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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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For some time now writer and editor Martin Edwards has been unearthing rarely seen crime gems from the British Library, and looking at the history of the British crime novel in volumes like 'The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books' and 'The Golden Age of Murder', the latter concerning the badly behaved author-members of the Golden Age's exclusive Detection Club. PD James felt that you could better…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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I still remember very clearly what it's like to be an outsider, thinking that although I wrote I was not a real writer. I imagine all authors go through this stage except the most supremely self-assured. At one of my very first publishing parties, I found myself among a group of Very Assured Ones who were discussing new books. I felt a little out of my depth because the VAOs all worked for…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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...so open it up and take a look,' sings Lin Manuel-Miranda, but in the hands of a good designer a cover can be a powerfully persuasive tool. In a modern bookshop with limited space covers must communicate a lot to browsers, and I have often been compelled to buy a book by its cover. Natasha Pulley's 'The Watchmaker of Filigree Street' had a neo-baroque hardback cover in green and black that…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books
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You have to get past the language first. Then the attitudes of the times; servants are there to be berated, foreigners sniggered at, women to be divided into maiden aunts and popsies, men rated by their class. But once you strip away the ephemeral language you often find diamond-bright tales of deception. Martin Edwards is a fine crime writer in the classic tradition, but he also edits stories…
21 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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The British Library has been unearthing forgotten murder mysteries from its stacks for a while now, all with delicious matching covers that look like the old paintings you used to get in separate railway carriages (Anyone remember? Bueller? Anyone?) To be honest they've been a mixed bunch, with some dated stinkers mixed in with the gems. My advice; look for the short story collections which Martin…
6 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

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