Sunday, December 23, 2012

Barry Maitland - outstanding crime fiction author

Barry Maitland was born in Scotland and brought up in London. After studying architecture at Cambridge, he practised and taught in the UK before moving to Australia where he was Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle. He has since retired from the university to pursue his writing. Maitland's first mystery The Marx Sisters was a nominee for the John Creasey award for Best First Novel and The Malcontenta won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction.

Barry MaitlandBarry Maitland is the author of the acclaimed Brock and Kolla series of crime mystery novels set in London, where Barry grew up after his family moved there from Paisley in Scotland where he was born. He studied architecture at Cambridge University, and went on to work as an architect in the UK, then took a PhD in urban design at the University of Sheffield, where he also taught and wrote a number of books on architecture and urban design. In 1984 he moved to Australia to head the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, and held that position until 2000.

The first Brock and Kolla novel, The Marx Sisters, was published in Australia and the UK in 1994, and subsequently in the USA and in translation in a number of other countries, including Germany, Italy, France and Japan. It was short-listed for the UK Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Award for best new fiction, and featured the central two characters of the series, Detective Chief Inspector David Brock, and his younger woman colleague, Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla.

The sequel, The Malcontenta, was first published in 1995 and was joint winner of the inaugural Ned Kelly Award for best crime fiction by an Australian author. It was followed by All My Enemies, The Chalon Heads, Silvermeadow and Babel. The seventh novel in the series, The Verge Practice, is published in 2003, followed by No Trace, and in 2006 by Spider Trap.

The books have been described as whydunits as much as whodunits, concerned with the devious histories and motivations of their characters. Barry's background in architecture drew him to the structured character of the mystery novel, and his books are notable for their ingenious plots as well as for their atmospheric settings, each in a different intriguing corner of London.
Barry Maitland now writes fiction full time. 

The above author biographical information comes from Allen & Unwin who are Barry Maitland's publishers.

I have included it here because I have just finished reading his latest Brock & Kolla novel, All My Enemies, which I rate as one of the finest crime fiction novels I have read this year.Gripping and suspenseful I was hooked from beginning to end by this superbly crafted novel. 

It is perhaps one of the finest in the critically acclaimed Brock & Kolla series, and in it DS Kathy Kolla reports to New Scotland Yard and to DCI Brock's Serious Crime Division.Just before Kolla is to start her new job, a young woman is found viciously murdered in a leafy, well-heeled suburb, and the grotesque details of the slaughter appear to be well rehearsed, even theatrical. Assigned to the case, Kolla's only improbable lead draws her to a local amateur drama group. Once in their orbit, she is lured into a piece of theatre, over which, increasingly, she has little control. 
In All My Enemies, Brock and Kolla find themselves in a tangled web of secrets, lies and murder. A riveting read.
Maitland is a master of the crime fiction genre..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Maitland is wonderful. Do note that this title was published in 1996 and was Maitland's third book.It was republished in 2009 and possibly first in the US in 2012 so while a fine book no where near his latest.Maitalnd has a new book coming out this year, 2013. I look forward to it.