Thursday, January 23, 2020

Five books about murder all in the family

Tiffany Tsao's new novel is The Majesties.

At CrimeReads she tagged "five tales featuring family murdering family, or family members who end up murdering someone else." One title on the list:
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

A bleak novel about a lazy, incompetent spy. After years of living undercover as a “shopkeeper” (read: pornography seller) in London, Verloc is finally mobilized by his government—the country is never named, but it’s totally Russia—to commit a terrorist act. His mission is to blow up the Royal Observatory. But instead of placing the bomb himself, he enlists his intellectually disabled brother-in-law, Stevie, to do so. When Stevie trips en route, he sets off the bomb and is instantly killed. A police investigation follows, sending Verloc into a panic. But Verloc’s unintentional murder of Stevie isn’t the only death by loved one that occurs. Unrelentingly dark and cynical, this book leaves no illusions or ideals intact by its grim end.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Secret Agent is among Alan Burdick's ten top books about time, Heinz Helle’s top ten novels featuring hateful characters, Neel Mukherjee's top ten books about revolutionaries, Jason Burke's five books on Islamic militancy, Iain Sinclair's five novels on the spirit and history of London, Dan Vyleta's top ten books in second languages, Jessica Stern's five best books on who terrorists are, Adam Thorpe's top ten satires, and on John Mullan's list of ten of the best professors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue