Thursday, 17 October 2013

Raymond Flynn and Dorothy Lumley

In the crime writing world, the increasing number of conventions and events mean that there are many more opportunities for socialising between crime writers than was the case even when I started out as a published writer. As a result, one bumps into people from time to time who may not become close friends but who nevertheless prove to be pleasant acquaintances.

I'm sorry to say that a couple of people who fall into that category as far as I'm concerned have recently died. One is the novelist Raymond Flynn. Ray was taken on by Hodder & Stoughton two or three years before I joined their list and we met at a Dead on Deansgate conference in Manchester at the end of the Nineties. Ray also joined us, as far as I remember, for a very enjoyable Hodder author dinner at which those attending included those very interesting writers Andrew Taylor and Nick Blincoe. Andrew has of course gone on to great things in the crime world, while Nick Blincoe has not (as far as I know) stayed with the crime genre, but has moved on to other literary projects (and I gather he was also once an adviser to Nick Clegg...)

Ray inscribed for me a couple of his books, Busy Body and A Public Body, both of which featured DCI Robert Graham. He had been a career police officer in Nottinghamshire, and his experience strengthened the books. Like me and many others, however, he departed from the Hodder list, and I lost track of him in recent years, though I gather he continued to attend CWA regional chapter meetings in the West Midlands. He is, perhaps, a good example of an enjoyable mid-list writer who faded from sight all too soon because of the vagaries of the publishing world, rather than because of any lack of ability.

Another recent loss is that of Dorothy Lumley, often known just as Dot. I was quite shocked to hear of her passing. A former publisher, she was a literary agent whom I met at a few CWA events and also at the memorable Las Vegas Bouchercon. We once had a meal together and she told me she wanted to submit a short story for a future CWA anthology.I asked her about this a few times afterwards, but she never got round to doing it - too busy representing her clients, I think. She had a loyal set of writers on her books, including that very entertaining crime writer Amy Myers, and they will miss her greatly as agent and friend .

No comments: