Archive for the ‘book’ Category


In 1950s, book, books, crime, crime story, murder, mystery, New Zealand, reader, real-life, teen, true, true crime, violence, writer on November 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Peter Graham new book is out. It is called, So Brilliantly Clever.

It is a true crime story that took place in 1950s New Zealand.

One of the teen perpetrators went on to become an acclaimed crime writer and a documentary was made about her life after the memorable event.

The comment made about the announcement of the book is what attracted my attention though and what made me write this post.

This is what the comment by Fred says, “Does all this attention to a long ago crime really serve any worthwhile purpose or is this just another example of exploitation for monetary gain?”

The key words here for me are: “serve any worthwhile purpose”.

It made me wonder about the general purpose of a book on true crime. What is it really for?

To inform the public? To make them more knowledgeable about the criminal mind? To dispel some misconceptions? To bring to light some new evidence or obscure facts about the perpetrator(s) or the victim(s)?

I cannot answer this question because I am not a true crime writer and don’t know anyone personally who is.

If you do or you are one, I would be happy to know your thoughts about this. Drop us a line.

The reason I used to read true crime books it was to discover more about the criminal mind and get to know more about the facts of a crime and the perpetrators, but I am a voracious reader of anything to do with criminal psychology. However, I have never read anything by a simple true crime writer.

All my true crime books had been written by criminologists and I have to say that aside from some comments to attract the middle-class readership, I have learnt a  pretty good deal, but never enough or a lot about a particular perpetrator.

Books, like any other art form, are subject to marketing, therefore they have to cater for a particular readership.

As I have often said in these pages, true crime writers, in my opinion, suck up to the middle-class who can’t cope with the idea of a human being committing such a serious crime and feel the need to keep a safe distance between themselves and the criminal in the ludicrous attempt to keep up the notion that only a certain type of person or group can act so savagely.

Now, the next question that this little paragraph brings to light is this, why is it that true crime writers’ goal is to please the middle-class?

Where do true crime writers come from?

I believe they come from all sorts of background, from police investigators to private detectives, from investigative journalists to criminologists. So how come their goal seems to be so similar?

This is the question I will try to answer in another post.

Crime Watch: So Brilliantly Clever: New Zealand author takes a detailed look at a decades-old crime.


In A, author, best-selling, book, books, Britain, Bronte, convention, crime, crime, cutlure, financial gain, fragile, remake, world on November 13, 2011 at 9:42 am
A new remake of the Bronte sisters’ work. Why?
Why remake a film made already over twenty times from the same book when, every day, new and exciting stories are published?
Is it because no one like the Bronte sisters’ work inspire scriptwriters and directors?
Is it because producers, scriptwriters and directors don’t want to take any chances, but rather bet on something they know has raked in decent money and interest over the years?
Millions of books since the Bronte sisters’ work have been published. Some of them depicting their era and current events with deadly accuracy and in that way talking to millions of readers through their characters’ hardships and joys and yet, no director, producer or scriptwriter has ever thought of turning that compelling story into a film. Why is that?
I am not convinced that it all comes down to the Bronte sisters’ ability to grab people’s imagination or describe the turmoil and heartbreaks of a generation.
I believe it is more an inability on the producers, directors and scriptwriters’ part to break free from the past and the certainty and explore new territories with characters who are not tried and tested, who are difficult and controversial sure to raise uncomfortable questions and issues. Better is to stay on the old path with stories that yes, deal with uneasy issues, but in a so gentle way as not to upset the spectators’ fragile world.
The Brontë sisters are always our contemporaries – Telegraph.


In author, book, bookstore, choice, cover, crime, fiction, genre, issue, journey, long, manager, minutes, place, popularity, skin, style, title, urban, You on November 4, 2011 at 11:05 am
You have a few minutes off or you are in for a long journey and you pick up a book.
It has the cover you like, the title that appeals, the story that takes you places.
You think you make your own choice, but the bookstore manager has done it for you.How? By placing certain books at the front of  the store, giving them relevance and appeal and by segregating others in the back.

Why? That’s my million dollar questions. Maybe you do have the answer or an opinion about it, but I have yet to figure out the absolute undisputed reason for it.

