A bit of book chat: Badsville, Hammett, Australia, Twitter and cliffhangers

From the Bookseller.com: Jonathan Ross’ new Twitter book club showed only a small effect on print sales in its first week, prior to the online discussion on Sunday (24th May). The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, Ross' first pick, sold 166 copies last week through Nielsen BookScan. This represents a rise on the previous week, when the backlist title sold just 11 copies.

Kim of Reading Matters rounds up some Australian book blogs and links to an impressively wide-ranging list of her reviews of books by Australian authors (including Peter Temple). She welcomes recommendations for other Australian novels and novelists, "particularly if you live in Oz and keep up with "the scene" as it were!"

Sean French (or maybe Nicci Gerrard) challenges readers to come up with their best-ever chapter endings in a thriller. Here is his (or her) example: " 'Jacob's been arrested, doctor!' she said. 'In connection with the murder of Frances Raye! They found her dead in her apartment, and him, outside, drunk, ringing her doorbell, trying to get in! Oh, doctor, they think he killed her!' All I could think to ask her was: 'What did he do with the horse?' " (See link for the name of the author and the book, if you haven't guessed it.)

Welcome to the Big Beat from Badsville, a new blog to celebrate all things Scottish, crime-fiction-wise. What makes this blog a bit special is that it is run by the Queen (a.k.a. scullery maid) of Twitter, Donna Moore, author of Go To Helena Handbasket, shoe fanatic and scourge of Alaskan bears. Definitely a must-read blog.

Yesterday (27 May) would have been the 105th birthday of Dashiell Hammett, a superb author and one of my enduring favourites. Having enjoyed Conan Doyle (and, yes, before that Enid Blyton's mysteries and adventures, I have to admit) as a child, I think it was my late-teenage discovery of Dashiell Hammett that made me realise that detective novels (as I then thought of them) are a genre for adults, also. After reading Hammett I scoured the library shelves and devoured Chandler, Hadley Chase, et al, as well as their English counterparts such as Ruth Rendell, P. D. James, J. I. M. Stewart and Celia Fremlin. Janet Rudolph's post at Mystery Fanfare is typically informative and interesting, summarising Hammett's output and providing some links for further investigation.


8 thoughts on “A bit of book chat: Badsville, Hammett, Australia, Twitter and cliffhangers

  1. Did you know that Donna, Scullery Maid of Scots, claims to own 160 pairs shoes? She could wear a new pair every 2.28125 days for an entire year and never wear the same pair twice!!!
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  2. Your maths is out, because sometimes she wears 2 different pairs in one day…

  3. Indeed, Anonymous, even I with my mere dozen or so pairs, sometimes wear 2 different pairs in one day – when I go for my stagger round the block that counts as exercise, for example, I realised eventually that before I started out, I needed to take off my slippers and put on something tiey-uppy instead.

  4. Thanks for flagging my post up, Maxine. Not sure how, but I seemed to have upset Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise. The post wasn’t even about crime fiction in Oz; it was only a list of the Australian books I’d reviewed on my site over the past five years, in response to several comments and emails from my regular American and UK-based readers asking for some recommendations.
    Kerrie suggests my post wasn’t well researched — given it only took 10 minutes she’d be right in that respect — and showed “abysmal ignorance of anything Australian authors have contributed to either literature or crime fiction in the last 5 years”. But where in my post did I claim it was comprehensive or up to speed etc?
    I was going to ignore the comments made in FriendFeed, but I don’t much appreciate knee-jerk criticism, so felt I had to say something.

  5. Hello Kim, I do apologise for my inadvertent part in this. I had innocently thought that the Australian book bloggers I know might be able to contribute. I agree with you that you did not make the claim in your post that Kerrie attributes to you, and I have already made that point in the Friend Feed discussion.
    It is such a pity when these things flare up – unanticipated. This happens quite a bit to me when I am in my work persona on the internet- to the extent that I am thinking of retiring actually – as I feel that by having an internet presence I am a butt for people who feel critical of my employer, for whatver reason of their own.
    However, I certainly don’t expect these arguments to flare up on “personal, hobby” postings and I am just sorry that it happened on this occasion.

  6. No problem, Maxine — and no need for you to apologise. I’ve just seen your comment on my blog, so I thank you for that too.
    And I so completely know what you mean when you say that it’s bad enough having to deal with arguments in your working life (there’s numerous online forums where I’m slagged off on the basis that they want to have a pop at my employer — or the previous editor), so when it crosses over into your personal life it’s particularly upsetting.
    Anyway, thanks for your response. I appreciate it.

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