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Crime thrillers are the most borrowed fiction books in Norfolk's libraries

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 February 2012

Ben Richardson, assistant manager for Waterstones, and Sarah Salmon, activity co-ordinator for Millennium Library, with the top 10 fiction books and books by visiting authors for the Norwich Crime Festival in March. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ben Richardson, assistant manager for Waterstones, and Sarah Salmon, activity co-ordinator for Millennium Library, with the top 10 fiction books and books by visiting authors for the Norwich Crime Festival in March. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

Crime thrillers are topping the charts across the county's libraries as the most borrowed fiction books - and next month the city will celebrate the genre when it hosts the first ever Norwich Crime Festival.

It would seem the mystery and intrigue of a good crime thriller is what book lovers in Norfolk enjoy the most - with nine out of the 10 most borrowed adult fiction books in 2011 being from the crime genre.

Kate Atkinson’s detective story Case Histories tops the list, while authors Lee Child, Stieg Larsson and James Patterson each have two books in the top 10.

The only book not related to crime on the list is David Nicholls’ book One Day, which was the best-selling book in the UK in 2011.

Norfolk’s passion for crime fiction is mirrored across the country - data from the Public Lending Right organisation shows that crime clearly dominates the top 10 for most borrowed titles nationwide between July 2010 and June 2011.

Like in Norfolk, James Patterson, Lee Child, and Harlan Coben also make an appearance, while Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol claims the overall top spot.

Sarah Salmon, duty manager and activities coordinator at Norwich’s Millennium Library, said: “Romance used to be the most popular genre, but now people seem to be escaping into a grittier world.”

She said there could be a number of different reasons for crime fiction’s popularity including some experts saying that it reflects the fact that the post 9/11 world is a darker place.

Other reasons for crime fiction being so popular could be because of high profile films and TV shows such as The Killing and the Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis.

Mrs Salmon also said that crime writers were typically quite prolific with their writing, and so readers often did not have to wait long for new books from their favourite authors. A lot of crime books are part of a series and people like to get to know characters and follow them in different books.

Mrs Salmon said that whatever the reason, people enjoyed reading crime fiction and the variety of the genre meant there was almost certainly something for everyone.

People can find out more about different crime writers at the Norwich Crime Festival which is staging events at several city venues from Wednesday, March 20 until Saturday, March 31.

“I think we cover pretty much every genre with crime. It is really exciting so many people have wanted to be involved and it is a good way for people to find out about different authors,” said Mrs Salmon, who is organising the Norwich Crime Festival with Ben Richardson from Waterstones.

Norwich Crime Festival is being held in Norwich from March 20 until 31 and is sponsored by Waterstones and Norfolk Library and Information Service.

A wide range of crime writers are taking part in a series of different events including:

Wednesday, March 21 - Coffee morning with Anne Zouroudi at Millennium Library at 11am. Tickets £2.

Thursday, March 22 – Stuart MacBride in conversation with Henry Sutton at Millennium Library at 6.30pm. Tickets £2.

Friday, March 23 – Historical True Crime with Kate Colquhoun and Jane Robins at The Curve Auditorium at The Forum at 1pm. Tickets £2.

Monday, March 26 – Film showing of The Big Sleep at Cinema City at 8.30pm. Normal cinema prices apply

Tuesday, March 27 – An evening with Sophie Hannah at Millennium Library at 6.30pm. Tickets £2.

Wednesday, March 28 – Meet Caroline Lawrence at Millennium Library at 5pm. Tickets £2 per child, accompanying adults free.

Thursday, March 29 – An evening with Robert Goddard at Waterstones in Norwich at 7.30pm. Tickets £3.

Friday, March 30 – An evening with RJ Ellory at Millennium Library at 6.30pm. Tickets £2.

Saturday, March 31 – Book signing with Andrew Lane at Waterstones in Norwich at 2pm.

Tickets are available at the Sound and Vision Desk at the Millennium Library or at the Norwich branch of Waterstones.

For more information visit http://norwichcrimefestival.com/

Norfolk Library and Information Service’s top 10 most borrowed adult fiction books in 2011:

Kate Atkinson - Case Histories

David Nicholls - One Day

Lee Child - Killing Floor

Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

James Patterson - Private

Peter Robinson - Bad Boy

Harlan Coben - Caught

James Patterson - Worst Case

Stieg Larsson - The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Lee Child - Worth Dying For

• Are you involved in a new arts project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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