Thursday, 14 September 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Fiona Cummins

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 ...

There are so many brilliant crime writers out there it's almost impossible to narrow it down to one, but I know I must so I will choose Agatha Christie. She was my introduction to crime novels – I would, ahem, borrow my mum's library books and read them under the covers by torchlight, long after I was supposed to be asleep. Christie had an unrivalled talent for weaving a compelling story within an intricately crafted framework, all while making it seem effortless.

Gah, this is so difficult. But Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill had a profound effect on me. Is there anything more kick-ass than a bride who seeks to avenge the wrongs wrought upon her in the most brutal of ways? I know some will balk at the violence, but there is something incredibly powerful about a woman getting it done (or maybe it's only me who has dark revenge fantasies...).

I don't watch a whole lot of television but I loved American Horror Story, about a family who move into a house with a dark past. For me, it contained the perfect ratio of psychopathic killings and the supernatural. The opening credits were so creepy I had to fast-forward them, though. 

Dr Hannibal Lecter. No-one else comes close. 

Hmmm. Tough one. By rights, I should say Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, but I want to spread the love so I'm going to say  John Connolly's Charlie Parker, a private investigator and ex-cop with a tragic past, who has to confront supernatural foes as well as human ones.

Lamb to the Slaughter, a short story by Roald Dahl. Is there anything more genius than a housewife who kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then serves up the murder weapon to the detectives investigating his violent demise? 

Initially, I was going to talk about the ice pick in Basic Instinct, but that got me thinking about the infamous rabbit scene from the 1987 film Fatal Attraction starring Glenn Close and Michael Douglas. Close's character Alex, who has a fling with happily married Dan (played by Douglas), places his family's pet in a pot of boiling water on the stove. It's not a death scene as such (well, I guess it is for the rabbit), but the threat is so implicit and so shocking that it spawned the phrase 'bunny boiler', dictionary definition: a woman who acts vengefully after having been spurned by her lover.

I often use forensic guides from individual police forces to help me with procedural elements, and the internet is the perfect research tool. That's how I discovered Dr Britt Raubenheimer, an oceanographer who answered some questions for me about tidal patterns in my second novel The Collector.

Keep going.

Biscuits. Or crisps. Or both.

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Rattle, her bestselling debut novel, received international critical acclaim when it was published earlier this year. It is also in development as a six-part TV series by the producers of Kick-Ass and Miss Sloane. Her second novel The Collector will be published in February. Fiona lives in Essex with her family.

Find Fiona Cummins on Twitter - @FionaAnnCummins


Publisher's description
A serial killer to chill your bones
A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.
He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.
Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.
Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.
What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.
Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.
It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost. 

Rattle was published in paperback by Pan on 24 August 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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