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Meet our Book Doctor... Luke Jennings, author of the Killing Eve series

In our Book Doctor feature, we welcome a guest to prescribe just the right read for any mood or occasion.

Luke Jennings, author of the Killing Eve series, has joined us to prescribe the best books for booklovers.

My dad loves reading Ian Rankin books, particularly Rebus, but he has now read them all. What can I give him to read that's similar? – Katie

Katie, I would recommend Helen Fitzgerald, who is originally from Australia but has been living in Scotland for 20 years, and writes pitch-dark and mordantly funny psychological crime fiction. Try Bloody Women, or Worst Case Scenario, both precisely located in the Scottish psyche and landscape. Not quite the same as Rankin, but cracking stuff.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

My stepfather is a retired doctor and is due to have a hip replacement operation. What books do you recommend I buy him to help take his mind off the pain, immobility and boredom of recovery? His hobbies include playing the church organ, cycling, travel and fine dining and he loves to read. – Rachel

Rachel, I've recommended James Hamilton-Paterson's comic trilogy to another reader (he's contemporary British literature's best kept secret, in my opinion), but your father might enjoy H-P's resonantly brilliant Gerontius, about a voyage made in late life by the composer Edward Elgar to Manaus, on the river Amazon. I found it an unforgettable read, a meditation on the English character imbued with music and melancholy.

Gerontius by James Hamilton-Peterson

I love traditional crime books and I am steadily exhausting my supply of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan-Doyle novels. Could you recommend another author I could try? – Victoria

Victoria, I would recommend three of the great golden age female detective novelists. The best known is Dorothy L Sayers, creator of the amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Try the wonderfully atmospheric The Nine Tailors. Then there's Margery Allingham, whose Tiger in the Smoke is a must-read. Less well known today, but an unalloyed joy, are the novels of Christianna Brand. Start with Green for Danger. All three authors were prolific, and should keep you busy for some time!

The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

In these unusual, dispiriting times, what would you recommend as a good read especially if motivation is difficult to come by? – Jon

Jon, try James Hamilton-Paterson's outrageously funny trilogy Cooking with Fernet Branca, Amazing Disgrace, and Rancid Pansies. The central character is the louche Gerald Samper, a ghost-writer and second-rate hack who is convinced, in the teeth of the evidence, that he is a great chef. A scene involving field-mouse vol-au-vent had me weeping with laughter on the bus, so be warned!

Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson

I've never read Salman Rushdie and find myself wishing to do so. Can you recommend which book I should start with? Thank you. – David

David, you can't go wrong with Midnight's Children, a dazzling firework display of a novel, set in India in the years following independence from Britain. The book can be enjoyed on so many levels. The inventive language is a joy, as is the way Rushdie deploys magic and allegory to create a kind of present day Arabian Nights. And you'd be hard pushed to find a more vivid portrait of India itself.

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Killing Eve: Die for Me by Luke Jennings

About Killing Eve: Die for Me by Luke Jennings

On the run together, Eve Polastri and the psychopathic Villanelle take refuge in the underworld of St Petersburg. But the Twelve are closing in, as are the Russian security services. As the chess-game intensifies, and the grip of winter tightens, the couple are drawn into a nightmare realm of conspiracy and murder.

Die For Me is a fast-paced, sophisticated thriller but also a poignant tale of love and erotic obsession. As the action races towards its shattering conclusion, can Eve and Villanelle learn to fully trust each other or will their differences destroy them?

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