Wednesday, November 12, 2008

John Lawton on Winston Churchill, time machines and American crime fiction


John Lawton has said he resists being marketed as a crime writer, and he said so again Tuesday evening at Partners & Crime in New York. Lest you write him off as a genre basher and a literary snob, however, consider this list of his favorite writers: Loren D. Estleman, Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker.

And consider his reply when I asked about the occasional wisecrack amid the grim subject matter of his novel Second Violin: "I think Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues) raised the bar of what you can get away with combining serious" with humorous.

This novel, sixth in Lawton's series about wartime and postwar London, is a prequel to the first five. This time the story begins in 1938, and Lawton's usual protagonist, the here-young police officer Frederick Troy, does not appear until page 124. Why a prequel and why Troy's late appearance? Lawton says that "I love time machines" and that he loved the chance to explore a different, earlier time in the lives of his country and his main character: "If you can write the same books fifty times over, you'd be Robert B. Parker." (And remember, Lawton is no genre snob. He likes Parker's work and says he regards the novels as variants, if not repetitions.)

And consider Lawton's reason for writing the novel: Britain's wartime roundups of aliens born in enemy or potentially enemy nations. This even though many had been in Britain for decades or were refugees, many Jewish, from the very countries with which Britain was at war. To paraphrase Lawton's opinion of the policy gently, he believes it was not Churchill's finest hour.

Beginning the action in 1938 lets Lawton unfold slowly the awful experiences of those refugees who made their way from Hell and Austria to Britain, only to be shunted off to internment.

More to come, including discussion of the murders, of which there has been one so far about halfway into the novel, almost an afterthought amid the book's tragic and absurd historical sweep.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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49 Comments:

Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I have read the first two books in this series, the next is Riptide [Bluffing Mr Churchill in the USA] and they superb. Even if you don't accept some of the author's political views [he has worked with Chomsky and Pinter for TV] they are still very enjoyable. Of course having lived in London during the 1950's the accents and characterizations are very real to me adding to the enjoyment.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

'should read they ARE superb'. It is a bit early in the morning for me.;o)

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Lauren said...

I must get hold of this (I've read a couple of the others and found them enjoyable), especially if it deals with internment etc. I had relatives interned in both Britain (Isle of Mann) and Australia, and it's a much under-discussed topic - certain aspects of it, in Australia at least, have been covered (covered up?) by keeping a lot of the relevant documents classified.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

In the TV series Who do you think you are? David Baddiel, a football pundit/comedian, in the UK traced one of his ancestors through the internment camp on the Isle of Man. It was sobering viewing.

Second Violin's accounts of Kristallnacht and the internment are stunning, it is definitely a book not to be missed.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Lauren, Lawton's Second Violin actually has internment scenes on the Isle of Man. I remember them for the gentle humour, where the internees were determined to keep their lives as normal as possible, baking and maintaining an orchestra.

Peter, I am so pleased that you are reading this novel. I think you will love it. As Norm said, and using a word I've used before, it really is superb. As I understand it, Lawton has been marketed by W&N in the UK as literary, but as a mystery writer in the US with Grove/Atlantic. But, as long as his novels are read, whatever the marketing, because they really are a cut above a lot of the big names out there.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger John McFetridge said...

Sounds great, Peter, I've just ordered Second Violin.

I have to say though, the way things are going these days, Mr. Lawton shouldn't resist any kind of marketing.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah: I'm no big fan of Chomsky's politics, at least once his froth starts flying. Based on my reading of half (so far) of Second Violin, though, Lawton is a disciplined enough author to let the story, politics and all, tell itself without obtrusive intrusions from the authorial voice. Churchill, for example, is a rather sympathetic figure in the early chapters. Lawton made a humorous and glancing reference to his politics at his New York reading, indicating his neckwear and saying, " ... hence, the red tie," further evidence that politics and a sense of humor are not mutually exclusive.

I can only imagine the effect the earlier books in the series must have on someone who lived in postwar London. Second Violin has a page-long epigraph from Rose Macaulay's Life Among the English that does what all epigraphs should do: it ends in uncertainty that ought to haunt or at least underlie the book that follows and, in this case, I suspect, into the series as a whole.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"I must get hold of this ... certain aspects of it, in Australia at least, have been covered (covered up?) by keeping a lot of the relevant documents classified."

