“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.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Ita Ryan
What crime novel would you most like to have written?
CROOKED HOUSE, or any one of about ten other Agatha Christies. She was the mistress of the twist. Another favourite is DEATH COMES AS THE END. That managed the difficult feat of getting the reader to look forward optimistically to the future while perched on a rock above the Nile in approximately 2000BC.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Sarah Kenny from the Quick Investigations series by Arlene Hunt. I’ve always loved Wexford St. It’s my favourite part of Dublin, with great bars and slapdash little cafés and flower sellers and unlikely charity shops. It’s lively and happening – just this side of seedy. Imagine the fun of perching a floor or two above it in an old-fashioned office and having dodgy characters appear and tell you implausible tales. Mind you, if a quarter of what happens to Sarah happened to me I’d have a nervous breakdown within a week.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Janet Evanovich. Georgette Heyer. P.G. Wodehouse. Terry Pratchett. I also enjoy children’s books. My kids are getting to the age now where I can read my collection of children’s fiction to them. I’m enjoying that very much.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When I re-read something a month or two later and it still makes me laugh, or cry.
If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
There are so many to choose from, but everyone should read MY LADY JUDGE, the first in the series of Mara novels by Cora Harrison. It transports you back to early 16th-century Ireland, depicting a happy community in the Burren living under traditional Brehon law. It was a pivotal time, with the looming threat of advances from the East. The history books tell us what happened next. All the same, you’ll find yourself hoping that maybe they’re wrong.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Tana French’s BROKEN HARBOUR. It has it all going on: tension, bleakness, disintegration. It should be filmed in the incredible light you get on a sunny winter’s day in Ireland, and pervaded by the sound of the sea.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing is the editing. I do a lot of revising myself before handing over to my editor. I hate it. It’s totally worth doing, though. The best thing is getting a tweet or a message from someone who enjoyed the book. That’s like magic. This guy in Australia live-tweeted IT CAN BE DANGEROUS. Very entertaining.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Cynthia’s had a rough day. And now she’s found Nathan’s body. This could impact negatively on her performance review. Not to mention that the police are bound to suspect her, seeing as how she has no alibi and was cutting code right outside his office when he was murdered. Explaining that techies rarely interact with managers for long enough to kill them isn’t going to sort the problem. There’s only one thing to do before she’s arrested - find the killer herself. How hard can it be? She has a hotline to Nathan’s devilishly handsome son, enthusiastic friends and a lifetime’s expertise in armchair detection. Cynthia’s exploits soon reach the ears of the enigmatic Superintendent in charge of the case. She can handle that, but then she attracts the murderer’s attention ... (I must admit, that’s the pitch for my current book. My next book is currently just a tiny glint in Cynthia’s eye. But it’ll be brilliant.)
Who are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides’ classic work DESIGN PATTERNS: ELEMENTS OF RE-USABLE OBJECT-ORIENTED SOFTWARE. I’m suffering from jet lag at the moment, and it helps me sleep.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I’d put up a good fight, but it’d have to be read. I couldn’t possibly do without books.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Funny, fast whodunit.
Ita Ryan’s IT CAN BE DANGEROUS is published by Kells Bay Books.