“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.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

“Here’s One We Made Earlier …”

Huzzah! The official 90-second trailer for Anton, a movie for which we have very high hopes despite the fact that it’s executive produced by professional mentaller Pat McArdle (right, in full-on The Hills Have Eyes mode), has hit the interweb highway and not a moment too soon. For lo! The chaps and chapesses behind Anton are swanning off to Cannes, no less, there to disport themselves shamelessly with ingĂ©nues and generally act the proverbial maggot. If you do happen to be in the vicinity of Cannes in the week starting May 18, get yourself along to the Palais Des Festivals Theatre K at noon, where the world premiere of Anton will be taking place. Oh, and be sure not to mention Crime Always Pays sent you, they’ll only call the gendarmes. Roll it there, Collette …

Friday, May 9, 2008

“And Now For A Little Comedy Sketch …”

An interesting little digression away from our usual flummery, people, courtesy of Scamp. Fintan Taite was … no, let’s allow Fintan tell the story. Fintan, you rascally drawing-type scamp, sir? Take it away …
“Hodder Headline commissioned me to do an illustration for the cover of Twenty Major’s first book, THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX PARK, based on characters from his profanity-filled popular blog: twentymajor.net.
“At the time of commissioning there was no text from the book available so I was sent a description of the characters and a brief outline of the plot. They also supplied me with a rough sketch their cover designer had put together as a guide. The illustration was to take up about 50% of the available cover space.
  “The first thing I noticed about the rough was that all the characters had their backs turned, which I immediately had major reservations about … I felt the coarse humour of the book and blog would be much better served by establishing what the characters looked like at a glance … and to be honest, much more fun to draw from my point of view. I did a quick character sketch of Twenty and sent it off to the art director to show how I was thinking …”
For the rest, and to see how the cover art was built up frame-by-frame, jump on over here. Or here. We’re not fussy …

We Just Want Your Extra Time And Your … KISS

Patti Abbott is working on a project called Fridays: The Book You Have to Read, the gist of which is to refresh people’s memories about great books that might have slipped off the radar. Last week we did Edward Anderson’s THIEVES LIKE US. This week we’re picking – trumpet parp, if you will, maestro – Horace McCoy’s KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE.

“One of the nastiest novels ever published in this country,” declared Time Magazine. “The real nihilist of the hard-boiled school, the laureate of the blank wall,” claimed Geoffrey O’Brien. The writer was Horace McCoy, the novel KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE (1948). By then French writers such as Sartre, Andre Gide and Andre Malraux were ranking McCoy alongside Faulkner, Steinbeck and Hemingway; Simone de Beauvoir went so far as to suggest that McCoy’s THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? (1935) was “the first existentialist novel to have appeared in America.”
  McCoy earned the existential outlook the hard way. He fought as a pilot in WWI, winning the Croix de Guerre in the process. From 1919 to 1930 he worked as a sports editor for The Dallas Journal, and also co-founded the Dallas Little Theatre. Then the Depression hit. Finding himself out of work, McCoy wrote short stories that were published in Detective-Dragnet, Detective Action Stories and Black Mask, and struggled to become a Hollywood actor.
  His experience of Hollywood during the Depression provided the material for the downbeat melodramas THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?, NO POCKETS IN A SHROUD (1937), and I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME (1938). He finally found work in Hollywood, but as a screenwriter for B-movie westerns; by the time the French writers ‘discovered’ his novels in the ‘40s, McCoy was “broke, depressed and fat from too much food and booze.”
  KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE offered redemption. McCoy’s most ambitious work, the novel follows Ralph Cotter, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar who remoulds himself as a viciously immoral killer after his breakout from prison (pausing only to head-shoot his partner, so he won’t slow him down). Once out, Cotter organises shakedown of a corrupt small-town police chief, dupes a millionaire’s daughter into falling for him, and generally engages in a relentless one-man assault on the mores of middle America. An unusual blend of rapacious action and contemplative self-examination from the reprehensible anti-hero, KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE prompted Kirkus Reviews to predict, “This will probably be quarantined from libraries but … this has a literate, nerve-lacerating, whip-lashing effectiveness.”
  Amen to that. – Declan Burke

