Are Bryant & May Becoming Fashionable?
An article in today’s Observer by Sarah Hughes staggered me a bit this morning. Newspapers love to look for two snowstorms and suggest the next big thing will be the Ice Age, but the idea that ‘cosies’ are the hot new thing (nice coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s first book) is a bit of a stretch.
The argument is based on the fact that franchises from Christie and Ngaio Marsh are being continued by modern writers, and suggests that the next big thing will be modernised Golden Age stories. Which I can’t help feeling I’ve already been doing for the past 17 years. In that time I’ve had my Golden Age detectives Bryant & May investigate cases involving refugees, corrupt politicians, banking scandals, class warfare.
In a way Ms Hughes is right, in that the British Library imprints (discussed elsewhere on this site) have proven surprisingly successful. But nostalgia seems to be the bigger part of the draw so far rather than modernisation. Personally I’d love to see other authors do what I’m doing; I wouldn’t feel as if I’m ploughing such a lonely furrow then!
Alexandra Pringle, editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury, says that ‘There are definite challenges for modern authors. These days, crime writers rely a lot on police procedurals and technology, and to write a good golden age novel you really have to unlearn those things and embrace the disciplines of the golden age, which really centre around plot and character.’
Thanks for the tip, Alexandra, I’ll bear it in mind. It takes a long time to become an ingenue.