It’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, which means that everyone in a relationship will be posting soppy, loved-up social media posts.
For us singletons, in normal times we’d have a fun night out with our pals, or go on the pull and have a laugh.
Myself, I’ve always wanted to try speed dating and try my best to put them all off by being as wacky as possible! I’ve never actually done it because I want a friend to go with me and, so far, no one has volunteered.
However, during the pandemic, none of that is possible, as everything is still shut down to keep us all safe from the virus. Therefore, we need to find new ways to entertain ourselves.
Whether you’re in a relationship and sick of the site of them, or you’re single and fancy doing something fun, you can find solace in a good book.
While you might think romantic fiction is the perfect choice for your Valentine’s Day read, if you don’t like it then it won’t make you happy.
Instead, if you’re a fan of thrilling, action-packed novels, then why not try some crime fiction instead?
Just because you choose to avoid romantic fiction, doesn’t mean that you can’t read something that’s not Valentine’s Day themed.
The romance-laden holiday is a popular choice for crime fiction writers who use the nature of the day, with all its secrecy about crushes and focus on love, to their advantage in their plotting of fiendish mysteries.
So, if you’re searching for an exciting new read this Valentine’s Day, then check out this list of crime fiction novels and mysteries set around the holiday.
5. The Saint Valentine’s Day Murders: Written by Ruth Dudley Edwards, this novel is a truly terrifying tale of obsession. The novel is crafted in the style of a Golden Age mystery tale, making it an engaging choice for readers who love traditional, cosy crime fiction. The protagonist, Robert Amiss finds himself stuck in a dead-end Civil Service job in a non-descript backwater. In the midst of this dullness and banality, comes a spate of maliciousness and petty-minded sniping. What initially appears to be just malice and office nastiness quickly turns sinister when the wives of the bureaucrats are sent a poisoned box of chocolates. The murder puts Amiss in the thick of a complicated investigation, and together with a novice detective who’s obsessed with crime fiction and a local superintendent, he works to uncover the truth. In the course of the investigation, the intrepid threesome delves through marital strife, lies, deceit and unfulfilled ambition in search of the truth. This is a tantalising tale modelled on Golden Age cosy crime novels, so it’s perfect for fans of that sub-genre who want something new to check out that’s Valentine’s Day themed.
4. Gilt by Association: Another cosy crime novel, Karen Rose Smith’s novel features an unlikely amateur detective: a home stager. Caprice De Luca is a busy lady; she’s searching for a new dress, helping out her sister with her new baby and training her puppy. Despite all of this and preparing for a Valentine’s Day dance, De Luca still has the time to take on a new client with a picturesque home that is easy to turn into the ideal setting for a hearts and flowers themed open house. Things quickly turn from romantic and sweet to daunting and sinister when the homeowner is found dead. De Luca is drawn into a tempting mystery that threatens her Valentine’s Day plans. The novel will entice anyone who likes a crime story without all the gore that usually goes along with them.
3. Claws And Effect: Part of Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs Murphy series of cute, cosy crime fiction, Claws And Effect features a set of conniving animal sleuths who set about uncovering the mystery of a murder in the boiler room of a small town hospital on Valentine’s Day. With the help of the local postmistress, they work to uncover the clues and decipher the meaning behind the local gossip that has proliferated around the victim. It’s a cosy, sweet tale that makes a great gift for yourself or your loved one this Valentine’s Day. If you’re a young crime fiction fan, or you just don’t like particularly gruesome books, then this could be an ideal choice for you to read and entertain yourself with over this Valentine’s weekend.
2. A Judgement in Stone: Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone begins with a massacre on Valentine’s Day, as four members of the wealthy Coverdale family are murdered. The suspect is their housekeeper, who shot them as they watched an opera on TV. When she is apprehended by the police a couple of weeks later, they discover a secret that she’s kept hidden for decades and that brings out the complexities of social class and the ways that it can have an impact on all of our lives. This is a gripping thriller that’s impossible to put down, so it’s an ideal choice to keep your mind off your relationship status.
1. Valentine: As the name suggests, Tom Savage’s Valentine is about an obsessive Valentine who’s desperate to win over the woman of his fantasies, fictional bestselling author Jillian Talbot. She already has a lover, as well as a great career and awesome friends who love her very much. A creepy stalker could ruin her life; or take it. The book was turned into a film in 2001, but it wasn’t remotely similar; the book is chilling and haunting, the film is gory and frightening. As such, even if you didn’t like the film, the book is worth checking out this Valentine’s Day if you’re looking for a spine-tingling thriller that will set your teeth on edge and keep you hooked.