Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Bruges wins the Edgar Award for best screenplay, and a word about Declan Hughes

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box has just won the Edgar Award for best novel, but I felt a certain attachment to one of the other short-listed books: The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (titled The Dying Breed in the UK). The man is Irish, for one thing, right up Detectives Beyond Borders' alley.

Also, I wrote nice things about the book in the Philadelphia Inquirer, beginning my review thus: "A fist to the jaw carries with it an intimacy that a bullet to the gut just can't match." And Hughes' niece's husband played on my softball team. And someone snapped a photo of Hughes and me at Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore.

(From left, J. Kingston Pierce, your humble blogkeeper, Declan Hughes. Photo by Ali Karim, courtesy of The Rap Sheet)

Hughes was not the only writer from beyond these shores up for the Mystery Writers of America's top award Thursday night. Also in the running were Karin Alvtegen for Missing and Morag Joss for The Night Following.

Christa Faust's Money Shot was up for best paperback original. She's American, but she wrote a book very much worth reading, and she was responsible for my favorite crime-fiction-related phrase of the year. Click this link to see and hear me using the phrase. (The Edgar for best paperback original went to China Lake by Meg Gardiner.)

Martin McDonagh won the Edgar for best screenplay for In Bruges, a beyond-borders nomination that I forgot to mention earlier.

Congratulations to the winners, and a hat tip to Sarah Weinman for providing up-to-the-minute news as the official Edgars chronicler. (See a list of all Edgar nominees here.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CrimeFest blogfest II: What's traditional about a traditional mystery?

(Here's my second in a series of posts about authors who plan to attend CrimeFest 2009 in Bristol, England, next month. I'll be there, too, working when I should be having fun and having fun when I should be working.)

What's traditional about a traditional mystery? If you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I might have said traditional = cozy = prominent role for old dear = village or country-house setting = knitting = cute animals.

Then I read what Ruth Dudley Edwards had to say on the subject. In the United States, she writes on her Web site, "the distinction is made between cosies and hard-boiled, terms which are unknown here except to the cognoscenti. I am definitely in the cosy league – what Reg Hill, who is there too, calls ‘the Jane Austen end of the crime writing spectrum’."

One always knew that Britain had Christie and the U.S. had Chandler and that the dichotomy might have echoes to this day. Still, having just read Edwards' The English School of Murder, I was surprised to see the author place herself in the cozy league. The novel, after all, is set almost entirely in London, and it includes passing and not-so-passing references to drug use, homosexuality, menages-a-trois and any number of up-to-date political and cultural jabs and other references, not to mention the occasional four-letter word.

I've just opened Martin Edwards' Waterloo Sunset, and I've noticed reflections on urban growth and boosterism, not to mention a character who just might be disturbingly demented. I hadn't expected this from an author who has proclaimed his allegiance to traditional mysteries. Heck, the man even named his novel for a song by the Kinks.

I know something about what a traditional mystery isn't: full of explicit sex and wrenching violence. But sharpen my thinking, and tell me what a contemporary traditional mystery is.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who is eating the Watchmen?

I've posted a few times in recent months about the comic and movie Watchmen. Those posts were the main course. Here, courtesy of the Baixa Gastronomia blog, is the dessert, a chocolate cake with yellow icing, a chocolate smile and a blood stain of strawberry sauce, in the manner of Watchmen's signature blood-streaked smiley face.

Click on the Baixa link for the recipe. It's in Catalan, but you'll figure it out. Blogger Mar Calpena provides a synopsis in English. (Hat tip to Briciole, for its continuing mix of crime fiction, food and Italian lessons.)

Now it's your turn. What foods suit your favorite crime writers?

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Fifty Grand day

Today is release day for Fifty Grand by Detectives Beyond Borders favorite Adrian McKinty. The book opens with what has to be the most gut-clenchingly tension-upping prologue in all of crime fiction, and it goes on to tell a story about Cuba, espionage and the human costs thereof.

It's also about class distinctions, exploitation of immigrants and celebrity worship in America, which means it's always timely, and its protagonist takes a dizzying journey from privilege of a kind over to something quite opposite.

