A bit of a cheat this week: one, it’s me. And two, I don’t actually have a photo of my shelf. There’s a good reason for that, though – the shelf I have in mind no longer exists. It was hidden away in a cupboard in the spare room in my grandparents’ house, and sadly went the way of all things when they died many years ago.
I have fond memories of that shelf, though. As a kid I read voraciously, often finishing a book in two or three days. I needed a lot of reading matter to keep the fire stoked, and that shelf provided some of it. The books on it weren’t just any old books, but pile after pile of crime classics by some of the biggest names in the genre. Agatha Christie of course, but also Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L Sayers, Georgette Heyer, and one or two other gems I can’t now remember. Something about Dead of Winter, for instance, by an author whose name might have been Nigel something. I’ve tried searching for that one but never been able to track it down.
The books weren’t stacked neatly on the shelf, but piled in haphazardly one on top of the other, so rooting through the heap quite often revealed new, as-yet-unseen treasure, which I would grab and dash off to consume, rather like a squirrel with a particularly luscious acorn.
Although the shelf is long gone, my love of crime fiction has survived the decades and influenced both what I read, and what I write. I’ve a lot to thank my grandparents for.