Monday, 28 April 2008

Liza Cody

Liza Cody burst on to the scene in 1980 with Dupe, featuring a likeable female p.i. called Anna Lee. The book was an immediate hit and won the John Creasey Memorial Award for best debut novel. It introduced me to a writer I have admired ever since, and whom eventually I enjoyed meeting after I joined the Crime Writers Association.

Liza has never been especially prolific, and the slightly disappointing television series featuring Anna Lee in the early 1990s (starring the lovely, but possibly miscast Imogen Stubbs) seems to have deterred her from continuing with her series detective. Anna remains, however, one of my favourite female detectives.

Liza has written a number of other novels, the most successful of which was probably Bucket Nut (1992), which won the CWA Silver Dagger (an award now sadly discarded.) She has also written some very effective short stories, and Crippen & Landru have published a collection of them called Lucky Dip. The book has a very interesting, and characteristically modest, introduction written by the author herself. She says ‘I have always been intimidated by the short story’, but to read her work, you would never guess. In collaboration initially with Michael Z. Lewin (of whom, more at a future date), and later also with Peter Lovesey, she edited three CWA anthologies, and when the three of them decided to move on to other projects, I took over as series editor.

Nearly thirty years after that first novel, Liza Cody has a secure reputation in the crime field, and yet there is a sense that a writer of such talent has a good deal more to offer. Whatever it turns out to be, I’d bet that it will be well worth reading.

1 comment:

maxine said...

Oh, good one, Martin. I loved Liza Cody's novels, and remember keenly seeking them all out. It must have been before I had children, because I remember seeing an Anna Lee programme on TV and finding it disappointing compared with the books (though Imogen Stubbs is a great actress, not quite Anna? Also probably the TV had to tone it all down a bit).
Someone lived in a beaten up caravan in a derelict car park? And sorted-out thugs? That's my abiding memory. Excellent, anyway. What a pity Ms Cody has not written more.