Thursday, 22 May 2014

What fits a Crime shelf?

When a reader goes to the Crime section of a bookstore, they might have very specific aims that they’re seeking for within the genre. They may be looking for detective fiction as in your own stories of D.I. Paolo Storey (Frances di Plino), or some of the other Crooked Cat Publishing hard-boiled police oriented novels like those about D.C.I. Marc Craig by Catriona King. However, they may prefer something with lighter undertones in a cosy armchair ‘whodunit’ – perhaps like David Robinson’s Crooked Cat STAC Mysteries. Some readers will only veer towards the dark thriller type of novel where the psychological and motivation aspects are prime elements of the crime plot. It may be the courtroom drama type they’re looking for in the post crime phase, or perhaps an international political thriller like Crooked Cat’s Deep Deception by James North, which has pivotal elements of conspiracy and assassination.

If a crime story only needs a crime to be committed then there are so many possibilities for the author. That means there are other stories out there which include criminal offences - but do they grace the crime shelves?

In Topaz Eyes - my dynasty based mystery/ thriller - the plot centres on a very complex mystery, but the unravelling of the story also involves a number of different criminal acts. Based on a family tree structure to many levels beyond the original matriarch, there’s a huge amount of distrust amongst third generation cousins. Under dubious conditions, the cousins are brought together to solve the mystery of a missing family jewellery collection, and another priceless mystery item - the mystery within the mystery. The incredible set of emerald jewels, once owned by a Mughal emperor, was last seen in 1910 and is believed to have been dished out to family members under shady circumstances. Like all deep mysteries, there are very few clues to begin with and initial deduction powers are brought into serious play. So is Topaz Eyes then a detective mystery?  It is, though the unearthing isn’t done by a team of police detectives. However, there is a lovely Amsterdam police detective involved in the later stages of the novel when international crimes are investigated.
There are some grand thefts involved in the story; there’s a mystery stalker on the loose harassing the protagonists. Murder is not crossed off the list as the main characters move from city to city during their world-wide hunt. So, is it an international crime thriller based on grand theft? That could be a matter of debate, since there are fabulous city locations and lots of thrills along the way.

In addition, there’s also a romantic plot underpinning the story as Keira Drummond and Teun Zeger pair up during the hunt. Does that mean that Topaz Eyes should be on the romance shelves? No, because the relationship develops as part of the plot but it isn’t the central element.

So where does Topaz Eyes fit on the crime shelves? I wonder if you could tell me. I don’t think it matters though, if what you’re looking for is a fast-paced crime-laced mystery with thrills and spills along the way. An Amazon reviewer has this to say: “…This is a skilfully paced and plotted novel, in which the various story-lines only come together at the very end.” Topaz Eyes is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014.

Nancy Jardine’s Amazon UK author page: ; and on

Topaz Eyes is available in paperback and ebook formats from: Amazon UK  Amazon US
Crooked Cat Bookstore

Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, a great part of Scotland, where fantastic sites to visit -ancient and modern -are just a step away. She loves her extended family to be around her, though that can often be chaotic and noisy when get-togethers are arranged.

Her writing time is squeezed in between messy garden jobs to tidy up unruly foliage; child minding her fabulous grandchildren on a regular basis; reading for leisure and to review for other authors. She only occasionally cooks and almost never uses the iron so it’s just as well that her husband is sometimes a great cook. She regularly posts on her two blogs - for her own purposes; and to help with the promotions of other authors. Presently she’s trying to wean herself from too much Facebooking, but is not sure she’s successful.

You can find Nancy Jardine at her -Blog: ;  -Website: Facebook:

Thank you for the opportunity to visit today, and I look forward to any questions or advice. J


Nancy Jardine said...

Thank you for having me as your guest today, Frances. It's a pleasure to visit!

Frances said...

You're welcome, Nancy.