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Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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I only ever added an appendix to one Bryant & May novel - the very first one. I gave it up after that. I think I wanted to parody the entire practice but can't quite remember now why I did it. Maybe I wanted it to prove useful for anyone wishing to locate that section of the book dealing with Germans using ginger people during blackouts. Anyway, here it is, and good luck. Appendix NOTATIONS MADE…
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Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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Janice Longbright is an amalgamation of all the tough women I had ever encountered working in London's Soho. I spent over a quarter of a century negotiating the madness of this tiny square of land, working and socialising there, but not being much of a late night person I was never one to drag a party on into the small hours. Neither was Soho for most of its life, really - only a very few venues…
15 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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Many, many books are written by outsiders. Writing is a solitary, strange occupation, and writing well requires enormous willpower and single-mindedness. It occupies writers' minds and possesses them. There is a constant need to improve, yet I can open a cheap crime novel from the 1940s and find better writing than I am capable of producing, so there is always a goal above this one, and a goal…
9 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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The character of unit chief Raymond Land in the Bryant & May books has an unexpected genesis that began with 'One Thousand And One Nights'. The archetypes from those tales gathered from Persia and Arabia (names so much more evocative!) inhabited a fanciful world of jinns and sorcerers, but their bawdiness, realism and the tales' variety of subject matter also anchored them to everyday life. For…
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Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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A friend of mine who was a theatrical agent hired a Leicester Square cinema (back in the days when you could do such things) for his own birthday and had a screening of 'Gone with the Wind'. I saw it for the first time then, and remember thinking, 'Bless Butterfly McQueen, but this hasn't aged well.' I remember the Tom & Jerry cartoons as a kid, and thinking 'Who is this big screaming lady?' It…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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I've never thought of India as anything but a matriarchy. In New Delhi I felt I was surrounded by people who must have personally known my (very English) grandmother, for they had the exact same language and mannerisms. The cultural link between the two countries cannot be underestimated. Fitting a feisty young third-generation Indian officer into the PCU was easy; she would admire her elderly…
30 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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The old joke about mothers and fathers being unable to help their children with examination paper revisions is true. The page above comes from a current exam paper for the ages 10 - 11. Try to work out what subject it's for. I failed. Meanwhile, I think back to taking my 11+. The examination featured what I considered to be a series of totally irrelevant problems. A train with nine carriages takes…
27 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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Comedic writing should be taken seriously. It's harder to pull off than you'd think. You need to have an image of the comedic element that you're encouraging readers to 'see', and you have to divide out the serious elements of a book from the comic ones and keep them separate. Good comedy often comes from the creation of a paradox. Bertie Wooster is the master, but he's an idiot. Jeeves is the…
31 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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In the history of the Bryant & May books one thing stands out; the author has always known how to throw a party. In fact, there has never been a new Bryant & May without a launch bash of some kind. My editor Simon Taylor makes a delightfully pertinent and mercifully short speech, and I get the beers in. I may not know how to network but I look after my friends. This year circumstances have changed…
69 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Bryant & May
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A chance remark from a friend has thrown me. Through him I gave a middle-aged Australian lady a copy of 'Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour'. She had complained that she'd used up her Lockdown books and was looking for something new. My friend later explained that she hadn't got on with it, and had actually got stuck very early on in the book, during Raymond Land's briefing to the unit. Now this is…
50 comments

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