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Boyne In The Striped Pyjamas

It’s all going off MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY-shaped for John Boyne right now, folks, but come autumn it’ll be wall-to-wall pee-jays. The movie of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS (John on the Budapest set, right, which we’ve half-inched from his interweb blog yoke) hits an Irish / UK screen near you on September 12, with the Walt Disney Ireland blurb elves ponying up thusly:
Berlin, 1942 – Nine-year-old Bruno (ASA BUTTERFIELD) knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that his father (DAVID THEWLIS) was promoted and he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel (JACK SCANLON), a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation, as their secret meetings result in a friendship that has startling and devastating consequences. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS cast includes David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Jack Scanlon, Rupert Friend, and Asa Butterfield (The Son of Rambow), who plays Bruno. The film is adapted from John Boyne’s critically acclaimed internationally best-selling novel of the same name by Mark Herman (Little Voices; Hope Springs), who is also the director and executive producer. The film is being produced by David Heyman for Heyday Films (The “Harry Potter” franchise; Taking Lives).
Hurrah! There’s nary a hint of a trailer on the interweb as yet, but John has good news over at his other electronic hidey-hole:
“Scenes from the film adaptation of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS will be screened at this year’s Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, followed by a public interview with me and director Mark Herman. Separately, I will also be reading from MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY.”
Make Hay-on-Wye while the sun shines, people …

“It’s Like Rai-ai-ain / On Your Wedding Day …”

Rhian from It’s A Crime! is kind enough to whisper in our electronic shell-like about Paul Nagle (right), whom she met at the London Book Fair. Nagle’s debut novel IRONIC is due in October, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Lex Goldman stands accused of killing a young NYPD officer. His trial, set in the full glare of the world’s media, has captured the zeitgeist: the impregnable power of immeasurable wealth against the cold steel edge of justice. But who exactly is the elusive Lex Goldman? From the gold mines of apartheid-era South Africa to the cut and thrust of Wall Street, from Colombia’s notorious cartels to international terrorism, the twists and turns of Lex Goldman’s charmed life leave a deadly trail of intrigue, deception and covert cover-ups, all in the insatiable pursuit of wealth. Has Lex finally overstepped the mark? Has his luck at last run out? The coolheaded young prosecutor Kal Woodson, on a mission to stamp out such abject abuse of power and position, certainly believes so, and will do everything in his power to make it stick. A classic thriller in the true sense of the word, IRONIC, by first-time novelist Paul Nagle, is a roller-coaster ride of a novel, played out on an international stage as it hurtles towards its final bitter irony ...
Hurrah! CAP Towers has been suffering from a severe irony deficit for some months now. Will IRONIC cure our entirely metaphorical anaemia? Only time, that notoriously verbose stoolie canary, will tell …

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Messrs Connolly And Hughes Would Like To Announce …

Perennial messers John Connolly and Declan Hughes launch THE REAPERS and THE DYING BREED, respectively, at Dubray Books on Grafton Street in Dublin next Thursday, May 8th, and have been kind enough to extend an invitation to toddle along to anyone who happens to be in the general vicinity (possible consequences pictured, right). For no further information whatsoever, or at least not yet, you could always check out Dec Hughes’ interweb yokeybus, The Parting Glass; and for even less information, if that were possible, try John Connolly’s blog – albeit with the kicker that there’s a smashing piece on Ross Macdonald’s THE CHILL, which is the first book in JC’s on-line book club. The Grand Vizier has deigned to allow the elves and HR Pufnstuf the evening off to attend, although the flying monkeys are still grounded after the recent ‘unpleasantness’ with the belly-dancing dwarves in the Duke pub. Anyhoo, Critical Mick, sir? If you bring the picinick basket, I’ll bring the blanket and the Yogi Bear quips …

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” # 2009: Andrew Taylor

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects …

What crime novel would you most like to have written?

