It also made me question my own attitude towards genre fiction; why do I feel the need to justify reading these books - which I do - even if only by saying how much fun they are in a vaguely apologetic way. That's something to consider at leisure.
Meanwhile back to the British Library. Tony Medawar actually made me want to dig to find if I've got any Anthony Berkeley (I think I have) and read him. He did make me buy a copy of 'Ask A Policeman' which I'm currently enjoying very much indeed.
Jennifer Morag Henderson was a revelation on Josephine Tey. She's written a biography of her which looks well worth reading. I've read a couple of Tey's books but didn't know anything about her, not even that she also wrote plays. That she seems to have led almost a double life - the sister who went home to Inverness to care for her elderly father on one hand, successful author and public figure on the other. I didn't know she was a Scottish writer either which adds another layer of interest to her work (or at least to some of it, I really ought to read more of her books along with Henderson's biography. There is clearly more to Tey than I ever imagined.
Listening to Rob Davies and Martin Edwards talking about the golden age and the British library crime classics series was really interesting too. I'm obviously a fan of this series, primarily I think because these have always been workmanlike books. Not the best sellers of their day, not always high art, but it's a consistently interesting series and I have a better idea of why that may be now.
Stella Duffy was very entertaining on the subject of theatricality in Ngaio Marsh, I'd never had much interest in her New Zealand set books before, and now I really do. Sometimes I need a push to bring something alive, or to simply change my perspective slightly. It didn't take much to go from meh to must read.
Barry Pike did that too, again I knew nothing about H. C. Bailey, and don't think I'd ever even come across the name to notice before, but now I'm very curious. I had heard of G. K. Chesterton, but mainly through Father Brown adaptations. Turns out he was literally a larger than life character, he too now demands further investigation.
It was a great way to start a holiday.
Andrew Berkely wrote Before the Fact under the pseudonym Frances Iles, which was made into the Hitchcock film Suspicion starring Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. It's well worth a read, if only because of how it turns the usually murder mystery format on its head.ReplyDelete
I agree about the apology thing. I too need to stop doing it! As if other people even care what kind of books I read.
Quite apart from anything else it's good to be in a room with a group of people who are all clearly fans of the same sort of books (it doesn't really happen to me that often).ReplyDelete
It also made me question my own attitude towards genre fiction; why do I feel the need to justify reading these books - which I do - even if only by saying how much fun they are in a vaguely apologetic way.
I could have authored that. Would loved to have been there!