Isabel Allende, Ripper (Fourth Estate, £12.99, 478 pp.) Some literary writers have patronizing attitudes to genre. John Banville, who writes crime-fiction as Benjamin Black, has said he produces just 100 words a day as a literary novelist, but a couple of thousand as Black. Crime-writing is easy was his subtext.
Ian Rankin, Saints of the Shadow Bible (Orion, 428 pp.) The wait for Rebus’ return was not as long as Holmes’ from the Reichenbach Falls. Only a year after the Edinburgh detective ‘retired’, readers were reassured he would return, and he did, working cold cases. Now he’s back on the
‘A man is not much if he can’t depend on himself, and nothing if others can’t depend on him.” So says business tycoon Victor Delahaye at the start of Vengeance (Henry Holt, 304 pages, $26), the fifth of Benjamin Black’s mysteries set in 1950s Dublin. After embellishing this bit of
In Dickens’s bicentenary year, it is pleasant to remind ourselves that the 19th century did, in fact, produce authors other than “The Inimitable”, as Dickens (only partly joking) called himself. Ackroyd was an earlier worshipper at the Dickens shrine, his 1990 biography including dramatised imaginings of Ackroyd meeting his subject.
Well, that’s a Saturday spent usefully. No, I haven’t joined the Boy Scouts — although it’s a thought. Instead I spent the day at a seminar organized by the British Library in conjunction with Wikipedia. From the BL’s point of view, it was a way of promoting its special collections
What fun. The British Library (here) is calling all budding Victorianists to join them on 4 June for a massive edit-in. The idea from the library’s point of view is to help spread the word about the depth and breadth of the various Victorian collections quietly waiting for readers at
In his novel Armadale, Wilkie Collins seemed to share the generally low view of professional detectives, as working-class men sticking their noses where they weren’t wanted. And the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act added to the general perception. Divorce was now possible without getting a special act passed in parliament, but
Wallander is leaving us, says Henning Mankell. I’ve written a (fairly frivolous) piece on detectives abandoning their readers in the Telegraph this morning (here). But while I was writing it, I was actually thinking about the instalment, and how attuned we are to it. Dickens, of course, was the king