Saturday, May 01, 2010

Requiems for the Departed: Crime collection inspired by Irish myths looks like a hit

Myths don't work unless they're with us, around us, even in us.

That's why the new Requiems for the Departed collection is so powerful. Its stories invoke Irish myth, most of them updating settings and, often, names, but retaining what seems to this non-expert the chilling power and bringing it to crime fiction.

The contributors are an all-star list of Irish crime writing, some of whom readers of Detectives Beyond Borders may know (Ken Bruen, Adrian McKinty, Brian McGilloway, Garbhan Downey) and others whose names may be new (Arlene Hunt, John McAllister, Sam Millar and quite a number more).

I'm working my way through the collection, and so far Bruen's story is brash and chilling, McKinty's and McAllister's the stuff to keep you awake at night, and McGilloway's a little police procedural with a delightfully comic ending. (The story features his series character, Inspector Benedict Devlin, evidence that myth can mix easily with a contemporary setting.)

Pop on over to Crime Scene N.I., and Gerard Brennan, who edited the anthology with Mike Stone, might reveal the secret of the book's genesis. Order Requiems for the Departed from the publisher here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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30 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

I was waiting for the story where an angry little guy was going around shouting "they're after me lucky charms!" but I guess that'll have to come in the sequel.

April 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Will the sequel be called Manly, Yes, But I Like It, Too: More Crime From the Irish Spring?

April 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was funny, Peter.

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Michele Emrath said...

Sounds really intriguing. Other people's myths are safe--one can step away.

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sounds really intriguing. Other people's myths are safe--one can step away.

I can't remember a more intriguing idea for a crime-fiction anthology.

I suspect we can safely step away from anyone's myths. In this collection, it's the myths that are doing the stepping, and they're stepping closer to us.

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, anonymous. It's hard to see any other soap as anything but deficient in clean, fresh cleaning power when I think of those rugged green strata that shoot through each cake of Irish Spring ®.

May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian McKinty said...

Peter

The one thing that always surprises me about those ads is the ones where they have the actors actually speaking to camera. The Irish accents are universally terrible. I know I have a bee in my bonnet about bad Irish accents but the Irish Spring commercials are notorious.

I previously thought the Murder She Wrote Irish episode featured the worst Irish accents on film (as well as the dodgiest SoCal locations posing as Ireland), but then I saw an episode of Star Trek Voyager where they got to an Oirish begorrah realm on the "Holo Deck" but then that was trumped by those Irish Spring commercials.

BTW having experienced twenty plus springs in Ireland I can tell you that they are damp, cold, mildewy and miserable, very much in the spirit of the opening lines of the Wasteland.

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Geez, did Saturday Night Live ever do a skit called Northern Irish Spring? Seems to me that has vast potential.

You're fond of bestowing awards for Worst Irish Accent, but you could break it down by category: worst accent in a television episode, worst in a feature film, worst in a special or mini-series, worst in a commercial. But let me ask you a serious question about accents: Is there some particular Irish accents to which all these bad actors aspire, some common accent?

I thought about this first when surrounded by legions of crestfallen Waterford supporters as Kilkenny demolished their side at Croke Park in the All-Ireland final in 2008. I'd grown up saying fuck, I'd more recently learned feck, and I knew that Irish writers like to pepper their work with the occasional fook. But what the Waterford guy next to me said every couple of minutes sounded like "Ah, fer fock sake."

And then came certain Derrymen's eccentric pronunciation of car and cart.

May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian McKinty said...

Peter

Its a good point. Generalising ridiculously there are three Irish accents: Ulster, Dublin and Cork/The South West. Most American actors seem to go for the Cork/South West variant and for some reason always raise their voice by an octave when they're doing it.

Of course this is an overly simple picture. In Ulster itself there's the Derry accent, the famous Ballymena accent, West Belfast, North Belfast, South Belfast, South Down, Armagh and Donegal to name but a few. Until I exiled myself I had no trouble at all - Henry Higgins fashion - placing someone within twenty miles of their home town in Ulster.

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

So, does "fock" sound like a Waterford man talking? And what is the famous Ballymena accent?

Let's see, in Northern Ireland I've been to Belfast, West Belfast, No Alibis, Carrickfergus, Derry, Tyrone and up the North Antrim coast. I'll keep my ears open when I go back.

Do those American actors raise their voices by an octave maintain a simultaneous twinkle in the eye? And I wonder if their versions of the accent are inspired by Irish accent they hear in America, or whether the whole mess has been polluted by crappy imitations.

May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian McKinty said...

Peter

To be honest I had not heard of "feck" until Father Ted came along at the end of the 90's. I assumed it was just a comedic way of getting around the TV censorship rules.

In scary North Belfast, spoken in the lowest possible register, it's more like fakk.

I found this interesting thing on YouTube. I dont know if you can spot what happens in this 40 second clip of legendary UTV continuity announcer Julian Simmons, but at about 22 seconds in he cheekily changes his accent from a BBC inflected South Belfast drawl to a camp West Belfast whine. Everyone from Northern Ireland could spot this but I wonder how this plays outside of Ireland?

