While most of the obituaries this week will probably steer a billion miles clear of classifying any of the late great William Trevor’s work as crime fiction or mysteries, he was a huge fan of the genre from an early age.
He once talked in an award acceptance speech about his childhood memories of reading detective stories:
All over England, it seemed to me, bodies were being discovered by housemaids in libraries. Village poison pens were tirelessly at work. There was murder in Mayfair, on trains, in airships, in Palm Court lounges, between the acts. Golfers stumbled over corpses on fairways. Chief Constables awoke to them in their gardens. We had nothing like it in West Cork.
Though he spent most of his adult life in England, he was a thoroughly Irish writer. Many of his own stories have a dark crime at their heart, and they often resound with echoes of the Troubles too.
Many of those same stories have also been turned into seriously good radio dramas and TV screenplays (or both, in the case of Events at Drimaghleen, originally a short story) or feature films.
Atom Egoyan’s superb 1999 adaptation of Trevor’s award-winning novel Felicia’s Journey is seriously underrated and well worth a look. It stars Elaine Cassidy in the title role as a very young Irish woman who travels by boat to England in search of the father of her unborn child. She meets Mr Hilditch (Bob Hoskins), who turns out to be a serial killer obsessed by his mother and who preys on young women (in the pic above that’s his evil eyes in the sea). Definitely file under Brilliantly Creepy Crime Fiction.