The best new crime fiction – and one or two disappointments

Novels by Ruth Ware, Maile Meloy, Karen Dionne, Andrew Martin and Andrew Pyper

Maile Meloy:  in Do Not Become Alarmed her mordant wit persists even through the most gruesome scenes

Maile Meloy: in Do Not Become Alarmed her mordant wit persists even through the most gruesome scenes

“If it’s not quite art and it’s not quite entertainment, it’s here on my desk.” So proclaims the world-weary movie producer Bobby Gould in David Mamet’s 1988 Hollywood satire Speed-the-Plow. A whip-smart wisecrack, it also serves as a useful barometer when it comes to evaluating the quality and scope of popular art, most especially when that art displays an increasing reluctance to know its place.

Like her first two books, which were UK and US bestsellers, Ruth Ware’s new novel, The Lying Game (Harvill Secker, £12.99), is written from that part of the forest presided over by the shades of Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier.

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