Friday, 16 June 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Ruth Dugdall

Welcome to my latest 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 think Stephen King is a force to be reckoned with. He’s a diverse writer, and though most people would associate him with the supernatural genre, Misery has to be one of the most unsettling and finest crime novels of all time. He’s prolific and he’s fantastic at tension and pace. What I also love is that he’s a writer for the people, a true democratic choice.  

The Talented Mr Ripley. Oh my goodness, no matter how many times I see that film I never stop wanting it to end differently. The narrative is so clever it has us rooting for Tom, because he’s presented as the underdog, and each murder is beyond his control. It’s star-studded, with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Seymour Hoffman and Gwyneth Paltrow, and they are all first rate. If you haven’t seen it you’re in for a treat! 

I really loved River, especially the melancholic idea that the protagonist detective works with his partner, who is dead, in his head. There’s a scene where he’s singling in a Karaoke bar, alone, but imagining they’re together. Truly heartbreaking.

Humbert Humbert is such a clever killer that he almost fools us of his innocence. (His interest in Lolita is about to be exposed by her mother when she is `accidently` run over). In the narrative, told entirely from Humbert’s point of view, we are encouraged to see him not as a predatory paedophile but as a protective figure. My old copy of this book described it as a `romance` which I think sums up how effective Nabokov was in portraying this Saville-like monster.   

Clarice Starling, because she’s vulnerable but fierce, a compelling combination. Her motivation is to stop the lambs screaming, something I identify with, as my own reason for working with criminals was to understand behaviour that frightens me. It’s also a large part of why I write in the crime genre.

The corkscrew at the end of Girl On a Train takes some beating.

There’s a scene in Anne Cleeve`s book, Out of a Clear Blue Sky, where the mother finds her dead son dead, naked in a bath, surrounded by flowers. A powerful image.

There are some threads on Reddit, crime discussions with people obsessed with certain cases, that I find useful. 

Keep buggering on!

I drink constantly, like a camel. I try to stick with lime and soda until it’s evening, then I love a glass of cremant. When I lived in Luxembourg alcohol was ubiquitous (women drank after doing their weekly shop in bars at the mall) but returning to UK I reverted back to the six o clock rule. 

Ruth is a crime writer whose novels are strongly influenced by her previous career as a probation officer. Her books feature strong female leads and are based on, or inspired by, real crimes. 

Find Ruth Dugdall on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @RuthDugdall


Publisher's description
Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.
Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.
Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself. 

My Sister and Other Liars was published by Thomas & Mercer on 1 May 2017.

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