Wednesday 24 May 2017

Top crime writers: From Agatha Christie to Arthur Conan Doyle

Agatha Christie.
Agatha Christie.
John Connolly.
Stieg Larrson.
Patricia Cornwall.
Arthur Conan Doyle.

As Eilis O'Hanlon writes about having her crime novels plagiarised, we take a look at some of the big beasts in crime fiction.

1 AGATHA CHRISTIE

There you are with your friends in a gorgeous location, when world-famous detective Hercule Poirot turns up. Your average person would probably say, "I think I'll wait for him to leave before I murder the vicar. Better safe than sorry." But Agatha's baddies were all, "There has never been a better time to kill a vicar." Talk about thick. Not long before Poirot gets to say, "You are probably wondering why I gathered you here today." "Would it be anything to do with the dead vicar? Just a guess."

2 JOHN CONNOLLY

This Irish crime writer had his breakthrough moment with Every Dead Thing. Before that, he was a freelance journalist. After that, he was a dartboard in every struggling writer's house across Ireland. Good for you John, none of them said and actually meant it. Private detective Charlie Parker was his creation. If your guess is that Charlie is a happy-go-lucky guy who only drinks at Christmas, then one thing is for sure. You've never read a crime novel.

3 STIEG LARSSON

We were going to make a lame joke about Stieg being the test driver on Top Gear. But there was a worry we might upset Jeremy Clarkson. And you don't want to do that. Particularly if you're Irish. Stieg was the guy who wrote The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It turned out that a rich industrialist was the baddy. Sorry if that spoiled the ending. But seriously, rich industrialist. Who else did you think was the killer?

4 PATRICIA CORNWELL

Her net worth is estimated at US$15m. And they say crime doesn't pay. She is famous for bringing forensics to the fore through her medical examiner heroine, Dr Kay Scarpetta. Without her, we mightn't have all those CSI shows. So you know who to blame. In 2007, a cyber stalker wrongly accused Patricia of killing his cat, among other things. (He really did.) She sued and won. You can't have that horrible stain on your reputation. In fairness, people really love cats.

5 ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

We all love Sherlock, the TV show with that bloke who scored with the blonde in The Office and became a hobbit. (No connection. You can carry on with your tawdry work affair.) Sherlock's enemy is Professor Moriarty. Irish people weren't upset to be associated with a criminal mastermind. They were more, "He did very well for himself over in London, job in a university and all - his mother must be thrilled."

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