I’d like to say CRIME AND PUNISHMENT or THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY but (to be brutally honest) the one I’d really, really, really like to have written is my next one.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I’m delighted to say that guilt and reading don’t go together for writers. Or not for this one. My tastes are catholic. I work on the assumption that everything I read must in some way feed into the great creative mulch from which my own novels spring like constipated bog monsters in very slow motion. Most satisfying writing moment?
When a book is going well. It’s like being God on a good day (see below).
The best Irish crime novel is …?
This is a difficult one for an author who labours under the disadvantage of being only half Irish ... At first I thought almost anything by the humane, satirical and eminently clubbable Ruth Dudley Edwards (if pressed I’d say MATRICIDE AT ST MARTHA’S is my favourite). I enjoy Declan Hughes too – he’s going places. But the one I keep coming back to, time and again, is Flann O’Brien’s THE THIRD POLICEMAN, which does what all great novels ought to make you do: it makes you think, and much else. It’s also got my favourite all-time, all genre fictional ending. Longman’s (who had published AT SWIM TWO BIRDS) turned the book down in 1940. “We realize,” they wrote with infinite snootiness, “the author’s ability but think that he should become less fantastic and in this new novel he is more so.” It wasn’t published until 1967, after O’Brien’s death, and then only because of the persistence of an Irish publisher, Timothy O’Keefe.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
See above.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Writing / writing. Trite but true.
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Set in the 1930s, BLEEDING HEART SQUARE is partly based on a celebrated real-life Victorian murder case with links to my grandmother’s family. The novel deals with a young woman who flees from her abusive aristocratic husband to an uncertain refuge with her unknown father. He drinks his life away in a place where, according to legend, the devil once danced and tore out the heart of a beautiful woman. Now someone is sending raw (and sometimes rotting) hearts in the post and the British Union of Fascists are out on the streets. A seedy plain-clothes policeman haunts the square, detecting his nightmares. An unemployed journalist wants to win back the woman he loves but she seems to care more for a public-school communist with large private income. And no one has seen the woman who owns the house in Bleeding Heart Square for more than four years.
Who are you reading right now?
Tobias Smollett’s THE EXPEDITION OF HUMPHREY CLINKER and Harlan Coben’s new one, HOLD TIGHT. An interesting combination. There’s pleasure in reading more than one thing at once. They interact – in my case, most recently, with Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, a book weighed down with too much hype, but much of it is justified.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
First I say to him, You bastard. But of course it would have to be writing, if I couldn’t find a way to change God’s mind. As God Himself knows, it’s much more fun to create.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Not there yet.

Andrew Taylor’s BLEEDING HEART SQUARE is published on May 29

What Lilyput Did Next # 204: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright …

A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: Herewith, and by popular demand (or least the occasional demand from Granny Viz, Ms Witch and Princess Witch) be the Princess Lilyput’s latest outing, this time playing with the disturbingly psychedelic Tiger-Lily, who may or may not be prompted to join the general revelry by the Grand Viz (just out of picture). Those with a delicate sensibility be warned: all goes swimmingly until the last third or so, when Lilyput appears to be afflicted by what might politely be described as ‘nappy issues’. Roll it there, Collette …

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: THE REAPERS by John Connolly

