New York — What began with literature ends with gore. At least I’ll get some reading done, I thought a year ago, and some thickish novels did follow, but that was then. Now I can’t remember the last book I finished. In the final innings of the pandemic, all discipline has fled. I check the boxes at work; overeat; sleep 10 hours a night; and watch people murder each other on TV.

I never bothered with crime shows before Covid. Now I binge one after the next, to the exclusion of all else. Within the genre, my tastes are specific. No time for the cosy period piece, Hercule Poirot or Foyle’s War, say. I require gloom, and blood by the bathtub...

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