More Murder and Mayhem in the City of Dreaming Spires

Often described as a contemporary Colin Dexter, Veronica Stallwood is the author of numerous crime thrillers set in Oxford. 2011’s ‘Oxford Ransom’ isthe fourteenth and final book in the popular series featuring Kate Ivory, historical novelist and part-time reluctant sleuth. As the series progresses, protagonist Kate does so too and avid readers will find the instalments full of not only countless extravagant characters and unfortunate events, but of Kate’s own struggles to find her identity and salve her once distant relationship with disapproving mother Roz.

Serious crime fanatics would perhaps find Stallwood’s novels too domesticated but, for those who appreciate the atmospheric Oxford setting and nostalgic aura of academia that surrounds each crime, she has gathered a substantial following. For readers wanting something a little more adventure-fuelled, however, Guillermo Martinez’s ‘The Oxford Murders’ is a Dan Brown-style mathematical murder mystery. Following a series of crimes bizarrely connected to various symbols, it’s up to the Argentinean protagonist and renowned maths professor Arthur Seldom to solve the mystery. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the novel has been published in over fifteen languages and in 2008 was made into a film starring Elijah Wood and Spanish actress Leanor Watling.


In the last few posts I have probably barely even skimmed the surface of all the stories set in Oxford but it is clear from what I have seen and read whilst blogging on this subject that this city has been an inspiration to many, many authors. Few cities possess such magnetism that they have become the focus of some of the world’s greatest poetry and fiction. Oxford is now known as much for its literary heritage as for its academic – and it is for this I think winning the World Book Capital would be a fitting celebration!


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