Arts

Books: Margalit Fox's Conan Doyle For The Defence is true-crime writing at its finest

Conan Doyle For The Defence by Margalit Fox

NON-FICTION

Conan Doyle For The Defence by Margalit Fox is published in hardback by Profile Books, piced £16.99 (ebook £16.99), Available June 28

CONAN Doyle For The Defence is the third book by New York Times writer Margalit Fox. Its subject is the strange case of the murder of a wealthy woman in Glasgow – and the subsequent prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of the German Jew Oscar Slater; followed by Arthur Conan Doyle's attempts in proving Slater's innocence. This volume is split into four books, first of all detailing the murder and police investigation, secondly the social context of the case, thirdly the trial and conviction of Slater and lastly Conan Doyle's investigation and analysis – and the culmination of the whole saga. It's a structure that is beneficial and allows us to at times learn about the Victorian sensibilities that surround this case, as well as offering us plenty of insight into the life and workings of Conan Doyle. It's true-crime writing at its finest and becomes a real page-turner. It is definitely a must for fans of Sherlock Holmes and other sleuths, but should be picked up by anyone with an interest in history, crime writing – or just the righting of injustice.

8/10

Ryan Ward

FICTION

An Ocean Of Minutes by Thea Lim is published in hardback by Quercus Books, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.49)

TIME travel is hardly a new theme for a novel, but Thea Lim's imaginative and timely writing feels wholly original. An Ocean Of Minutes – her debut – tells the story of Polly and Frank, a couple forced apart when a deadly flu pandemic breaks out. The only way for Frank to be saved is for Polly to travel to the future – and there's no going back. Switching between decades presents us with a truly heartbreaking narrative, with the chapters set in the past being the most engaging. It's particularly touching reading about the development of Polly and Frank's relationship, which is written about with honesty and deep emotion. I found myself getting slightly impatient in the present day chapters – the story lacks pace at times, and it's difficult to immerse yourself in the dystopian world Lim envisions, though perhaps that was her aim. It all leads to a beautifully poignant ending nonetheless.

7/10

Georgia Humphreys

CHILDREN'S

Am I Yours? by Alex Latimer is published in paperback by Oxford University Press, priced £6.99

GOT a 0-5-year-old who loves dinosaurs? This, from author and illustrator Alex Latimer, should go down a treat. A blue speckled egg is blown from its nest and rolls down a hill. Lost and alone, the creature inside calls out to passing dinos, asking – you guessed it – 'Am I yours?' It's a snappy tale about finding your place and your people, while its repeated rhyme ("What do you look like inside that shell? I can't see in so I can't tell") will have little ones reading along. The pages are strewn with all your usual dinos in bright bold colours (T-rex, stegosaurus, triceratops) there are a few you'll want to practice saying. Corytosaurus, anyone? Pterosaur? There should be a pronunciation guide written in the back. It's not the most dynamic story, but will make for a swift and semi-educational bedtime read.

7/10

Ella Walker

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