WHAT BOOK would London-based husband-and-wife writing team Ellery Lloyd take to a desert island?

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…are you reading?

Collette: I usually have a few books to take with me. Currently there are three. The first is Harriet Tyce’s It Ends At Midnight, which begins with a shocking death and grows increasingly dark and tense as the story unfolds. She does complicated and conflicted female characters so well.

Next comes Catriona Ward’s Sundial, an exploration of the mother-daughter bond that’s weird and twisty. As in his previous novel, The Last House On Needless Street, it is impossible to guess where the plot is heading.

London-based husband and wife writing team Ellery Lloyd, Collette Llod (right) and Paul Vlitos (left) say they would take Dickens to a desert island

London-based husband and wife writing team Ellery Lloyd, Collette Llod (right) and Paul Vlitos (left) say they would take Dickens to a desert island

Finally, there’s Edith And Kim by Charlotte Philby which is fascinating – the author Charlotte is the granddaughter of Kim Philby, the double agent who leaked British secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II. Edith Tudor-Hart is the woman who introduced him to his Soviet master. It is both impeccably researched and atmospheric.

…you would take to a desert island?

Paul: If you read the same book under a coconut tree until you are rescued, it must be one with a lot of detail, so you notice something different each time.

In this case, it must be Dickens. The complete works, preferably, or a long one that I haven’t read or watched an adaptation of, so I don’t know what to expect.

The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, perhaps. Or the old curio shop. Something where, as long as I’m reading this book, I’ll feel like I’m entering a different world.

…gave you the reading bug first?

Collette: In terms of crime and thrillers – the genre I always come back to (and write) – it has to be Martina Cole.

My parents took me to the library once a week when I was in my early teens and never checked what I took. So me, 12, happily devoured Cole’s books – the first was his debut album, Dangerous Lady.

I loved the grimy, gangster drama and strong female characters, so I was hooked.

… left you cold?

Paul: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, it’s a shame, because I loved The Secret History every time I read it. It stays crisp, crisp, fresh, tense and fun – as funny in some places as it is dark in others.

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This is one of those books that truly redefines the line between crime fiction and literary fiction. I’ll definitely give The Goldfinch another chance, and maybe come into it with a different set of expectations.

It’s one of the wonderful things about books – something you enjoyed as a teenager, something you’ll re-read and find new things to enjoy decades later.

Likewise, something that left you cold in the past, you can revisit it and it will speak to you.

  • The Club by Ellery Lloyd is published by Mantle at £14.99.

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