Tag Archives: Crime Always Pays

This time he ‘failed better’

Declan Burke is under the – erroneous – impression that he only won the Last Laugh Award at the Bristol CrimeFest because his wife told him not to come home without it. Or so he claims.

Jeffrey Deaver and Declan Burke at CrimeFest

The fact is that Declan deserves to win prizes for his writing, especially if it’s for his humour. It’s not bad at all. Absolute Zero Cool is a weird book, but a funny one, and very different from most other crime novels. I think I might even have voted for AZC this time.

He’s also trying to claim that his speech was bad, because he’d only prepared one for Elmore Leonard (whose prize he’d offered to pick up, thinking he was more likely to win). But others who were lucky enough to be in Bristol on Saturday night seem to say that it was a good speech, so maybe it’s another instance of that maddening modesty.

I had been intending to blog a general moan about me not having been there. But then when this great news came, I thought it’d be more fun to cover the good aspects of CrimeFest, and never mind that I didn’t make it. Peter Rozovsky was there again, and he has a lot of interesting posts on all that went on in Bristol.

As for me, I’ll keep trying.

Working to rule

I will begin by quoting the very kind and caring comment made by the wonderful Dorte last week, ‘don’t go spoiling your blog readers. Remember you are the boss or they (we) will just begin to take you for granted.’ Tak, Dorte!

The alternative could be that you all go off reading some other blog. As the ever faithful Adèle Geras has said more than once, it is important to blog/publish every day. I don’t on my other blogs, and it shows. I need time off, but as one of my reasons is the almost total freeze of my right hand/fingers up to my shoulder, I can’t do a Blue Peter kind of time off. I don’t have it in me to write ‘here is one I made earlier’. That’s why the recent chat with Caroline Lawrence is going nowhere right now. I had expected it to be finished and published at least a week ago.

As the Retired Children’s Librarian said on the phone the other day, ‘can’t you use your other hand?’. My left hand sometimes does go on the mousepad for simple moves. But it takes longer and I haven’t got all day, you know.

Earlier this year I half considered a regular guest slot, but that also takes time and a lot of typing. I can probably run up a post myself in half the time it takes to invite someone else.

Any ideas?

I will continue to put something on here every day. For a while it might have to amount to no more than a token post. Referring to the heading for this post, I need a union. Except my boss is a hard woman, so it could be it would do no good.

Sjuk älg

Writing this, I just received an email telling me I need a ghost writer. True. But I look like a ghost already, and one is enough.

If you find yourself thinking that a photo or other silly note is just not good enough, may I suggest you try this, or this? And if you are Nicola Morgan I will only say that you could be writing another book, or something. Unless, you too, require a holiday/convalescence/ other poor excuse?

Achoo! (I know. Arms don’t sneeze. What do they do?)

Where are the wild dogs when you need them?

I don’t suppose Adèle Geras expected her email alert to have quite this effect on me. But that’s the blogging world for you. I was out all Sunday so did not, in fact, see the Observer article where Ed Docx – ‘literary author’ – tears Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown to pieces. And the crime fiction genre and genres in general. Thank god for real literature. What would we do without it?

Ed Docx 2

A brief meeting with the good Ed means I seem to know that he has a literature background, which will be why he knows so much. He lectures quite strongly, and wrongly, in this Observer piece. Just as he did at the bookshop event I went to, where he thought nothing of telling the assembled readers, most of whom were at least twice his age, how to read a book. He wasn’t trying to be funny, either.

On Normblog Mr Geras had this to say about the article. Such a relief to find some well put-together sentences such as ‘Oh dear, Yeats! If only he’d roamed free of those poetic forms’, even if Norm doesn’t share my fondness for crime.

Stieg Larsson would surely turn in his grave if he knew he was being bracketed with Mr Brown of Da Vinci fame. There is a lot of difference between the two, and I think Ed would have been better to concentrate on complaining about only one of them.

Over on Crime Always Pays there is also a debate going on, with John Connolly sticking up for Ed. Which I will forgive him for. This time. And I agree with the comment about Lee Child, but then I would.

I was going to find a way to link to what I wrote about Ed a couple of years ago, but technical difficulties are getting in my way. Besides, when there are quotes like this one from the Observer comments section to enjoy, who needs old witch material? ‘The important thing is that anyone who claims to be a writer and writes copy like Docx’s should have their bowels torn out by wild dogs.’

(And you can never have two many drinks. As long as they balance.)

Page 123

This week’s game would seem to be some blog tagging exercise where the victim has to bore their readers with three sentences from their nearest book.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I am rather belatedly reading Jacqueline Wilson’s latest book, My Sister Jodie. Sentences number six to eight on p123 go something like this:

She kicked too hard and hurt her foot. “Ow!” she moaned, hopping on one leg. She wasn’t good at balancing on just one high heel and nearly toppled over.

This mad chain blog thingy could only have come from one place, Crime Always Pays. You silly man. Haven’t you got nappies to change and sleep to catch up on? Oh, well. But you people who I’m about to tag had better remember it’s nothing to do with me. The lucky victims are Lowebrow, Julie Bertagna, The Green Knight, Sara O’Leary and Jen Robinson.


Or stats. If I’d known that Declan over on Crime Always Pays was that close to 40,000, I’d have spent all Wednesday sitting there waiting for the stat counter to reach the magic number. As it was, by the time I called round it was 40,059, which is a terribly unround figure.

Anyway, congratulations Declan. And I hope you have no thoughts of retiring, because I need something to make me smile some days. (It’s just that that “speech” you wrote there, sounded like a retirement speech. Don’t you dare.)

And I’m just a little jealous. But I’m not that far behind. Honestly.