Entertainment & Arts

Crime novels dominate library lending

Lee Child and James Patterson
Image caption Both Lee Child (left) and James Patterson (right) focus on US protagonists in their novels

Crime thrillers are the most borrowed books from British libraries.

Novels by authors such as James Patterson and Lee Child dominate the top 10 most borrowed books, with Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol in top spot.

Patterson remains the most borrowed author for the fifth year running, with five books written, or co-written, by the prolific US author, in the top 10.

Author Lee Child claims crime fiction gratifies "a desire for safety and security and the rule of law".

"In the decade following 9/11, I believe crime fiction has become more important in people's lives," Child told the Public Lending Right (PLR), who compile the annual data.

"It gratifies their desire for safety and security and the rule of law, because at the end of crime novels, order is restored."

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Media captionLee Child: Novels are answering a need we have. And that need changes

"In US crime fiction and thrillers, the canvas is bigger, and the stakes are higher, making them particularly successful in this context."

British-born Child, who has two books in the most borrowed list, currently lives in the US.

Writer Ian Rankin is the only UK-resident author in the Top 10.

The data comes in sharp contrast to the charts from a decade ago, which saw British romance novelist Catherine Cookson dominate the list of most borrowed books, with five novels in the top 10.

Patterson - whose novels Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider were both made into films - is the only author to record more than two million loans in UK libraries between July 2010 and June 2011.

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