Monday 23 April 2018
Peter Lovesey - Grand Master
At last year's CrimeFest, I had the easiest and most pleasurable of tasks, that of interviewing Peter Lovesey about his remarkable career, and a week ago, we had the chance to get together again during the CWA's annual conference, and the book-signing that followed it. (Peter is a former CWA Chair, and his continuing commitment to the CWA is something his fellow members greatly appreciate). Right now, he's in the US, and later this week at the Mystery Writers of America Edgars awards ceremony, he will be honoured as an MWA Grand Master.
The array of awards that Peter has received, over an astonishing span of almost half a century, is quite breathtaking. Right from the start, he made an impact on the genre, winning the Macmillan/Panther First Crime Novel prize for his debut Wobble to Death. He won the CWA Gold Dagger for that marvellous mystery The False Inspector Dew, and he's also picked up a couple of CWA Silver Daggers. He won the CWA Diamond Dagger in 2000, And there are many others. Take a look at the long list on his website.
His latest novel, Beau Death, is an excellent illustration of his versatility. There's a freshness of approach in his work, a refusal to be constrained by formula, that keeps his books as engaging today as when he first started writing. The quiet humour of his work is another important ingredient in his novels, and I should also say that he is unquestionably one of the finest short mystery writers to have emerged in the past fifty years. If you'd like to see the videos of my CrimeFest interview with Peter that Ali Karim kindly allowed me to post on my Youtube channel, take a look here.
But there's much more to Peter Lovesey than wonderful writing. His kindness and modesty are admired by those who know him. You have only to look at the many tributes paid to him by his fellow Detection Club members in Motives for Murder, the short story collection I edited in celebration of his 80th birthday eighteen months ago, to see that. I'm truly delighted that he's agreed to give a talk about his classic and contemporary crime fiction at Alibis in the Archives in June (and there are a few non-residential places still available if you're in the UK then). In the meantime, warmest congratulations on becoming a Grand Master, Peter. You are the worthiest of recipients.