In typical McKinty fashion, deadpan funny lines find their way into the action at the most desperate moments:

`Listen to me, buddy, I can make you rich. I can get you money. A lot of money. Millions. Do you understand? Millions of dollars. Goddamnit! Why don't you understand, what's the matter with you? Millions of dollars? Do you speak English? Do you understand the goddamn English language?'

I do. It was my major.
When you're done reading the book and touting it on and elsewhere, try McKinty's splendid Michael Forsythe trilogy: Dead I Well May Be, The Dead Yard and The Bloomsday Dead.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Detectives Beyond Borders' CrimeFest blogfest: Ruth Dudley Edwards

I'm off to Bristol for CrimeFest 2009 next month. Between now and then, I'll devote some posts to authors and others who'll join me there.

First up is Ruth Dudley Edwards, whose novel Murdering Americans won CrimeFest's Last Laugh Award 2008. That was the eleventh novel in her series about the splendidly named Robert Amiss; The English School of Murder is the third.

I may devote a post to Edwards' satire, but here it's humor's turn, specifically Edwards' talent for maintaining a tone through incidental action and description. This line, in the fourth chapter, without having any immediate bearing on the plot or anything to do with Edwards' targets, gives a fair idea:

"`Suspicious,' observed Amiss, who was losing interest rapidly."
The novel is set in an English-language school, and Dudley is not the only crime writer to find such a school fertile ground for a story of crime and corruption. The other half of the title's wordplay applies, too. Amiss' friend Ellis Pooley is a genial and wide-ranging connoisseur of crime novels.

A special treat for P.G. Wodehouse fans: Amiss' improvised effort to trap a recalcitrant cat in an early chapter is a tribute to "Jeeves and the Impending Doom," my favorite Wodehouse story and one of his best.

More to come, maybe.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dial M for murder: My thousandth post

This is my 1,000th post since I started Detectives Beyond Borders on Sept 21, 2006. I'd like to thank Maxine Clarke of Petrona, who left this blog's first comment. Among other things, the comments on that debut post introduced me to the excellent Peter Temple, so I'd say I got off to a good start.

Now it's your turn. What are your favorite novels or stories with the word or number thousand or any slang terms therefor in the title? Doesn't matter how many thousands, as long as the word or number thousand or some term for it is part of the name.

A thousand thanks!

© Peter Rozovsky MMIX


Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Irish crime writer on Irish crime writing, plus your chance to vote

Crime Always Pays links to an article in the Guardian about Brian McGilloway's top 10 modern Irish crime novels. It's nice to see what writers read. It's a sign of Irish crime fiction's vitality that comments on CAP suggest worthy candidates that could have made McGilloway's list but did not.

Click here for McGilloway-related material from Detectives Beyond Borders.

In an unrelated development, a team of international election observers including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will not monitor voting for the Spinetingler Awards, where Detectives Beyond Borders is up for the Special Services to the Industry award. Vote now while you still can.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Garbhan Downey beyond borders

I owe my presence in the United States to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and former Representative Brian J. Donnelly, both of Massachusetts. More than twenty years ago, they sponsored legislation to let 30,000 people a year obtain permanent residency ("green cards") in the U.S. under relaxed requirements.

The 30,000 places were allotted by nation, ranging, if memory serves, from 9,000 from Ireland and 4,000 from Canada down through smaller numbers from other countries and territories.

Since the four annual incomers from New Caledonia were far less likely than the 9,000 from Ireland eventually to swell the voting rolls of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, I am predisposed toward fond sympathy with Garbhan Downey's upcoming novel, War of the Blue Roses. As the novel opens, the (fictional) Irish taoiseach, or premier, chides the (fictional) U.S. president for overstating his (the president's) Irish ancestry. "Don't knock it," the president replies. "It was enough to get me elected." Irishness has a powerful political presence in America, and Downey gleefully follows his cast of politicians, gangsters and hangers-on to the U.S. and Canada for significant chunks of the new book.

