10 November 2011 4 Comments

NPR recommends Mozart’s Last Aria

NPR includes my new novel MOZART’S LAST ARIA among its “outstanding selection” of paperbacks for this week, alongside books by Tea Obreht, Walter Mosley and Henning Mankell. “Critics have compared Mozart’s Last Aria to novels of historical conspiracy theories by Dan Brown and Elizabeth Kostova, while praising Rees’ sensitivity to musical and biographical detail,” NPR […]

4 August 2011 4 Comments

Sicko Writing: Is Crime Fiction Too Gory?

When I worked as a journalist at a major US magazine, it was clear that readers didn’t respond to hard news. They wanted features. Not fluffy features. Serious features. But they’d had enough of news stories about what happened that week. What did the editors do? They ordered correspondents to write hard news. Because they […]

23 June 2011 2 Comments

Unpolished Fleming, Paranoid Mankell

I’ve seen two things in the last week that allowed me to compare something of the way crime writers used to appear in public and their present avatars. It only made me wish for the good old days even more than I used to. The comparison is between: a delightful radio chat on the BBC […]

24 February 2011 10 Comments

For Arabs: democracy, then crime fiction

Crime fiction may not be the first thing on the minds of the protesters taking to the streets for democracy across the Arab world. But one of the offshoots of the downfall of Arab dictators is sure to be an explosion of thrillers and mysteries. Until now there has been almost no crime fiction written […]

9 December 2010 3 Comments

Ikea and the Crime Writer

There are many theories as to why Scandinavian crime writers prosper in the bestseller lists. But I know why it is. Ikea. I just bought a new set of Ikea shelves for my office. I’ll get into exactly how that has altered the configuration of my workspace, but at this point let me just note […]

9 September 2010 2 Comments

Overturning detective fiction: everyone’s guilty in my novels

The “Golden Age” of the detective story was the 1920s and 1930s. It was a turbulent period. In Britain, the General Strike. In the U.S., the Depression. Civil war in Spain, and in Germany the rise of the Nazis. Red scares everywhere, fascists too. But the detective story was a solace to those who lived […]

13 May 2010 0 Comments

‘Exotic’ crime fiction makes unpalatable places bearable

“Exotic” crime fiction has taken off in the last decade. People want to read about detectives in far-off places, even if they don’t want to wade through learned histories of those distant lands. Many of the biggest selling novels of the last decade have been “exotic crime.” You’ll find a detective novel set almost everywhere […]

30 March 2010 0 Comments

Crime fiction with a vengeance

The Swedish title of Part I in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy was “Men Who Hate Women.” Which shows that you can write a huge international bestseller and not know why people would read your book. Larsson’s U.K. publisher changed the title to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” With his original title, Larsson would’ve been […]

9 April 2009 0 Comments

Review: the mystery of the new Mankell

Italian Shoes by Henning MankellUS: New Press. April 1, 2009. Isbn: 1595584366 In his 26th novel, Sweden’s top crime writer has eschewed the genre that has seen him sell 30 million books. Even so, fans of his Inspector Wallander novels will find much of what they love about the Skåne detective in the narrator of […]