It is my very great pleasure to take part in the blog for Leigh Russell’s book Murder Ring which I read recently and absolutely loved. I asked Leigh a question recently which is below. Please find my thoughts on the book, after the question.
If you were going to kill someone what would be your weapon of choice and why?
When this question was first posed, I thought it would be an easy topic to write about. Obviously, it’s not a serious question, so I thought I could have some fun with it. (Yes, crime writers do like to have fun with their writing, from time to time.) So here I am, about to address the question, and I’ve absolutely no idea what to write. I often say that I like to keep my crime in fiction. Although a dozen of my murder stories have been published, with two more scheduled to come out this year, I don’t read about real crimes. Any crime in the real world is one person causing another person to suffer, and there’s nothing at all entertaining about it. Yet somehow, reading crime fiction is a different proposition altogether. Crime fiction is, above all, a form of entertainment. You wouldn’t believe the number of people – all very nice, ordinary people, I’ve no doubt – who tell me they ‘love a good murder.’ And we all know what they mean. It has nothing to do with real life. Even bookshops display signs ‘We Love Crime’, and you couldn’t find anywhere more civilised than a bookshop.
So where does our enjoyment of crime fiction spring from? There are many reasons for it. At its heart, crime fiction is about the conflict between good and evil, and from early childhood we love stories about goodies and baddies. Add to that the tension, and suspense, and the puzzle element of crime stories, and some reasons for its appeal begin to become clear. There is a great deal more I could say about the appeal of crime fiction, but I’m digressing from the topic.
If I was going to kill someone, what would be my weapon of choice, and why?
To answer the question, I would need to reveal the perfect way to commit a murder, because of course a crime writer’s weapon of choice would have to involve the killer escaping scot free. But this is where I have a problem. One of the reasons we like reading crime novels is that the events in them are not real. However appalling the events of a crime novel are, we know that by the end of the book some sort of moral order will be restored. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” And this is not always the case in real life.
If I was a psychopath in real life, I would be able to answer the question. As it is, I can only imagine murders where the killer leaves some clue, however tiny, that eventually allows the police to solve the crime. Without that, my fictitious murderers might escape justice, and that would not be a satisfactory ending for my books.
So what did I think of the book?
I started reading it on a train and nearly missed my stop.I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I found it really compelling even though it was my first Leigh Russell book and I was concerned that I was going to be missing huge chunks because I hadn’t read the rest, but that wasn’t the case at all.
I really enjoyed the character of Geraldine Steel and would love to know more about her. The writer’s characterisations were so good that even though there were characters in the book that you really disliked, you still wanted to find out more about them and their lives.
My to be read pile should definitely contain more of Leigh’s books and I’d be really interested in exploring her other series characters too.
A definite page-turner, gripping to the end and full of pace. Thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder Ring. Thanks so much to Leigh and Exit Press for a review copy.
About the book
‘Hearing footsteps pounding along the street behind him he glanced back, fleetingly worried, then laughed because the street was deserted. All the same, he felt uneasy. Everything looked different in the dark.
Then he heard more footsteps approaching, and a hoarse voice called out. Turning his head, he made out a figure hovering in the shadows and as it raised one arm, the barrel of a gun glinted in the moonlight…’
The dead body of unassuming David Lester is discovered in a dark side-street, and DI Geraldine Steel is plunged into another murder investigation. The clues mount up along with the suspects, but with the death of another man in inexplicable circumstances, the case becomes increasingly complex. As Geraldine investigates the seemingly unrelated crimes, she makes a shocking discovery about her birth mother.