Recently Kerrie wrote about when she began to read crime fiction which made me think about my own story. Although I didn’t think of them as crime fiction at the time, I began to enjoy crime fiction whilst reading Enid Blyton’s books. Later on my interest in crime fiction came through TV programmes, watching Raymond Burr as Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason, and in Ironside, Rupert Davies as Simenon’s Maigret, and Leslie Charteris’s The Saint.
I don’t remember when I first read Agatha Christie, but as a teenager I devoured as many of her books that the library had in no time at all. Then I had a huge gap when I didn’t read any crime fiction – I was reading historical fiction mainly and classics. At that time I didn’t own half as many books as I do now and most of my reading came from the library and I can’t remember much of what I read. I started to do Open University courses partly to focus my reading and crime fiction just dropped out of my life. Later on I read John Grisham’s books until they all merged into one in my head and I stopped reading crime fiction.
Then about 5 years ago I began to read other people’s blogs. That was when I began again with Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin and then found so many authors I’d never heard of before – like Kate Atkinson, John Baker, Simon Brett, Martin Edwards, Ariana Franklin, and Peter Robinson to mention just a few. Now crime fiction makes up about half of my reading.
This morning I went to Barter Books in Alnwick and remembering the Perry Mason books I looked for some and found a few of the green and white Penguin paperbacks, including The Case of the Substitute Face and The Case of the Lame Canary by Erle Stanley Gardner. I also bought Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit and Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner, an author I’d never come across before. It looks good, about a woman who collapses and dies on the brand-new Eiffel Tower in 1889, apparently because of a bee-sting. Victor Legris, a young bookseller determines to find out what actually happened.
So, now I’m even more spoilt for choice for my next book to read, especially as I also bought two more books – Margaret Drabble’s debut novel, A Summer Bird Cage and a book I loved when I first read it as a teenager – C P Snow’s The Masters.