The subject is roses – specifically a competition to design a peace garden for the White House – and if you think gardening is a clean pursuit, this book will shock you. Downey brings back some of the characters from his previous books, tough, savvy, engaging and, in some cases, unscrupulous folks from Ireland north and south, and he throws in Americans and Englishmen this time. These last give Downey fresh new satirical targets.

Pre-publication etiquette forbids my saying much more. And what does the future hold for Downey? Massive international success, perhaps, and adaptations of his work into comic operas. Is Mozart still working?

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There once was a gumshoe named Sam ...

Gerald So sends word of the upcoming second issue of "The Lineup: Poems on Crime." I posted a notice of the first issue last year, and I can tell you that some of the poems packed a hard-boiled crime punch. Fans of narrative concision and crime songs might also want to check out "The Lineup" and open their minds to poetry about crime.

Gerald says he hopes to send the second issue to print early next month. Check the Lineup blog for more information, including where to buy the books.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: ,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pierre Magnan's country life, Part II

(Juan Gris, Portrait of Picasso, 1912 Oil on canvas 36 3/4 x 29 1/4 in. The Art Institute of Chicago)

If this painting seems to you an odd choice to illustrate a comment about a crime novel of rural French life, you may be open to the appeal of Pierre Magnan's The Murdered House.

The book is more somber than Magnan's Death in the Truffle Wood, but it shares with that novel a careful study of mysteries and motives amid lives that move more slowly than those most of us are used to and probably would appear calm to those of us on the outside.

I'll have more to say later, perhaps about Magnan's unsurpassed handling of that crime-fiction staple, the long-ago act whose consequences unfold years later. For now, this:

"Then, as soon as Séraphin put his foot to the ground, the stranger who had been following the shepherds' retreat suddenly turned round, and Séraphin realized immediately why they had fled in disarray. He was a geule cassée: one of those men who had survived the war, but with a dreadfully disfigured face; one of those faces no one would raise a hand to, for fear that all those who had died in the war would rise in a body at such sacrilege.

"`Yes,' the man said, `there's a painter who does this now ... called Juan Gris. I could be a model for him.'

"When he laughed — and he laughed often — it was an unbearable sight."
I like that passage for its mix of compassion and horror, with no attempt to downplay or overstate either. But mostly I like the intrusion of an advanced, urban-based twentieth-century artist on a story of slow-burning rural life. Magnan's book is a reminder that the last century was more complicated than technology-minded potted histories give it credit for.

(Here's a chance to look inside a few of Magnan's books. Here's his Web site, in French.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We have a winner

My favorite entry in last week's Raymond Chandler simile fest was this, from PKL:

"Jingo slithered into the bar like a vaseline salamander in a sharkskin suit."
If he'll send me his postal address at detectivesbeyondborders (at) earthlink (dot) net, I'll send his prize: His choice of the copy of Farewell, My Lovely that gave rise to the contest, or Boiling a Frog, a novel by an author who goes over the top in a different way: Christopher Brookmyre. If he has those already, I'll send another book from the Detectives Beyond Borders Crime Fiction Collection.

Honorable mention goes to Adrian McKinty's "He stuck out like a reasonable man in the Fox News building."

Thanks to all for the verbal high jinks and for helping me clear a bit of space in my book-muddled house.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whom have you discovered?

I've raved recently about Pierre Magnan and José Latour, two authors I had not read until a few weeks ago. The excitement of discovery added to the pleasure of reading three wonderful books.

Tell me about some of your reading discoveries, recent or otherwise.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Raymond meets Rembrandt: A brush with death

(Rembrandt, Portrait of the Artist at His Easel, 1660. Oil on canvas, 111 x 90 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris)

"They had Rembrandt on the calendar that year, a rather smeary self-portrait due to imperfectly registered color plate. It showed him holding a smeared palette with a dirty thumb and wearing a tam-o'-shanter which wasn't any too clean either. His other hand held a brush poised in the air, as if he might be going to do a little work after a while, if somebody made a down payment. His face was aging, saggy, full of the disgust of life and the thickening effects of liquor. But it had a hard cheerfulness that I liked, and the eyes were as bright as drops of dew."

Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"He stuck out like a zoot suit at a Shaker funeral"

That title is mine, but Raymond Chandler blazed the trail. Here's how he sums up the big ganch Philip Marlowe meets at the beginning of Farewell, My Lovely:

"Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food."
Over in Baltimore, Dave Rosenthal devoted a fill-in-the-blanks quiz to those memorable thunderclaps of over-the-top wordage. Here are his first two questions:

1) "The walls here are as _____ as a hoofer's wallet." Playback

2) "The voice got as _____ as a cafeteria dinner." Farewell, My Lovely
Get the idea?

Now it's your turn. Do what I did in the title of this post, and make up your own Chandleresque description. If it's good enough, I may award a few books as prizes. And my judgment is as good as ____

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Politics sucks, Victoria": José Latour's Comrades in Miami

How's this for a simile to make the pulse quicken?:

"For the next fifty minutes, like a nearly invisible virus invading an organism several trillion times its size, the purring outboards slipped the cigarette in."
The place is a cigarette boat easing quietly into harbor near Key West, Florida, under cover of night. The cargo and crew are six Cuban defectors. The passage is from José Latour's Comrades in Miami, and I like it for several reasons.

The simile is striking, the ominous image of the virus bumping up against the soft, reassuring purr of the motor, the tiny virus making its quiet way into the unimaginably huge organism (When was the last time you read trillion outside a story about the U.S. budget?) But mostly the little bit of wonder is both magical and touchingly human, the sort of thing I could well imagine myself thinking in a similar situation.

Latour's compassionate humanity comes through as well in his choice of multiple points of view, which permits considerable sympathy even for the novel's worst, most unrelievedly evil character.

The book's political stance is decidedly anti-communist and anti-Castro. Still, Latour is probably not universally loved by the anti-Castroites who are the Cuban-American community's public face in the United States. Here's one of the defectors, a central figure in the novel:

"`But we've reflected on the excesses of democracy and the shortcomings of communism a hundred times. Are we going to do something about it? No, right? So leave it to the naive dissidents who risk their freedom, maybe even their lives. They haven't figured out that when communism falls, Cuban-Americans will give them a medal and a pension before rigging the elections and taking charge. Politics sucks, Victoria."
In a news note relevant to a recurring motif in Comrades in Miami, President Barack Obama will allow Americans to make unlimited transfers of money and visits to relatives in Cuba.

Click here for two more novels unlikely to earn their authors tickets to a Fidel Castro celebrity roast.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jeg er en gæsteblogger

Find out how I look in Danish here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

José Latour on Cuban policy and politics

A passage from José Latour's Comrades in Miami, a thriller about defection and disillusionment in Cuba:

"Although he never before had visited prosperous cities in the West, the database manager was not so much impacted by affluence as by freedom. It amazed him to watch newscasts in which Spanish parliamentarians from different political parties openly and respectfully disagreed about what was best for their country. Nobody called his opponent a traitor, a rat, or a worm just because the other was a Nationalist, a Socialist, a Christian Democrat, a Communist, or a Liberal. Legislative decisions were made by majority; unanimity was something had ever heard of."
But wait! There's more:

"Under capitalism, many nations had achieved what he had been led to believe only communist societies could: free education and health care."
You may not be surprised to learn that Latour has settled in Canada and not the United States since leaving Cuba.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 10, 2009

Snatch this award from my hand, Grasshopper

I am a double recipient of a Grasshopper Award, from D.J.'s Krimiblog and Mysteries in Paradise. Thanks, Dorte and thanks, Kerrie, though why am I so often associated with green creatures?

This award seeks to recognize good bloggery, throwing around words like taught, entertained and inspired. I blush a deep shade of green.

But what blogs make me think of insects of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera?

