The Best Book You Probably Haven’t Read – Alibis From The Archive 2018

I blogged a couple of days ago about the Alibis from the Archive conference last weekend, but I thought I’d share a little something from the question and answer session that rounded off Saturday. The question came from… well, me and it was this:

“Could you recommend a crime fiction novel that we probably haven’t read?”

So I thought I’d share the panel’s answers with you.

Andrew Taylor: Suspension of Mercy by Patricia Highsmith

Peter Lovesey: The Monster Of Dagenham Hall by James Corbett (although not necessarily for the right reasons – Peter collects Corbett’s work for the hilariously bad writing)

Sarah Ward: Star Of The North by D B John

Ruth Dudley Edwards: On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill or Case For Three Detectives by Leo Bruce (both of which I’ve read and can heartily recommend).

Martin Edwards: Reputation For A Song by Edward Grierson or Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburgh

Jessica Mann: Anything by John Lawton (or possibly one particular title that I forgot to make a note of). My note taking was definitely wonky at this point, as someone recommended anything by John Trench, possibly Dishonoured Bones – I think it was Jessica, but apologies if I’ve got that wrong.

Simon Brett: A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

Michael Jecks: Light Cavalry Action by John Harris

Good luck finding a copy of some of those…

Thanks to Santosh for spotting that all of the talks are on the Gladstone Library Soundcloud page. I’ll put a proper link up here soon, but in the meantime, just Google Gladstone Soundcloud.

And to finish off, some photos from the event – apologies to the authors who don’t get a solo shot but I’m no photographer…

Michael Jecks, Simon Brett, Jessica Mann, Martin Edwards, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Sarah Ward, Peter Lovesey, Andrew Taylor
Peter Lovesey
Simon Brett
Michael Jecks
Jessica Mann
Sheila Mitchell, Martin Edwards and Peter Lovesey


  1. I just read Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg in May, and I enjoyed it a lot but I was prejudiced because a lot of it is set in Santa Barbara and he got that setting just right. It was a fantastic book but very bleak, and not a puzzle type mystery. It was made into a film (also set in Santa Barbara) which was still bleak and depressing but not close to the book in that aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Monster from Dagenham Hall is so bloody awful that it angered me more than it entertained me. I’m more than happy to give away my copy to anyone daring enough to read it. Amazingly I managed to make it to the horrid ending. Who knows — you may find it hilarious. Anyone interested please email me.

    Never heard of D B John or John Lawton. Looked up their books and they sound like espionage thrillers, not detective novels. The Levin and Hill books make these types of “must read” lists all the time. Both are easy to find. In fact considering how contemporary most of these titles are and how popular the writers I think all of them will be easy to find except for Corbett’s book which is easily missed despite how amusing Lovesey must’ve thought it.

    Also looked up John Harris who I just discovered is the real name of “Mark Hebden.” I do recognize that name as the creator of Pel. Also found out that this is the John Harris who wrote a book that I attributed to John Norman Harris in a blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Off I go to delete that sentence before some wise acre tells me I’m wrong!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Regarding your doubts about what Jessica Mann said, a recording of the question and answer session is also available at soundcloud under the title “Panel: Alibis in the Archive 2018”


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