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Crime Beat

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Block-buster at the Book Lounge

Bad CompanyThe ever-congenial Book Lounge was packed to capacity for the launch of Bad Company (Pan Macmillan SA) where compiler and editor Joanne Hichens quizzed the local Creme da la Crime about aspects of the stories they wrote for the anthology.

Hichens, articulate and gorgeous as always, kicked off the proceedings with a comment about the strength of local crime fiction – ‘stories that are well-crafted and plotted with strong characterisation and rooted in our own experience’ – before probing the top-name panel for some insights into their story-telling techniques.

Margie Orford urged the literary types not to miss the modernist art references embedded in her Clare Hart stories. Mike Nicol admitted that he enjoys the compliancy of a blow-up doll as well as the opportunity to stick a dagger in the backs of the people who have really pissed him off.

Tracy Farren said that the characters in her short story had fewer options than the character in Whiplash but she could deal with a more vulnerable character in a short story where she didn’t have to live with the harrowing experience for too long. Andrew Brown admitted to some embroidery in his tales of medical negligence as real-life violent crime can be too mundane to keep the reader gripped.

Tim Keegan and Jane Taylor both come from a strong academic background. Keegan claimed that professors sometimes provided more material for crime than the students while Taylor commented on the challenge of engaging a large audience at the same time as locating real culpability which often lay beyond the perpetrator.

I can’t remember which is which so I’ll just call the next duo Michael Stanley – an engaging team of of semi-retired academics who gave entertaining insights into building up a character in the Botswana police force. And then on to Peter Church, the techno-buff whose story proceeds at the same break-neck speed as his debut novel in a world of lap-tops, cell-phones and urban legends.

I have no doubt that everyone at the Book Lounge on Friday was as eager as me to get into some Bad Company.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.joannehichens.co.za" rel="nofollow">Joanne</a>
    Joanne
    March 23rd, 2009 @12:16 #
     
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    Thank you to everyone for making the evening truly memorable - writers and readers alike! I really enjoyed the launch and appreciate the support of crime-fiction fans - here's hoping Bad Company keeps you as entertained as it has me!

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