“Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent “Declan Burke is one funny bastard. The Lammisters ... conducts a forensic analysis on the anatomy of a story.” – Liz Nugent “Burke’s exuberant prose takes centre stage … He plays with language like a jazz soloist stretching the boundaries of musical theory.” – Totally Dublin “A mega-meta smorgasbord of inventive language ... linguistic verve not just on every page but every line.Irish Times “Above all, The Lammisters gives the impression of a writer enjoying himself. And so, dear reader, should you.” – Sunday Times “A triumph of absurdity, which burlesques the literary canon from Shakespeare, Pope and Austen to Flann O’Brien … The Lammisters is very clever indeed.” – The Guardian

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be … Oh.

One of Ireland’s foremost judges, Justice Adrian Hardiman, had a fascinating piece in The Dubliner last year on Ulysses as a murder mystery, which we really meant to bring to your attention at the time. But then HR Pufnstuf emerged from the dungeon with his hookah cranked up to 11 and everything got a bit blurry for a month or seven. Still, better late than never, eh? Take it away, Mr Justice Hardiman, sir …
"Ulysses is little thought of as a murder story, or even as a story with murders in it. But sudden and violent deaths abound in the book – deaths by drowning, hanging, stabbing, bludgeoning, poisoning. Best of all, for Joyce, were deaths of the most mysterious sort where murder, suicide and accident competed inconclusively for recognition as the cause, leaving guilt not quite proven or innocence more than a little tarnished.
The first Bloomsday in June 1904 fell right in the middle of what George Orwell called the ‘golden age of English murder’. Ireland, too, contributed some classic cases. Arsenic and strychnine were the instruments of choice for the genteel killers of those days, often family doctors or respectable ladies. The notorious poisoners Frederick Seddon and Mrs. Maybrick claim their place in Ulysses. That lady, like Parnell himself, was a client of the great Irish barrister Sir Charles Russell Q.C. who felt she had been wrongly convicted of murdering her hypochondriac husband by a jury outraged at the fact that she had taken a lover. Mrs. Maybrick features in Molly Bloom’s soliloquy which ends Ulysses: unlike Russell, she had no doubt of Mrs. Maybrick’s guilt, but more than a sneaking sympathy for her.
But our concern is with cases closer to home, each a sensation in the Dublin of its day ..."
For the full text of the piece, jump over to The Dubliner’s archives. Bloomin’ marvellous, it is …

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