A winner of the CWA’s Diamond Dagger, Symons made a distinguished double contribution to the genre. His fiction varies in form and tone. He is adept at slyly intricate plots, as in The Man Who Killed Himself and The Blackheath Poisonings, and at sardonic, often ironic novels and short stories that chillingly indict the society we live in. In his 70s and 80s, Symons continued to publish novels such as Death’s Darkest Face which are remarkable for their dazzling intelligence and their craftmanship.
In his own words, he used the crime novel as a way of showing "the violence that lives behind the bland faces that most of us present to the world". Symons also wrote about crime fiction. Bloody Murder, a history of the development of the detective story into the crime novel, is a classic in its field.
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