(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Michelle Spring began her writing career with Every Breath You Take (1994), which introduces Laura Principal as private investigator, and followed it with four other novels that are concerned with Principal’s forays into crimes in and around Cambridge, England. Her sixth book, The Night Lawyer (2006), a suspense novel, dispenses with Principal and focuses on the efforts of Eleanor Porter to become strong and independent.

Most readers find Spring’s Laura Principal series well crafted, readable, and imbued with a strong sense of place. Spring places Principal, a contemporary woman and a former history professor, confidently in Cambridge, where she moves through an intricate plot realistically searching for answers. Her compelling investigations, which make the most of the English countryside in and around Cambridge, have been compared to those of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse in Oxford. Like Morse, Principal’s investigations frequently uncover the dark side of existence beneath a cultured, refined facade.

For her first novel, Spring was nominated and short-listed for two awards, but for In the Midnight Hour (2001), she was awarded the Arthur Ellis award, given by the Crime Writers of Canada for the best novel of the year. She is one of six novelists who make up the Unusual Suspects, a group of mystery writers who entertain audiences in Britain, Canada, the United States, and Europe with their commentaries on crime fiction. Spring was selected by the London Times as one of the twentieth century’s one hundred masters of crime.