Wednesday 16 April 2008

Man and Murder

As I mentioned in relation to Kate Stacey, a crime fiction convention offers the chance to meet new people and discover unfamiliar books. I’m looking forward to Crimefest in Bristol, which takes place in early June. I’m moderating one panel and participating in another and it should be an enjoyable event.

One of the members of the panel I’m involved with is Chris Ewan, someone I haven’t met. Chris turns out to be a lawyer, involved in the no doubt glamorous world of film work, and based in the Isle of Man. I look forward to getting to know him.

In the meantime, he’s been kind enough to send me a copy of his first novel, pleasingly titled The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam. This book started life as Long Barn First Novel competition winner and the premise sounds intriguing. Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels about an intrepid burglar named Faulks. To supplement his income – and to keep his hand in – Charlie also has a small side business stealing for a very discreet clientele on commission.

I’ll have to read it to find out if the book has any scenes set in the Isle of Man. Opinions vary about the island, which can be a bit windy, but I like it a lot. It hasn’t featured often in crime fiction – but the late George Bellairs (the pseudonym of a Mancunian banker) wrote quite a number of books set there. His archives were donated to the John Rylands Library in Manchester and give a picture of the life of a mid-list crime writer in the 1950s. I first learned of the archives from an article by Dick Stewart in CADS some years ago, and this prompted me to look them up. Quite fascinating.


Anonymous said...

"I’ll have to read it to find out if the book has any scenes set in the Isle of Man."
No, Mr Edwards. You'll have to read it to enjoy it! It's a good read. In Charlie, Chris has created a Lovejoy for this millennium: a loveable rogue who happens to be a writer and a thief, as opposed to an antiques dealer.

It's set in Amsterdam and there are no scenes on the Isle of Man. At last year's Harrogate, I introduced Chris to John Lawton, whose most recent Troy novel Second Violin (superb) does have scenes set on the Isle of Man.

Chris is lovely and mature beyond is years, I believe. I'm sure you'll like him. Looking forward to your panel at Crimefest, and meeting you Mr Edwards!

Martin Edwards said...

Likewise! I haven't read anything by John Lawton, but I shall keep an eye out for Second Violin.