OXFORDSHIRE and murder mystery go hand in hand. And now new figures show the genre is the most popular type of book out at county libraries.

Local readers’ thirst for crime novels is such that five titles, more than any fiction category, feature in the top 15 most-borrowed adult fiction issues from the county library service from June to August.

Jane Mason, pictured, Oxfordshire County Council's Reader Services Manager: Adults, said: “There are many theories to explain why borrowers from our library service are so interested in crime novels, but at this stage there is no firm evidence about the real reasons why.

“There are the local links with Inspector Morse and Midsomer Murders, and I know that many crime authors write with the knowledge that people are interested psychology and relationships – themes which often are prevalent in crime fiction.”

The five were; Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin, which was borrowed 355 times; Beastly Things by Donna Leon, 341; Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, 326; Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson, 321; and Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James borrowed 315 times.

The top most-borrowed adult fiction title from June to August was Bring up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel.