Friday, September 27, 2019

Desert Island Books

It was the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival last weekend.  The sun shone, the torchlight parade was spectacular. The  winner of the McIlvanney Prize Manda Scott  said that they were all winners and promptly divided the prize between the four short listers.

I wasn't around much, my publisher was stuck on a train and  late for lunch, so I had not pencilled anything in for that time.
 And she gave me homework so I had to go home and do it.

My panel was gamely controlled by Jonathon Whitelaw who will be guest blogging shortly. ( It was a lot of homework so I might have a few guest blogs. The downside of having two publishers is that sometimes they want things at the same time!)

He kept me, Abur Mukherjee and some old bloke called Craig Robertson in some kind of order.

We had lined up some books to take onto out desert island.
I had planned to take 'How to survive on a desert island' and the follow up 'How to make a raft from the skeletal remains of fellow crime writers'

I pointed out that men have big skulls but small brains and that if I hit Craig over the head with a coconut, took out the brains, then I could the skull to paddle myself to safety.

This is now the Olympic sport known as Sculling!  

Craig's first choice.
The book that got him into crime fiction.

My back up choice,  the CWA  voted this book as the best crime novel ever.

 My first choice.... it changed the law in the UK and is the fifth biggest selling book in the English language.

And my second choice, but I think the MIE crowd would know it would be on the list somewhere.

Abur's choice. We debated about  blending fiction and fact.

You see, five novels in one so I sneaked a lot onto my island.
This book is about what happens when the wrong person is voted president!

My third choice, was set in the future when I first read it. it's actually set in 2021.

Abur's choice. Craig didn't care for it much, I don't think I finished it.

Abur's choice again.
A classic.

And Craig's final choice, once we got the pronunciation of the title sorted. 

Craig's third pick was about an Irish police officer on a bicycle solving a crime in a Dantes Inferno kind of a way. I can't recall the exact title, but I am working on it!

So fellow bloggers, what would your big three be?

Caro Ramsay


  1. I think Black Beauty was banned in South Africa under the apartheid regime!
    I'd take The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly,
    The Annotated Alice - Lewis Carol and Martin Gardner
    and because on a desert island I'd want some reminder of rain, Rat Run by you know who.

  2. Somewhere between the 10th and 50th read, ANY book would become, first, mindnumbingly tiresome, and, second, fire-fodder. So, I would take three very large volumes of blank pages and a large box of pencils. Guaranteed to keep me entertained for years. (Others might find me less entertaining, but if I'm on a dessert island all by myself, who cares?)

  3. BLACK BEAUTY was one of the first books I can remember reading, Caro and I still name is as one of the most influential.

  4. You're amazing, Caro. How, with all you're doing, do you still find time to come up with so many ideas to make us think and (at times) laugh. :). My earliest memory of a "grown up book" is Huckleberry Finn, because kids growing up along the mighty Ohio River, seemed to receive a copy of it somewhere along the way to mark a grade-school educational achievement.

  5. I would take The Once and Future King, The Complete Works of Jane Austen, and the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I am an old lady and a slow reader. What with learning spear fishing and recuperating from falling while trying to pick coconuts, these three books would keep me amused for the rest of my life. My pal Molly, upon hearing about my answer here, has just said that I am cheating by taking volumes of the complete works. Since I own such tomes, I would think I would be allowed to take them. If I am breaking the rules, you can come to the dessert island to arrest me. Please.

    1. I rather like the idea of a dessert island!