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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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The story so far: Critic Edmund Wilson damned the classic mystery writers, but it turned out that his verdict was biased against the British proponents. Discussion ensued here and in one mighty bound, courtesy of Snowy in the Comments of yesterday's article, we went from bookbinding to foot fetishism, thus beautifully proving the point about classic murder mysteries that Mr Wilson was unable to…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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Edmund Wilson had upset the apple cart with his comments on the perceived illiteracy of the mystery writers, but he wasn't done yet. He followed his accusing article with another one after receiving outraged mail. This time he cast his net wider, but what he found gave him even greater cause for alarm. Published under the title 'Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?' he reached a damning conclusion…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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When 'The Book of Forgotten Authors' was heading to paperback, the editor and I realised that some changes would have to be made from the hardback; a year would have passed, and some of the authors were starting to get republished. Occasionally this was a direct consequence of the new attention the author was receiving, sometimes we merely added to a growing awareness of that writer, and sometimes…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Margery Allingham I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in my list of forgotten authors, so let's address the problem right at the start. She's hardly ever out of print, and many readers know her name even if they haven't read her. However, very few of them have really got to grips with her novels. The ones who have are passionate fans, and she has her own society which holds…
7 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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As some of you know, I write a weekly column for the Independent on Sunday called 'Invisible Ink', about once massively popular authors who have now become a minority taste or who have vanished altogether. I thought carefully about including Margery Allingham in the column. She's hardly ever out of print, and readers certainly know her name, but very few of them have really got to grips with her…
11 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Writers are not supposed to name the books they don't like; it's an unwritten law, as if by doing so we'll somehow damage the trade. All writers have flaws and quirks; it's what makes them individual and interesting, and is why instructional books like Joseph Campbell's 'The Hero's Journey' cannot be applied to the letter, because if we did that all books would be the same. But there are some…
9 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Crime fiction accounts for a third of all UK fiction sold, and the majority of its readers are women. As the crime festival season gets into gear this weekend, starting with Bristol Crimefest, a new collective of crime writers has formed called Killer Women. A vast swathe of novels fall into the mid-list category, where good solid non-celebrity writing exists, and the idea is that as authors…
3 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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A good actor can make an ordinary line sound better than it reads. Years ago, I worked with Kenneth Williams, who kindly sat with me for a while to discuss how to get the best out of words. He was meticulous about the crafting of sentences and where to place intonations, but it clearly came naturally to him. The same thing happened when I worked with George Hamilton and Leslie Nielsen, both of…
2 comments
Christopher Fowler
The new building in my street has already turned green. Moss covers the stonework, and hardy, invasive Buddleia bushes are once more sprouting from drain-fed brickwork. There's no getting away from it; apart from a few bright spring days and a few corresponding crisp ones in the autumn, London is dank. The morning mists rise, the evening mists sink, and although the end of coal burning means that…
5 comments

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