The best thing about The Book Depository for many of us is that you can get paperback books at discount prices and with FREE delivery worldwide. And a few of mine are cheap there at the moment, if you’re that way inclined..
The best thing about The Book Depository for many of us is that you can get paperback books at discount prices and with FREE delivery worldwide. And a few of mine are cheap there at the moment, if you’re that way inclined..
They say that all small boys are influenced by their big brother’s music collection, and while that may well be true of me, I was also influenced by my family’s taste in other forms of entertainment. Luckily I grew up in a time when television and radio weren’t as youth focused as they are now and I could enjoy the same shows as my parents and siblings, such as Will Hay, Ealing Comedies and Tony Hancock. During the miners’ strikes in the ‘70s there were power cuts. Which meant no telly. Reading comics by candle light and listening to an old transistor radio. Radio 2, usually, since my parents were of that age group. The Navy Lark, Round The Horne and, of course, Hancock.
Tony Hancock – the easiest comedian for charades – and I share the same birthday, May 12th. Whether or not we share the same death day remains to be seen, of course, and let’s just hope we can put that little fact-finding mission on hold for a while, eh?
One of the UK’s major television and radio stars throughout the 1950s and early ‘60s, British actor and comedian Tony Hancock killed himself on 25 June 1968. He overdosed on booze and pills and left a suicide note that said:
‘Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times’
Indeed, Hancock’s eponymous character on radio, on television, and in film, regularly tried his hand at countless activities and endeavours that invariably failed.
One episode – The Bedsitter – teeters dangerously on the precipice of bleak existentialism. The Bedsitter is a one-room set, one-man-show, where Hancock endlessly flips through a Bertrand Russell tome trying to find meaning in life, but fails, of course.
In the most famous episode of his television show The Blood Donor, ‘the lad himself’ proudly donates a pint of his particularly rare blood only to end the episode by cutting himself so badly on a breadknife that he needs a transfusion of his own blood. The recording of the television version of The Blood Donor proved to be problematic as Hancock had recently been involved in a car accident and suffered from concussion so that he had to read his lines from autocue.
After the American failure of his film debut The Rebel, Hancock broke with his long time writing team of Galton and Simpson, who were responsible for most of the great writing in Hancock’s shows, as well as ditching his long-term agent, the splendidly named Beryl Vertue. This pretty much led to his career decline.
Disappointment was always breathing at the back of Hancock’s neck, it seemed.
Hancock, and other character actors, are regularly in my mind when I’m creating characters. Quigley, the hit man in my yarn The Bucket List, was partly inspired by the image of Tony Hancock stalking the streets with a gun.
Hancock could be said to be the perfect noir comedian, in fact. I’ve said before that crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order, and Tony Hancock’s comedy is pure noir. A natural loser. When I started writing I wanted to write small, odd stories about small, odd people – like Hancock.
Like his fictional incarnation, Hancock was prone to introspection, a concoction of egotism and self-doubt which he bared when he was interviewed in the BBCs Face To Face programme in the early 1960s.
Spike Milligan said of Hancock that he was a ‘Very difficult man to get on with. He used to drink excessively. You felt sorry for him. He ended up on his own. I thought, he’s got rid of everybody else, he’s going to get rid of himself and he did.’
As Tony Hancock said: ‘Stone me, what a life!’
(This first appeared at Tom Leins’ blog as part of his Under The Influence series)
One Thing Every Reader Wants to See
A manuscript arrives in the All Due Respect inbox. It sits there for some time.
Might be a day, might be a week, might be an hour.
At some point, usually in the morning with a thermos of coffee, I open the manuscript.
There’s one thing I’m looking for from the first sentence.
I’m looking for conflict.
You may have heard this a hundred times, but there’s a reason for that: It’s easy to forget about conflict. You might focus on any number of other things—the details of setting or how to make your protagonist more likable.
But I can tell you that editors are always looking for conflict. So are literary agents, publishers, and just average readers.
You may have a 300-page manuscript with a dynamite ending, but if you don’t establish conflict in the first 20 pages, your manuscript is unlikely to make the cut.
Open any book on the shelves of your local bookstore and you’re likely to see conflict in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence. Take this opening sentence from Lee Child’s The Hard Way:
“Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man’s life change forever.”
The reader knows from the first moment what this book will be about. The implied question—who is this man whose life has changed forever and how will Reacher become involved?—pushes the reader forward.
