I was prompted to highlight New Zealand after stumbling across this rather sad little collection of four entries in the New Zealand location index at Stop You’re Killing Me. Now I’m not blaming the fine people at Stop…, it’s a great website and resource for crime fiction fans, but I’m guessing they rely heavily on information from publishers to populate their various lists and I suspect they simply don’t get a lot of material from New Zealand publishers to work with.
Although we’re always at odds in the sporting arena, Aussies and Kiwis do tend to feel quite kindly towards each other on other matters (promise). Both countries are down here at the bottom of the world where it can feel like we are a bit forgotten by that part of the publishing world dealing in the English language which is heavily focussed on US and UK products and markets. So I thought I’d do my bit to promote cross-Tasman crime fiction.
Sadly my own reading of New Zealand crime fiction can’t offer much better than the meagre offerings at Stop… as I have only reviewed 4 books set in New Zealand myself (though I have read a few more in my pre-blogging days):
- Bold Blood by Lindy Kelly, which is an amateur sleuth tale set in the world of international horse eventing. It’s a light, fun tale with a dash of romance and strongly recommended for all the animal lovers.
- Murder in the Second Row by Bev Robitai is a cosy mystery set in a historic theatre in a small New Zealand town. An amateur theatre group’s production of an Agatha Christie play is thrown into disarray when one of the stars is killed in this terrific little cosy mystery.
- Overkill and Containment by Vanda Symon. These are the first and third books in the Sam Shephard series and are very entertaining police procedurals. I have the fourth book in the series, 2011’s Bound. on my TBR pile to read in the next couple of weeks.
Fortunately for you though you don’t have to rely on the meagre offerings of either me or Stop You’re Killing Me. There’s a marvellous resource at your fingertips in the form of Crime Watch, a great blog by Kiwi crime fiction fan Craig Sisterson. Craig discusses crime fiction from all over the world but he does a great job of highlighting New Zealand crime writers in particular. In fact his own contributions to this round of the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme have all highlighted books by New Zealand crime writers (not all of these are set in New Zealand but many are).
Have you read any crime fiction set in New Zealand? Got any recommendations to make?
Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is hosting the crime fiction alphabet meme which requires the posting of an article relating to the letter of the week. Do join in the fun by reading the posts and/or contributing one of your own. You don’t have to write every week.
This is a good list, will try to get more books set in New Zealand. I have only read Vanda Symon’s “Containment,” which was a great read; love the main character who follows one of my mottos: Question authority. I look forward to reading the others in the series.
The only problem is getting these books in the States.
By the way, are there any books by Indigenous NZ authors? Or for that matter, Australians, too?
Bernadette – an excellent list! And a wonderful idea for the letter “N.” Very inventive 🙂
Nice post Bernadette 🙂
I might be returning the favour by writing a feature on Australian crime fiction for a magazine in future – just waiting to nail the details down with an editor.
I’ve read several other Kiwi authors of course – Australian readers might also like to try THE FALLEN by Ben Sanders, a 2010 debut that is available over your side of the Tasman I believe, amongst others.
@Kathy I don’t know of any crime fiction by indigenous Australian authors, though there may well be some that I haven’t yet tracked down. I don’t know of any NZ ones either but Craig’s blog may be able to help you out there.
@Craig I have asked a few times about that Ben Sanders book – so far not available to us which is quite annoying.
Thanks for these titles. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read any New Zealand fiction – it’s time I remedied that.
Thanks very much for this – as someone really looking to expand their crime-reading horizons it is truly welcome.
I need to read more NZ crime! Thanks for contributing to this week’s CFA
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By indigenous Australian writers: Scream Black Murder by Philip McLaren I think, also short stories by Mudruroo Narogin in the Crimes for a Summer Christmas anthologies with detective Watson Holmes Jackamara (the writer formerly Colin Johnston has been the subject of controversy about his actual ehtnicity).
My favourite NZ writer is Laurie Mantell whom I collected while she was still available but Mates is not up to her earlier standard. Also recommend Maurice Gee and esp Paul Thomas.