Black people could be seen in town, but they were always moving: carrying, delivering, lifting, hauling. Only white people were allowed to stand still. Black people did what they had to do, then left. After nightfall, there were only white folk on the streets [ … ] Justice might be blind, but the law wasn’t. Justice was aspirational, but the law was actual. The law was real. It had uniforms, and weapons. It smelt of sweat and tobacco. It drove a big car with a star on the door. White people had justice. Black folks had the law.
  John Connolly, THE REAPERS, pg 70
Is it too late to call John Connolly an angry young man? Beneath the quietly mannered prose, THE REAPERS seethes. It seethes in a way Jim Thompson did when he was at his best, with a coolly ironic detachment. Louis, whose story THE REAPERS is, could easily have graced one of Thompson’s tales of charming psychopathic killers. Neither would he be out of place in a Highsmith novel, perhaps as Ripley’s perfect foil.
  But Louis, like Parker, is uniquely a John Connolly character. It’s possible to be fascinated and even obsessed with Thompson and Highsmith’s characters, but it is impossible to love them. Louis may not crave your love, but he deserves it.
  The reapers of the title are ‘the elite among killers’, of which Louis is one, and the plot revolves around a reckoning in blood facilitated by dying businessman who has good reason to see Louis dead. Parker hardly shows. Instead we get large chunks of Louis’ back-story, including his recruitment as a reaper and the experience that made him a sublime killer; an insight into the dynamics of Louis and Angel’s relationship, which is as much Lou ‘n’ Bud as it is Didi and Gogo; and an extended introduction to one of Angel and Louis’ associates, the blue-collar mechanic Willie Brew, who seems to have sauntered in from an Elmore Leonard novel.
  As a result the minimalist plot is very much character-driven. Connolly’s eye for the unusual, his ear for an unworn phrase and the apparently casual accumulation of subtle detail when fleshing out a character takes care of the rest.
  It’s a terrific page-turner, a charismatic exercise in the grand old art of storytelling. John Gardner, who was notoriously sniffy about genre fiction in general, and crime and mystery fiction in particular, once said that the novel should be a vivid, continuous dream. There’s more than a hint of a nightmare lurking behind THE REAPERS, and perhaps it’s that nightmare which fuels the deadpan rage between every line, but THE REAPERS is certainly the kind of compelling tale John Gardner had in mind. – Declan Burke

Monday, May 5, 2008

What Lilyput Did Next: The Peachy Pumpkin Dumplin’ Interlude


A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: Princess Lilyput made her debut at the renowned beauty spot Glendalough yesterday, with the Grand Vizier among her entourage on pack-mule duties, there to be serenaded (see above) with the latest ditty to be penned by CAP Towers’ resident Composer Elf, ‘Peachy Pumpkin Dumplin’’. Sung to the tune of ‘She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain’, the lyrics runneth thusly:
Peachy Pumpkin Dumplin’
“You’re a peachy pumpkin dumplin’ / Yes you are /
You’re a peachy pumpkin dumplin’ / Yes you are /
You’re a peachy pumpkin dumplin’ / A peachy pumpkin dumplin’ /
You’re a peachy pumpkin’ dumplin’ / Boopy-doop!”
(© Composer Elf, 2008)
The Princess is partial to ye olde ‘boopy-doops’, see …