The conflict in the first few pages need not be the core of your novel’s plot. For example, one of the first novels our press published was Uncle Dust by Rob Pierce. The novel begins with Dust, a bank robber, discovering he is missing two hundred dollars. Dust goes on a mission to find the money, roughly interrogating his girlfriend and her kid.
The protagonist wants something and other characters are in his way. It doesn’t matter that it’s a small amount; he will not stand losing the money. This is a small conflict setting up a larger conflict that also tells the reader a bit about Dust’s character.
It’s possible an editor or agent will continue reading past page 20 if you have an engaging voice or a fascinating character.
It’s much more likely they will continue reading because you’ve established conflict.
‘Once our beer was frothy but now its frothy coffee…’ – Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be by Lionel Bart
In 1959, the great Lionel Bart turned Frank Norman’s London set play ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be’ into a musical comedy about ‘low-life characters in the 1950s, including spivs, prostitutes, teddy-boys and corrupt policemen’. This was a time of great change in post-war London – what with the ‘birth of the teenager’ and the Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon – and not everyone copes well with change, of course.
London is changing again, too, though not necessarily for the better. Online, I see a litany of news stories about classic cinemas being converted into apartments for the super-rich and the destruction Tin Pan Alley – the home of British rock n roll. Indeed, the Soho of Bar Italia, Ronnie Scott’s, Norman and Jeff in The Coach and Horses, or Francis Bacon and Derek Raymond in The French House seems long dead or dying.
Ironically, the 50s coffee bars so disparaged in ‘Fings’ are now lamented as they are replaced with over-priced, homogenised sandwich bars and ‘frothy coffee’ seems decidedly risqué.
My books Guns Of Brixton, Cold London Blues, and A Rainy Night In Soho are violently comic tales of London low-life, occasionally rubbing shoulder with the high-life. All three books focus on the Cook family – ageing London gangsters who aren’t adapting to change too well. All they have left is the shitty weather.
Here’s a clip from COLD LONDON BLUES :
‘Father Tim … looked out across the London skyline. The inky-black night had melted into a grubby-grey January morning. The city was waking now and the windows of the other granite tower blocks outside were starting to light up.
A cold wind, as sharp as a razor blade, sliced through him and Father Tim fastened his leather biker’s jacket as tightly as possible. Dark, malignant clouds crawled ominously across the sky.
‘Pissin’ miserable weather,’ he muttered to himself. ‘Pissin’ miserable country.’
He took a crushed packet of Marlborough cigarettes from the back pocket of his Levis, fished inside with shaking fingers.
On the opposite balcony, a tall man with long black hair took breadcrumbs from a plastic bag and threw them in the air. Black birds darted down from telephone lines where they had been lined up like notes on sheet music. The birds flew towards the tall man, landing on his balcony and sometimes on him. His raucous, joyous laughter brought an unfamiliar smile to Father Tim’s face.
On the street below, he could see a branch of a small general dealer with a bright green logo above the door, as well as an old bicycle factory that had recently been converted into a Wetherspoons pub, and a stretch of hip bars, including Noola’s Saloon, its green neon sign flickering intermittently.
The street bustled with the drunken debris of the previous night’s New Year’s Eve parties. The still-pissed and the newly hungover mingled. A massive skinhead in a leopard skin coat walked up to Noola’s Saloon and pressed a door bell. The door opened emitting a screech of escaping metallic music as he slipped inside. Iggy and The Stooges’ ‘Search and Destroy.’ A sense of longing enveloped Father Tim. A feeling of time passing like grains of sand through his fingers.
Father Tim felt his rheumatism bite as he inhaled his first cigarette of the day. His chest felt heavy. If ever there was time to get the hell out of London it was probably now. The quack had told him to piss off to Spain, or somewhere as sunny, for a bit, for his health’s sake. It wasn’t a bad idea, either. He could even stay at his sister-in-law’s gaff in Andalucía if he wanted. But he knew he wouldn’t stay away for long. London was in his bones. His blood. His lungs. For better or for worse.’
(This post first appeared at Tess Makovesky’s blog.)
He also wrote widely ontrue crime, mysticism and the paranormal. Wilson called his philosophy “new existentialism” or “phenomenological existentialism”, and maintained his life work was “that of a philosopher, and (his) purpose to create a new and optimistic existentialism”.‘
And back in the ’80s and ’90s, I read a lot of Colin Wilson‘s books, mostly his novels and mostly via Hartlepool Public Library. He
even wrote a crime book- The Killer- that was
set in Hartlepool. There was a lot that I liked about him and his books.
