Ms Marsh Investigates... The BookTrail #bookblog

It’s the turn of The Book Trail ( to come under the Marsh microscope – a fabulous blog where you can read your way around the world.

Hi Susan, Welcome to BritCrime. Can I kick off by asking you why you love crime as a genre? What about crime novels appeals to you?

There’s something very fascinating about getting inside the mind of someone devious and getting to follow the police as they track down the killer. People fascinate me and to get so close to someone like a killer or a murder detective via a novel is endlessly fascinating.

I also have to say that from a booktrailing point of view, it’s interesting to visit fictional crime scenes and see the setting through the eyes of the characters and indeed the author who’s brought me here.
I love meeting new authors and getting inside their heads - it never stops to fascinate me when I read about a gruesome crime scene and then meet the loveliest, sweetest author who’s created it all!

So what gave you the impetus to start blogging?

Around the World in 80 Days
I had too many notebooks with scribbled booktrails in them that I wanted to develop. I’ve travelled to literary locations for years and thought why not put a blog up so I can explore it more and talk to people who like the same things. I think when you start a blog it’s for yourself, but then as you start to make friends, you see that other people read and comment on it so you become part of a community.

It was the book Around the World in 80 Days which got me in to booktrailing. And a certain French character by the name of Passepartout. Reading about such a great adventure in a book made me want to do it for real. And learn French. From there, I’ve always travelled to literary locations and discovered new places thanks to authors.

Do you have a particular favourite sub-genre, such as psychological thrillers or police procedurals?

Police procedurals fascinate me as when books are set in different countries, they give an insight into the cultural nuances and police methods different to ours. The Italian - Sicily set series by Andrea Camilleri shows how Montalbano gets the job done as well as showcasing all the food he manages to consume in the meantime! It’s very different to the workings of the police force in Martina Cole’s London or in Barbara Nadel’s Istanbul where Inspector Ikem works.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I do love a psychological thriller though - Ruth Ware’s new book The Woman in Cabin 10 is a recent favourite as you always think how you yourself would act in these situations or what you would do if something similar happened to you. And it’s always the quiet ones who you really do have to watch!
Anywhere with a strong sense of location draws me right in for a booktrail!

Who’s on your Must Read list? 

Translated fiction is always on the top of my TBR pile but I try to read in the original language wherever possible. Scandi Noir is always a pull - I learned Swedish because of Camilla Lackberg so you can see I love a good Scandi thriller!
There are so many authors I love - off the top of my head - Ragnar Jónasson who writes the Dark Iceland series writes with such precise skill, about a remote Icelandic village that it chills me to the core. Oh and let’s not forget Gunnar Staalesen.

Outside of Scandinavia - Ruth Ware writes some chillers as does Mari Hannah, Ann Cleeves and I just love the humour of Nick Quantrill and the swift strokes of the scalpel unleashed by Stephen Dunne.

Err… bit impressed you learned Swedish so easily. Kudos! So, do you have any pet peeves – overused tropes, clichéd characters, etc?

I really think the detective with a drink problem has been done just too many times. He/she can be a maverick and go against the grain but why do they have to drink too much? This really puts me off and I do roll my eyes and skim text when this happens. It just seems to be used as a bit of a cliche/trend in novels now I think.

Who is your favourite character from a crime novel, and why?

Oh that’s a good question. If I say a killer will you judge me?


Main Characters? One I really like is Ruth Galloway from the Elly Griffiths novels. She lives alone on the moors and discovers bodies and bones on archaeological digs. Then there’s Vera of course from Ann Cleeves novels. I’d love to meet her - she’s got a brilliant wit and sense of humour.

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary
Killers? Those in The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds, and ‘Harm’ - the aptly named character in the latest Sarah Hilary novel Tastes Like Fear. He’s chilling in many ways as he thinks what he is doing is right - someone with such a warped mind fascinates me in many ways. He’s also very creepily drawn.
What does that say about me? I shudder to think.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I have so many thoughts, ideas, words in my head at any one time that it’s a release to get them out! Haha no, I really love the blogger community and the fact that I’ve met such lovely people since I started blogging both online and for real. The book community and in particular the crime fiction one is just one of the strongest and most welcoming ever. It’s really interesting to find new books, get recommendations and just share thoughts about the latest crime thriller. There’s always something new to learn and someone to share it with.

Have you ever thought of turning your own hand to crime writing?

Oh no, I’d be terrible at crime fiction as I’d scare myself. I have to read a lot with the lights on for a start so if the killer stays inside my head for x amount of months - the length it would take for me to write a novel - I’d be a nervous wreck.

Any advice for anyone thinking of starting a crime fiction blog?

Write what you love. Don’t be afraid of having a different opinion to everyone else and read other crime blogs and join in chats etc. Blog because you love it and because you’re passionate about books. Do your own thing and just enjoy every second of it.

Lastly, you’re hosting a fantasy crime fiction dinner party – who would you invite? Can be writers, other bloggers, whoever. Alive or dead!

Ayo Onatade from Shotsblog
After much consideration I’ve narrowed it down to two bloggers, four writers and two characters.

Bloggers - Ayo from Shotsblog and Cleo from Cleopatra loves books. I’ve met Ayo and she’s such a good laugh and knows everything crime related! Works in a court so if things gets rowdy, she’d step in and keep the peace I would hope. Cleo as she loves crime fiction too and lives in Jersey where Bergerac is from, so I’d like to pick her brains on those books!

Writers - I am slightly scared of some crime writers, ha ha - but I would love to have Nick Quantrill as he’s made Hull one of my favourite crime settings in recent times and Steven Dunne for making one of the most beautiful parts of the UK chock full of crime scenes galore. I would just have to invite Camilla Lackberg and Louise Penny to as these are such lovely women who write such intricate mysteries, I would just really love to meet these two.

Characters - Detectives Zigic and Ferreira from Eva Dolan’s Peterborough hate crimes novels. I would also add Spike Sanguinetti from Thomas Mogford as I imagine him to be a bit of a heartthrob and a gritty character who would eat all the leftovers.

Have I thought about this too much perhaps? Possibly.

I’m very glad that you did. Fascinating answers! Thank you so much, Susan, and good luck with your future blogging.

Ava Marsh

Ava Marsh is the author of psychological thriller, Untouchable. Her second book, Exposure, is out now with Transworld.

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1 comment:

  1. Ooh, thanks for having me as a dinner party guest. I am sure it we would have a fantastic time.