For many years Maxine Clarke reviewed, discussed and advocated on behalf of intelligent crime fiction. She enjoyed crime and mystery novels with nuanced characters and intriguing plots and particularly enjoyed those novels which explore a social issue, political idea or troubling aspect of the human condition. She was well known for loving Scandinavian crime fiction long before it was fashionable but her favourite authors were a varied and somewhat eclectic mix; a fact indicative of her willingness to take each book on its own merits.
Her online home was her blog Petrona but she contributed also to Euro Crime and was a top 500 reviewer at Amazon UK. Maxine nurtured a community of crime fiction lovers, many of whom hang out at the Friend Feed Crime and Mystery Fiction Room she founded, by commenting on dozens of blogs (especially the sites of fledgeling bloggers who she encouraged and welcomed with an open heart and mind), trying out new authors, fairly reviewing the books she read and individually recommending the books she thought her friends would like (and often sending the actual books to readers dotted around the globe).
Maxine died after a long battle with illness in December 2012. Here her friends in the crime fiction community have created this site in honour of both her memory and in an attempt to keep alive the kind of community spirit she engendered. We know she’d hate having a fuss made of her but we hope she would agree that if we are determined to have a tribute then it is right it take the form of a continued conversation about and celebration of intelligent crime fiction from around the world. There are two main ways this site plays tribute to Maxine’s spirit:
- Books we love: Inspired by the 2012 publication BOOKS TO DIE FOR, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke, readers, writers, bloggers, translators and anyone who loves great crime fiction is invited to submit a contribution to this site in favour of a crime or mystery novel they love. Our aim is to build a resource which those who already love crime fiction can use to discover new gems and those new to the genre can use as a jumping off point for their own adventures.
- The Petrona Award: An annual award for best Scandinavian crime novel available in English (more information about the award to follow during 2013)
Maxine’s roles as wife, mother, scientist, Nature editor and her other talents and achievements are honoured and celebrated elsewhere including a memorial page maintained by her family and an obituary in Nature magazine. For a sense of the deep respect and warmth the crime fiction community felt for Maxine Clarke you may wish to read the many tributes written at the time of her death. They are collected here.
Head over to the Submissions page to learn how to make a submission to the site (don’t worry there aren’t a lot of rules).