I guess the first that comes to mind is the popularity of an author, the genre they write and their style.

The second one is the sort of main character they choose to portray. Is it the type that grabs the “average” reader’s imagination? Or the one that everyone is happy to hate?

The third point has probably a lot to do with the author’s choice to tackle some issues over others.

As a crime fiction writer, the one that raises loads of uncomfortable questions and forces the reader to confront her most ingrained prejudices and ultimately her worst fear the market is hard to break. It is available, but it isn’t for everyone.

And I guess that is the main and only reason for an author’s success, aside from luck of course. Her/his choice of genre and the issues they are comfortable to raise in their stories.

All this brings us to the article that got me to think and write about bookstore managers and their choice of authors, genre, stories.

The article in question is  Is ‘urban fiction’ defined by its subject – or the skin colour of its author? | Books | The Guardian and deals with the skin issue that black authors seem keen on bringing to prominence.

I don’t agree with it.

Books get relegated to the back benches for a variety of reasons and some have already been highlighted above.

Many years ago, I remember reading a great story by Sandra Scoppettone. It was a detective story with a lot of soul. And a lesbian MC.

That was enough to get the library to relegated it to a pile in a cardboard box and give it away for .10p.

So as much as I would like to identify with the urban fiction writers, I can’t say their plight is convincing enough.

Authors become famous for a variety of reasons and genre and characters grab the public’s attention for just as different reasons. To make it a race issue is just another way for the black author to call attention to their skin color.

James Patterson and co. sell millions because their characters and storylines sit comfortably with the general public, not because of the skin color of the author.


In advert, book, careers, chronicling, Doug, free, journalists, loss, space, study, The book, trauma, Underwood, violence, writers on October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The book sounds interesting and so I thought of giving it some space  on my blog.

“Chronicling Trauma: Journalists and Writers on Violence and Loss” by Doug Underwood (University of Illinois Press, $50). A study of trauma and violence “in the careers and the writings of important journalist- literary figures in the United States and British Isles from the early 1700s to today,” says the publisher. Underwood, a former Seattle Times reporter, is a professor of communication at the University of Washington.”

via Books | Local books: writers and trauma, angels | Seattle Times Newspaper.


In ABC murders, Ackroyd, Agatha, book, cases, Christie, crimes, Fair, famous, Frankfurt, Holgate, Inspiration, Mike, murder, mystery, personalities, popular, real-life, Roger, scandals, tragedies, true crime, work, writer on October 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm

“Real-life crimes, scandals, tragedies and murders either influenced the work of Agatha Christie – the world’s most popular mystery writer – or affected the lives of many famous personalities involved in her long and brilliant career,” writes the History Press.

“In Agatha Christi’s True Crime Inspirations, Mike Holgate reveals how Christie adapted real-life cases – both local and national – for her fiction.”

“Discover how The Queen of Crime’s fertile imagination was fuelled by the exploits of Jack the Riper, which became the inspiration for the serial killing s in The ABC Murders.

And this is only a small sample of all the goodies you will find in Holgate’s book.

Roger Rapaport tells us that  “Stranger Than Fiction: Agatha Christie’s True Crime Inspirations” (The History Press) by Mike Holgate is well researched. Did you know it was Lord Mountbatten who came up with the plot twist for “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”?”

So what you’re waiting for? Go out and buy it.

via Frankfurt Book Fair: Beyond the hype – and via



In Andrew, book, Cain, crime, David, Deborah, detective, E., Ellroy, James, Jim, Klevan, Moggach, Peace, Thompson, thriller, true, true crime on October 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

“I think that the crime genre is the perfect tool to understand why crimes take place, and thus tell us about the society we live in and the country we live in and who we are.”

I can only agree with Peace. The way to go is to draw inspiration from true crime because nothing is more interesting, inspirational, compelling, “unbelievable”.

Think about it. James E. Cain, Jim Thompson, Deborah Moggach, Andrew Klevan James Ellroy. To me every book by the above authors makes up for a hundred books on any detective/thriller story. They just don’t grab me the way a true story does. The reason?

I can’t say a hundred per cent, but I think it is because nothing is scarier than real life.

via Writers should focus on true crime, says David Peace | Books |