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “A pleasure of the guiltiest kind, like No Country For Old Men as directed by Mel Brooks,” reckons Booklist (via Hard Case Crime) of the third Ken Bruen and Jason Starr collaboration, THE MAX. Meanwhile, Enigma likes PRIEST: “PRIEST, just nominated for a 2008 Edgar award, is a wonderful book, with, I think, some differences from the others in the Jack Taylor series … It’s a page-turner; not because of the murder, but what the events show us about Jack. His story remains compelling, however brooding and depressing the emotional landscape.” Stephanie Padilla at New Mystery Reader has taken a gander at CROSS: “As is usual with Bruen’s darkly noir outings featuring Galway’s Jack Taylor, the reader is treated to more of an expose on Ireland’s latest grievances, along with the murmurings of a man who daily walks along both the edges of his disappearing country and the ruins of his past …” And the Irish Emigrant is of the same opinion: “Not being a fan of the crime genre in fiction I was prepared to read Ken Bruen’s novel as a task, but willingly admit that by the time I had reached the halfway mark I had begun to identify with the troubled Jack Taylor and read with increasing interest. The mixture of anger, self-loathing and remorse conspires to present a man capable of redemption.” Staying with the Irish Emigrant for the verdict on Aifric Campbell’s debut: “Sibling rivalry and a yearning for an unobtainable maternal affection runs like a malignant current through THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER. The narrative is wrapped in the language of psychoanalysis and semantics, shot through with sometimes quite startling descriptions of the sexual act but descriptions which nonetheless are accompanied by a palpable detachment.” Onward to Brian McGilloway’s GALLOWS LANE: “As with BORDERLANDS, the first in the series, the style is understated in a way that paradoxically emphasizes the horror and emotion of the crimes and their aftermath … Among the very accomplished group of new Irish crime writers, McGilloway ranks very high in his ability to evoke a particular milieu, to populate it with interesting and believable characters, and to structure his stories around meaningful (if sometimes horrifying) metaphors,” says Glenn Harper at International Noir. Mark Taylor at the Newham Recorder broadly agrees: “The twists rack up the tension nicely and, unlike many of his contemporaries, McGilloway manages to keep you interested and guessing until the very last page. What also sets it apart is the way he manages to instil even some of the most minor characters with a humanity and interest not always apparent in the crime thriller genre.” What of Benny Blanco? “THE SILVER SWAN is an intense, well-written novel, worthy of Booker Prize-winner, Banville. Quirke is the classic anti-hero, with just enough contradictions to make him likeable. This is the perfect sequel to CHRISTINE FALLS and hopefully not the last of the series,” says Sandy Mitchell at Suite 101. Tom Corcoran, via the Five Star website, likes Michael Haskins’ debut: “In this seaworthy tale, Haskins proves that intrigue is the craft of thugs; patriotism, no matter the country, can warp to order; and the good don’t always prevail. But sometimes they do. CHASIN’ THE WIND is a deep-draft thriller. Take a reef in your main and hang on for the gale.” They’re starting to filter through now for John Connolly’s THE REAPERS: “As with all of JC’s books, it is very well researched and plotted. This was, in his own words, a bit of a ‘fun’ book to reward long-time fans of the Charlie Parker series … It was very good,” reckons John Hubbard at Judge, Jury and John. More JC from Larry Fire at The Fire Wire: “Connolly’s triumphant prose and unerring rendering of his tortured characters mesmerize and chill. He creates a world where everyone is corrupt, murderers go unpunished, but betrayals are always avenged. Yet another masterpiece from a proven talent, THE REAPERS will terrify and transfix.” John McFetridge’s debut, DIRTY SWEET, impressed Mr and Mrs Kirkus (no link): “It’s refreshingly hard to tell the good from the no-good in this helping of cops and robbers, Canadian style … Bristling action, a vivid sense of place and nary a plot twist telegraphed. Exceptional work from McFetridge.” A quicky for Siobhan Dowd’s THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY from Read to Recommend: “Part mystery, part family story, Irish writer Siobhan Dowd has crafted a smart, fun and thought provoking tale you'll be thinking about days after you are finished.” Lovely … Someone at Reed Business Information likes Adrian McKinty’s THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD: “McKinty writes masterful action scenes, and he whips up a frenzy as the bullets begin to fly. Devotees of Irish literature will also appreciate the many allusions to Joyce’s ULYSSES.” Alis at Hawkins Bizarre was impressed by WHAT WAS LOST: “Catherine O’Flynn is a wonderful delineator of character – in a few well-chosen sentences people are laid bare before the reader, their souls dissected, their past lives served up in a few well-chosen details … Read it if you want characters so real you feel you have to go and ask them how they felt about being written about in this book.” Finally, a couple for Derek Landy: “The plot is complex at times, with alliances being forged on multiple fronts. Lots of magic, fights, conspiracies will keep you reading through the night. Derek has written a brilliant book that in my opinion surpasses Harry Potter by miles,” says Babushak at A Bookseller and Two Cats. Over at The Dan Blog, Dan likes PLAYING WITH FIRE: “I would rate it 9/10 because it wasn’t as exciting as the last book but is still a good book. And may the Lord be with you.” And may the Lord be with you too, Dan …

Mi Casa, Su Casa: KT McCaffrey

The continuing stooooooory of how the Grand Vizier puts his feet up and lets other people talk some sense for a change. This week: KT McCaffrey (right) on casting fiction.

