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Luke Jennings, author of the Killing Eve series has joined us as our Book Doctor ahead of Father's Day. Luke has picked five questions – sent in by Caboodlers just like you – to answer. All five Caboodlers will each receive a £15/€20 National Book Token to pick their next read.Got a bookish bothering of your own? Send your questions in and if we pick yours for the attention of our future Book Doctors, you’ll get a National Book Token!
Katie, I would recommend Helen Fitzgerald, who is originally from Australia but has been living in Scotland for 20 years, and writes pitch-dark and mordantly funny psychological crime fiction. Try Bloody Women, or Worst Case Scenario, both precisely located in the Scottish psyche and landscape. Not quite the same as Rankin, but cracking stuff.
Rachel, I've recommended James Hamilton-Paterson's comic trilogy to another reader (he's contemporary British literature's best kept secret, in my opinion), but your father might enjoy H-P's resonantly brilliant Gerontius, about a voyage made in late life by the composer Edward Elgar to Manaus, on the river Amazon. I found it an unforgettable read, a meditation on the English character imbued with music and melancholy.
Victoria, I would recommend three of the great golden age female detective novelists. The best known is Dorothy L Sayers, creator of the amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Try the wonderfully atmospheric The Nine Tailors. Then there's Margery Allingham, whose Tiger in the Smoke is a must-read. Less well known today, but an unalloyed joy, are the novels of Christianna Brand. Start with Green for Danger. All three authors were prolific, and should keep you busy for some time!
Jon, try James Hamilton-Paterson's outrageously funny trilogy Cooking with Fernet Branca, Amazing Disgrace, and Rancid Pansies. The central character is the louche Gerald Samper, a ghost-writer and second-rate hack who is convinced, in the teeth of the evidence, that he is a great chef. A scene involving field-mouse vol-au-vent had me weeping with laughter on the bus, so be warned!
David, you can't go wrong with Midnight's Children, a dazzling firework display of a novel, set in India in the years following independence from Britain. The book can be enjoyed on so many levels. The inventive language is a joy, as is the way Rushdie deploys magic and allegory to create a kind of present day Arabian Nights. And you'd be hard pushed to find a more vivid portrait of India itself.
On the run together, Eve Polastri and the psychopathic Villanelle take refuge in the underworld of St Petersburg. But the Twelve are closing in, as are the Russian security services. As the chess-game intensifies, and the grip of winter tightens, the couple are drawn into a nightmare realm of conspiracy and murder.
Die For Me is a fast-paced, sophisticated thriller but also a poignant tale of love and erotic obsession. As the action races towards its shattering conclusion, can Eve and Villanelle learn to fully trust each other or will their differences destroy them?
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