Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Brian Innes - R.I.P.

Despite all the pleasures of the St Hilda's Crime and Mystery week-end, there was one sad moment, when the news was broken to me that Brian Innes has died. This happened last month, but somehow I'd missed hearing about it. Brian had a number of claims to fame. Among them was this - he was the only person I knew who once had a number one hit record.

As this obituary explains, Brian was a prominent member of the Temperance Seven, a group I remember very distantly from my childhood. At one time they were often on television, thought their hey-day came immediately before the Beatles changed everything in popular music. Their big hit was "You're Driving Me Crazy", although I'm not quite old enough to remember it topping the charts.

I came to knew Brian because he was a regular at CWA conferences, and entertaining company he was, too. I was startled to read in the obituary that he was 86, because he seemed younger than his years. There was always a twinkle in his eye. He was very loyal to the CWA, and he was diligent at keeping committee members to account. Brian's main literary interest was in the true crime field, and he was for many years the chair of the CWA's Non-Fiction Dagger judging panel. I recall having a very long chat on the phone with him about this only last year..

More than a decade ago, though, he told me of his ambition to write fiction, and I was pleased when he submitted a short story called "Country Blues" for an anthology of rural crime fiction I as editing, Green for Danger. It was a private eye story with a country music elements, and I was glad to include it in the book. The story was part of a series he was working on, and I hoped the publication would encourage him to write more fiction, but I'm not sure this happened.

Very recently, though, I've been working on an anthology of true crime which I'm really rather excited about. I'll post more info about it at a later date. Brian duly submitted an essay to me which I'd like to include if at all possible. With this in mind, if anyone reading this blog can put me in touch with his heirs, I'd be grateful. I suspect it was the last significant piece of writing he produced, and I'm really sorry that he won't be around to see the finished book.

1 comment:

Chris Cooper said...

Martin, I'm delighted to see that Brian's piece has indeed appeared in your anthology "Truly Criminal". I've just bought the Kindle edition specifically for his chapter.

I came across this site when googling Brian. This was the first I knew of his death. He was my first boss in publishing, back around 1970. He was one of those great characters who add to the gaiety of the nation.