Well, how about:

1) Declan Burke's Crime Always Pays, a wellspring and an inspiration presided over by a doting father figure to a sprawling range of Irish-crime-fiction-related projects and blogs including

2) Adrian McKinty's Psychopathology of Everyday Life, which is more than just a cool name. Drop him a note and let him know how much you love U2 and Clive James.
Congratulations on your Grasshoppers, gents.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pierre Magnan's country life

I once stayed at a campground in the Dordogne region of France. On an excursion into the local village, I was regarded with great concentration by some ancient men sitting around a small table outside a shop.

My first thought was that they were suspicious of outsiders. I later guessed that village life gave them time to cogitate at great length on all sorts of things, including ephemera such as passing tourists.

I'm strongly reminded of that encounter about halfway into Pierre Magnan's Death in the Truffle Wood. Magnan sets his book in a village of 900 people in the Basses-Alpes of France. A number of people have disappeared, but the investigation gets underway slowly. Far more to the fore are the mysteries and the hints thereto in the lives of the villagers and of the commissaire called in to investigate the disappearances. This novel, in other words, uses people to create a vivid, unfamiliar (to me) setting.

Though her orientation is generally more urban than this, I'd bet that Fred Vargas reads Magnan. And I'd bet that her readers would like Magnan as well.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brookmyre pro, Brookmyre con


I want to shake Christopher Brookmyre's hand for this, from A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away:

"`They're already in briefings down there. Look, you've done a hell of a job. Lexington asked me to ...'

"Angelique stopped listening when he slipped into autopatronise ..."

Brookmyre, the book's copy editor or both should have consulted a dictionary before letting the following go to press:

"Mitigating against that was the fact that they had comped him three grammes of uncut smack ... "
The correct word is militating.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More on Christopher Brookmyre's attitudes

Read long enough, and you'll answer your own questions. Yesterday I wondered about the haughtily dismissive first-chapter narrator in Christopher Brookmyre's A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away. Did this narrator's withering criticism of suburbs reflect Brookmyre's views, in which case it would be fair to accuse the author of taking pot shots at an easy target? Or was the staleness Brookmyre's jab at the narrator's snarkiness and lack of imagination?

I got my answer three hundred pages later in a section narrated by another, more sympathetic character:
"Ray didn't fancy the place much himself back then. but wasn't so dismissive now. ... There were lots of kids playing on the pavements, bikes left unguarded outside front doors, garages open invitingly to reveal toys, garden swings and washer/driers. It was very `choose life' and twee to the point of smug, but was also obvious that crime and fear didn't stalk the place either."
Whatever Brookmyre's feelings about suburbs, suburbs of Aberdeen in particular (and perhaps that "twee to the point of smug" is a clue), he recognizes they can have appeal, and he uses this appeal to effective dramatic purpose, heightening the contrast between a villain and a relatively innocent victim.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away

I'm trying to think myself into an author's mind on this. When a writer has a narrator heap scorn in the Christopher Brookmyre manner, does he sometimes reserve a dose of scorn for that narrator?

The first of several targets in Brookmyre's novel A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away is suburbia and its aspirations. Some of the barbs are funny. Trouble is, suburbia is such an easy target, which takes a bit of the edge off such lines as "Dear Lord, protect us from uniqueness. Grant unto us eternal conformity, and deliver us from distinction. Amen."

That seems — not unsubtle, because subtlety is not what one looks for in Brookmyre, but perhaps stale for a book published in 2001. Popular artists have been poking fun at the suburbs for decades, after all. Or maybe suburbs never caught on as a target for popular condescension and satire in Europe the way they did in the U.S. Or maybe, just maybe, Brookmyre means to tell us that the narrator in question is not the boldest and most incisive of social critics.

OK, point settled. On suburbia, A Big Boy Did It ... is no "Pleasant Valley Sunday." But that's just a quibble, and the suburban pot shots are just a warm-up for Brookmyre's bigger targets and funnier lines. Here's my favorite of the latter so far:

"Artro's geopolitical knowledge didn't extend very far beyond Russia being the Great Satan and the US being the Great Satan as well, and it was widely rumoured that he'd gone on the lam to Finland in the disastrously mistaken belief that Scandinavia was an entirely autonomous continent, political separate from Europe. That said, misapprehension wouldn't necessarily have led to apprehension if he'd followed the first rule of lying low, which is to lie low."
© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What's your favorite chapter?

