Episode 34: Location, location, location!

(18 August 2020)

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Perry: Hello and welcome to episode 34 of this little podcast we have titled Two Chairs Talking. My name is Perry Middlemiss and I’m here with my ever-literate co-host David Grigg. Hello David.

David: Hi, Perry. Ever-literate? That’s a new aphorism, or new description, very interesting. Yeah, not sure.

Perry: Perfectly accurate for you, David. I mean most of the work that you do does seem to be undertaken in the literary world. So yeah, a lot of your hobbies are the same way, so that’s not necessarily all of them, but some of them.

David: Things I’m doing for Standard Ebooks seem to fall into that category, because I’m reading a lot of classic literature.

The Pandemic

Perry: Yeah, so how is the lockdown going? Second week of curfew. You’re not out clubbing, you’re not missing the clubbing at down the nightclub?

David: No no, no, no. Nor the rave parties or anything like that. No, I’m living a very quiet life now. But however hasn’t really changed!

Perry: Hasn’t curtailed your lifestyle? No, no, not for me either, to be perfectly frank, I mean, I miss going out to restaurants and catching up with people, but it’s something that we need to endure, we need to get through with our two weeks through Stage 4, but it’s another four weeks to go, so that’s going to end up being a little bit difficult because we’re currently coming up to the time in midweek, in a couple of days time when we would have been out of our original stage three lockdown, but with the number of coronavirus cases increasing quite markedly here in the state of Victoria and also the number of deaths from the virus, the state government decided to institute a state of emergency and move it into stage 4. Two weeks ago.

David: Yes, well hopefully the numbers do seem to be trending down at least, not coming down in a hurry, but they are slowly trending down.

Perry: Yeah, they’re starting to get there, so started to move down towards where we really wanted to get to, but it’s also giving us a lot of a lot of time to catch up on reading that we haven’t been doing which we will get to later on.

Corrections

Perry: but there’s a couple of things that we need to fix from last episode, David, when were talking about the 1963 Hugo Awards, we’ve actually got listeners who actually wrote in and told us were wrong. Which is great!

David: Which is the purpose of listeners isn’t it really?

Perry: Yes, well, actually they didn’t really tell us... Well, sort of wrong, uh, I’ll explain first off, and I think this was you. David, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but were talking about the short fiction and we came across a particular story by the title of Myrrha and we didn’t actually mention...

David: ...who wrote it? Indeed, we didn’t.

Perry: Which is a bit disappointing on our behalf but it was written by a gentleman by the name of Gary Jennings of whom I know absolutely nothing other than the fact that he wrote this particular story. I don’t know whether he ever got nominated again. Maybe we will come across him if he did. The other thing that I mentioned in the 2020 Hugo discussion regarding the novel, when I was talking about what the results were and also about the records that have been released regarding the nominations that were received for the final ballot, I mentioned that Ann Leckie’s novel The Raven Tower had received enough nominations to make it onto the ballot, but that she had declined and I didn’t know why. Well, I subsequently found an entry from her blog and then somebody else—Mark Plummer—pointed it out to me about the same blog entry that she declined it on the basis that she thought that it was time for somebody else to have a go in this particular year, but she did emphasize the fact that this is not a blanket denial of nominations into the future. If she feels that she wants to have a particular work nominated or to appear on the ballot if it receives enough nominations, she will make a decision on a case by case basis, and that seems fair enough.

David: I can understand that.

Perry: Perfectly understand that. For people that are not particularly aware of how the process works, all of the nominations are received by the very much arms-length subcommittee, as you will know, David as you were it in 1975, that the Hugo Award Subcommittee is completely at arms-length from the rest of the committee, and they receive all the nominations. They tally them up. Now in this day and age, it’s a lot easier because you can do it all via email. They contact the particular authors or creators of the work and ask them if they would like to appear on the ballot. It’s at that time that the author or creator is allowed to decline the nomination. Sometimes we’ve had situations where particular authors may have two or three stories in the one category on the ballot, and they maybe decide that it is a good idea just to drop one of them to give them what they would consider to be the better choice, a much greater chance of being able to win the award and that also makes perfect sense. Although there have been times when there has been an author with two or three on the ballot and have just decided to stay with it and just see what happens. Again,that’s also quite reasonable, there’s no rule to say that you can’t have more than one entry on a particular category. I think Seanan Maguire one year had nominations at every length in the big four you know novel, novella, novelette and short story. So that was quite interesting. She may be the only one that’s done that. However if I start saying that I’ll get into trouble again.

