Sarah has opened my eyes to yet another twist on the staid form of crime fiction, Ian Sansom. Here are Mr. Sansom's feelings about what makes us put fingers to keyboard:
Why do I write? Good question. In my experience most books are used by authors and by readers just to waste time, or as a pretty basic means of self-amusement - books used like mental knitting, or television - and there's nothing wrong with that. But you know sometimes when you underline things in books, or when you fold down the corner of a page? I'd like to write the kind of books you underline in, the kind where you fold down the corners of the page, so that when it comes to moving house, or clearing stuff out, you might hesitate for a moment before piling the book in a bag with all your old shirts with the frayed cuffs and collars, and all your other broken consumer durables, ready to take to the dump, or the Oxfam shop, and you might open up at the page where you've folded down a corner, and think 'Huh'.
If this leaves you wondering which book to pick, may I pass on Sarah's suggestion. THE CASE OF THE MISSING BOOKS