Find a reading challenge for our time here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Christopher Brookmyre is righteous

Midway through Christopher Brookmyre's Quite Ugly One Morning, protagonist/reporter/burglar-for-good-reasons Jack Parlabane muses upon the executive jargon at a hospital he has infiltrated under false but noble pretenses:

"Parlabane found the word `pro-active' enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given. Once upon a time, he remembered, people and companies just did things. But that ceased to be impressive enough, and for a while they `actively' did things. Now they `pro-actively' did things, but it was still the same bloody things that they were doing when they just plain old did things. Meaningless wank-language. Every time he heard it he imagined George Orwell doing another 360 down below."
That brought back the crushing sense of abandonment I felt the first time I heard an editor use impact as a verb. Wanker.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 03, 2009

Men, women and crime fiction

DJs Krimiblog has been discussing, in Danish and English, femkrimis, machokrimis and the notion of whether certain types of crime fiction appeal especially to men and others to women. The latest entry is a guest post from Dagger winner Martin Edwards, author of the Harry Devlin series and the Lake District mysteries.

Writes Edwards:

"Jeg skrev de første romaner, som foregik i Liverpool, med en mandlig tredje-persons fortæller, og kun én synsvinkel. Men efterhånden som jeg fik selvtillid som forfatter, gav jeg mig i kast med at variere min stil. Jeg begyndte med at indføre flere forskellige synsvinkler."
or, if you prefer,

"I wrote my early novels, set in Liverpool, from a male, third person, single viewpoint, perspective. But as I gained in confidence as a writer, I began to ring the changes. I started to introduce additional viewpoints."
Edwards has written male and female protagonists and point-of-view characters, and his guest post bears the title Krimi for alle / Crime for all. Join the discussion, and learn some Danish along the way.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jo Nesbø, music and maturity

The Redeemer, sixth of Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole novels and fourth to be translated into English, is peppered with musical references. No surprise there; Nesbø is a musician himself, and his novel The Devil's Star contains my candidate for funniest music reference in a crime novel.

The Redeemer offers a Tom Waits reference, so of course I sneered. I'm sure I'm being unfair to Waits and those who like his music, but Waits references always seem too easy. A movie critic once rolled his eyes at moviemakers' inclusion of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major on soundtracks. Cheap, he said. Easy, showily emotional, and a calculated appeal to middlebrow sensibilities. Well, that's how I feel about Tom Waits references.

More surprising is the following: "The painted red lips and make-up around the eyes reminded him of Robert Smith, the singer with The Cure." I'll concede that the necessity of explaining who Robert Smith is undercuts the reference's power. But wait til you see the context.

My favorites, though, are these:

"`Do you remember when they occupied the property in 1982 and there were punk gigs with Kjøtt, The Aller Værste and all the other bands? ... I went there from time to time. At the beginning, at least, when I thought it might be somewhere for people like me, outsiders. But I didn't fit in there, either. Because when it came down to it, Blitz was about uniformity and thinking alike. The demagogues had a field day there ...'"

"Harry searched for milk for his coffee. He had started taking it. Probably a sign that he was getting old. Some weeks ago he had put on the Beatles' indisputable masterpiece Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band and was disappointed. It had got old, too."
These passages use music to nice thematic effect, I think, in the service of indicating Harry Hole's growing maturity and self-awareness. Nesbø, though decades younger than Andrea Camilleri, joins him as a crime writer whose protagonist grows more reflective or sympathetic with the passing years.

Now it's your turn. What other long-running crime fiction protagonists do this?

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Getting in touch with nature and keeping in touch with the office

Did you know that Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a wireless hot spot? OK, the service operates only within about 150 to 200 feet of the Park Store, but still.

To think that some of these ancient trees are even older than the Commodore 64 gives one a humbling sense of one's place in the scheme of things.

P.S. This is not an April Fool's joke.

(Photo © Jane Huber,

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

Labels: , , ,