“The first time that I knew My Lady Judge had been picked by the American Booksellers Association for their September list of twenty ‘notables’ was when my agent in UK emailed me to say that he had just seen it on a magazine called ‘Publishers’ Lunch’. I must say that I was pretty excited. Although I am only nineteenth out of the twenty recommended books, it still was quite unexpected – especially given the number of books published every day in the States. The book will be out in a week’s time and then we’ll see how it goes. The American publishers, St Martin’s Press, are playing up its Irishness very much, with a Celtic-mist-type cover and a subtitle of ‘A Medieval Irish Mystery’. However, the book may not be what an American audience regards as ‘Irish’. Mara, my main character, is no Irish colleen, but a tough, practical woman with a degree of education which would be way beyond what is expected of lawyers nowadays. One of Queen Elizabeth 1’s fact-finders reported of the Brehons that they spoke Latin ‘as if it were their native tongue.’ I keep wondering how the intricacies of Brehon Law, and the fact that the judge is a woman, will go down in America. Personally, I think that Brehon Law is fascinating, especially with its emphasis on the rights of woman. One of my readers on Amazon UK said that she loved the bit where a woman could divorce her husband if he got too fat! Perhaps this would not be popular in America. However, I did see that the Poisoned Pen Mystery Bookshop wrote: ‘You have to read [My Lady Judge] to get the full impact of its charm. I predict a big US hit in September so beat the rush.’ It would be lovely if that comes true.”And only slightly less lovely than the delightful Cora Harrison, if the truth be told.
“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.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Always Judge A Book By Its Judge
Keep a weather eye on Cora Harrison, people – her debut novel, My Lady Judge (released in the US on September 18), which centres on the medieval Irish Brehon judge Mara, has been nominated as a ‘notable’ September release by no less august an outfit than the American Booksellers Association. Cora, as you might imagine, is rather pleased by the development, to wit: