Aoife is the author of Second Sight published in Australia in July 2018 and the United States in 2019. Her first novel was the bestseller, All These Perfect Strangers.
As someone who writes, reads and also sells books, I have tried to work out the perfect place to read crime fiction. Crime fiction, above all other genres, invites audience participation with active readers trying to solve the mystery, so it stands to reason that the reading environment must minimize the distractions to allow those ‘little grey cells’ to be engaged.
Because I spend quite a bit of my year thinking of plot twists and grisly endings for doomed characters, I tend to avoid other crime books when writing. I don’t want other authors’ ideas to metaphorically ‘bleed’ onto my pages. As a result I do a lot of crime reading on holidays over Christmas and the New Year. There’s something about blazing sunshine and sweltering heat that makes it safe to delve into the darkness of the subject matter.
However, I can also see the attraction of being an armchair detective curled up on the couch on a rainy day, perhaps with a blanket and some wine or chocolate within arm’s length, avidly turning the pages to catch a killer. To an outside observer it may look restful or even indulgent but really we are engaged in a life and death struggle.
I know from being a bookseller that another popular place to read crime fiction is in a plane where a plot driven book full of adrenalin and excitement is the perfect entertainment to make you forget about the locked room you are in with annoying fellow passengers and cramped conditions.
So, on reflection, almost all places are ideal to read crime fiction. In fact, there’s really only one place where I can imagine not wanting to – when it’s dark outside, you’re alone in the house staying up way too late reading just one more chapter, and suddenly you hear a strange noise – a nearby footstep, a tinkle of broken glass, a creak of the floorboards. That’s when it’s time to put the book down. You can always wake up early the next morning to finish it!