Lauren, you absolutely must get hold of the book, and you might want to hear John Lawton if you get the chance or even write to him about his work. He spoke last night about his frustration in trying to obtain documents about the Isle of Man internments, documents he said had been kept classified beyond the normal thirty years. He said he had to rely on personal contacts for some of the information that found its way into the novel.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

When I read about that period in history I always have to curb my desire to yell "No! Don't do that!" at the characters. I first noticed this while reading Wouk's The Winds of War, when I found myself reading Aaron and Natalie Jastrow's story and thinking "You shouldn't be trusting these Germans."

There was an excellent (probably British) TV series which appeared on PBS here a year or two ago about a British island occupied by the Germans during WW 2 (Jersey, maybe? I can't remember which).

Off to the library website. Peter, you do keep me in reading material!

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"David Baddiel, a football pundit/comedian, in the UK traced one of his ancestors through the internment camp on the Isle of Man. It was sobering viewing.

Second Violin's accounts of Kristallnacht and the internment are stunning, it is definitely a book not to be missed.
"

Uriah, I commented elsewhere on this string about John Lawton's inability to obtain government documents related to the Isle of Man internment. Lawton said that the internees were treated relatively well, as internments go, but that he was having trouble tracking down the fates of those people who did, for example, commit suicide.

The account of Kristallnacht is, indeed, stunning, and all the more so because of the unexpected touches, such as the pianos. It must be difficult to avoid falling into stereotyped images when writing such scenes, but Lawton does. I have not yet got to the internment scenes, but Lawton read a chilling account last night of a roundup.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Rhian, you'll see that I rather like the novel so far. I have not yet reached the internment scenes, but I believe Lawton took the novel's title from the internment-camp orchestra.

I don't remember the geographical details, but Lawton did say that he was marketed differently in the U.S. and the U.K., as "literary" in one and a crime writer in the other. I'd agree that he's several cuts above a lot of big names, and I could easily see Second Violin becoming one of those Books That Everyone Must Read.

I dubbed Norm/Uriah the King of Camilleri. For your similar devotion to and championing of a fine author, you deserve at least to be called Lady Lawton, though you might weary of having to explain that you are, in fact, no relation to the author in question. I can't help it if "Lady" and "Lawton" are alliterative.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John, I'm not sure how actively Lawton resists his marketing as a crime writer. He made no big deal about the issue at his New York reading, where he did consent, after all, to appear at a crime-fiction bookstore. But he does have a point, at least as far as the current novel is concerned. Crimes and crime-solving don't play that big a role in the book, at least in its first half.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Thank you. You just made me laugh. I love alliteration as it helps me remember things.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"When I read about that period in history I always have to curb my desire to yell `No! Don't do that!'"

Linkmeister, Lawton occasionally has a character make a witty comment that shares that desire of yours. You'll enjoy one such comment in particular, I think.

"Peter, you do keep me in reading material! "

Just a patriotic American doing my best to boost this country's flagging retail sector. Of course, an earlier generation might have said, "Just a patriotic American getting people out to the public library." But those, as Lou Reed said, were different times.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Peter, it's essentially from the mouths of other UK authors in years gone by that I heard of his reluctance to be marketed as crime. Who knows, there may have been some exaggeration. Although he has once said to me that he writes about the social and political history of his own time.

Prior to the Troy series he wrote a non-fiction book called 1963 Five Hundred Days. Copies are rare, but I managed to get my hands on one the other week and at a good price. The jacket says "Lawton sets out to answer the question 'What in 1963 contained the making of the Sixties?'" He covers the UK and the US. I am looking forward to reading that too.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"You just made me laugh. I love alliteration as it helps me remember things."

Much obliged, milady.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Lawton apparently shares that reluctance. Perhaps my perspective on this question will change once I've read earlier books in the series. Without a doubt, the writes about the social and political history of his own time (though he did say Second Violin let him step out of that time). Once I've read the earlier books, my question might be why choose a crime novel as a vehicle to explore that history?

