Reading Confessions: Caro Ramsay

Caro Ramsay
Category: Reading

Caro Ramsay is a Scottish crime fiction writer, most famous for her police novels featuring DI Anderson and DS Costello.

This month, she divulges her deepest, darkest reading confessions for us.

If you’d like to learn more about Caro Ramsay, check out her interview in this month’s Bookmarked podcast.



Do you ever mentally edit someone else’s work while you read?

Yes, I don't think I can help it. Equally, if I see a really great piece of writing I can’t help but think, why did I not write that?

What’s your opinion on reading in the bath?

It should be compulsory. I think there might be less war and violence in the world if people read more in the bath and chilled out a wee bit.

How do you react to bad reviews?

Sulk! I was once told the correct protocol is to sulk for 24 hours and then re-read the review to see if there was anything positive in it. If there’s nothing positive, it is a badly written review so don't pay any attention to it. If there is something positive, focus on that. Fortunately I don’t think I have ever had a really bad review.

Where do you stand on spine breaking?

Well as an osteopath, I can speak as an expert and spine breaking is not recommended in any way, shape or form.

Which author or fictional character would you most like to party with?

Well, I’d say no to a party but can I go out for a walk in a summer garden with Douglas Adams, Timmy from the Famous Five and Tarka the Otter? Then, we could meet Reginald Hill and P.D. James for a wee glass of white wine at the bottom of the garden and while we are there we can listen to Black Beauty chomping away at the grass beside us. We shall then tell each other extremely rude jokes.

Has a mutual like or differing opinions on books ever ruined or cemented a relationship?

I don't think so but having said that I do have two friends who think that 50 Shades of Grey is one of the greatest books ever written. I realise that I now try to analyse them when they talk so I can try to figure out what is going on in their heads. I have also realised they watch TOWIE and they pride themselves on having lots of shoes. Most of which they cannot walk in.

Have you ever pretended to have read a book to impress someone?

Well I have some friends (they write high-end literary fiction) who think that I should write something  proper (ie not crime) and so to please them I read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I didn’t understand it, and then I saw the film and thought ‘what was that about?’. Then I tried to read Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That's the one about rabies, so I kept thinking ‘Why do they not do a blood test or something?’. Or am I being way too logical here? I know it’s magical realism, beautifully written too, but that lack of reality just doesn’t do it for me. I was told that I should educate myself better. Then my pal mentioned how much he earns for writing his literary fiction. ‘Is that all?’ I said.

Game, set and match to the crime writers I think!

How do you arrange your bookshelf?

It arranges itself... the books I love are always on the floor, around the bed and under the dog’s basket. The complete works of Shakespeare is on the coffee table, pretty but unread.

If you could throw a book at a celebrity which book would you throw at whom?

Pippa Middleton's Celebrate. Can I fire it out of a cannon rather than throw it? In fact, can I throw the entire Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire at her as well?

Is there a book by someone else that you wish you’d written?

The Children of Men by P.D. James. Great book, great writing. What a brain that woman has.

Is there a book you have never been able to finish?

Of Love and Other Demons!

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