Casting Characters in Fiction

As a writer, the question I get asked most frequently is without a doubt, ‘Do I base my characters on real people, i.e. acquaintances, or do I conjure them up from my imagination?’ My answers are never as clear-cut as I’d like them to be. I could say that for the most part my characters, as the disclaimer at the beginning of my books claims, are fictitious and that any resemblance to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Well yes, that’s the necessary legalistic position, but of course as an observer of the human condition I am influenced by the people I interact with on a daily basis, so it follows that these same people inform the characters that inhabit the pages of my books. In essence my characters are created from an amalgamation of the crowd I hang with, taking various personality traits and physical shapes from each and blending them so that they form a believable whole.
  Only in one instance did I base a character almost entirely on a living person. In my second novel, KILLING TIME, the fictitious character Jacqueline Miller has been involved in a serious car accident that has changed her life irrevocably. Half her face had been badly damaged in the accident, and evidence of cosmetic surgery remained visible beneath the carefully applied make-up; her left eye looks strangely out of line with the right one. In a court case resulting from the accident, Jacqueline is awarded enough money to allow her give up her teacher’s job and to purchase two houses in Leeson Park.
  Here’s the reality: back in 1969, as a student in the NCAD I got to know a Cork-born woman named Lean Scully. She’d been a teacher before a horrific road accident almost brought her life to an abrupt end. The accident had seriously disfigured her and she needed a series of extensive skin grafts to her face. Arising out of the accident and subsequent court case, she received enough compensation to buy two magnificent houses, numbers 49 and 50 in Leeson Park. She opened a public relations practice in No. 49. Sounds familiar? Even though I was just an art student back then she sometimes hired me to design brochures and corporate publications for her clients. The money I earned ended up in the tills of The Pembroke, Toners and The International Bar. Happy days!
  Lean Scully, this woman I was later to morph into the Jacqueline Miller character, kept lodgers in the second house – among them a young American student from Milwaukee named Peter Straub (right), who would become famous many years later for novels like GHOST STORY, THE FLOATING DRAGON, and THE TALISMAN (written with his friend Stephen King). Straub was attending university at the time, struggling to write poetry and studying for a Ph.D. I knew him on a nodding basis and attended a few poetry readings he gave in various pubs popular with us students (The great traditional musician Donal Lunny who, incidentally was a fellow traveller of mine in the NCAD, took up residence at one stage in the same rooms that Peter Straub once inhabited.)
  Throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s I continued to do occasional design work for Lean and was always delighted when she invited me to attend the lavish, boozy parties she threw in No. 49. In 1999, when I decided to write my first book, REVENGE, Lean offered to read the manuscript before I offered it to a publisher. Unlike me, she was one of those people who knew every rule and regulation in regard to the proper usage of the English language. She was aghast at what I’d given her. ‘It seems to me,’ she said in her deep throaty voice, ‘you have a bucket full of commas, semicolons, apostrophes, and all you do is throw them at the page.’ In my defence, the manuscript represent my very first attempt at writing, though there are some people today who claim I’ve still got that bucket. Once Lean had managed to teach me to turn my text into what she called ‘acceptable English’, she enjoyed reading my books. I remember being concerned about giving her KILLING TIME to read, wondering what she’d make of Jacqueline Miller character. To my surprise, she didn’t make the connection. There is of course the possibility that she didn’t want to make the connection on account of the unsavoury actions I had the fictitious character enact in my story.
  Lean loved reading and listening to classical music but her great love, her passion, was for the theatre. She had become a permanent fixture at the Edinburgh Festival, where her support and opinions were taken seriously and greatly appreciated. In contrast, certain well-known theatrical heads in Dublin viewed her as something of a nuisance and dismissed her with rude indifference. When Lean died in 2004, she had the last laugh, taking revenge on those in Dublin theatre land who had subjected her to such shabby treatment. In her will, she directed her executors to sell the two houses in Leeson Park, and after a bequest to a friend and the Carmelite Fathers, the proceeds from the property was to go to the Edinburgh Festival. I understand it amounted to the guts of €5 million. Don’t you just love it?
  During her lifetime, Lean mixed with the movers and shakers, the glamour set, the golden circle, but I was one of only a dozen people in attendance at her burial in Dean’s Grange cemetery. How sad is that? Since her death all my characters have remained fictitious and any resemblance to real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Yeah, right ...

