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LJ Ross Book Club: January
Staying in
January 2022
Reading time 1 minute

Northumberland-born LJ Ross is the bestselling author of the DCI Ryan murder mystery series. Each month, she shares an exclusive Book Club pick with Living North readers

This month’s classic crime reading is The Progress of a Crime, by Julian Symons. One of a selection of British Library Classics collated from the Golden Age of Crime, it tells the tale of young Hugh Bennett, a reporter for a local paper, who witnesses a group of boys stabbing a man to death on Guy Fawkes’ night, in front of the fire on the village green. He definitely saw it happen, as did others…or did they? In the writhing shadows of the fire, did the truth go up in smoke?

The Progress of a Crime – Julian Symons

LJ’s thoughts:

‘Symons was a master storyteller, and The Progress of a Crime is no exception: it won the Edgar Award for ‘best novel’ in 1961 and was a worthy winner, then and now. Although there is no ‘whodunit’, what really drives the story is the broader aftermath – the social machinations of the media, the wheels of justice and law from police to prosecution, and the pressures that come to bear behind closed doors. Symons had an acute eye for social hierarchies, which elevates this book from being just a good, suspenseful crime fiction novel, to being an eye-opening insight into the world at that time.’

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