WE do like a good thriller or murder mystery in Worcestershire.

It appears that local book readers like nothing more than to settle down with a novel with a twisty plot if the list of most popular library books in 2020 is anything to go by.

Worcestershire County Council has issued its annual top library book list, and, as usual, it makes fascinating reading.

The number one choice across the county was Lee Child’s Past Tense, one in the famous Jack Reacher series.

That was borrowed a total of 443 times, closely followed by by Mark Billingham’s Their Little Secret (thriller) with 426 issues.

Third came more death and mystery, but this time in the way of a police procedural called Dead at First Sight by Peter James (413 issues).

Of course, these are physical books, and we all know that life is becoming more digital, with many more people reading online or listening to audio books.

In fact, the council’s digital books service confirmed that Worcestershire does like a good murder mystery, with The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Claire Gradidge topping the adult e-book charts.

For younger audiences, Liz Pichon’s Spectacular School Trip (one of Tom Gates series) was the most borrowed children’s title in 2020 with 190 issues.

David Walliams proved popular. The Ice Monster took second place with 180 issues, while two more of his titles (The Beast of Buckingham Palace and Slime) took third and fourth places.

As for e-books for children, Andy Shepherd's Boy Who Grew Dragons was top, while the most popular teen title was One, a sensitive story about conjoined twins written by Sarah Crossan.

With a new lockdown now in place, Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for communities, said: “I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already to look into what our Digital Library Hub can offer. The magic of a good book really is there for everyone.”

The county’s Digital Library Hub includes a selection of e-books, e-audio and e-magazines, free webinars to support job seekers and business start-ups, online connect bubbles and a range of online events and activities for families and children to enjoy together.

Visit worcestershire.gov.uk/libraries.