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I'm in luck. It looks like all five of the previous books are contained in the state library system, so I've reserved/requested them.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I believe Lawton occasionally deviated from chronological sequence in writing the first five books, but nothing like this latest novel. I suspect that any of the books will illuminate the rest regardless of the order in which one reads them. I'd be tempted to think of Second Violin as a kind of origin story, except that I haven't read the other books. I suspect that in all of them, Lawton manages the difficult feat of taking war and daily life seriously and writing about each without trivializing the other.

In this connection, I am reminded of the movie Reds, which I regarded as a shallow love story with intellectual window-dressing.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Lauren said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the title came from the Isle of Man orchestra - there were a lot of very prominent (well, relatively so, depending on your knowledge of Austro-German classics!) musicians interned there, and the music-making was reportedly extraordinary.

I was at a conference back in April where internment was one of the strands, and indeed most of the recent research comes from interviews and personal contacts. Most governments aren't too keen to have this issue brought back to life.

I am increasingly wondering about the use of crime fiction to explore such historical issues. I suppose I have a slightly unusual background, but I've grown up knowing about all of this quite directly and it seems very odd to find such seemingly obvious events at the centre of so much new fiction. It's a bit confronting, and also puts me off certain authors - alas (or perhaps not) I know too much personally and now professionally about 20th Europe to really enjoy reading rehashed versions, no matter how well written.

Linkmeister, I thought I was the only one who'd spent most of 'Winds of War/War and Remembrance' yelling at the characters! (Incidentally, I think the latter volume has one of the best accounts of Terezin to appear in print.)

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Peter,
Just took a look at an old post I did in 2005 for the chronology in terms of issue of the novels vs the timeframe for the stories. Sorry, not able to provide the US titles, where different, but here we go:
1. Black Out, set during WWII - the first I read and it remains my favourite, although Second Violin fights it for that position, as does Blue Rondo.
2. Old Flames, set during the cold war period. A lot of espionage and counter-espionage and a great read.
3. A Little White Death moves into the 60s and is a tale inspired by the Profumo scandal in the UK. (Cabinet minister enjoying the attentions of a woman who is also sleeping with a Russian...)
4. Riptide, which goes pre-Black Out but post-Second Violin. Freddie Troy does not have a big part in this one.
5. Blue Rondo then jumps on to the 50s.
6. Second Violin - the earliest in the life of Freddie Troy.

I hope this list helps!

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Lauren, another blogger, probably Norm/Uriah of Crime Scraps, elicited comments on music, musicians and the war during a discussion of Second Violin. Your comment about being put off by rehashed versions is unanswerable. All I can suggest is that Lawton's book may be reviving some less-obvious aspects of 20th-century Europe. I have not read many explorations of such issues in crime fiction, but I can say that Lawton seems to treat his work with great seriousness and, his own strong political views notwithstanding, does not commit the insult of using the war to make a point.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Rhian. I'd linked to two of your posts in my comment, one of them from 2005. You're not Lady Lawton, Baroness Troy for nothing.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Peter,
I am interested to read you say JL has strong political views. How so and how did that come across? (In addition to what you have already mentioned from the talk and reading.)
The combination of old book jackets and a transcript of a talk he did last year at St Hilda's in Oxford - which he very kindly sent me - indicate to me that he has no love for any politicians. But I am careful in what I say as I believe the author is a very private man.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

Lady Lawton, Baroness Troy - ooh it gets better!
Thanks for the links; I have to admit I had not noticed as I simply read your post and did not hover my mouse over the blue bits...

I also thank you for saying that I champion this author and I am pleased to see others taking up you recommendation on here.

(And I have to admit to slightly dirty deeds and manipulation in getting Norm to read JL. But I think Norm is pleased to have made acquaintance.)

Have you thought of a holiday next year taking in CrimeFest followed by the Hay Festival, by the way?

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"I am interested to read you say JL has strong political views. How so and how did that come across? (In addition to what you have already mentioned from the talk and reading.)"

His lack of love for any politician is a good indicator. And the absence of obvious polemics and speechifying is a sign of that discipline and skillful storytelling I mentioned.

