Dirty Tricks

Oxford is a fantastic place to set a novel. The historic ‘City of Spires’ has already played host to countless films and TV shows, as we have seen in previous blogs, but the awing architecture and gargoyle-ridden alleyways have provided the setting for many a book too. Over the coming weeks I will be writing about some great titles that feature this fantastic city so stay tuned.  Hopefully some of you will even be persuaded to get reading and check them out yourself!

Oxford is undoubtedly a beautiful place – and on a sunny day a walk through the ridiculously picturesque Christ Church Meadow, or punt along the scenic river, can seem like Paradise. However, when darkness takes hold or the weather is far from agreeable, the great university buildings look entirely different – and often more than a little sinister. When lightning strikes or fog envelops those mighty spires, you can easily imagine tales of killing and revenge. This is undoubtedly why countless crime authors have done exactly that and created some of our best-known murder mysteries here, perhaps most notably Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse tales on which the popular TV series is based.

A slightly lesser-known title but brilliant nonetheless is Michael Dibdin’s novel ‘Dirty Tricks.’ Published in 1991, the story; set in North Oxford; has become something of a classic due to its clever weaving of murder, lust and revenge with a liberal dose of good old English wit. Atmospheric and surprisingly humorous, ‘Dirty Tricks’ is an intelligent and engaging read – and one I highly recommend!

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