Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you like to have written?
The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald. A compelling trip through family secrets, present and past, the mystery of your own identity.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
John Mortimer’s Rumpole books. A writer who found his groove.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Doing a line of pure iambic pentameter to round off An Irish Solution.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Of those I’ve read, possibly The Book of Evidence by John Banville.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
The Statement by Brian Moore. Nothing Irish about it, thanks be to God.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst: the impossibility of finding enough time, if you work in an endless job like mine (university teaching). Best: Setting out to say something, failing to say it, then finding you’ve said something better. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Why does John Banville use a pseudonym for writing crime?
Fleeing his creditors? Certainly not. Because he never noticed that “John Banville” writes crime stories? Hardly. Influenced by A.A. Fair (now known to be Erle Stanley Gardner)? Perish the thought. Market segmentation? Unthinkable. The example of Salvatore Lombino (a.k.a. Ed McBain & Evan Hunter)? Don’t be vulgar. Perhaps inspired by François-Marie Arouet? Yes, I think that sounds much better. But who am I to carp? I'm somewhat pseudonymous myself.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Prolix. Awful prolix.
Cormac Millar is the author of An Irish Solution and The Grounds
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.