remarkable books I’ve read in a long time’, Maxim Jakubowski called it ‘a compulsive page-turner’ and Barry Forshaw said ‘Michel Bussi knows exactly how to keep the reader turning page after page.’ So I was expecting great things, and maybe that was the part of the problem. I did read it compulsively – but only until about half way through, when I ran out of steam and found I couldn’t – or rather didn’t want to – suspend my disbelief any longer. Yes, it’s a brilliant premise. A baby survives a plane crash in which everyone else dies and two families fight over which of them she belongs to. I won’t say exactly when I guessed the answer to this conundrum and the final twist in a very convoluted plot, because that might constitute a spoiler, but it was pretty early on. I hope I wasn’t going to be right, but I was.

This got me thinking about the challenges of writing for a crime fiction readership, which includes of course other crime writers. Like many other readers (and writers) I must have read thousands of crime novels, and these days I am rarely surprised by a plot twist, though I love it when it happens. Just at the moment I am especially obsessed with plots as I am plotting a novel myself, so maybe that too was part of my problem with After the Crash. I was too conscious of the machinery. Sometimes that doesn’t matter as long as I am enjoying other aspects of the book, the setting, the characters, whatever. In fact, I often reread favourite crime novels, knowing perfectly well who did it. But this time I did mind and I ground to a halt.

So how do you feel? Are you disappointed if the writer doesn’t manage to fool you, or are you happy to go along for the ride anyway?

 

The Adventures of Moriarty

51dtcxFaQyL._AA160_I always enjoy writing a story to a brief and ‘The Mystery of the Missing Child’ was no exception. I’d been thinking for a while that I’d like to try my hand at a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. So when Maxim Jakubowski put out a call for stories featuring Holmes’s arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, ‘the Napoleon of crime,’ I jumped at the opportunity. It was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had writing and I was thrilled when Maxim decided to include my story in The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty.

The book is out this week:  thirty-seven stories by writers including Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, L. C. Tyler and many others. I’m looking forward to reading them. At £9.99 it is great value and would make the perfect present for lovers of Sherlock Holmes – and isn’t that pretty much everyone?