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Week of Crime: Peter May

I became aware of Peter May through his Lewis trilogy, detective fiction set in the Outer Hebrides. Since finishing the last of those I’ve keenly scanned the M section on the library shelves looking to read more. Last year I enjoyed Entry Island, set in Canada and I recently finished The Critic, an Enzo MacLeod investigation that takes place in France (Enzo himself is Scottish with Italian roots).

May seems to do a remarkable job of capturing a sense of place, despite writing several distinct series set in diverse place round the world. I’m not sure I would rate the latter two works quite as high as the Lewis ones, where I felt a very visceral connection with the lead character, but his writing stands out as clear, intelligent and well-paced in all cases.

I will continue to scan the M section and am particularly keen to find out how his series of books set in Shanghai turn out to be. That’s a city I haven’t come across as a setting since reading J G Ballard’s Empire of the Sun at school so one I’d be fascinated to “revisit”.

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