Sunday 28 December 2008

Like father, like son?

The fact that today is the 18th birthday of my son and webmaster Jonathan, coupled with the fact that, A Level grades permitting, he’ll be attending the same college as I did, and to study law, prompts me (in between copious celebrations) to reflect on links between the generations.

As far as crime fiction is concerned, I recently received a copy of Quiver, a thriller published by Faber and described in the blurb as ‘a thrilling, filmic crime debut that will appeal to fans of Tarantino and the Coen Brothers’. Sounds interesting, but what really caught my eye was that the book is written by Peter Leonard. The author just happens to be the son of Elmore Leonard, one of the most successful American crime writers of the last thirty years.

The Leonards are by no means the only father and son (or, I should say, parent and child) crime writers. In the past there have been quite a number. Examples that spring to mind are the Americans C.W. and Sue Grafton and, in Britain, Edgar and Selwyn Jepson and E.C. and Nicholas Bentley. Coming up to the present day, we have James Lee and Alafair Burke as well as the Leonards in the States and, in Britain, Peter and Phil Lovesey.

Phil Lovesey is a writer I’d like to single out, because his writing has always appealed to me. He’s earned acclaim for a number of books, but it’s probably fair to say that the mega-success I’ve predicted for him hasn’t quite arrived just yet. Nevertheless, he is, like his gifted father, a writer both readable and talented. I’ve included a couple of his stories in anthologies that I’ve edited and, for a book called Scenes of the Crime, I persuaded both of them to contribute – a pleasing double act. They were two very good stories, needless to say, and I eagerly await Phil’s next novel.

Following a parent in the same line of business may have some advantages (contacts, understanding of the business and so on) but in other respects it isn’t straightforward. I’ll look forward to reading Quiver, but I’ll enjoy it on its own merits, rather than because it’s written by the son of a superstar.


David Cranmer said...

I agree on judging a book on its own merits, and, until you pointed it out, I didn't realize we had this many children following in their parents' paths.

Kerrie said...

I thught of the Kellerman's Martin - husband, wife, son
Jonathan, Faye, Jesse

Martin Edwards said...

I wonder if anyone has ever done a list of these family connections?Apart from the well known names, I suspect there would be quite a few obscure ones too.

Juliet said...

Congratulations to Jonathan on his birthday and also on his excellent work on your website!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Juliet. And thanks from the webmaster as well!