For many people, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a good book to settle down with next to a roaring fire, while the snow settles outside the window. Therefore books are the perfect Christmas present or stocking-filler. However, books are very personal, so it can be difficult to know which one to buy. Read reviews or ask friends for recommendations. For fans of mystery and crime fiction, gift givers won’t go wrong with the following authors.
Chandler made his name writing about private detective Philip Marlowe and helped define our view of the ‘Private Eye’. With books like ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ and ‘The Lady in the Lake’, Chandler developed the idea of the lone anti-hero who ultimately makes up his own rules, and who pursues his own version of good despite the corruption that he finds in the pre-war society in which he operates. Marlowe was, of course, made famous by Humphrey Bogart and, if someone likes the films, they’ll love the books.
Further information on Raymond Chander.
For those who like Raymond Chandler, Walter Moseley is a natural progression. Like Chandler’s books, Moseley’s characters operate in Los Angeles. Unlike Chandler, Moseley’s heroes (Easy Rawlins and Paris Minton) inhabit the period covering the 1950s-60s and are black. For those who like their mystery inhabited by a little magical realism, Moseley has written ‘Blue Light’, a book which can be characterised as the one Raymond Chandler and C. S. Lewis would have written if they’d met in a Los Angeles bar whilst taking LSD
Further information on Walter Moseley
John Le Carre
If spy stories are what are needed, then there is no-one better than John Le Carre with his insider’s view of the world of espionage and his intricate, but immensely readable, stories focused around the character of George Smiley and the bluff and double-bluff world occupied by the spies of East and West. Most of his stories are set in the cold war period, but a recent book, ‘Absolute Friends’, navigates the period between the radical politics of the 1960s and state’s concern with radical Islam. The conclusion to ‘Absolute Friends’ constitutes one of Le Carre’s most stunning twists.
Further information on John Le Carre
This Japanese writer has a track record of producing novels and short stories that twist and turn in ways even beyond the normal practice of magical realists. There are themes that run through his stories. The hero is normally buffeted by events, but vaguely nonplussed by them. Frequently a woman or girl disappears or walks out of the story. The heroes enjoy jazz. Frequent appearances are made wells, lifts, sheep and other potentially Freudian symbols. Probably the most intricate and wide ranging of Murakami’s books is ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’. Incredibly well-written and translated, Murakami will hook the reader within the first few pages of any one of his books.