“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. “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.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Caveat Emperor

Over at the Facebook Irish Crime Fiction page, Joe McCoubrey has made a valiant stab at nailing down a comprehensive list of Irish crime scribes. It isn’t definitive, but then Joe’s cause isn’t helped by the fact that debut Irish crime writers are popping up like mushrooms these days. Still, it’s impressive list.
  One name that isn’t on the list is that of Ruth Dudley Edwards (right), aka ‘Cuddly Dudley’, possibly because she’s been busy writing non-fiction titles for the last few years. But lo! The Ruth Returns this coming October with KILLING THE EMPERORS, her 12th crime fiction title, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Sir Henry Fortune, celebrity curator, has vanished. So too has his partner in love and money, disreputable art dealer Jason Pringle. Panic spreads throughout the London art world when more people go missing. No one can locate Anastasia Holliday, sensational Abject artist; Jake Thorogood, the critic who catapulted her into stardom; or Dr. Hortense Wilde, notorious for having influenced generations of art students to despise craftsmanship.
  Hysteria hits the media when it is found that the common link between the victims is that their careers blossomed when they embraced newly fashionable conceptual art. Could it be that they are hostages? If so, why? Ransom? Revenge?
  Who will be next? Will it be Sir Nicholas Serota, mighty overlord of British temples of the avant-garde, or the internationally renowned young British artist Damien Hirst, whose dross became platinum? Is danger in store for Charles Saatchi, mega-rich husband of a TV cook and the genius who took talentless young people and turned them into a winning brand?
  Given that Ruth Dudley Edwards has pretty much slaughtered an entire herd of sacred cows in her blackly comic crime fiction, I’m going to take a wild guess here and suggest that the ‘emperors’ of the title are some kind of nod to the emperor’s new clothes. Or maybe not. Is it possible, do you think, that Ruth has (koff) mellowed a tad since the publication of her most recent title, MURDERING AMERICANS …
  No. Me neither.

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