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Ian Rankin's Secret Crime

Top 5 Great Crime Novels That Aren't Crime Novels


Ian Rankin

'In other words, books by writers you don't think of as crime writers, books you'd find in sections of the bookshop other than Crime. But ask crime writers and we'll claim at least some of them for our all-embracing community.'

Ian Rankin is the author of over thirty novels. The latest installment of the Inspector Rebus series, A Song for the Dark Times, is due in October this year. In November Rankin re-released Westwind, a prescient thriller he had previously disowned. We're very glad it's available again!

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Order your signed copy here.


Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

James hogg, paperback


'One of the earliest serial killer thrillers in all literature, and also a mazey psychological chunk of gothic that bamboozles and delights centuries after it first appeared.  A young religious zealot is persuaded by a charismatic stranger that, as a member of God's elect, he can do whatever he likes in this world and still be guaranteed a place in heaven.  So he starts killing people.  But who (or what) is the stranger?  It's left to the reader to decide.'

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Bleak House

Charles Dickens, paperback


'This features a murder, plenty of intrigue and mystery, dangerous secrets long-kept, characters who are not as they seem, a court case, and one of the first police detectives in British literature.  Of course it's a crime novel!  Though, being Dickens, it is also a sharp satire that spares no one as it looks at politics, society, and the haves and have nots.'

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Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky, paperback


' The clue is in the title.  We know there's going to be a murder, and there is.  But we are then with the killer every step of the way as his conscience kicks in and he begins to learn truths about himself, the world and the system of justice.  It's a brilliant character portrait and a stunningly unusual novel in that it paints a sympathetic picture of a cold-blooded killer. '


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

J K Rowling, paperback


'This has all the elements of the classic whodunit, as you might expect from a writer who has always professed to be a fan of crime novels.  There are mysteries to be solved, hazards to be overcome, characters who may be hiding their true selves behind a thin veneer, and three youthful detectives who find the odds stacked against them.  No surprise then that at the end of the series the author would turn her hand to private eye novels. '


The Driver's Seat

Muriel Spark, hardback


'More of a whydunit than a whodunit, Spark breaks all the rules in this lean, mean story of a victim in search of a killer.  From early on we are told what is to be Lise's fate.  But is she really the victim, or fully in charge of the events that are about to unfold?  Spark's pen has never been more incisive, her world-view more bleak. Just stunning.'