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Desert Island Necessities – what would you take?

You’ve been stranded on a tropical island, and you can only take one luxury item with you. What would it be, and why?

We asked fifteen bestselling crime writers for the one thing that they just cannot live without. While some are rather stereotypical – who’d have guessed that authors loved books and coffee?! – others are a little bit more wacky. Read on to discover your favourite authors’ choices…

Cath Staincliffe

Books – sorry, predictable perhaps, but I’d go round the bend without something to read.  And how else could I escape from the island except into stories, other worlds and other lives?

Donna Leon

Opera.  I guess a Baroque opera company would have to be shipwrecked with me.  Why?  I think it’s essential to living a pleasant life.

Antti Tuomainen

I’d take my wife. It would be a very grey tropical island without her.

Eva Dolan

Playing cards and gaming chips. And instructions on how to tame a monkey so I have someone to play with. I’m pretty sure I’d go mad without my daily dose of poker.

Helen Grant

An iPad with cellular connection and solar powered charger, so I can make the most out of the trials of catching my own dinner, making my clothes out of plaited grass, waving in vain at aeroplanes, etc., by putting it all on Facebook and Twitter.

Oliver Harris

Aside from books? A well-stocked bar. Hopefully I wouldn’t be rescued too soon.

John Harvey

John Harvey

If I’m not allowed Doctor Allison Cameron, as played by Jennifer Morrison in the first series of House MD, I’ll take a stove top coffee pot and an inexhaustible supply of Monmouth espresso blend coffee.

Karin Slaughter

That’s not very fair because chocolate melts – and would you be talking a life-time supply?  I could give up chocolate for books, but only if I was on a tropical island.

M. D. Villiers

Olives! Lots of olives. Not the black ones though. Oh, and good coffee, not instant. If it came down to a choice between olives and coffee and a book about survival on a tropical island, I’ll pick the coffee.

Paul Carson

A case of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild – one fetched US$820,000 at auction in August 2012.  If I’m going to be stuck on an island (tropical or otherwise) on my own I may as well enjoy the rest!

Tim Weaver

I was going to say a Batman onesie, but of course it would be ridiculous for a man in his mid-thirties to own one of those, and sit around all day writing in it. So I’d have to say my Herman Miller chair, which cost me so much money I shed a tear every time I think about it, but which makes sitting at a computer all day like sitting on a lovely, fluffy cloud.

P. D. Viner

Coffee. So a solar kettle and grinder, a Chemex filter jug and a big pile of beans. Why? Addiction.


Phil Hogan

My guitar. Even with no one to hear me, I guarantee I’d soon be lamenting my fate in song.


Samantha Hayes

Apart from a suitcase full of books? I think I’d have to take a telescope. It’s random and not very luxurious, but imagine how wonderful the sky at night would look without any light pollution.

Tom Bale

Tom Bale

Assuming that a vast library of books is already present, the indulgence would have to be chocolate. A lifetime’s supply, which in my case – as anyone who knows me will confirm – means the island in question would need a deep water harbour capable of berthing a container ship.


Thanks to our wonderful authors for sharing their luxury items with us! What item would you take if you were stranded on a tropical island? Post a comment below and let us know.


    would have to be lots and lots crime books, and remember to take my glasses, otherwise the books would be useless.

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