Crime fiction: Bloody ballet and a tender intergenerational bond

Books by Laura Vaughan, Erin Kelly, Inga Vesper, Sergei Lebedev and Chris Brookmyre

Erin Kelly’s Watch Her Fall is set in the hypercompetitive world of ballet. Photograph: iStock

Erin Kelly’s Watch Her Fall is set in the hypercompetitive world of ballet. Photograph: iStock

It’s not often a crime novel references Henry James, EM Forster and Laurence Sterne, but Laura Vaughan’s debut, The Favour (Corvus, £14.99), is saturated in allusions to great art as it follows a group of wealthy students – “the Dilettani” – on a gap-year version of the Grand Tour.

Aspiring author Ada, once of the impoverished aristocracy but now reduced to living in London’s suburban hell, considers herself “a frustratingly unreliable narrator” in her own attempts to write, but she makes for an engaging guide to the wonders of Rome, Florence and Venice as the party bickers its way through Italy towards the tragic event that will define their lives for decades to come.

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