Wednesday 26 May 2010

Mike Hodges and John Curran

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.


Anonymous said...

Martin - How wonderful that you got to meet John Curran. It must have been fascinating. He's done so much interesting research that I would like to learn more about. You're fortunate to have had the chance to speak to him.

Ed Gorman said...

I envy you meeting Hodges. He's had his hits and misses as most creators do but his work is always interesting.

Morgenländer said...

I haven't seen "Get Carter" yet, but I've read "Jack's Return Home" several times; imo it's one of the best British thrillers ever written.

So the film director of "Get Carter" has written a novel? Do you know when it is going to be published?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like Crimefest was really enjoyable for you!

Martin Edwards said...

Margot, yes, John is a delightful and unassuming person, and, of course, exceptionally well read.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Ed. Like John Curran (although they are very different) Mike proved to be both charming and interesting to talk to. I'd never expected to meet him, and it really was a pleasure.

Martin Edwards said...

Morgenlander, the book is recently published and called Watching the Wheels Come Off. Mike inscribed a copy for me and it looks interesting.
I agree with you about Jack's Return Home. Unusual for both book and film to be outstanding.

Martin Edwards said...

Elizabeth, yes, I hope you can make it across the ocean one of these days to Crimefest!

J.A. Jensen said...


Do you have any contact info for John Curran? I am a writer in San Diego and my agent suggested I get in touch with him over some Agatha Christie questions.

James Jensen