Two highlights of Crimefest for me were first meetings with two men whose work I admire for very different reasons. One of the advantages of spending a bit of time in the bar at conventions is that you meet some very interesting people, and this was never more the case than when Maxim Jakubowski and his wife introduced me to Mike Hodges, whose first novel is being published by Maxim’s new imprint.
Mike Hodges is, of course, the legendary film director whose masterpiece is Get Carter. I’ve mentioned before in this blog that Get Carter is in my opinion one of the finest British crime films ever made, and it was a real pleasure to have a lengthy chat with Mike, who at 77 is a lively and entertaining companion. He told me a bit about his working relationship with Roy Budd, who composed the brilliant score for the film. He also mentioned that his fee for the film was a princely £7000. Not much for creating a classic, even allowing for inflation.
I also met up with John Curran, author of the wonderful Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. I’d been listening to Marcel Berlins, a top crime reviewer, interviewing John and Matthew Pritchard, Agatha’s grandson, whom I’ve met a couple of times before. John, Matthew and I then had lunch together – for a Christie fan like me, this was a terrific experience.
I was glad to hear that John is bringing out a follow-up to his book next year. And very interested to learn that he has given up his job to do a PhD on Christie and other Golden Age writers. To spend your time having a wonderful excuse to read classics of the genre! It sounds enviable to me. But John deserves it; he has done crime fans a real service with his original work on the notebooks, which not only expand our knowledge of Christie, but cast light on the plotting process in a way that is hugely thought-provoking.