A Climate of Fear: imaginative and truly eccentric

The Commissaire Adamsberg series is almost the very definition of quirky. It’s the very highest quality Eurocrime, in which moral philosophy, human frailty and personal observation are interwoven with a genuinely perplexing mystery. Adamsberg heads a bureau of criminal investigators in Paris who have an apparently inexhaustible remit to resolve situations which fall outside the…

Supernatural Sherlocks: glimpses of gothic oddness

This is a wonderfully nostalgic collection of 15 short stories which instantly transport you back to the age of empire, where men with handlebar moustaches and frock coats investigate uncanny happenings which have gels in crinolines swooning into their soup. They aren’t simply written in the style of the great Victorian and Edwardian detective novels…

White Out: a winter chiller

Bump this book to the top of your Christmas reading list. White Out isn’t just set in the snowbound, windswept, wildlands of mid-winter Iceland, but the investigation actually takes place during the festive season. A young woman is found dead on the sea shore, beneath the cliffs where stand an isolated lighthouse and a tiny…

Splinter: brilliantly bewildering

Written almost a decade ago, this fiendishly tangled thriller presents its unreliable narrator front and centre. From the very first page, we don’t know if Marc Lucas has lost his mind or merely his memory. Bleeding and broken in mind and body, he engages in a desperate chase across Berlin, trying to discover the truth…

The Ice Star: unlikely Arctic adventures

Neither Nordic noir nor Scandi crime, The Ice Star is an action-adventure pursuit story which barrels back and forth across Greenland’s Arctic landscape. This is not an atmospheric, melancholic exploration of the long night of the Scandinavian soul, but rather a runaway sledge ride from one shoot-out to the next. The strong female protagonist is,…

The Monster Underneath: dream weaving

In the Hannibal Lecter series, investigator Will Graham exerts his psychoanalytic expertise and his emotional empathy to ‘get inside’ the heads of murderers and monsters. In an entirely matter of fact way, author Matthew Franks takes that premise one step further and gives his protagonist, Max Crawford, the ability to read people’s thoughts in the…