Posted by: billpurdue | December 17, 2008

35 An interview with Stephen Booth

A few weeks ago I was very privileged to be able to talk to and interview the bestselling crime author Stephen Booth. Stephen visited the Chad offices in Mansfield so that I could record an interview about how he started writing, and about his series of crime novels based in the Peak District featuring DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and the resulting interview (about 16 minutes) revealed some of the background to the novels as well as (I hope you’ll agree) being very entertaining to listen to.

Listen here: 

Or if you would rather download it and listen to it later, right click here and select ‘Save Target As’: Stephen Booth interview

My thanks to Stephen Booth for taking the time and trouble to visit us at the Chad. Here’s to The Kill Call due in April 2009 and novel number 10 in 2010.

A change of direction

Sebastian Faulks‘ new James Bond novel was released earlier this year and went straight into the bestseller lists. The James Bond theme is quite a change from his previous novel published in 2007 : Engleby [Vintage £7.99 9780099458272] is about a rather strange character who never quite fits in with the world around him.

We first encounter him in the 1970s at a prestigious university – which has to be Cambridge – where he studies first English Literature, but then gives that up to study natural sciences. Engleby is a rather strange character – I didn’t find him likeable, but then I couldn’t stop reading: I had to find out how this lifestyle of his was going to end up. He is from a poor family background. His father died when he was young and his relationship with his mother is distant. He was sent to a public school where he was bullied continuously, whilst the teaching staff seemed to turn a blind eye to it. He is a loner, never making any close friendships. He takes drugs – “little blue pills” – and thinks nothing of petty thieving or shoplifting to supplement his financial resources. Jennifer is a girl he seems to admire from afar, almost to the point of stalking her. One day Jennifer is reported missing; Engleby is questioned by the police since he is one of her circle of friends, but no arrests are made and the file on her disappearance is eventually put on the back burner and life for Engleby goes on as before. As he progresses into adulthood and eventually moves in with a woman who seems to be quite keen on him (though his attitude toward her seems to be ambivalent) the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with this character takes hold and the book becomes ever more compelling. Try it – I think you’ll have to read it to the end.

A quick read

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon [ Fourth Estate, £10 9780007196024] is a short detective story set in southern England during the second world war. A mute nine year old Jewish escapee from Nazi Germany, whose sole companion is a parrot, is being cared for by the local vicar and his family. The parrot frequently recites sequences of numbers – could these be some sort of code or a bank account number? Then one of the vicar’s lodgers is murdered and the parrot disappears. It’s a gripping story that you will want to read to the end – and it won’t take you long : only 125 pages. Michael Chabon by the way won the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay [Fourth Estate £8.99 9781841154930 ] which sounds like quite a different book.

Finally can I wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2009. I’m taking a short break, but I’ll be back immediately after Christmas

 

 

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