David: And so we shouldn’t make claims about something being the only one or the first one, as we discovered, didn’t we?

Perry: Well we’ll always basically get into trouble, but the way I look at this podcast, David, it’s just like a discussion over a beer. Yeah, we gonna make blanket statements sometimes, we gonna make mistakes; we’re quite happy to correct them and it’s quite good that people are listening and actually listening close enough to be able to tell us that we’ve made mistakes. Similarly to the next one that we did, so we did three last episode. That was pretty good. I made big play of the fact that Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book, The Sword of Aldones, was the first time that a woman had appeared on the Hugo novel ballot. That was incorrect, given that earlier this year or late last year, I had already mentioned that Leigh Brackett in 1956 was the first woman to appear, with The Long Tomorrow. I think what happened in that situation is that the website that I was checking Zimmer Bradley’s categorisation in terms of being the first actually doesn’t list those nominations for that particular year in which Brackett appeared, those ones, those nominations only came out two or three years ago, and I think it’s probably a still a little bit contentious. Anyway, it’s history. Let’s decide that Brackett was the one and move on, and I think we’ll all be happy. Although somebody will write to us and say no, no, no, that’s not right. According to the long list of Hugo Awards, she’s not on it anyway. We’ll take it that she is and sort of move on from that. David, I think that’s probably the best way of doing things.

David: It was Kim Huett who told us of our mistake there, and he’s occasionally told us of other mistakes we’ve made in the past. He’s actually a very good researcher into issues fannish and things to do with the Hugo Awards. And we’ll put a link in the show notes to something he’s written about the Hugo Awards and we’ll try and do better in the future.

Perry: We will, but I’m absolutely certain that we will hear a lot more from the listeners about other mistakes that we’re going to make. So there we go.

Recent Reading

David: So you’ve been doing some reading Perry.

Perry: Yes David.

David: So is it all science fiction or have you moved away from it?

Perry: Away from it this time, we’ve been doing a lot of science fiction over the last couple of months; time for me to catch up, I think. But it really does look as though my reading year goes with the first six months or so, which is pretty solidly aimed at catching up on the on the Hugo ballot stuff. Trying to try to guess what’s going to appear and read that first, and then when the Hugo Packet comes out to finish off doing all the rest of the reading for that particular year. So a lot of the first six months is to do with science fiction and then the second part of the year I try to catch up with all the books that I really want to read and haven’t had a chance to. And then later on in the year. Start moving towards thinking about what’s going to go on the Hugo ballot for 2021, so it’s always there. It’s always in the back of my mind, but it’s always good to sort of move away. You get a little bit more perspective here, and as you recall late last year or earlier this year. I was talking about how I do like going back and reading a lot of—well not a lot of—but some old crime novels that have been written quite some time ago. Trying to get a bit of perspective on the field trying to see how the whole thing sort of all comes together.

The Man in the Queue, by Josephine Tey

And the one the first one that I want to talk about today is, by an author called Josephine Tey. This book is The Man in the Queue. This is the first of her Inspector Alan Grant series of novels, of which there were about six. This book, by the way, was written in 1929, and that is actually important for something that’s going to be coming up in a minute. Josephine Tey’s probably best known for as being the author of The Daughter of Time book that you’ve probably read, and I think you’ve actually read this particular book as well. I believe David.

David: Yeah, yeah.

Perry: Yeah, OK, well The Daughter of Time is another one of her Inspector Alan Grant stories where he’s holed up in a hospital with a broken leg. Somebody brings him in a copy of a postcard from the National Portrait Gallery in London, which shows Richard III. In that particular book, Alan Grant sets out to solve the mysteries of the Princes in the Tower, and The Daughter of Time is always considered to be one of the probably top half dozen crime novels ever written anywhere, so that’s fairly high praise, and so I was interested to go back and have a look at some of the earlier ones dealing with Alan Grant written by Josephine tey. Now in this particular, this is the very first one that she wrote so I think that the fact that it is the first one she wrote becomes a bit obvious later on in the book. Now the basic plot is that Grant who’s an inspector for Scotland Yard in London—and again, don’t forget this is the 1920s. He’s searching for the identity of a man who’s been stabbed to death in a London theatre queue. The odd thing about this is that there’s been a.., there’s a big rush on near the end of a performance of a particular play and there’s a huge crowd of people there all sort of pushing into go towards the box office. This gentleman’s been stabbed in the back with a dagger and the press of the crowd is such that he’s maintained upright until he gets to the box office when suddenly he just gets there, person in front of him steps away, he falls flat on his face and there he is. Everybody screams, the police are brought in and so on. But nobody knows who he is because there’s no identification on him at all. Nobody knows who he is. And then Grant basically starts to his investigation in terms of who was in the queue? Who was involved? Tries to track down who this particular person is.

