Wednesday 20 March 2024

Paul Charles - Adventures in Wonderland - review

Paul Charles has combined a highly successful career in music as an agent, promoter, manager, and songwriter (one of his numbers was covered by Norah Jones) with a distinct career as a crime writer. He and I first met in Philadelphia, of all places, at a Bouchercon in the late 90s and we hit it off right away. We don't manage to meet up too often, because of our other commitments, but I always enjoy his company. We had a very enjoyable afternoon together in London recently, when Paul told me about his recently published memoir Adventures in Wonderland.

I've now devoured the book. As you'd expect from a very experienced novelist, it's as readable as it's entertaining. Paul has had many famous clients, ranging from Van Morrison and Elvis Costello to Ray Davies and Tanita Tikaram, and there are plenty of fun anecdotes about his encounters with the great and the good (and also the not-so-good) of the music business.

It's clear that Paul's a very shrewd businessman, but his humility and wisdom shine through the pages. I know that some people do well, at least in the short term, by behaving ruthlessly, but the most successful business people I've met over the years - and I've met quite a few - are neither arrogant nor exploitative. Paul is a very good example and some of his anecdotes illustrate the merit of one of his other strengths - persistence. 

There are a number of references to Paul's crime writing, and a good chapter about Colin Dexter. For those of you who don't know Paul's fiction, I can recommend it. And I'm equally enthusiastic about Adventures in Wonderland

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