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The Five Faces of Patricia Highsmith

Jill Dawson is an award winning poet and author who has taught creative writing for over twenty years; she was a Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow, a Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia and she is a regular teacher of UEA/Guardian creative writing masterclasses. Her new book The Crime Writer is both a portrait of Patricia Highsmith and a jet-black tale of duplicity, madness and murder. Here, she shares her five favourite Patricia Highsmith novels. 

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Out of the Blue

Enjoying enormous success at the outset of his career - bagging three Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Daggers, a total only ever matched by Ruth Rendell - Lionel Davidson's writing ultimately fell into almost total obscurity by the late seventies. Sudden interest however in Kolymsky Heights last year has sparked a long-overdue Davidson revival. To celebrate the re-release of Davidson's debut, The Night of Wenceslas, author William Ryan has written an introduction to the ‘stylish, ingenious [book]’ (The New York Times)

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Occupational Hazards

Together with John le Carré, Len Deighton stands as our greatest living thriller writer. A colourful background – including stints in the RAF as photographer and working as an illustrator in both London and New York – gradually led to his genre-defining debut The IPCRESS File in 1962, the ‘antidote to Bond’ that was later immortalised by the film of the same name starring Michael Caine. Well over two dozen superb novels followed, accompanied by a clutch of non-fiction titles including the acclaimed Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain.

Rob Mallows’ Deighton Dossier has long-served as the ultimate online Len Deighton resource. With the author’s 1978 slice of counter-factual history SS-GB now happily installed as our Thriller of the Month, we turned to Rob to unearth something of the novel’s background.

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New and bestselling crime books from the biggest and best writers in the genre, from the classic crime stories of Agatha Christie, to the "tartan noir" crime novels of Ian Rankin, and from the cosy mystery books of Alexander McCall Smith to thrillers by the likes of Lee Child, and thrilling books by bestselling authors like Gone Girl author, Gillian Flynn.