I have in mind his scorn for Churchill's alien-internment policies, his flip remark about the red tie, and the introduction to his reading, in which he informed the audience that he would take questions on any topic except the British royal family and Richard Nixon. I believe he said that the latter was such a gift to authors and satirists that his death was to be mourned. And Norm mentioned that Lawton had worked with Noam Chomsky and Harold Pinter in television. Now, I don't know what form that work took, but Chomsky and Pinter are decidedly of the left. Second Violin is shot through with politics, and imagine the book inspired by the Profumo affair must be so as well.

So perhaps it's less that he has strong political views than it is that he is unafraid to embrace politics as a milieu for his fiction.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I doubt that the manipulation was all that underhanded. If it was, you chose your target well. Lawton, Second Violin especially, seems tailored to Norm's interest in history.

It is nice to see recommendations spreading by word of mouth. More than one person has said he would buy or borrow Lawton's books after reading my posts, and I started on Lawton thanks to you. (One of these readers is German, which may be of interest. That discussion is in the comments to my most recent post about The Draining Lake.)

I have thought of attending Harrogate or CrimeFest next year. What factors should I consider, other than the guest lists? (I see that Håkan Nesser will be one of the headliners at Bristol. This makes sense; he has recently moved to London.)

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Philip said...

A point or two. First, I much like CFR's caveat about Lawton's being a very private man. He is that right enough, and I am not sure he says anything at all about himself without tongue in cheek. I have never seen reference to his place of birth, and I guarantee that anyone who became acquainted with his writing by reading Sweet Sunday would blithely assume he is American, for the detail in that book, the evocation of the mood in the States in 1969, is as striking as his summoning of Britain in the years of the war, in the fifties, and in the sixties. But either way, British writing about the States or vice versa, all it means is that he does his research, and that he does it exceedingly well is evident in all six Troy novels. There is no need to pigeonhole his writings, so let's just say for the moment that he writes a mode of historical fiction. Of the three basic questions I tell historiography students to ask of any academic history work, just one is relevant here: Has the author got it right? And in regard to the framework of events, Lawton has, else I should not have read past Black Out. But this is fiction, there are historical characters and invented ones, invented incidents and conversations, so one must also ask if he has the 'spirit' right, are his speculations grounded? And again I should say he most certainly does. (I'm putting to one side here sheer flights of fancy, e.g., about Krushchev in London, which are a delight of a different sort.) In fact, the whole oeuvre has given me huge pleasure for a variety of reasons, and, so we are clear on this, I say this as someone who tends toward the apoplectic encountering those purportedly serious works of history that concoct hypothetical conversations and innermost thought processes, and there's a plague of those these days. But that is in the realm of history qua history, and it is never justified, never done well, because it can't be. Lawton is writing historical fiction, and he does it exceedingly well. And so, the speculation about his politics is not really relevant in the first instance, or perhaps one might say it is doing things backwards. Again, the first question is 'Has he got it right?', at least in so far as one can say that anyone ever does. Just to return to the matter of academic history for a moment, I can tell you the political inclinations of a host of historians considered by just about all members of the profession to be great practitioners of the discipline, and they include conservatives, liberals, and socialists. Others, regardless of their own inclinations, learned from them. If what an historian has to say is demonstrably wrong, political agenda is then one thing we might want to consider in determining why, but that comes later. And so, Peter, to return to Lawton's historical fiction, I think what you yourself say above in a couple of places above is on the mark. Just what the political persuasion of the mysterious Mr. Lawton may be, well, he is certainly in some manner a man of the Left, I should say, but readers who have not yet got to the books set later will find that Labour politicians come off scarcely better than the Tories, and his reasons for slamming both seemed to me very well-grounded indeed.

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Philip and Peter I am sure John Lawton gets it right and his politics are really irrelevant. I just pointed that out because I would normally ignore anyone associated with Harold Pinter or Noam Chomsky on principle. But not John Lawton he slams everyone who deserves to be slammed and does it with charm. His dialogue is brilliantly evocative of London and I am looking forward to getting to the books that cover the 1950s and 1960s. My father had a business in Chelsea from 1960-1982 and knew one of the major participants in the Profumo Scandal so I will be very interested in that book, A Little White Death.
Thanks to Lady Lawton alias Baroness Troy aka crimeficreader for recommending the books so forcefully.

