Saturday 18 September 2010

The Octave of Jealousy

Some of my regular readers may recall my mentioning Margaret Yorke, and her comment about writing a book rather along the lines of La Ronde. This led to mention of the long-deceased short story specialist, Stacy Aumonier, and his tale ‘The Octave of Jealousy’ – of which I’d never heard.

Well, thanks to the generosity of Fiona B, I’ve received a splendid Penguin paperback, containing the story, and I’ve just read it with much pleasure: what a nice thing it is to be a blogger, connecting with people such as Fiona, whom I’ve never actually met. I should say that although Aumonier wrote some well-regarded crime stories, this is not a mystery. It’s simply a rather neat and vivid comment on human nature.

There are eight sections in the book. It begins with a tramp feeling a pang of jealousy when he spots someone with a more settled domestic life. We then see that someone in close-up, and find that he envies someone else, who in turn,... well, you get the picture.

It’s a nice idea, and nicely done. I’m surprised, on reflection, that this type of story has not been done in the crime genre more often. Perhaps the nature of crime writing militates against it. All the same, I’m tempted to have a go myself. One of these fine days...


Anne Gallagher said...

It sounds like a wonderful premise and you should attempt it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And wouldn't it be fun for eight writers to do it.

Fiona said...

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it Martin - I just knew you would appreciate its miniature perfection :)

Off topic: were your ears burning this afternoon? I've spent much of the last two days at the Reading crime writing festival and was particularly thrilled to meet Ann Cleeves. She was on a panel chaired by Natasha Cooper who was utterly brilliant; they were both very complimentary about you when I did my spot of name dropping!