Desert Island DVDs – Susan Moody


Former chairperson of the Crime Writer’s Association, Susan Moody has also served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers. Over the course of a remarkably productive career she has authored 29 novels. Her debut Penny Black is listed in the Crime Writers’ Association’s Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time. Six foot tall Penny is an amateur detective, globe-trotting photographer and the daughter of a UN Ambassador. Susan wrote seven novels featuring Penny Wanawake. Williams & Whiting has reissued all seven titles in the series.

In 1993 Susan Moody introduced readers to expert bridge player Cassie Swann. A feisty amateur sleuth, Cassie investigated murders in Oxford, the surrounding areas, and the village of Bellington.

After producing six outings for Swann, Susan Moody has written standalone crime fiction, historical novels, romance, the sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and Love Over Gold, a best-selling novel inspired by Nestle’s soap-opera style commercials.

Susan is a member of the prestigious Detection Club and co-founder of Kent based festival Deal Noir. A long-term supporter of Iceland Noir, she generously agreed to talk about her Desert Island DVDs.


The Bicycle Thieves (Italy, 1948)

‘In earlier years, when the cinema was only just beginning to be recognized as an art form, I spent a lot of time watching film.  This examination of post-WW2 city life in Rome resonated and does so still.  It still jerks tears, even just reading the title. Ricci, with a family to support, terrified of falling through the cracks, finally gets a job, only to have his bicycle, sole means of transport, stolen.  What to do? Become a thief himself?  Marvellous.’


Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (France, 1953)

‘How we loved this gentle film about an awkward and unassuming Frenchman going on holiday to the seaside.  Comedy at its sweetest.  No slapstick, just a series of small vignettes where inept Monsieur Hulot has to extricate himself from one slightly embarrassing situation after another.’


Jules et Jim (France, 1962) 

‘Innovative, charming and sinister, this love triangle still captivates.  Jeanne Moreau was gorgeous, caught between her two men.  I’ve watched this so many times and it never fails to delight.’


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, 2009)

‘Edgy, ugly and utterly compelling.  Lisbeth Salander, the female lead, is uncompromising, unforgiving and  unforgettable.  Deeply damaged, suffering from a form of Asperger’s, she is a gifted hacker and here finds herself teamed with a male journalist facing prison, in an attempt to resolve the disappearance of a young girl forty years ago.  I could watch this again and again.’


Trapped (Iceland, 2015) 

‘This TV series from Iceland, is truly gripping.  Claustrophobic, complicated, it deals with an ugly crime in the north of the country cut off from the rest of the world by an avalanche, pack ice and a lot of snow.  Absolutely brilliant in its depiction of a small community where ordinary people are trying to live ordinary lives but find themselves caught up in extraordinary events, rocked by corruption,  betrayal, murder and sex-trafficking.’

Thanks to Susan Moody, Mike Linane, and Iceland Noir.

Iceland Noir booking information.

Susan Moody’s Penny Wanawake series is published by Williams & Whiting.


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