Martyn Bedford

Crimes & Misdemeanours

Water Lilly


Picador 294pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

IT IS EVIDENT from her first two novels that Susanna Jones has a penchant for subversion. Not only does she use her characters to explore the dynamics of subversive behaviour, she also subverts the notion of genre fiction and – along with it – the expectations of readers. Is she a crime writer, a mystery writer, or a ‘literary’ novelist? The range of prizes (see interview opposite) she won for her debut, The Earthquake Bird, suggests that she straddles the divide between mainstream and genre fiction, and her new novel is in the same mould. I was a judge on last year’s Betty Trask Awards and, while Hari Kunzru and Rachel Seiffert were the main contenders for the top prize, Jones’s writing earned rich praise during the deliberations. Her lean but lyrical prose, her evocation of place and atmosphere, the subtle undercurrent of menace and a page-turning storyline were all recognised. Comparisons with Lesley Glaister, Barbara Vine and Helen Dunmore spring to mind, although Jones is too original, too unusual in her sensibilities, to be easily or usefully pigeon-holed.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,