Monday, September 05, 2011

McGeachin and Cleave are tops down under

The Detectives Beyond Borders research branch has been so busy preparing for Bouchercon that it has neglected some antipodean crime-fiction honors.

Congratulations to Geoff McGeachin, whose Diggers Rest Hotel took Australia's Ned Kelly Award for best novel. McGeachin is a funny guy whose novels Fat, Fifty & F***ked  and D*E*D Dead! I've discussed here, and he once sent me some Vegemite along with a package of books, for which I should thank him, I think.

Over in New Zealand, Paul Cleave's Blood Men is the second winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. Cleave told New Zealand's Herald on Sunday newspaper last week in an article that bears the headline "Paul Cleave: Too dark for home market"  why he was surprised to win the award. As always for things New Zealand, a hat tip to Craig Sisterson.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

Labels: , , , , , ,

21 Comments:

Anonymous Liz V. said...

Looking forward to reading “In a Treacherous Court” by Michelle Diener (won through Writer Unboxed). With Henry VIII, bound to have murder and mayhem.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Laura M. Campbell said...

Geoff McGeachin's novel diggers Rest Hotel looks intriguing. I'll be checking it out!

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

With Henry VIII, there's bound to be lots of babes, too, always a source of excitement in a crime novel.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Laura, I'm trying to remember if Digger's Rest was also the name of the motel run by a biker gang in Fat, Fifty & F***ked. And no, it's not the kind of motel you think. It's clean and efficient, which is in itself a wonderful detail.

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Geoff McGeachin said...

Hi Peter,

‘Ocean View’ was the biker-run motel in FFF while the Diggers Rest Hotel is located in post WW2 rural Australia and is a much bleaker place. Great to have a publisher get behind an author wanting to change direction, to go back sixty years to dark places and broken people - two more Charlie Berlin books are on the way.

The Ned Kelly Awards night was a riot and the next day it was announced bushranger Ned Kelly’s headless skeleton had been conclusively identified 130 years after his hanging for the murder of policemen Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Scanlon and Lonigan at Stringybark Creek – Irish blood spilling Irish blood.

Very Australian to name a major crime writing award for our most notorious though favourite criminal.

Geoff McGeachin

September 05, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Geoff, I hope I didn't ruin your reputation by calling you a funny guy, then. I notice that you're Geoffrey rather than Geoff on the cover of The Diggers Rest Hotel. Is that meant to convey the book's change of direction?

For the information of anyone reading this, the small illustration under the two book ccvers in this post is Sidney Nolan's painting of The Death of Constable Scanlon. The guy with the metal breadbox with eyeholes is Ned Kelly.

September 05, 2011  
Anonymous mystery book girl said...

How on earth would I ever keep up with what is happening down under if it weren't for you, Peter. Thanks for the heads up, I have been hearing good stuff about Geoff (Geofferey?)and his writing, guess its time to check it out.

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Geoff McGeachin said...

Peter,

Mate, I’m fine with funny and after that ‘light makes right’ comment and pastry making comparison in your review of D-E-D Dead you can call me anything you bloody like.

Rather strangely I was Geoffrey on the cover of FAT FIFTY & F***ED! then Geoff for the Alby Murdoch trilogy and now we’re back to Geoffrey. I’m operating on the principle that the publishers know something I don’t.

On the subject of funny, over the weekend I discovered my nieces 14 year old son recently did a school book report on FFF. While his teacher was apparently happy with it there were some discussions with him about forgoing the asterisks in the title and spelling it all out. I fell off the couch laughing. So while Diggers Rest Hotel might explore some very heavy themes that Aussie larrikin sense of humour is always going to come through in spots.

Kick butt at Bouchercon.

Best wishes,

Geoff

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Australia has very pleasing architecture. Also, the colours, taken up from the soft pinks, ochres and earth colours of the landscape are calming to the eye.

What a fine book cover.

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mystery Book Girl, I will take Mr. McGeachin's relaxed attitude and the aignature on his comments as cues and call him Geoff. You're my guest here, and I say you may do the same.

Thanks.

September 06, 2011  
Anonymous I,J.Parker said...

Congrats to Geoff!

