Sunday, May 31, 2009


I am ashamed to admit I have never read an Andrew Taylor book, but I did watch the superb Roth Trilogy on television and have his novel Bleeding Heart Square perched on my TBR mountain.
I missed the first few minutes of the interview conducted by Peter Gutteridge and arrived just as Andrew was discussing Bleeding Heart Square, whether Fascism could have taken a firm hold in Britain during the early 1930s, and the present danger we face today in the local and European elections which take place in a few days time. The agendas of some of the extremist parties standing for election in other EU countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and Romania are a warning that Fascism is not dead. 
Andrew and Peter spoke about the Roth trilogy, and the Lydmouth series. They also discussed Edgar Allan Poe [who was educated in England from 1815-1820] and his novel The American Boy, which had brought Andrew a second Crime Writer's Association Ellis Peters Historical Award as well as a Richard and Judy bookclub recommendation. 
Andrew Taylor seemed a quiet studious man and perhaps was not comfortable when the Richard and Judy book club put The American Boy into the best seller list. He felt people treated him slightly differently and perhaps they expected a more outgoing personality. 
I was fairly exhausted by this stage of the convention so I may have got the wrong impression, but after listening to Andrew I will definitely read Bleeding Heart Square as soon as I can. 
The only reason I have not read The American Boy yet is that the paperback version has a very small print font, and the publishers did not think about us older folk who need large fonts. 

This was the last event that I attended at the very enjoyable Crime Fest 2009. If I am able I would definitely go again in 2010, but not attempt to drive between Bath and Bristol, which can now take over an hour as opposed to the 15 minutes when I lived in Bristol. 
I realised just how long ago it had been since I was a student in Bristol when a new bendy bus drove past our B&B in Bath and another guest [going to a 30 year reunion at Bath University] read on the side "last bus to the university 3.00 am". 
He spluttered "Today's students are spoilt, in my day the last bus was at 11.30 pm."

I raged "In my day it was last 'sedan chair' at 6.30 pm, and we only had bread and dripping to eat".
OK, a slight exaggeration, but the last bus was about 6.30 pm , and after that we walked home. 
I will be posting a few more photographs taken at Crime Fest over the next couple of weeks.


Blogger Dorte H said...

In my opinion the Lydmouth series is a great police procedural series, and I really liked The Roth Trilogy as well. I got through The American Boy but found it a bit long-winded and not all that convincing.

I should really like to hear what you think of Taylor´s books.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I am juggling about 20 books at the moment deciding what to read next. It sounds as though the Lydmouth series should go on the pile but I will read Bleeding Heart Square soon and let you know.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice post, as ever, Norman. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this interview and this author said nothing that made me want to read any of his books, even though I have Bleeding Heart Square (I think - one of them, anyway) on my shelf courtesy of the very kind CFR. I really found this interview hard to take! (Unlike almost everything else at crime fest.)

7:43 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Maxine, that is interesting. I put down the lack of a sparkle in this interview, to my tiredness and Andrew Taylor's quiet personality. A lot quieter than Brett and Brandeth! I also don't think the interviewer was as inspiring as some others.
But as I said I was faltering badly at this stage and was probably not paying 100% attention to what was being said.
I am just about to start a new book so perhaps I will make that Bleeding Heart Square and see what I think.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I thought the interview was splendid. Like you, I left the interview wanting to read Bleeding Heart Square. I quite enjoyed Taylor's quiet, self-effacing sense of humor -- far easier to take than Gyles Brandreth's clowning and mugging.

Taylor obviously thinks seriously about what he does, and he built bits of suspense into his answers. The interview was definitely a highlight of CrimeFest.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

1:28 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

It is interesting to get a great range of opinions in the comments section.
Earlier today I started to read Bleeding Heart Square in order to make up my own mind after Dorte's and Maxine's comments.
It is a very strange book and I feel as if I am reading Dickens or Wilkie Collins as while it is set in 1934 it has that Victorian feel to it. I will keep you updated.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And why not a strange book? Taylor covered both Jane Austen and British fascism in his interview, an indication that his writing might offer odd combinations and juxtapositions. That's one reason the interview was so good.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

3:09 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I simply like a book to have an accurate feel for its period. It is too early to have an opinion as I am only on page 74, and I may get used to this style.
I spent two years as a room steward in Knightshayes, a Victorian Gothic revival castle, built in 1867. It was not genuine and some visitors found that disconcerting. I am finding the style rather disconcerting at the moment with BHS, and there are no juxtapositions at the moment it is all Victorian apart from a mention of Oswald Mosley.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I did not find Andrew Taylor the least self-effacing, the opposite in fact --- but certainly quiet. I'll say no more in a public forum. I suppose I have met a lot of Cambridge types in my time.

1:40 PM  

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