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, my point exactly. Lawton made a self-deprecating joke about his work with an organization whose name included the words "Workers' Association" ("They were certainly not workers. Their only purpose was to associate."). He might as easily have joked about his association with Harold Pinter and Noam Chomsky. His charm is disarming.

His politics are not exactly irrelevant, I'd say, or else he probably would not be able to work himself into such a joy of slamming those politicians who deserve to be slammed. But he's nonpartisan in his writing. Politics, yes. Partisanship, no.

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Philip, I share your revulsion at history that invents conversations and purports to peer into thought processes. (Thucydides, however, gets a pass for inventing speeches.) I have no more patience for journalism that purports to do the same, even if the reporters bases the reconstruction on conversations with the participants.

I am beginning to believe that saw about politics being one of the two subjects one must not discuss over dinner, since my purpose in mentioning Lawton's politics was to marvel at how they underlie his storytelling (the harsh, nonpartisan criticism of politicians) without ever descending into the polemical. Has he got it right? Perhaps readers who lived in postwar London can judge better than I. But his writing certainly feels right. I, too, enjoy his handling of historical characters. Such folks were human, after all, and why should a Churchill be any less prone to whimsical self-pity than you or I?

Booksellers and publishers ought to do whatever they can to sell more books, of course. As a reader, I am uneasy with the label "historical fiction" because it smacks too much of costume drama. I say call Lawton's work fiction, and if anyone asks about the setting, reply mid-century London. What bookstore really need, should have and would have if they thought of their books as more than product. are simple cross-referencing tabs referring a browser in, say, mystery to the fiction section for more John Lawton if the mystery section is out of stock. The same, of course, might apply to any number of authors. My own favorite example would be James Baldwin, whose non-fiction belongs in essays and American studies/culture but is (or was) consigned to the African American studies section of a Borders by fiat of the corporate sales department. That an author's work need be confined to one label is odd and probably harmful to sales as well.

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I just picked up "Flesh Wounds" from my library, as well as "What Burns Within."

November 13, 2008  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

I, too, have something to say on this, but later tomorrow when I am refreshed! It's been a long and tiring day, even if insomnia still kicks in, allowing a strand of comment here or there!

But Norm's comment of "Thanks to Lady Lawton alias Baroness Troy aka crimeficreader for recommending the books so forcefully" strikes a bell or more. Apols that I felt the need to push you Norm, but I did need to push you. I really took up your case of interest, but thought you slow on the take up, hence my vigour in getting you the novels. But I suspected you'd like them... And you did! Lovely stuff.

I have the same here and I admit, in respect of your own recommendations. I think I am a slower reader than you.

Camilleri will come to me, I assure you.

Best to you both, Peter & Norm, but I am so tired and sleepy now that I need a chance of breaking this insomnia. I can try. Back tomorrrow...

My best to you both,

R

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Philip said...

I think the idea of cross-referencing tabs is excellent, Peter. On a related matter, discussed by us a while back, I'd like to see an end to use of the word 'genre', which serves no purpose, but, as you then pointed out, it is hard to see how we can dispense with labels if we are to keep track of our preferred reading. What you suggest here would identify types while blurring distinctions. Very nice. Where crime fiction is concerned, it's occurred to me of late that distinctions may be becoming significantly blurred anyway -- I think a good third of the crime novels I've read this year were catalogued in the library system as 'general fiction'. And, as you say, there is the whole problem of the way stores classify non-fiction, although where that is concerned, it is public library systems that really exercise me, for their quite irrational ways really serve to undermine the disciplines and the organization of knowledge. A translation of a German history of the Revolutions of 1848 in Travel? A picture book on the travels of Princess Diana in History? A book of essays on the mediaeval city state in Sociology? This sort of thing is rife and it is serious. Students learn nothing of the nature of the disciplines in high school, but I'd rather the brighter ones, who may be given to browsing public libraries and bookstores, came into university nescient than utterly misled and confused by this sort of thing. Correct placement in stores, correct cataloguing in libraries, cross-referencing -- these are not small matters. Cross-referencing would obviously help bookstore sales as well, certainly Borders, if they can't figure out the best place to put Baldwin's essays in the first place.