Along the way, I discovered he’d written a book called The Book Of Booze. And for some reason, I wrote to him about it. And for some reason, he replied.
I didn’t have the letter for years and thought I’d lost it on my travels but it recently turned up in a pile of old photos.
So, here it is!
‘ The bookshop was jam-packed and stuffy. The wine and conversation were overflowing in equal measure. Keith Jarrett’s ‘Standards’ played numbly in the background as a veritable cornucopia of crime fiction writers of various levels of success held court in different parts of the room, shuffling nervously behind tables cluttered with copies of their latest pot-boiler. Their faces were frozen into rictus grins.
‘Bullets in the Bookshop’ was an annual event. An international meeting of writers and crime fiction groupies organised by Blackstones’s Bookshop in Cambridge, an archetypically quaint English bookshop on an archetypically quaint cobble-stoned English street, not far from King’s College. The non-writers were in the majority, of course. Most of them were spinsterly types of both sexes enthusing over Nordic Noir— whatever that was. Then there were also a few academics slumming it — one particularly dandruff speckled gent with the complexion of a blackcurrant crumble was talking loudly and authoritatively about crime fiction as a social novel and receiving a number of approving nods. And, of course, a few wannabee crime writers were there, too, trying to look mean and moody — all leather jackets, stubble and gently sneering. I even recognised a couple of the faces from the Quais Du Polar crime fiction festival in Lyon that I’d attended in the Spring.
Not that I was a connoisseur of crime fiction. I rarely read fiction at all, in fact. I’d attended the Quais Du Polar in order to meet up with Lena K, the torch singer turned bestselling crime writer who was also my partner in several unlawful activities. And I also had an ulterior and particularly criminal motive for being in Blackstone’s. A meeting with the man who was holding court at that moment.
Julian Stroud stood behind the largest table in the room and clearly thought a lot of himself. He was tall, handsome man in his mid-fifties and painfully well dressed. A pair of half-moon spectacles hung around his neck and he had the look of someone who had just smelt one of his own farts and found it surprisingly rank.
‘Why kill time when you can kill other people,’ said Stroud, the shadow of a smirk creeping and crawling across his too-tanned face. ‘Although, only on paper, of course, eh?’’
‘In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. In stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past. A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of blackly comic international noir from Paul D. Brazill.’
‘London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.’A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
So, it’s no great surprise that Britain’s capital city has lent itself to its own particular brand of noir, from the likes of con man Harry Fabian and his fellow hustlers in Gerald Kersh’s brilliant 1938 novel Night and the City, to George Harvey Bone, the murderous alcoholic in Patrick Hamilton’s marvelous Hangover Square, (1941).
Outsiders abound, of course, unsurprisingly so in Colin Wilson’s Ritual In The Dark (1960), a
‘modern day’ Jack The Ripper tale which would be called a period piece now. It’s a kind of British Crime and Punishment which takes place in a sexually and socially repressed 1950’s Britain and a vividly drawn Soho. Written in 1949 but published in 1960 it is distinctly pre- The Beatles (pre rebellious youth) and post WW2. It is also a distinctly British exploration of existential extremes featuring a murderer who kills as a creative act, a positive rebellion against the supposed unimportance of his existence. Ritual In The Dark -Post war angst in a world where ‘we’ve never had it so good’ just isn’t good enough.
More up to date is Layla by Nina de la Mer, a gripping and gritty slice of London noir about the downward spiral of a suburban girl who moves down the smoke for a better life and becomes a stripper.
And there’s also Richard Godwin’s One Lost Summer, a sweltering, intense noir set among London’s rich and powerful. And plenty of other crime writers have explored London’s dark side too such as Derek Raymond,Martina Cole, Carole Morin, Charlie Higson, Benedict J Jones and Cathi Unsworth.
Here’s a taste:
“Come on in, Barry mate,” he says as I stick my head, all turtle like, round his door. Mate. Fuck’s sake. This can only mean bad news. Donald’s usually a grade A top class cunt of a cunt, and in all the time I’ve known him he only plays the nice guy before he’s about slide his metaphorical cock right into your arse. I grimace at my own choice of analogy as I drop my pre-shafting backside onto the chair opposite him, trepidation dancing across my mug like Michael fucking Flatley.
I’m over there along with Simon Kurt Unsworth, Ian Ayris, Stephen Bacon, Lisa Tuttle, Sam Millar, Mike Evers, Christopher Fowler, Dennis Etchison, Howard Lynskey, K A Laity, and many more.
