Five crime books for the crime lover in your life

17 February 2015's chris simmons shares five unusual crime books that will make the perfect Christmas gift for the crime lover in your life... or for yourself!

Jill Mcgown left us far too early but she did leave thirteen wonderful novels featuring her crime duo, Lloyd and Hill. Redemption is the second Lloyd/Hill mystery. Mcgown’s novels always involve a great puzzle and she expressed admiration for Agatha Christie’s skills at constructing plots. Of all her novels, Redemption most resembles a Christie and is a good one to start with. Out-of-print far too long, Bello books have re-issued all the Lloyd and Hill novels which is a great cause for celebration.

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The British Library has released a number of ‘forgotten classics’ recently, the latest being J. Jefferson Farjeon’s Mystery in White. On Christmas Eve, passengers on a snowbound train (sound familiar?) seek shelter in a nearby house where the table is laid for dinner – but nobody is at home. Farjeon was a big hitter back in the golden age but is mainly forgotten today. This delicious re-issue will keep any crime fan enthralled. 

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M.C. Beaton has written several christmas-themed books and her new one, Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman is no exception. Agatha has been roped in to help out with the local Christmas pantomime. Needless to say, a murder is lurking just round the corner and Agatha bumbles from one disaster to another before stumbling over ‘whodunit’ whilst nearly becoming the next victim herself!

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Roy Hart’s Breach of Promise is not a well-known title but one i really enjoyed. An old man, who just the week previously had played Father Christmas at the local school, is found bludgeoned in his caravan. Only a few days before Christmas, Inspector Roper must find his killer. I was very surprised by the solution of this puzzle and have read it several times since. sadly out-of-print, but easily available.

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Georgette heyer’s Envious Casca is a marvellous ‘locked room’ scenario with a house full of un-festive family members. How did the miserly man of the house end up dead in his bedroom with no visible way out for the killer?  

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Chris Simmons is the online editor for â€‹ Chris and his team have been reviewing crime fiction since 2005. He recently won the crime thriller club quiz with fellow reviewer, Jo.

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