This is a really solid police procedural. It’s got some very strong writing in it. Very good views of the London Theatre world and it’s got a lot of literary overtones in it and a couple of times actually the author herself says ‘I don’t know what happened here’ and then just moves on. And you think that’s a bit postmodern, isn’t it? You know, in the sense of having the author imposing herself into it, saying that she did not does not know this particular piece of information, but then carries on with what it is that she seems to know that you normally would have thought that in the 1920s, the omnipotent narrator, the author would know everything about the particular story, but in this instance that was the last little quirk I thought that was that was in this. So you get a really good view about how the police would go about trying to identify a person in the 1920s, how they would basically try to track down all of the people that are being in the queue, and so on. So they finally Grant finally figures out who this particular person is, and he realizes that the guy is—well, he’s firstly leaving, he was leaving the next day to go to America, so that might have been something to do with why he was murdered. He doesn’t have anything on him at all. No money, nothing whatsoever. Is it a robbery? They don’t think so. They find out that he’s a bookmaker and they track down his clerk or try to track down his client who seems to have done a runner. Now it’s a really interesting thing here that when people in the 1920s wanted to run somewhere where they could hide and never be found, it always seemed to be Scotland because if you remember The 39 Steps, yes, the same sort of thing happens. There he scoots up towards the Yorkshire Moors, up into Scotland and tries to get away. And the same sort of thing follows here.

Look, this is a really good solid detective story. All the way right through to around about the last two or three chapters and then, sort of falls apart. For me, I mean, suddenly you find out that the person that you thought that it was going to have committed the murder probably didn’t, and then somebody else turns out just out of the blue, and then it’s all solved it all wrapped up, and you think ummm... Look, there’s so much to like about this particular book in terms of the first instance, but it almost gives you the view that she got to the point when she was about two chapters out and thought I don’t like this solution, it’s too obvious. I know—I’ll just pull something out of my head, so she does, which leaves you a little bit disappointed. But there’s a lot of as I said, there’s a lot of good things to like. There’s a lot of good things about the police procedural. There’s a lot of good location stuff regarding the London theatre scene and London itself and Scotland as well, so there’s a lot of good things about this, but it just falls down at the end. So I gave this 3.4 out of five. It’s almost up to a four, but not quite, and so like if I have a 3.5 in rounding it up to 4, I couldn’t do it so I had to leave at 3.4 but look, it will be one of those ones that I will be, well, it could be one of those series that I’ll keep going with. I think because I know that she gets to the point with The Daughter of Time, which is a number 5 or something in this particular series, that by the time she gets there, she is really on top of her form and knows what she’s doing. Just with this one, not quite.

David: You will probably like her book, The Franchise Affair, which I think is technically an Alan Grant novel, but he only sort appears very briefly, very briefly in it, but that’s really quite a clever, clever sort of story. I won’t go into the details now. But yeah, if you’re reading through her work then don’t miss that one right. The Franchise Affair.

Perry: OK, I’ll do that.

The View From Chickweed’s Window, by Jack Vance

David: Yeah, well like you, I’ve been reading mostly crime. This whole episode is going to be an all crime episode, I think. I’ve been really reading mostly crime since, since we left off with the science fiction, but indeed the first book I’m going to talk about is a book by a science fiction author, which is a crime novel. So this came up in my discussion with Rob Gerrand about Jack Vance and he enthused quite a bit about Jack Vance’s crime novels and particularly mentioned this one, which is called The View From Chickweed’s Window which was written in 1979. So I’ll try to summarize the plot as quickly as I can. The book starts in 1907 when a priceless Sung Dynasty vase is stolen from a delegation of the Japanese trade mission and it comes into the possession of Harry Botham, who is a partner in a firm working in Shanghai in China. Now Harry Botham’s got two daughters, Fiona and Ruth. Fiona being the elder, Fiona marries this chap in 1926 called Maurice Brewer, who is the son of her father’s business partner and Harry gives them as a wedding present a round the round the world tour fully paid for. In 1928 the younger daughter marries a penniless Methodist missionary called Kenneth Enright, who’s stationed in Japan. This couple are not interested in traveling. So as a wedding gift, Harry Botham gives her the Sung Dynasty vase and this is to the utter fury of the older daughter Fiona who always had her eyes on this piece. Both couples have children. Fiona has two sons and moves to America and Ruth gives birth to her daughter Luellen in Japan in 1940. Now when I say 1940 you are saying what’s going to happen with the War and indeed in 1941 the Pacific War breaks out. So Ruth, her husband and their tiny daughter are interned by the Japanese in Japan and while in the internment camp, Ruth dies of pneumonia, but the husband and the child survive and they remain in Japan after the war comes to an end. He is still doing his missionary work. In 1948, which is when Luellen or Lulu for short is 8 years old, her father is actually dying, and he sends her to America to live with her aunt Fiona, and she takes with her this precious vase. As soon as she arrives, literally, as soon as she arrives her aunt rapidly searches her baggage and takes the vase into her custody. She’s finally got the vase..

