A Second Helping of Crime Novels Featuring The Theatre, TV, Film or Music

Here are some more recommendations of crime novels featuring the theatre, TV, film or music. They range from the golden age of British crime to a modern take on the 1950s. Enjoy.

The Shadow of Death, The Perils of Night by James Runcie
The Shadow of Death is a collection of short stories that introduces us to Canon Sidney Chambers, vicar of Grantchester. It is 1953 and 32 year old bachelor Sidney is looking for a quiet life after his experiences during World War Two. Sidney becomes friends with Inspector Geordie Keating when a parishoner asks Sidney to look into the apparent suicide of her husband. The Perils of Night continues Sidney’s adventures in the mid and late 1950s and takes Sidney abroad to the Berlin and the beginning of the building of the Berlin Wall

The first series of stories have been dramatised for British TV with a series called Granchester. According to his website, James Runcie “is a writer and director. He is the author of The Grantchester Mysteries, Visiting Professor at Bath Spa University, and a fiction reviewer for The Independent. James Runcie was born in 1959, educated at Marlborough College, Cambridge University and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and lives in Edinburgh and London.”

The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid
This is a non-fiction novel about forensics and research behind solving crimes. Val McDermid is bestselling crime author who was once a journalist with the Manchester newspaper in her youth. She interviews forensic scientists and uncovers the context and history of the development of this science. From war zones to convicting murderers McDermid traces the story of forensics from its beginning in the late 1800s to modern day. An interesting read. 

Val McDermid is a prolific British writer, according to her website, "I started writing Report for Murder in 1984, and it was published by The Women's Press in 1987. The rest is history...I finally gave up the day job in April 1991, and I've been making my living by writing ever since."

Performance by Douglas Clark
Douglas Clark has written 27 Masters and Green novels starting with Nobody’s Perfect in 1969. Masters is Detective Chief Superintendent George Masters of Scotland Yard and Green is his assistant Bill Green. Performance (1985) is the 23rd novel in the series and it focuses on a series of eleven murders in the north of England. Masters and Green are sent to help the Northern Counties police with background and research into the unsolved cases. During the local performance of Handel’s Messiah, the alto soloist falls dead on stage. The twelfth victim. Masters and Green investigate.


Cool Repentance by Antonia Fraser
Cool Repentance is a Jemima Shore mystery. TV journalist Jemima Shore has been asked to present a program on the Larminster Festival (a theatre festival) and one of the main performers at the festival is Christobel Herriot, a beautiful and notorious actress who the subject of scandal and gossip. Jemima becomes involved when it becomes clear that Christobel’s life is danger at the festival after the series of murders.

British author, Antonia Fraser is known for her historical novels and biographies. Her crime fiction is focused on her Jemima Shore novels. She was made DBE in 2011 for here services to literature.

Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson
Nicola Upson has created a series of novels featuring real life crime author Josephine Tey. Fear in the Sunlight is set in 1936 in Welsh resort, Portmeirion, where Josephine Tey is celebrating her fortieth birthday. She is joined by Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville who are there to sign a film deal for Tey’s novel A Shilling for Candles. Hitchcock is keeping the party entertained with a trick about exposing people’s greatest fears. The next day one of Hollywood’s leading actresses is found brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village. Tey’s good friend Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Archie Penrose is on hand to help Tey solve the mystery.