MORE MEDIEVAL MYSTERY TO READ
I really enjoyed reading Mistress of the Art of Death which was engrossing to the end and full of memorable well drawn characters.
A few comments and thoughts about crime books set on the mainland of Europe, with titbits about real eurocrime. We hear so much about crime in the USA that many people imagine that Europe is a crime free zone. In crime fiction Europe has become a real challenger to the Americans, but unfortunately real life crime especially in Britain is increasing as well.
Peter Clenott has two good marketing ploys which are bound to get his intelligent thriller Hunting The King noticed and out 'there'.
Firstly there is an exciting video on 'You Tube' that got me interested, and secondly he has named his heroine Molly O'Dwyer, which qualified her for an Irish Crime Fiction blog post this week by Princess Lillyput's daddy here.
Peter very kindly consented to answer a few questions. You notice I am being very polite just in case this novel makes it big and is the new Da Vinci Code, although I think it is probably much more intelligently written than Dan Brown's book.
Over to you Peter.
How did I come to write the book?
HUNTING THE KING is actually the sequel. The original Molly O'Dwyer book was written way back in the 1990s. I had read an article in the Boston Globe in which a leading figure in the Church claimed that he could deny people access to God if they belonged to any organization he disapproved of. So, I wanted to write a novel whose theme was faith vs reason. The main character became a scientist, in this case an archaeologist with strong roots to the Catholic Church. Molly is both a passionate scholar and an observant Catholic, so she is often conflicted between the academic in her and the religionist.
What other crime thriller writers do you read?
Actually, I don't do a lot of reading at the moment. I have three young kids and work two jobs to support them (hence the desperation to do well in sales with my book). I am currently writing my next book, so I have little time to do pleasure reading. The last thriller I read was Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and the Bourne books by Robert Ludlum.
Have you been inspired by any particular book?
No, I think I'm inspired by the joy of writing and, as I said, by pure unbridled desperation. I enjoy a lot of writers but emulate none.
Who would play Molly O'Dwyer if the book was ever filmed?
I'm not sure, but I damn well want the casting couch. Molly's a red head. Keira Knightly is too young. Lucille Ball's too old. (And dead) How about Scarlet Johanson? Cate Blanchette could probably hold her own in the role, too. Renee Zellweger?
Having taken 34 years of writing to get published, what in your opinion makes a best seller?
Sleeping with the right agent. I have no idea. Writing a very good book means creating characters that resonate with people or creating a plot that somehow captures readers' imaginations. I am all over the place. I have written about chimpanzees who know sign language, the rise and fall of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, the life of Jesus's illegitimate daughter, comedy, drama, you name it. Ultimately, in the real world, in order to get published let alone to get a best seller, you have to have contacts.
What other plans do you have for Molly O'Dwyer?
There is a prequel with Molly digging on an island in Boston harbor and uncovering her own mysterious past. Beyond that, if the books generate enough interest, I would write more archaeological mysteries. But I don't want to be caught doing one series or stuck in a particular genre.
For example, my last book revolved around the last survivors of World War I (There are about 12 worldwide including 111 Henry Allingham who is England's oldest man). My next book COMRADE LOLITA will focus on the Puerto Rican nationalists who tried to assassinate President Harry Truman. But Molly will always be there if people want to see more of her. (By the way, she can kick Harry Potter's ass).
The Jew of Malta was written by Christopher Marlowe, Humphrey Bogart played the definitive Marlowe in the 1946 film The Big Sleep and also starred in the film The African Queen.
Both the authors of The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler, and The African Queen, C.S. Forester were educated at Dulwich College.
C.S. Forester also wrote a series of naval stories featuring Horatio Hornblower, the inspiration for Gene Rodenberry's starship captain James T. Kirk.
3) Who works or worked with, Kollberg, Elinborg, Frank Frolich, Gunvald Larsson, and Jacob Skaare?
Some superb Nordic police partnerships:
Martin Beck worked with Kollberg.
Sigurdur Oli and Erlendur Sveinsson with Elinborg.
DCI Gunnarstranda with Frank Frolich.
Martin Beck and company again with Gunvald Larsson.
Konrad Sejer with Jacob Skaare.
4) By what names are the following better known:
Gordon Daviot, Mary Patricia Plangman, Grigory Chkhartishviti, Tobias Leo Pevsner, Edith Pargeter, Elizabeth MacKintosh, Frank Morrison, and J.I.M.Stewart?
Josephine Tey wrote plays as Gordon Daviot.
Plangman is Patricia Highsmith.
Chkhartishviti is Boris Akunin.
Pevsner is Toby Peters [the PI in Stuart Kaminsky's novels].
Edith Pargeter is Ellis Peters.
Elizabeth Mackintosh is the birth name of Josephine Tey.
Frank Morrison is Mickey Spillane
J.I.M. Stewart is Michael Innes.
5) What is the link between a German prize, a sinister Trinidadian, and ten priestly commandments?
Msgr. Ronald A. Knox an ordained Roman Catholic priest wrote in 1929 a set of ten commandments for the Detection Club.
No 5 was 'no Chinaman must be allowed to figure into the story.'
Germany’s most prestigious crime fiction award is called the Glauser prize. Friedrich Glauser wrote a novel entitled 'The Chinaman'.
Ellis Achong was a West Indian test cricketer from Trinidad and Tobago, sinister referred to his left handedness, and he was the first test cricketer of Chinese origin. Left-arm wrist spin is sometimes known as "slow left-arm chinamen" (SLC) in his honour.
There was a bonus prize for anyone who got that question correct, a bottle of Tsingtao beer.
The rest of the answers will be posted in a few days, and yes you do have to have listened on the radio to Round Britain Quiz, and Brain of Britain in order to set questions of this complexity; and it helps to be a bit crazy as well.
Chagford, a small village on Dartmoor, is one of those places where you see the real England, which many people thought had disappeared for ever. The Tinner's Fair was a charming event with various stalls selling ice cream, pictures, tee shirts, pasties, drinks and home made cakes for charity and the whole thing was so typically English that it was almost a statement of defiance to our political rulers.
This book was supplied by Picador USA