KT McCaffrey’s THE CAT TRAP is published by Robert Hale

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Sunday Roast

A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: “A few tasty little interweb Sunday dumplings for your delectation, people. First up is CAP’s good friend Bernd Kochanowski (right), who is currently hosting the latest incarnation of the Crime Carnival over at Krimis Internationale and doing nothing whatsoever to undermine the stereotype of German efficiency and thoroughness. Quoth Bernd:
“Therefore it isn’t easy to present something new. Most of the keepers of blogs work hard to present regularly new topics and new posts. As a result readers are at a certain risk to forget last week’s post, not to mention last month’s post, although these posts had thrilled them so much. Therefore my question to you: Which older post would you like to see in a blog museum?”
  “We’re taking the Fifth. Meanwhile, over at Detectives Beyond Borders, Peter Rozovsky may or may not announce the first outing for Noir at the Bar, a revolutionary new concept that juxtaposes crime fiction readings with music. The bar in question is the Tritone in Philly, and the first writer up to the mike is – trumpet parp there, maestro – Duane Swierczynski. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we like it, etc.
  “Finally, the one-man lunatic asylum that is Critical Mick has a review of Tana French’s IN THE WOODS, but as always there’s a twist. Firstly, it appears that Critical Mick’s copy of IN THE WOODS was snaffled by a literary-minded burglar, and secondly, the Mickster has provided an mp3 version of the review for all of you funky, teched-up interweb heads out there. Mick also has a request of us, which runneth thusly:
“If you are looking for content for CAP, feel free to mention the Writing Show’s current First Chapter of a Novel Contest. You were good enough to mention it last year: you can call this Bleeding Fingers II. The contest is open for submissions now, and there’s still about three weeks to meet the early deadline. Full details are on The Writing Show’s website. I will be most grateful.”
  “Mickster? We’re not worthy. Although we do represent decent value for money, particularly now that the euro is so strong against sterling and the dollar. Love one another, people. Out.”

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

The good people at Serpent’s Tail have been kind enough to offer us three copies of Aifric Campbell’s critically acclaimed debut THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER to give away, so the least we can do is quote their blurb elves. To wit:
Jay Hamilton lives a comfortable life in fashionable west London, listening to the minor and major dysfunctions of the over-privileged clients who frequent his psychoanalysis practice. But the darker recesses of his own psyche would not stand up to close examination: his brother Richard, a genius professor of mathematical linguistics, was apparently killed by rent boys in Los Angeles and Jay was the first on the scene. Author, Dana Flynn is determined to scratch beneath the surface while researching a biography she intends to write about Richard, and finds that Jay’s professional life is as precarious as his personal relationships - he uses his clients’ case studies as material for his fiction writing. Such is Jay’s hunger for recognition as a creative force that he exploits the vulnerables he counsels, and a decision not to intervene when a troubled patient steals a baby causes his past to unravel.
Lovely. To be in with a chance of winning a copy of THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER, just answer the following question.
During her teenage years, did Aifric Campbell have a prize-winning ...
(a) science project;
(b) greyhound;
(c) afro?
Answers via the comment box, along with an email address (please use (at) rather than @), before noon on Tuesday, May 6. Et bon chance, mes amis