So pop over and listen to the MUSIC OF THE NIGHT
On love, and all its lastings.
by doug gelsleichter
I have loved three women – passionately and enthusiastically.
A Virgo, a Cancer, and a Scorpio.
I am a Gemini.
Gemini’s are warned not to seek relationships with Scorpios, Cancers, or Virgos.
Take it for what it’s worth.
So with that being said – and by that I mean having loved three women – then I think I can say, without estimation and with the utmost confidence – I know what I’m talking about.
When you tell me a story about love – be it comedy or tragedy – I’ll understand. I’ve seen it all and if love is a battlefield than I am a veteran of foreign wars.
And to make it clear – I don’t mean, in any way, sex. Sex and love are not mutually exclusive as many a slut or co-dependent could tell you.
I mean love – the act of knowing and understanding someone completely – accepting what they are, and living with them as a sum that is more effective than it’s parts. It’s two people pulling the cart to market – together.
I don’t think many understand what love is.
Once, when asked what I thought about love I responded: You cannot love someone until you hate them first.
I’m not sure if that’s correct but it certainly brings up questions.
Like everyone else, I’ve wanted to be loved – have a partner to share life with. When I was younger – my formative high school years – I wanted nothing more than to be in love – a hopeless romantic. And when I love someone I love someone. It’s one of the few things I believe you shouldn’t do half assed.
Yet, I have come to know – having won and lost – that whomever said it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is a brilliant asshole.
So here is the short list.
The only ones that matter – at least so far – at almost thirty.
My first love, first girl friend, first time, first apartment, first child, first custody battle, first child support hearing. Met her at fifteen and dated for seven months, through most of sophomore year – then again at eighteen for six years. Seeing as that’s longer than some people stay married these days, some would also say first wife.
My second first love – my only great love. I met her summer of ’99 – an odd, retroactive metaphor. We worked together in a restaurant and had six of the best months of my life with. Third girl I had ever slept with and first girl I ever made love to. The only woman I’ve ever felt passion for.
I know many girls – she is one of the few women.
I not only respect her, but consider her a best friend – and although ‘us’ will never again exist I feel lucky enough to know her.
The third first love is controversial.
We never dated – although the tension between us was palpable. We shared more than one good kiss and got along very well. We were both very much an individual and respected that about one another.
She went on to date a friend of mine I thought was a douche bag, then went to college. I had a kid and sunk into the miasma of middle America.
I’m proud of her actually – she did everything she said she wanted to do.
She is accomplished.
Regardless – I loved her – as the little girl who’s mom watched us during recess to the beautiful vixen who came to my bedroom window during puberty, and interrupted Hellraiser 3.
There is no one else. The rest are people I’ve either dated or fucked.
So I suppose this is an anecdote – maybe a cautionary tale wrapped in an essay. Either way it’s what happened – the influences on my opinions and the source of my frame of mind. All three I met during these initial years before someone shits in your soul and you’re forever jaded. The period of life when youth fuels passion and sex is great. The years which shape a young man’s life – when there’s still possibility.
And that’s what they did – those first three loves – they changed me – each one. All three in distinctly different ways.
They have all earned my respect – one out of love, one out of soul, and one out of combat.
They have left a mark on me – a mark of self reflection – having forced me to look inward and ask myself questions I otherwise wouldn’t have.
They have effected change in me and helped to shape the man I am today – and with all but one, continues to shape to this day.
And with that being said I’d like to present my case – the feelings and beliefs born of thirteen years experience. I can’t say I was right, any more than I can say I was wrong. I’ve been both white knight and scum bag, and all I can do now is offer the truth – as plainly as I can put it.
Consider this my love’s suicide declaration.
I will start with mother to my child.
I met her mother when we were fifteen – and, as stated prior, experienced many firsts with her.
She was also the first to break my heart.
We broke up just before junior year and it was devastating to me in it’s suddenness and frightening in it’s callousness. Then again, I suppose that’s just white trash.
We began seeing each other again at eighteen – summer after high school. Then I flirted with college and broke up with her because I was in college and wasn’t passing up the pussy and don’t believe in cheating. I came home that summer and we reconciled over her having no place to live. I never went back to college, but that’s hardly her fault. After my stint of higher learning we got our first apartment – lost it four months later and bounced around because her mother had kicked her out top of the year and she had no family base to support her. Again, I’m stating facts – at the time, despite prejudices, I loved her deeply – and still love, much more shallow, today. So I promised her I wouldn’t walk away as everyone else had. Her mother had told her to get out, packed her bags for her and refused to discuss it further because the step father – a trailer park pervert who is a cartoon of a man – gave the ultimatum. Your daughter or me. Then – after discarding her daughter she later divorces him little over a year later and made no effort to say ‘hey, I fucked up’
Plain and simple I felt sorry for her – I loved her and didn’t want her to feel that pain. There was a girl I genuinely loved, and who was my best friend at the time being betrayed by her own mother.
