Nick Gadd's Blog (7)

Should recurring characters get older?

Swedish novelist Henning Mankell recently called a halt to his mega-bestselling Inspector Wallander series with the novel The Troubled Man.  According to an interview that Mankell gave to the BBC, Wallander is now aged over 60 and is brooding over his life. "I let Wallander look backwards to see 'What did I do with my life?',  and for him it is a bit…


Added by Nick Gadd on September 24, 2011 at 7:28pm — 2 Comments

Roberto Bolano has invented a new genre of crime writing

At the close of his book of essays How Fiction Works, literary critic James Wood writes: "The writer has to act as if the available novelistic methods are continually about to turn into mere convention and so has to outwit that inevitable ageing. The true writer is one who must always be acting as if life were a category beyond anything the novel had yet grasped."

This is as good a notion as any when thinking about Roberto…


Added by Nick Gadd on March 3, 2010 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

Eric Ambler's left wing spy thrillers

The English thriller writer Eric Ambler (1909-1998) is undergoing a revival – five of his classic novels from the 1930s have recently been republished by Penguin Classics. Ambler was called “our greatest thriller writer” by Graham Greene, who wasn’t bad at it himself, and Ambler is often cited as the precursor to writers such as John le Carre.

I’ve just read Ambler’s A Coffin for Demetrios (1939) and despite the obvious period touches (people communicating by ‘pneumatique’,… Continue

Added by Nick Gadd on January 16, 2010 at 6:28pm — No Comments

A powerful killing scene ... by Thomas Hardy

He may not be a crime writer, but ...

I've recently reread Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, which overall is a grim, depressing and tiresome novel. But one scene that impressed me was the pig-killing episode early in the book. Hardy isn't really noted as a writer about violence but I found this more powerful than many supposedly shocking scenes in novels of our own day. It occurs early in the novel when Jude and his… Continue

Added by Nick Gadd on September 26, 2009 at 12:02pm — 2 Comments

Researching history with Marshall Browne, Robert Wilson and Glen David Gold

I first came across Marshall Browne a few years ago when I read The Wooden Leg of Inspector Anders, about a one-legged detective investigating the Mafia in the south of Italy. Having once lived in a southern Italian town I was impressed by Browne's ability to portray that society, and I liked his investigator, Anders - an eccentric, introspective elderly cop with a false leg. A few years later Browne created Franz Schmidt, a German investigator with some similarities to Anders - he's a… Continue

Added by Nick Gadd on September 5, 2009 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Ned Kelly Awards 2009

This object is a Ned Kelly Award - memorably described by Shane Maloney as looking like "a sawn-off anthracite dildo" - now one of my most prized possessions since Ghostlines won the award for best first novel last night at the Ned Kelly Awards - the annual awards for Australian crime writing. On the underside it has the letters "C.W.A.A" which stand not for Country Women's Association but Crime Writers Association of Australia.

This wasn't… Continue

Added by Nick Gadd on August 30, 2009 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas - review

Fred Vargas is a French crime writer who fits perfectly the image of the chain-smoking, cafe-haunting intellectual. Her novels (yes, Fred is a woman - real name Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau) have won the Crime Writers' Association International Dagger in three of the last four years. She just won it again, for her novel The Chalk Circle Man, published in France in 1996 but only… Continue

Added by Nick Gadd on July 31, 2009 at 12:00am — No Comments

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