Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Bouchercon panels: Paul Charles, youse two perverts, and a question for readers

Paul Charles' Northern Ireland, or at least the version of it in his current novel, is different from the ones in much recent Northern Ireland crime writing, because its setting is a village with a population of 617, rather than Belfast's bleak, violent streets.

The book is The Lonesome Heart is Angry, and the opening chapters suggest that Charles loves his setting and knows how to create a convincing picture of village life.

Two brothers, farmers and twins, have reached their late twenties and have decided the time has come to marry. Times being hard, however, they can afford just one wife between them.  Here's part of the ensuing dialogue with the village matchmaker, explaining gently while that sort of thing is just not done:
"‘Maybe you’ll be introduced, find an excuse to say something, just make that vital connection. So next time you see her, no matter where it might be, you’ll have the confidence to talk to her a bit more. ... You might ask one of those hypothetical questions, you know, “Em, you know, so and so, well, em, I was thinking: do you know what would happen if I … There’s this friend of mine and he really likes her and he was thinking, and I said I would check for him, so do you think if he asked her out, you know, would she go, you know, out with him?” And the friend will probably answer, “Oh yes – where were you thinking of taking her to?” 
"‘Then you ask her out. You go for a walk, you talk a lot ... and maybe, just maybe, after a couple of years you will discuss marriage. ... But it’s important, vitally important, that the early stages are as natural as humanly possible. Do youse understand that?’ 
"The twins nodded. 
"‘So at what point in this procedure were youse two perverts going to tell the sorry lass that she’d be sleeping with both of you?’"
That reminds me a bit of Pierre Magnan's crime novels of rural France for its amusing sexual slant, but especially for the delicious, slow pace with which the scene builds up to its punch line (I omitted parts of the exchange for reasons of length.) I look forward to more.

What are your favorite recent crime stories with rural or village settings? And why? Does country life get a fair shake in crime fiction? Comments are especially welcome from readers familiar with village life. 
==============
Paul Charles will be part of my Belfast Noir: Stories of Mayhem and Murder from Northern Ireland panel at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California. The panel happens at 11:30 a.m, Friday, Nov. 14. See you there.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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13 Comments:

Blogger RT said...

With my weekend filled with grading English composition papers written by college freshman, I am surprised to enter this "sentence" in your posting:

Comments are especially welcome form readers familiar with village life are especially welcome.

And so I smile. (Please, good friend, do not be offended by my smile.)

October 11, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

CORRECTION:

The irony is tremendous: I should have written "encountered" rather than "enter."

Another smile!

Postscript: Tony Hillerman was rather adept at rural settings. I mean really rural settings! And who can overlook Doyle's Holmes at the Baskerville estate.

October 11, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aye, caramba!

October 11, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

And the errors continiued in the correction. YIKES. I give up.

October 11, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Don't give up, just learn the simple but sobering lesson that I have: Exercise special care when writing anything on a Saturday evening.

October 11, 2014  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Its interesting that in Belfast and Brooklyn you plural becomes youse.

October 12, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And in Massachusetts, the contracted form of "all that I want" is "alls I want."

Paul sets one series in London, one in Donegal, this book in and around Magherafelt, I think, and a forthcoming book in Belfast. That should provide a rich field for discussion of accents.

October 12, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

And in western Pennsylvania, youns became the all purpose plural second person pronoun.......Perhaps it is Scotch Irish leftover from earlier times.....

October 12, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

RT: In the spirit of English teachers everywhere, use "youns" in a sentence, Perhaps Dana King, late of the Pittsburgh area, will weigh in on this.

I could not guess if this might be a Scotch-Irish leftover, but one language can certainly carry over into another. Imitate a Russian speaking English, and you'll likely drop the articles, for example. A comment on a post here from some years ago offers an entertaining mix of Russian and Hiberno-English. And, having noted a tendency in African American English to use the progressive mood ("I've been knowing him for years," rather than "I have known him for years,"), I was interested to read some years ago that some West African languages similarly use the progressive more than English generally does.

October 12, 2014  
Blogger RT said...

Even English teachers in the mill and mine towns of western Pennsylvania were probably afflicted with dialect peculiarities. Pronounced sometime like "you-ens" -- almost two syllables glossed together with the emphasis on the "you," the word was very common: "Youns goin' fishin up the crick or somewheres else?" (I was really into fishing when I was a youngster, and I knew all the good cricks and ponds. Of course, I could only go after I helped redd up the house and worsh the car (i.e., clean the house and wash the car). My accent is nearly gone, but I occasionally have relapses. Students in a class last week were amused by my attempt to pronounce "worship" in a way that sounded familiar to youngsters living here on the Redneck Riviera.

October 12, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'll have to head to Allegheny County for some sociolinguistic research one of these days. Maybe I can get a grant.

October 12, 2014  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

All this time I thought the use of "alls" was a linguistic tic of our neighbors to the north in Oklahoma. Since Oklahoma was settled by a large population of Scots and Irish descent that perhaps helps "splain things Lucy".

October 13, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aye.

October 13, 2014  

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