“Why does the mystery novel enjoy such enduring appeal? There is no simple answer. It has a distinctive capacity for subtle social commentary; a concern with the distinction between law and justice; and a passion for order, however compromised. Even in the vision of the darkest of mystery writers, it provides us with a glimpse of the world as it might be, a world in which good men and women do not stand idly by and allow the worst aspects of human nature to triumph without opposition. It can touch upon all these aspects of itself while still entertaining the reader – and its provision of entertainment is not the least of its good qualities.So begins the Introduction to BOOKS TO DIE FOR. Co-edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke, the book asks 120 of the world’s best contemporary crime and mystery writers which book they believe should be included in the great canon of crime and mystery fiction.
But the mystery novel has always prized character over plot, which may come as some surprise to its detractors. True, this is not a universal tenet: there are degrees to which mysteries occupy themselves with the identity of the criminal as opposed to, say, the complexities of human motivation. Some, such as the classic puzzle mystery, tend towards the former; others are more concerned with the latter. But the mystery form understands that plot comes out of character, and not just that: it believes that the great mystery is character.”
The response was astonishing, and the list of contributors reads like a veritable Who’s Who of modern crime and mystery authors - Michael Connelly, Sara Paretsky, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, James Sallis, Mark Billingham, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Jo Nesbo, Peter James, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Sophie Hannah, Joseph Wambaugh, Tana French, David Peace, Laura Lippman, Deon Meyer, Colin Bateman, Megan Abbott, Linwood Barclay, Laura Wilson and John Banville are only some of the names involved.
The book is published by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK on August 30th, and by Atria / Emily Bestler Books in the US on October 2nd. If you’re on Facebook, you can clickety-click here for daily updates on content, contributors, and plenty of extras.
Some of the key launch dates on this side of the pond have already been lined up, and I’ll be updating this post on a regular basis to keep you informed as to further developments. In the meantime, if you’re anywhere near any of the venues below, we’d love to see you there …
Monday, August 6 at 6:00 p.m.
South Africa Launch of BOOKS TO DIE FOR with John Connolly, Deon Meyer, Mike Nicol and Margie Orford
The Book Lounge
71 Roeland St.
Cape Town, South Africa
RSVP: 021 462 2424 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Belfast launch of BOOKS TO DIE FOR (and THE WRATH OF ANGELS by John Connolly and SLAUGHTER’S HOUND by Declan Burke)
The Ulster Museum
Botanic Gardens, Belfast
Tickets Available from No Alibis Bookstore – free event!
44 (0) 28 9031 9601
Thursday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Dublin launch of BOOKS TO DIE FOR
Dubray Books Grafton Street
36 Grafton Street
(01) 677 5568