Friday, January 04, 2008


The Quirky Quiz prize of a copy of Margery Allingham's classic Tiger In The Smoke will soon be winging it's way to the winner in British Columbia.

The internet is really incredible in allowing communication across the globe, and one day in the distant future perhaps we will even be able to get a radio or phone signal in the Exe Valley near Tiverton.

Back to the answers, we had got to:

6) By what name is Salvatore Lombino better known?

He is Ed McBain, author of the 87th Precinct police procedurals.

But he was also Evan Hunter creator of The Blackboard Jungle, and a brilliant screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

7) Which detective has a housekeeper named Adelina?

I should have said housekeeper and cook, but that would have made it too easy. Glutton and gourmet Salvo Montalbano of course.

8) Which famous crime writer also wrote a History of the War in the Aleutians?

I was thinking of Dashiell Hammett, but I learned that Edgar winner Brian Garfield had also written a book about the Aleutian conflict.

9) Which detective tracked down a killer known as "Pit Bull"?

Ispettore Grazia Negro, in Carlo Lucarelli's thrilling Day After Day.

10) Which crime writer worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency?

Dorothy L. Sayers, and she used this experience in writing Murder Must Advertise.

11) Who starts a novel on a diet of Lemsip and Greek yoghurt?

Jack Taylor in Ken Bruen's novel The Dramatist.

12) Which city had sixteen different police forces?

Milan after of the collapse of Mussolini's fascist regime in 1943. Mentioned in the preface to Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca Trilogy books, Carte Blanche, That Damned Season and Via delle Oche.

13) Which detective should never play cards?

This was a bit of a nasty trick question: because poker is a game of chance [with some skill] and although the Busted Flush was won in a poker game I thought it might be lost if John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee kept playing.

That's it, thanks to all those who participated and I hope to produce another slightly easier Quirky Quiz before the end of the month.


Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

I knew 6, 7 and 10. Pretty poor showing, for someone who has spent best part of half a century reading detective stories!
Great quiz, Norm/Uriah, and very impressive that the British Columbia person answered so many questions, as not many of the questions have a Canadian connection;-)

9:37 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Maxine, I will have a new quiz up before the end of the month.
I will try and avoid questions that relate to specific novels. Perhaps 5 or 6 more general questions would be better.
If I had not set these questions myself I might have got 4 or 5 right without googling through the night.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Actually, Maxine, the 'British Columbia person', me, is an expatriate Londoner, but even so, I'm having one hell of a hard time figuring out why a Canadian afficionado of crime fiction should be expected to be flummoxed by questions that have no Canadian connection, presumably dwelling in a sub-arctic twilight world in which Dorothy Sayers, Brian Garfield, Rex Stout, Gianrico Carofiglio et al have not yet made their debuts. I really don't think you can have meant what you wrote.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I think you may have taken Maxine's comment the wrong way Philip.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Yes indeed, I think you may need a sense of humour check-up, pamos1949-- note the "smile" sign at the end of my earlier comment, which was not intended as a serious comment on the richness of Canadian culture or to indicate any value judgement of the international reach of the inhabitants of that fair country. Rather, it was a mild joke. My apologies if it fell flat for you.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Ah ha, I did not recognize the smile at the end. Now I see. I did not suppose at all that you were making a comment on the richness of Canadian culture, or lack thereof, but oddly enough I did myself put a post on DBB this morning in which I made a comment to the effect that Canadian crime fiction is not in my view particularly good, Louise Penny being the newly arrived and very notable exception. My apologies for misunderstanding your intent. I must get around to learning more of these internet symbols and abbreviations.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

I read the first of Louise Penny's and, though I can see the appeal, it isn't my particular cup of tea (too "cozy"). Isn't Peter Robinson Canadian, though? And Stef Penny (no relation one assumes) "Tenderness of Wolves" is set in Canada. That's a wonderful book, I think.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I think Peter Robinson is a Yorkshireman who has lived in Canada [Toronto?] for many years.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Robinson is indeed a Yorkshireman long resident in Toronto. The comment I made elsewhere about his not being a Canadian in his capacity as a writer stems from the view that the national or ethnic identity of a writer, musician, visual artist and such relates not to where they live, but rather to where they were born and/or grew up and/or were educated in their field. This is a bit of a problem in Canada, which automatically labels artists in all fields 'Canadian' as soon as they move here. It is really quite wrong, for it implies that the sensibility of the person has been informed by the experience of being born, bred and educated in Canada, but there is a great aversion here to using national or ethnic prefixes. Thus, Michael Ondaatjee is always referred to simply as Canadian, but that is more than a little misleading when it comes to the sensibility that informs his writing. Robinson the writer, by the same token, I think is very much of the British school of crime writing. It is an odd thing that the US, land of the great melting pot, is very happy with ethnic/national prefixes. The great pianist Claudio Arrau, born in Chile, educated and trained in Germany, lived in the US for fifty odd years, but never once was he referred to as 'American', something he most decidedly was not except by citizenship. Here, he would have been a 'Canadian pianist' from the moment he stepped off the boat.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

So perhaps it would be more accurate to call Canada a "melting pot" (arrive there from wherever and you are "Canadian"), and the USA a "palette" (live there all your life but retain the identity of your roots).
Getting a bit off the crime-fiction remit here, sorry Norm - but I wonder which approach (melting pot or palette) shows the most self-confidence as a nation?
(or neither? I'm thinking of Britain which is a bit of everything - pockets of rabid ethnicity eg some Scots, and large swathes of what a blogger friend calls herself, "tolerant brit[s]".)
I suppose Russia and other former SU countries are similar, and the former Yugoslavia. Some people just want peace and quiet, other regions fiercely want independence.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Maxine, your melting pot/palette distinction reflects precisely what I have often thought myself on the theoretical level, but it does not actually hold true. This is complex and, as you say, way off the crime-fiction remit, but I'll just say that, while Canadians are perfectly easy with their national identity, the Federal Government has made an industry out of anguishing over it, engineering it, and pursuing self-conscious multi-cultural policies that have by and large backfired. One consequence is the problem of parts of the immigrant population showing little inclination to reach an accommodation with the Canadian way of things, which works against the melting pot idea. I think the US is far the more self-confident re national identity -- not always to the good, mind you, but that's another matter -- which is why people there can happily think of themselves and be thought of as, say, Italian American, Japanese American, Hispanic American and so on: a high degree of unity but without homogeneity. I think that's what Pierre Trudeau had in mind when he introduced the policy of multiculturalism in the 70s, but interviewed 25 years later he made it pretty clear he wasn't very happy with the result.

4:08 AM  

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