Tuesday, 28 November 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Laura Wilson

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 ...

Patrick Hamilton (1904-1962), author of Hangover Square, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, and other novels, and plays including Gaslight and Rope. Described by J.B. Priestly as ‘uniquely individual… the novelist of innocence, appallingly vulnerable, and of malevolence, coming out of some mysterious darkness of evil,’ Hamilton is the best of the British Noir writers.

Rififi (1955), a French adaptation by Jules Dassin of Auguste Le Breton’s novel of the same name. It contains the best heist scene ever filmed – half-an-hour of pure tension, without music or dialogue.

I have commitment issues with TV series, so rarely watch anything all the way through, but I did enjoy Big Little Lies (even though the ending was a bit disappointing). 

Mary Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood, from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, with Tom Ripley and Sweeney Todd running her a close joint-second. 

I’ve always had a soft spot for Qiu Xialong’s policeman, Chen Cao (Death of a Red Heroine, A Loyal Character Dancer, etc). He has to balance the interests of the Communist Party with the demands of his job in a country where every case is, potentially, a political hot potato. 

Truth is always stranger than fiction. In 2012, a Louisiana jury convicted a 47-year-old homeless woman called Debra Hewitt of murdering her boyfriend. She removed her prosthetic leg and – balancing on the other (organic) one – used it to beat Dwayne Ball to death. 

Bill Sikes’s murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist is utterly horrific: ‘The housebreaker freed one arm, and grasped his pistol. The certainty of immediate detection if he fired, flashed across his mind, even in the midst of his fury, and he beat it twice with all the force he could summon, upon the upturned face that almost touched his own.’ Sikes finishes Nancy off with a ‘heavy club’, which he then burns, but he cannot get rid of the blood, which is everywhere (‘the very feet of the dog were bloody’). Dickens is thought to have based this scene on a true crime: the murder of prostitute Eliza Grimwood. 

There isn’t one in particular, because I have to research different things for each book. For The Other Woman, I spent quite a lot of time googling stuff about chest freezers… 

Be patient. Writing is all about rewriting. 

Tea, coffee, carrots, and the occasional brazil nut 


Laura Wilson’s psychological crime novels have been critically acclaimed. Her fifth novel, The Lover, was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Award and the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction, and won the French Prix du Polar Europeen. Her seventh, Stratton’s War, the first book in a series featuring DI Ted Stratton of the CID which begins in the 1940s and follows a London policeman during the course of his working life, won the CWA Ellis Peters Award. Laura lives in London and is currently working on her fourteenth novel. She is the Guardian’s crime fiction reviewer and teaches on the Crime/Thriller MA course at City University, London.

Find Laura Wilson on her website and on Twitter - @LWilsonCrime


Publisher's description
Sophie has an enviable life – beautiful house, successful husband, three children, and the inevitable black Labrador to complete the perfect tableau. But all that is about to change.
A message arrives at Sophie’s house, scrawled across her own round robin Christmas newsletter: HE’S GOING TO LEAVE YOU. LET’S SEE HOW SMUG YOU ARE THEN, YOU STUPID BITCH. Perhaps she should ignore it, but she ignored the last one. And the one before that.

When her plan to identify and confront the other woman goes violently wrong, Sophie must go to extreme lengths to keep her life and her family together, all the while guarding her devastating secret.

The Other Woman was published by Quercus on 5 October 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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