The best crime fiction of 2021

Declan Burke and Declan Hughes choose their favourite thrillers of the year

Catherine Ryan Howard uses the strictures of the first Covid-19 lockdown to ramp up in the tension in her book 56 Days. Photograph: Bríd O’Donovan

Catherine Ryan Howard uses the strictures of the first Covid-19 lockdown to ramp up in the tension in her book 56 Days. Photograph: Bríd O’Donovan

Mick Herron’s excellent Jackson Lamb series continues with Slough House (John Murray, £11.99), a post-Brexit yarn documenting a coup perpetrated by the populist politician Peter Judd and the “mini-Murdoch” Damien Cantor, with spymaster Jackson Lamb (“looking like a bin someone had set fire to”) democracy’s last hope.

Laura Vaughan’s debut, The Favour (Corvus, £14.99), a Donna Tartt-style tale of a group of wealthy students on a gap-year version of the Grand Tour, is superb in its depiction of the wonders of Rome, Florence and Venice.

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