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Clare Mackintosh: A Crime Reader’s Journey

I've always been fascinated by crime. Long before I was a writer myself I would devour everything from Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin, applauding the tight plotting, the twists and turns, the skillful reveal as the story reached an end. My reading wasn’t confined to fiction; I would check out true crime books from the library, and guiltily flick through the real-life sections of Take a Break magazine, which was filled with gory details of cases almost too shocking to believe. I used to love reading the quotes from doorstepped neighbours who were horrified to discover the mild-mannered man next door had been dismembering prostitutes in his front room. ‘Such a nice man,’ they’d say, ‘he used to water my plants.’ The idea of the hidden monster is a compelling one, and precisely what drives crime fiction. Serial killers are scary, but a serial killer who lives on your street? Much scarier.

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