May 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know the etymology of "feck." Wiki, that replacement for research, lists uses by Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns, though not as euphemisms for "fuck." I wonder if linguists have a name for the phenomenon by which an existing word is adopted as a euphemism for a separate, taboo word.

I'll listen to that clip when I get home or as soon as I can scrounge headphones to put on some music and obliterate the tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap from the keyboard immediately behind me. It's maddening in this cavernous hall on a weekend.

Scariest think I heard in North Belfast was a roaring band of Rangers fans on an outdoor terrace at their club on the Shankill.

May 01, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I would assume that the 26 counties of the ROI are represented in this collection, not only Northern Ireland, as in the Spinetinglers' Awards.

By the way, this is a great blog...but tough competition.

May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Kathy

I dont know why you need to assume that. Would it matter if every writer in the book was from, say, County Derry or Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for that matter? I'd like to think that we've gone beyond the need to keep score, no?

I know that Bruen's from Galway, Arlene's from Dublin, Brian's from Donegal but I havent inquired about the birth certificates or residential addresses of the others. If that kind of thing is important to you I'm sure you could dig it up on the internet.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the exceedingly kind words and for your frequent comments.

The stories come from all over Ireland, north and south, as do their authors.

Brian McGilloway, author of the story with the funny ending, writes novels that cross the border between NI and the ROI. His first novel, Borderlands, opens with a body discovered right on the border. His protagonist is a member of the Irish Republic's police, the Garda, but works frequently with a counterpart from the Northern Ireland police, the P.S.N.I.

May 02, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I didn't mean that all of the counties in ROI need inclusion, just some.

With relatives from Counties Sligo and Mayo on one side of the family, and good friends whose families came from other counties in ROI, one of whom showed me a map just the other day of her mother's family's home, and having just met a wonderful woman from the Midlands, just want to make sure of inclusion.

But am assured this is so.

And would love to read this collection and loan it to friends of Irish heritage, who love all things Irish.

Yes, this is an excellent blog with very interesting and well-written reviews and discussion points and then challenging blog discussions.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'm guessing Kathy's question was a lighthearted jab at my lighthearted reference in Spinetingler post to the strong Northern Ireland showing in the awards. I happen to know there's at least one author in the collection who lives in Australia, for the love of god.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, John McAllister's story, "Bog Man," is set in a time before the political division between north and south. And Garbhan Downey writes in Derry and sets his stories there, but his characters will offer poignant observations about how folks in the Republic regard their countrymen from the North.

The stories in this collection are inspired by myths that far predate contemporary political divisions. True, one section of the book is called "Ulster," but I presume this refers to the ancient Ulster cycle of myths. And then there's the fact that Ulster takes in three of the counties in the Irish Republic. Irish history can give even its most casual readers a throbbing head if one tries too hard to keep it all straight, so best just to enjoy the stories.

May 02, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, that is true; it was a lighthearted response to the comment about Northern Ireland being well represented in the Spinetingler awards.

It sounds like a very good collection, look forward to reading it and sharing it.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's a terrific collection in the planning and, so far, in the execution as well. And its birth was serendipitous. First came the idea of an anthology, but collections of crime stories from Dublin and Belfast had recently been published or were being planned. Then, since the publisher puts out a number of books about the supernatural, someone thought of that as a theme. But the editors rejected supernatural crime as too loose a connection. Finally, since the publisher -- Morrigan -- took its name from a powerful figure in Irish mythology, someone thought of Irish myth as the theme.

May 02, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Irish myth: that's definitely a plus for some of my reader friends who love Irish history and mythology.

May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Peter

Did you notice Simmons's change of accent or does that not work for outsiders?

May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Kathy D

Oh I getcha. No worries.

My feeling is that it should be like the Republic of Ireland football team, you know, just for appearances sake there should be at least one Irish player.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Did you notice Simmons's change of accent or does that not work for outsiders?

I think I'd have put down the switch at the 22-second mark to a change in manner. The second part is camp, as you say.

Lots of nahh-oo for now and aboot for about in that second part, but he doesn't use those words in the first part, so it might have been hard for a careless outsider to detect a difference.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Irish myth: that's definitely a plus for some of my reader friends who love Irish history and mythology.

Kathy, if they know and respect the myths, they ought to be intrigued by these stories. I have almost no knowledge of the myths, but these stories have piqued my interest.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My feeling is that it should be like the Republic of Ireland football team, you know, just for appearances sake there should be at least one Irish player.

Do players from countries around the world have a tendency to rediscover their Irish roots around national-team selection time? Too bad there was no World Baseball Classic in the 1880s and 1890s. Ireland would have cleaned up.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger adrian.mckinty said...

Peter

Speaking of odd sporting clashes Ireland just played the West Indies in the cricket world cup. The result was as you would expect.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The reverse of what would happen if the West Indies faced Ireland in hurling?

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

This looks absolutely awesome.

May 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's pretty effing exciting, all right. This collection could:

-- Give you more to read from writers you know.

-- Introduce you to writers you might like to get to know.

-- Get you reading Irish mythology.

May 02, 2010  

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