Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sports, crime, Neil Young, and everything

This blog has an eclectic group of sports fans-cum-readers: an Irish New York Yankees fan who lives in Australia, for one, and an ice hockey fan in New Zealand.

So, with a nod to the hard-working Craig Sisterson, here is a picture of your humble blogkeeper with the Stanley Cup.
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And here's the evidence of Neil Young's influence on crime writing.

That's two crime novels with titles taken from Neil Young songs. What other rock and roll songs have lent their titles to crime novels?

(YHBK with Hilary Davidson, author of The Damage Done)
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Speaking of sports, the protagonist of Peter Temple's An Iron Rose finds himself the de facto guardian of a aspiring teenage golfer. If memory serves, Peter Corris, the godfather of Australian crime writing, wrote a story in which a young aspiring tennis player figures.

Temple especially gets some nice drama out of this: The young man in question has dropped out of school, in part to work on his golf game, and the protagonist wants him to go back. And there you have it: suspense and generational conflict in one neat, subplot-size package.

Any other stories in which an aspiring athlete plays a role?

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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25 Comments:

Blogger Kiwicraig said...

Nice pic with Stanley Peter. Good to see your enjoying your stay. I had a great time in Toronto and surrounds (spent 2 days in Algonquin, and popped down to Niagara too) in 2008. I probably shouldn't say, since you're from Philly, but I'm a Red Wings fan. Sorry. Have been since the 'Russian Five' days - I think possibly because as a non-North American, it was cool to see a team embracing the foreign players. Plus guys like Yzerman and Lidstrom were always so classy, on and off the ice.

Sports-related crime novels? Harlan Coben has had a few - both the Myron Bolitar series and standalones starring basketball players etc. There are some golfers that play key parts in some Mark Gimenez legal thrillers (he's a big sports fan, he told me in an interview earlier this year).

I'm sure there are plenty of others too, though perhaps not as many as you'd expect.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I live in Philly, but I'm from Montreal, so I can lord it over any other team's fans.

It was a thrill to see the bronze(?) of Ken Dryden leaning on his goalie's stick in the pose we all imitated when we were kids.

November 20, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

A number of Robert Parker's books were sports related.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

No More Heroes (The Stranglers), Beast Of Burden (The Strolling Bones) - Ray Banks and Martyn Waites has loads of boooks named after songs.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Paul: In the matter of the Bowling Thrones, Ian Rankin has written books called "Let It Bleed" and "Black and Blue." I knew this question has many possible answers; I wanted to see which I had not thought of.

My favorite is "Amost Blue," written by Elvis Costello, performed by Chet Baker, and title of a novel by Carlo Lucarelli.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, someone mentioned in a comment to a previous post that at least one of Robert B. Parker's novels has something to do with baseball.

But I wasn't repeating my question from that post. Here I was looking for stories in which the budding career of a young athlete figures in the plot. Such a career is a lot more prominent in Peter Corris' story than in Peter Temple's novel, but it is present in both

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

Never read the book but both versions of Almost Blue are great. Cracking title for a noir novel, really?

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've read only Lucarelli's DeLuca trilogy, so no "Almost Blue" for me yet.

I'd say it's a cracking hard-boiled title rather than a noir one. But I take that back. It's hard-boiled if the title is yearning and romantic but noir if it's bitter.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

The line that I remember form Almost Blue is 'Flirting With This Disaster Became Me.' Noir?

And the sports question? Marathon Man?

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Kent Morgan said...

A teenage hockey goalie and his father's desire to help his prospects are part of the plot line in Bryan Gruley's second novel, The Hanging Tree.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I don't know if that's noir, Paul. A real noir protagonist wouldn't just flirt with disaster, he (or she) would hop right into bed with it.

I've never seen or read Marathon Man. I have talked about it with my dentist, though.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kent, Bryan Gruley is apparently a big Detroit Red Wings fan, just like Craig, who commented above. Thanks.

November 20, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

What other rock and roll songs have lent their titles to crime novels?

Great question, Peter. I wish I was knowledgeable enough to come up with a good answer. Even turning the question upside down and twisting it a little sideways, all I can say is that one of my favourite bands, The Doors, was named after a book by Aldous Huxley called The Doors of Perception.

My favourite Irish band, The Pogues, takes its name from the Irish phrase Póg mo Thóin (Kiss My Arse) and one of my favourite 70s bands, Steely Dan, takes its name from a strap-on dildo referenced in The Naked Lunch by William Burroghs.

I'm not quite sure why these should be two of my favourite bandnames but I would appreciate your refraining from speculating on the matter.

BTW, does strap-on dildo take a hyphen? I will of course defer to your superior knowledge on this subject.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I would say strap-on takes a hyphen certainly when used as an adjective and probably when used as a noun as well.

Popular songs as titles of crime novels ... We all probably know scores of them but can only come up with a few at any given time.

I knew how Steely Dan got its name, but I had not known about the Pogues and the Doors. Thanks for a phrase I can use the next time I'm in Ireland.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Dana King said...

I am insanely jealous. My daughter brought me back a Hall of Fame puck a couple of years ago, but I want a picture of me with the Cup!

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Solea said...

"Solea" of course, from Miles's Sketches of Spain, and "Devil in a Blue Dress."
I can't believe you haven't read Goldman's Marathon Man! It's a great novel for youth too--"skilled in the art of interrogation" may particularly enjoy it. It's particularly relevant in light of the recently disclosed Justice Department report that reveals the U.S. provided a safe haven to Nazis after the war.

November 20, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, it only occurs to me now that my two favourite Oz bands are named after books.

The Go-Betweens, named after the book The Go-Between by L.P.Hartley and
The Triffids, named after The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.

I think there's an artistic hierarchy here. You'll find more bands named after books than you'll find books named after bands or songs. Just a guess, I'm not a statistician.

Love Neil Young, by the way. I forgive him the fact that his middle name is Percival.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

Solo, we should have The Birthday Party in there, then,eh?
Oh, and I'm turning my story Guns Of Brixton (which will be in The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, next year) into a novella. Which reminds me that Allan Guthrie's Bye Bye Baby is named after a Bay City Rollers song!

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, it was all I could do to keep myself from spending $129 Canadian on a Canadiens sweater.

They guy who takes the pictures said I could kiss the Cup, hug the Cup, but not drink from it.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, you're a Penguins fan, aren't you? It was nice to see the Bobby Orr display next to the Wayne Gretzky display and, if my memory is working, Mario Lemieux next to Gordie Howe.

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solea, I er, did not now "Solea" was from "Sketches of Spain." I thought it might have been from the soleá form of flamenco, which I guess it is, indirectly.

Are you saying NBB #1 would make a good sadistic dentist?

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, do you think Neil Young would have had the career he's had if he had gone by the name of Percy Young?

November 20, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Paul, mazel tov on your inclusion in the Mammoth collection, and best of luck with the novella. As it happens, I was listening to the Clash doing "I Fought the Law" as I read your comment.

I knew Allan Guthrie was a man of wide-ranging interests. I did not know they ranged as far as the Bay City Rollers. He's paying tribute to fellow Scots, I guess -- tartan noir acknowledging tartan bubble gum.

November 20, 2010  
Anonymous Al Guthrie said...

Thinking of calling my next book SHANG-A-LANG.

November 22, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wish you enough success that I'll be able to curse you for getting the Bay City Rollers back on the radio -- or whatever it is that kids use to listen to music these days.

November 22, 2010  

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