Entertainment Books Coronavirus reading: A good crime novel can actually be a comforting distraction

Coronavirus reading: A good crime novel can actually be a comforting distraction

Crime novels can offer the perfect tonic when it looks like 'bad is triumphing over good'. Photo: HarperCollins
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Small-town murder mysteries. Whodunnits set in exotic locations. A good detective story with a flawed but brilliant hero. In this time of virus and self-isolation, the crime fiction genre is alive and well.

Crime devotees consider these books “cosy reading”. To me, they are scary and I have trouble sleeping. But there is no denying that in our Melbourne bookshop, crime novels fly out the door and over the past week it has been our bestselling genre.

Perhaps thriller writer David Baldacci is correct when he says that during stressful times, “and it looks like the bad is winning out over the good, along comes the genre of crime novels to put the balance back in life”.

Here are three of the best new crime releases

No coronavirus here. Photo: Penguin

Trace Elements

By Donna Leon

Fans of American-born, Venice-based crime writer Donna Leon will be overjoyed to note there is a new Guido Brunetti novel on the shelves. A woman’s cryptic dying words in a Venetian hospice lead Commissario Brunetti and his colleague Claudia Griffoni to uncover a threat to the entire region. Remember, this is a fantasy Italy where the coronavirus does not exist. Take me away …..

The Boy From The Woods

By Harlan Coben

Private investigator and security expert Wilde is a man with a traumatic past. When he is drawn into the search for a missing girl who has been bullied, Wilde’s childhood comes back to haunt him.

Photo: HarperCollins

The Good Turn

By Dervla McTiernan

Former Irish lawyer Dervla McTiernan, who now lives in Perth, is one of Australian publishing’s great discoveries of recent years. The Good Turn is her third novel and once again features Detective Cormac Reilly. This brilliantly constructed novel takes readers into Reilly’s world of police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy, and a young girl  abducted while walking her dog.