I wanted to help her because I loved her and I understood the pain of a parent who can’t be bothered. So that’s what I did – helped her. For four and a half years, through the birth of my only child I wasn’t sure was mine initially. For four years I tried to make a hoe into a housewife – working two jobs from age nineteen to twenty-four and at one point working ninety-five hours a week, seven days, at two full time jobs for an entire calendar year. Granted she helped out with our daughter at home, but when the call came she wasn’t available.
The complaint was – you’re never home.
When I was home we didn’t have enough money.
Whether I did and didn’t.
The relationship rotted from resentment and imbalance and led to me talking to my daughter four times in three-hundred and sixty-five days and getting a handful of pictures after eight months of hope.
The result was a six month court case after I drove with my dad, to Kentucky, to pick my daughter up.
I won custody.
She pays me seventy-five dollars a week in child support.
The judge read the decision in a forty-five minute long prepared speech, discussing fourteen points – delivering his judicial opinion of who was better suited in each.
I won 13 – 1.
And all that love – all that intensity we had – all that strewed feeling brewed into the biggest rivalry since black and white.
She hates me now – I believe that. But not in the traditional sense of hate – I believe she hates me because she can no longer love me. I could be wrong, but doubt I am. She has managed to express her hatred and ability to ‘not care’ during our numerous court appearances since the judgement – six in 2010 to be exact. Yeah, that’s every two months.
I have proven her accusations false each time and have acted with respect toward her feelings with as unique as the situation is. She lives eighteen hundred miles away and only sees her daughter two and a half months a year, and married a guy she met on eharmony.
I suppose she feels the only way to win is persistence – trouble is she’s being a persistent pain in the ass and it’s obvious. It’s also daunting.
So to wrap it up – cause the details of this one will drown you – all I can say about my daughter’s mother is this –
I am better than her – yet she can always get the better of me.
She is my Lex Luthor.
My second first love, and I believe soulmate – is my Kryptonite.
This woman could kill me – wouldn’t matter. She’s second only to my mother and daughter as goddesses I know.
If she is in need of light – a torch I will bare.
We met, romanced, and fell in love in something akin to a Shakespearian dark comedy – the ongoing tragedy of not being able to ever be together, yet having taken parallel paths. Our daughters are nine months a part and to this day I’m accused by my daughter’s mother that it’s my child.
Truth of the matter is we’ve fought the same wars – and we’re both survivors. All I can say is my time with her is the greatest of my life – something I will cherish and continue to draw inspiration from.
She’s married now – and happy.
We still talk and her husband knows about it. I visited and hung out with both of them.
He’s a guy I went to high school with and is someone I respected even then. He’s exactly what she not only needs, but deserves.
He’s a man.
An honest, hard working man – being a Marine also helps.
I am happy she has found love – even if it isn’t with me.
I still love her and always will – but I respect him, her, and the sanctity of a solid relationship.
Let’s just say she stopped starring in my fantasies when I spent a few relaxed evenings with the two of them. They’re in love and compliment each other very well.
Who am I to disrupt that.
My third first love – I haven’t spoken to her in several years – actually more like a decade.
I told her I loved her – in my mom’s car, driving back into town on the old highway. She said she loved me too, but who knows – maybe she was being kind to hurry the uncomfort along. But that’s as far as it went.
Probably doesn’t help that I dated and broke up with two of her best – Power Puffesque – friends.
Circumstances withstanding I did love her and I believe she had feelings for me. May not have been love, but let’s just say she would have fucked me and not regretted it.
I wanted to know everything about her – but never got the chance to read much of the book.
However, I can still – to this day – claim it as a lost opportunity. It likely wouldn’t have gone far because she’s better than me and I have much less to offer than she does. I only regret not getting to make love to her – if it could have been that. She was that sensual and sexy – erotic even.
A half Mexican, half white work of art.
Any a man lucky to have her admiration –
Now these were the game changers, but there is one more.
This next statement is as true as I can make it.
I have missed being with few.
If I meet someone and we’re enamored – something happens – and I make a great fling.
But when it comes to women I want, my track record is impressive. Still, I have fallen short three times – all to much disappointment.
