One of the joys of working at Edge Hill is the small human touches that make it a nice place to work. One example is the little library of popular fiction that has sprung up in the Senior (or is it Staff) Common Room – a semi-hidden shelf of paperbacks that anyone can contribute to or borrow from. I’ve kicked in some of the Lee Child novels I’ve been reading recently and read one of the crime novels while I had flu – all I can remember about it is a feverish vision of someone thinking they were Jack the Ripper’s grandson and doing dreadful things. Scanning the books that have fetched up there, I was struck by how many of them seem to be about serial killers of some kind. I wonder why we have a fascination for these fictional figures? Is it because real-life murder is so banal and sordid that the idea of cunning, hyperintelligent, glamorous, eccentric killers with strange psychological or aesthetic motivations seems preferable?