Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The ten best crime novels of the last decade

Earlier this year at the (London) Times, crime fiction experts Barry Forshaw and Laura Wilson picked the essential reading list of crime novels of the past decade.

One title on their list:
2003 The American Boy [An Unpardonable Crime in the US] by Andrew Taylor

It’s a fraught venture, using historical figures in crime novels, but it’s brought off triumphantly by Andrew Taylor in his massive, prize-winning The American Boy. Taylor utilised the writer who in the 19th century virtually created the detective fiction genre — Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is the eponymous American boy, although he is not the key protagonist; that is his father David. The novel invents a secret history of Poe’s childhood, conjuring a murder mystery and a love story from fragments of history and the oblique hints in Poe’s writings. At the heart of the novel is Wavenhoe’s Bank and the families concerned with its fortunes and misfortunes; the collapse of a bank, of course, is a thoroughly topical element. Poe bestrides the book, though for much of the time he appears to play a relatively minor role. It’s an astonishing, epic achievement.
Read about another novel on the list.

See--Writers Read: Andrew Taylor.

--Marshal Zeringue