Ms Marsh Investigates... By The Letter Book Reviews #bookblog

Next under the Marsh microscope is Sarah, who blogs crime fiction at

Hi, Sarah, and welcome to Britcrime.

Many thanks for inviting me.

So, tell me, why crime as a genre? What about crime novels appeals to you?

Crime is something that has always fascinated me, murders in particular. In my teens I used to have a subscription to a crime series that would look into the more famous murders and murderers. Even though what these murderers did would horrify me, there was a part of me that had to know why they had done what they had and how they were caught. From my fascination into true crimes, I think that rolled into my love of crime novels.

What gave you the impetus to start blogging?

Blogging came about thanks to THE Book Club on Facebook. In the group I came across lots of new authors as well as Bloggers and I wanted to be able to help get the word out about these great books and authors I was now reading and I thought blogging was the ideal way to do that. I have to say to start with I nearly threw the towel in many a time as I’m not technical minded at all, but I stuck with it and I have to say the whole blogging community are just brilliant and are so supportive. I’ve been doing it just over a year now and I absolutely love doing it.

That’s great to hear! So, do you have a favourite sub-genre?

I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers. I try not to read to many in one go though as they tend to fail to shock me otherwise. I have to admit that I love to have my head messed with.

Who’s on your Must Read list? 

In my teens it used to be James Patterson and even though I do enjoy his books I very rarely read them nowadays. More recently it has to be authors like David Jackson, Doug Johnstone, Robert Bryndza, Steven Dunne, Casey Kelleher, Caroline Mitchell, Mel Sherratt, Angela Marsons, Jack Jordan, Mark Edwards, John Marr… I could go on and on as have come across some great authors in the last couple of years so apologies to others I haven’t mentioned.

Do you have any pet peeves – overused tropes, clich├ęd characters, etc?

I have to admit every time I see the phrase ‘No shit Sherlock’ I roll my eyes. I have come across it in sooo many books that it does irk me slightly every time I see it being used.

My main pet peeve is books being compared to others. There is nothing worse than picking up a book because it’s been compared to another one I loved only to find that in actual fact it’s nothing like it all and I didn’t like it. Also I worry that if a book I didn’t enjoy has been compared to another one that I will dismiss it and miss out on a great read.

Yes, I think that’s a danger, and one that peeves authors as well as readers. So who is your favourite character from a crime novel, and why?
This is such a hard question as there are a lot of detectives that I love in quite a few crime series but I am actually going to go with DI Damen Brook, who is Steven Dunne’s creation. He is a character that has always got under my skin slightly and I’ve always worried about his well-being. Poor Mr Dunne is no doubt fed up with me asking him if he can add a bit of happiness into poor Brook’s life.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

It has to be discovering new authors as well as being able to spread the word about these fantastic writers and their books.

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

I would absolutely love to but unfortunately I am a much better reader than writer. There is no way I could ever write anything as good as the books that I read. I did go through a phase when I was younger of wanting to be a writer but could never get past the first paragraph so gave up.

Do you have any useful advice for someone thinking of starting a crime fiction blog?

Blogging can be a very rewarding hobby. It will open you to so many new authors and books. It can be very time consuming though. As much as I would love to say yes to every publisher and author, it would just be impossible to do, so it’s all about getting the right balance of books and not being afraid to say no.

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

It would have to be my fellow #BlogSquad members. There are a group of bloggers who I have become great friends with and we gave ourselves the nickname of #BlogSquad, some of them I have been lucky enough to meet in person but the others I hope to meet in person one day so this would be ideal. There are too many writers that I would invite so it would end up being some sort of party somewhere as doubt they would all fit round the table!

Yes, I think I’d have the same problem. Thanks, Sarah, for joining me today – it’s really most appreciated!


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

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