The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

 Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, the doorstop Booker winner set in a New Zealand gold rush town in 1866, begins as several unexplained events – a prostitute trying to kill herself, a rich young man disappearing, a fortune turning up in a dead drunk’s house – have set the tiger among the pigeons. Twelve men meet to pool their…

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

  Expellium! The spectre of Harry Potter disappears early: page 15 of The Casual Vacancy sees the book’s first use of the word cunt – something it is hard to imagine Professor Snape saying, even under duress. The story begins with a sudden death leaving a space on a small West Country town’s parish council, opening…