8] Humour is a powerful weapon used with great effect in the books but you seemed very sad when I heard your interview on NPR [American National Public Radio] about a visit to the 150 year old New Synagogue in Berlin, destroyed on Kristallnacht.
Have you ever got depressed when writing the books or does your liberal use of humour prevent this?
I was sad because I felt so very moved by being there. That synagogue is a very sad place. I almost cried when I was there. And you're right, that is why the humour is there otherwise the books would be too depressing to read.
Also, humour is Bernie's one real act of resistance. My own, too. I have a very black sense of humour. I find things funny that other people don't find funny at all.
9] Your tribute in If The Dead Rise Not to Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is brilliant, but which of today's film stars would you want to play the part of Noreen Charalambides and Bernie Gunther?
Is their a possibility of the books being filmed?
Hmm. I am not sure there is a tribute there. Noreen is based on Lillian Hellman. Who was married to a great crime writer of course. Perhaps the best. That's my tribute. Film rights were sold a while back. But frankly I could not give a toss if a film gets made or not. I almost hope that they're never made into films. Who cares? Watch Murder My Sweet with Dick Powell or Chinatown: there won't ever be two better noir movies than those two.
Crime Scraps explains:
Lillian Hellman was romantically involved for many years with crime writer Dashiell Hammett and was the inspiration for his fictional character Nora Charles. In Hammett's The Thin Man books Nora was married to Nick Charles [who changed his name from his father's original name Charalambides] and in the Philip Kerr book Noreen's husband is naturally called Nick.
And from 'If The Dead Rise Not':
She took my hand and brushed them with her lips. 'I like you kissing me. You're are a good kisser. If kissing was in the Olympics, you'd be a medal prospect. But I don't like to be hurried. I like to be walked round the ring for a while before being mounted. And don't even think of using the whip if you want to stay in the saddle. I'm the independent sort, Gunther. When I run it'll be because my eyes are open and because I want to. And I won't be wearing any blinkers if and when we reach the wire. I might not be wearing anything at all.'
10] You pay tribute in the book to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Kenneth Fearing. Do you have time to read crime fiction and if so which of today's authors do you think will be read in 50 years time?
Sadly I am not at all sure that anyone is going to be read in fifty years time except by a small elite. Who would have thought that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 might come true for the reason that nobody is going to be interested in buying a book? People want to watch crap on TV- The Thick Factor and Strictly Come Fucking Dumb. The book's days are numbered I fear.
We are moving into an era of great stupidity and ignorance. I don't read much fiction at all, I'm afraid. I usually read some ugly twat's cook book or a biography of Simon Cowell.
[To be continued]