November 13, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Linkmeister said...

"I just picked up "Flesh Wounds" from my library, as well as "What Burns Within."


I hope you enjoy them. I have been slowed in my reading of Second Violin by my need to talk and write about the book. I often take notes as I read with an eye toward gathering material for blog posts. But I may have to give this up with Lawton because there is so much of interest on so many pages that the note-taking threatens to overwhelm the reading.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Philip, I sympathize with the need to organize large collections such as those in bookstores and libraries, and generic classification seems as good a way as any to do it. With library catalogues having been transferred almost entirely to computer, knowledgeable library staff (and, perhaps, knowledgeable volunteer readers as well) need to apply accurate, imaginative and sensible cross-referencing systems, perhaps through simple appending of appropriate keywords to each catalogue item.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Rhian, I don't know how far you went in your cajoling Norm. I hope you did not threaten to dredge up embarrassing incidents from his past if he did not read Lawton. I hear, for example, that he once performed oral surgery without washing his hands first.

Just as well that you did not comment at great length as I, too, am tired and sleepy and could not answer at great length without some sleep forst.

Goodnight.

November 14, 2008  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

LOL, I am not that into dirty tricks! Nope, I was just having a day out and fancied furnishing Norm with the novels I thought he'd love if I could my hands on them, the bulk of which I managed and which he'd love - I was sure - and the writing looks like the wall on this one!

My offer was simply based on impatience that Norm had read not the author yet. Now he has started to - BRILLIANT!

Having read Norm's posts and spoken to him over what is now a few years, I thought he would be a fan too. So I shipped the books.

He offered to read as I had offered to be his reading-supply merchant.

Now, we are seeing the results, which thrill me, to be honest. I thought Norm would love this author and he does and now it's moved on to you, Peter. And others.

Great shakes and let they continue in the blogosphere!

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter, this suggestion that I performed oral surgery without washing my hands first which you published on the internet may well be actionable.
I will settle for $50 million Canadian or US I don't mind which or a duel on Clifton Suspension Bridge at Crime Fest 2009.
We do have a major problem in the UK with MRSA and C.Difficile infections in our hospitals which are caused by health workers failing to obey simple rules and a lack of proper ward cleaning procedures.
I once worked as a locum consultant at a seaman's naval hospital in London with sailors from all over the world coming in for treatment. They were given a test for syphilis before they came in for treatment and I can assure you I washed my hands very frequently as well as wearing two layers of surgical gloves.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I am prepared to consider a settlement for $50 million Zimbabwean dollars.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"LOL, I am not that into dirty tricks! Nope, I was just having a day out and fancied furnishing Norm with the novels I thought he'd love if I could my hands on them, the bulk of which I managed and which he'd love - I was sure - and the writing looks like the wall on this one!"

It's good to spread the news that way. In fact, I have recently engaged in some subterfuge in an effort to ensure that someone read a particular book that I liked.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

At the present rate of collapse of the £ sterling under our Great Leader I suppose I should accept the Zimbabwean dollar.;0)

Our Great Leader was fascinated by the recent elections in our former North American colonies he might even allow us one in the future.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

At the present rate of collapse of the £ sterling, I should come sample some more fish in Portsmouth and Exeter. I'll see you in Bristol.

November 14, 2008  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

Peter,
If it's CrimeFest in Bristol you're doing, then try and take in the Hay Festival as well. CrimeFest is 14-17 May and Hay runs 21-31 May.
Cheers!
R

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Norm, I think I'll read the book on the Profumo scandal, then ask you which of the figures your father knew.

November 14, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I shall look into arrangements for Crimefest in the coming days, and I shall be sure to bring a large bag for books.

November 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The arrangements would include Hay as well. I have always liked the idea of a huge book festival.

November 15, 2008  
Blogger Logan Lamech said...

When is crimefest anyway?

Logan Lamech
www.eloquentbooks.com/LingeringPoets.html

November 15, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Info for Crimefest 2009 is here.

November 15, 2008  

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