Mysterious Top Tens

Jeffery Deaver picks his top ten novels featuring computers of all kinds for the Guardian, which is why his last choice is my favorite:


Imagine this: A novella about a world in which people live in small
cubicles, rarely get outside, and communicate mostly through instant
messaging and video conferencing, while there's a huge computer network
around the planet, monitoring all human activity. Oh, by the way, it
was written in 1909. Though not particularly subtle, the story was
penned by the author of A Passage to India, so the quality of the prose
shines through. When the machine of the title begins to stutter, humans
are forced to wonder if life on the abandoned surface of the earth – as
in the "old days" – might not be their only salvation.

  Add this to his other choice of William Gibson & Bruce Sterling's THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE and now I wonder how Deaver would write a steampunk novel. It would be a rollercoaster, and it would be a hell of a good time.

  The top ten theme continues in the Times of London as Adrian McKinty <a href="">tips readers to his ten favorite female sleuths</a> &#8211; even if one of them is of questionable gender:

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  As if this list wasn’t eccentric enough there’s a<br /> pretty good chance that Dr. Hilary Tamar is a male Hilary not a female one; but<br /> rather than dwelling on that let’s assume, like her creator, Sarah Caudwell,<br /> she’s a pipe smoking, androgynous glass ceiling shattering she Hilary.<br /> Caudwell, daughter of Claude Cockburn and sister to Alexander, Andrew and<br /> Patrick, eschewed the family business and instead of becoming a journalist<br /> entered the legal profession, specialising in the arcana or taxes, probate<br /> and trusts. Dr. Tamar is the narrator of four densely brilliant mystery<br /> novels written in a studied literary style with barely no concessions to the<br /> tropes of the genre. There’s almost no action, no sex, and the violence is<br /> largely off screen, communicated to us by letters or telexes. Tamar is the<br /> mentor and guiding force behind a group of young barristers at Lincoln’s<br /> Inn, who solve cases that are usually mired deep in the schedules of the<br /> Inheritance Tax Act 1984. If all this sounds unpromising let me reassure<br /> you: Caudwell is an acquired taste but I love these books, for their<br /> unconventional plots, their irony, their wit, their loveable (if a little<br /> unconvincing) characters and the deliciously improbable resolutions to the<br /> stories. Tamar uses sarcasm, gentle teasing and encyclopaedic knowledge of<br /> the tax code to get the job done. Sarah Caudwell died in 2000 of cancer just<br /> before the release of her fourth and last book The Sibyl in her Grave.<br />

  In other words, time for a reread of these amazing books.