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Geoff: Was it a written or an oral book report? When I was his age and younger, I had to deliver oral book reports in school. Now, that would have presented a challenge.

I will choose to be optimistic and suggest that Penguin must feel good about its financial prospects if it feels it can bear the extra ink costs of spelling out your first name.

Thanks for the kind Bouchercon wishes. You should come over one year.

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I,J.Parker said...
Congrats to Geoff!


And to Geoffrey, too!

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales, the cover caught my eye as well, and for the same reasons I think it caught yours.

September 06, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Australian fiction is more to my taste these days.

"The White Earth" is exceptionally well written.

"www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/mcgahana/whiteearth.html"

Also, "Eucalyptus" by Murray Bail.

September 07, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales, I can't say I've read enough Australian crime ficition to make valid generalizations, but it seems that the Aussie crime novels I've read do have more deadpan humor than do similar books from other countries, even when the books are generally comic.

September 07, 2011  
Blogger Geoff McGeachin said...

My thanks to those who have commented and sent good wishes.

Young Lachlan’s book report was written Peter, and I’m waiting on an emailed copy to see his thoughts. Apparently Diggers Rest is next on his list.

An interesting comment on the book cover Tales, which is one I’m actually happy with. It’s a bit of a generalisation for a country about the same size as the continental US with deserts, temperate coastal plains and rainforests but we are mainly an arid continent (perhaps accounting for the dry humour) with harsh light often producing a somewhat bleached appearence to the landscape. I have always felt Tom Roberts was an artist who captured it best. ‘Bailed Up’ is an iconic painting that probably sums up the general perception many of us have of the look of this country – even speaking as someone who lives at Bondi Beach.

http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/work/833/

The picture also has what I consider a very Australian larrikin sensibility in the relaxed poses of the bushrangers, especially the dismounted rider who seems to having a casual chat with the occupants of the coach in the middle of a very laid back armed robbery.

September 08, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Fuck, am I getting sick of losing my Internet connection.

In any case, I wrote that I have pleasant memories of being unable to keep from laughing as I delivered oral book reports on Steven Leacock and Jim Bouton when I was in elementary school.

Tales, by the way, is a photographer whose work has appeared on at least one striking crime-novel cover. In re that bleached look, I think that;s what people associate most closely with Australia, at least those of us who are not from there.

I saw Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly paintings some years ago when they happened to be on special exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when I was visiting friends up that way.

September 08, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

I've added your work to my reading list, Geoff. Australian friends are very dutiful when it comes to keeping me up to date.

I know that the Australian landscape is very varied and have been in temperate rain forests that are as green as any place in Ireland.

We had a very interesting chat with an artist who explained that there is an "Australian palette" paintbox. I was very puzzled by his work, as it would have been impossible to use his choice of colours from the paints commonly assembled as standard in Europe.

I'm a great Tom Robert's fan and am looking at a reproduction of "A Summer Morning Tiff" this moment. The art gallery in Ballarat is exceptionally good for anybody who wishes to learn about the Australian art tradition and the guided tours are by top class experts. Norman Lindsay is very well represented.

Just in passing, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne won gold at Chelsea this year with a scaled down version of the Australian garden at Cranbourne. The core of the garden is the red earth, the centre of the continent.
The use of water is very interesting throughout.

"flickr.com/photos/anouilh/5464306432/"

Sidney Nolan's work worries me... but that may be the intention...

September 08, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The Ned Kelly paintings are unsettling. I think the combination of the violent subject matter and the cartoonish exaggeration of Ned Kelly's metal mask is responsible.

That burnt red looks Australian to me, all right.

September 08, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

The iconic nature of Ned Kelly and his place in Australian national identity apart, Nolan's work is extremely artificial to my eyes and reminds me of Kandinsky or Miro, but with objects that are more representational.

This paper on Expressionism has helped sort my thoughts on the subject out.

"vccaedu.org/inquiry/vcca-journal/norris2.html"

Nolan's paintings offer representations of inner states of mind. The outside world and the subjects chosen are in a precarious balance with the artist's perception.

(I don't much like writing about art, as the words get in the way.)

There's a good site called sustainablemelbourne with up to date news on festivals and art events.

September 08, 2011  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home