Thursday, 30 March 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Jane Casey

Welcome to my BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip.

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share her BEST OF CRIME... 


I’m going to pick Ngaio Marsh just because I think she’s often overlooked. She wrote the most sinister plots and characters – Singing in the Shrouds is a truly creepy serial killer novel. And I adore her detective, Roderick Alleyn, who has a sense of humour along with impeccable dignity, intelligence and determination. He’s one of the more believable Golden Age detectives.

Witness for the Prosecution (the Billy Wilder version from 1957). I first watched it when I was about twelve, I think on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I still remember my sense of absolute shock and awe at the ending! 

I think The Bridge has altered the landscape of TV crime dramas. Saga Noren is one of the great TV detectives and Sofia Helin plays her with total conviction.

This is a hard one to answer without spoilers! Of the killers who announce themselves as killers from the off, it’s hard to beat Hannibal Lecter. He is iconic. As far as I know he’s now been played by four different actors – Brian Cox, Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel and Mads Mikkelsen – and each of them have interpreted him in different ways. Like Dracula, he is developing a mythology that extends far beyond the original books. 

Lord Peter Wimsey, by a mile. He’s charming and debonair, of course, but he’s also psychologically complex and an ex-soldier who never backed away from a fight. Sayers hints at how physically capable he is – something I think they’ve never really brought out in any of the TV adaptations.  

I adore really clever murder weapons but realistically most murders aren’t committed with daggers made of ice that melt away without a trace . . . I do love Roald Dahl’s clever little story ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ which has one of the best and most mundane murder weapons imaginable. 

The prologue in P D James’s Devices and Desires was one of the pieces of writing that made me want to be a crime writer. A young girl leaves a disco too late to catch her bus home and becomes the fourth victim of a serial killer. It’s a masterclass in building tension, skillful exposition and a terrifying revelation at the end. There’s nothing graphic about it, but it’s incredibly effective.

I use Google Maps a huge amount when I’m writing – it’s not a substitute for field trips but it really helps to rough in details when you’re working on a first draft and you don’t want to take a day off to look around an area. I love well written true crime and the success of the podcast Serial made long-form writing about crime fashionable again. But inspiration can come from all sorts of places. I found an idea for a story from a picture on Pinterest! 

Set a time limit rather than a word count to achieve for the day; it’s kinder, because we all have days where the writing is hard, and it’s manageable. You can always stay for longer if the work is going well! And finish what you start. Half a book won’t teach you anything about crafting a plot or developing your characters – write the whole thing and work on it, even for experience. I wrote my first book, The Missing, with the hope of getting an agent and not much more but it ended up changing my life. 

Cheese and apples. I think every book so far has required enormous consumption of both. Plus coffee, of course …

About Jane Casey
Jane Casey is an Irish crime writer who has written eleven crime novels - eight for adults and three for teenagers. Her books have been bestsellers and she has won several awards, including Irish Crime Novel of the Year for After the Fire in 2015. Her latest novel, Let the Dead Speak, is the seventh to feature Detective Sergeant Maeve Kerrigan. She lives in London.

Find Jane Casey on Twitter - @JaneCaseyAuthor

About Let the Dead Speak

Publisher's description
A murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.
A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?
A detective with everything to prove

As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…

Let the Dead Speak was published by Harper Collins on 9 March 2017.

LOVE this series!!

Read my review of Let the Dead Speak here

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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