Two of them were just cunts who enjoyed knowing you genuinely like them and want them – but only ever let you dry hump a home run. It’s no more different then men subjugating women.
However, one of these – the subject of mythology and lore – is the one I’ve never touched, been with and barely talked to – the one who has eluded me.
My golden fleece.
The one who showed me girls weren’t all yucky. The one I was first attracted to – the very first arousal. From fourth grade until freshman year a running joke was how I liked her and she wanted nothing to do with me because I was gross, yucky, stupid loser, not cool, whatever.
I worshipped this girl and she became my first muse. A well I drink from to this day. I would ride past her apartment building on my bike until she threw rocks at me. She is the reason I’m heterosexual.
She is the most beautiful women I have ever seen – granted I haven’t seen her in about five years, but last time I did my opinion held strong. She is the yardstick in which I measure beauty – my ideal.
Although ideal – idealizing isn’t.
Yet with the exception of twice being in her presence at separate middle school parties and a few awkward jokes and even more so smiles, I don’t know her.
The only conversation we’ve ever had earned me the threat of assault from her long time boy friend – the son of a science teacher.
What all this did was turn her into a myth – a sexual Sasquatch of sorts.
To this day, I have been in her presence less than an hour – yet I am still captivated by her.
She’s has become a painting – a beautiful face I can always look at, but never know.
And what I wouldn’t give to fuck her. Just once – no bullshit or stings attached – just simple make each other cum, intense sex. All I need is one night to fuck the shit out of her – the way she likes it – however that may be.
I’d be up for that challenge – any day.
In encompassment – with all that has been said – I present the only women who has ever truly loved me.
April Day – and yes that’s her name not a play on words – used ironically or not, because yes, she was born in April.
The first could never give up control enough to ever love anyone.
The second is afraid to love me.
The third doesn’t know me.
And the idol – by nature – could never love me – otherwise she’s no longer an idol.
But April is my guardian angel.
Since seventh grade math class she has accepted me wholeheartedly and hasn’t left my side. She has loved and supported me through thick and thin – smile and grin.
My cheerleader and champion.
She’s also a lesbian.
I think that speaks volumes.
I don’t know what else to say other than – good luck.
PDB: What is Hersilia Press ?
It’s a small company trying to bring Italian crime fiction to a wider, English-speaking audience. Unlike some big companies, we focus on quality and don’t necessarily go for the big names, but for the books we like. Having said that, some of our authors like Giorgio Scerbanenco have been bestsellers for a while, while others, like Maurizio de Giovanni, have now become so!
PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind Hersilia Press?
It’s mainly me, Ilaria Meliconi. After degrees in astronomy and history of science, my work background is in publishing so I look after the editorial side while Alberto does the technical side of things – website, epub and so on.
PDB: Which authors are involved in Hersilia Press?
A number of very different authors: from Giorgio Scerbanenco, considered one of the founding fathers of Italian crime fiction and writing in the 1960s, to Maurizio de Giovanni, now a bestseller author sold all over of Europe and the US.
PDB: Which books have been published so far?
There’s Inspector Cataldo’s Criminal Summer, set in the Emilia Romagna region (where I’m from) in a small holiday village on the Apennines, Blood Sisters set in a foggy and wintry Bergamo in the north of Italy, I Will Have Vengeance set in an atmospheric 1930s Naples, In a Heartbeat, more on the hardboiled style and set in Milan in the eighties, A Private Venus and Betrayal both set in 1960s Milan.
PDB: Where can we find out more about Hersilia Press?
On the website.
PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Hersilia Press?
Have a look at the catalogue on www.hersilia-press.co.uk/catalogue and whatever your taste you’ll find something that you like. Regardless of what language a book was originally written in, if the translation is good (and ours are good!) a good book is a good book – they’ll take you to a different place and time, in different styles of writing and plotting, and that’s what books are for!
One of the areas touched upon in the first chapter of my novella A CASE OF NOIR is the rather, louche and down-at-heel world of Warsaw’s ex-pat EFL teachers.
The ‘flotsam and jetsam of life’ that make their living teaching English in Poland’s capital.
To give you a further — and very noir — taste of that bitter-sweet life here’s All About Steve, a documentary that was made a few years ago by James Torr and Jonathan Walsh.
The focus of All About Steve is a teacher known as EFL Steve who mysteriously disappeared from Warsaw after claiming he was being poisoned by a sinister group. As the mystery unravels we also get a good look at EFL life in Warsaw, and its various odds and sods.