Lulu is a bright precocious sort of child, but Fiona is really cold, and her two cousins, Kendall and Oliver are horrible little boys. They are malicious and they torment her, and this kind of behavior isn’t anything new for them because they have for years been tormenting as sick and disabled boy who lives next door. We never find out his real name but they called this boy Professor Chickweed because they often see him through the fence sitting down and writing in a journal, some sort of book. Chickweed has a cat which often strays into the yard, and which they also torment. And indeed, Kendall frequently threatens to shoot it with his .22 rifle. It’s not long before we see that Fiona’s husband, Maurice, is starting to make sexual advances to young Lulu, he’s a pedophile, and she’s of course terrified by these approaches. And she tries to tell Fiona about it. But as is often the case her aunt Fiona indignantly refuses to listen to any of this. Anyway, one day with the boys when Lulu is out in the yard with the boys, things come to a head and Kendall is determined to shoot Chickweed’s cat. Lulu wrestles the gun away from him, just as Maurice comes into the yard. The gun goes off and Maurice falls to the ground and then Lulu is accused of murder and convicted. She’s only eight years old and sent off to juvenile detention where she spends nine years. But while in detention she works hard at her studies and begins to put himself through college and she makes a friend called Robert there. While she’s there, she receives a registered letter from Japan from her deceased father’s solicitors, a letter was being held in trust for her until she turns 18. In the letter, her father tells her that he’d sent her aunt Fiona an amount of $12,000 to be invested for Lulu’s future. This money of course never comes to Lulu, and so she begins to plan her revenge with the help of this friend Robert.

So that’s the background and how they achieve this revenge, which is very sweet, and they recover the money, humiliate Aunt Fiona and the two boys and also they recover the Sung Dynasty Vase. What all this has got to do with Chickweed’s window is really the heart of the rest of the story, but it is cleverly done. It’s really engaging: you really, you are really rooting for Lulu to get her revenge on these horrible people. And indeed she does. So it’s a very entertaining story. Well written. When you think about some of Jack Vance’s other work he obviously has a thing for revenge, he likes revenge stories and people getting their come-uppance, their deserved come-uppance, and this a theme through a lot of his books. So I’m thinking of the Demon Princes series, which is an entire series about someone getting their revenge for something—for the murder of his parents.

Perry: Revenge is always a good motive.

David: Yeah so I enjoyed it a lot. I was glad I read it and I’ll be looking to read some more of his crime novels.

Perry: Well, good OK, one to look out for.

Beat Not the Bones, by Charlotte Jay

Perry: I’m moving to an Australian novel now. I mentioned this particular book Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay sometime last year maybe.

David: I do remember you talking about it.

Perry: Because were talking about it in terms of the history of Australian crime writing. Because this particular book is quite important for a couple of reasons, one is that it won the very first Edgar Award in 1954. These awards are given out by the Mystery Writers of America. Her win in 1954 was followed the year after by The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. So you get the view about what sort of level of quality we’re talking about here, because The Long Goodbye is a fantastic book. This one’s not at that standard, but it has some very, very interesting things about it.

Now, before I go into it, I read somewhere that somebody said this is the very first mystery novel ever set in Papua. We’re not talking Papua New Guinea here, because this is before everything’s been joined up, so there was Papua and there was New Guinea. It’s only the second book, I think that I’ve ever read, which is set on that particular island and the other one being The Visitants by Randolph Stowe that I read earlier this year. So it’s not a part of the world that really gets represented in literature. Well, western literature, terribly much, and so from that perspective, it’s got of sense of—you know—there’s a sense of interest here. Let’s see what this particular woman has is written. Now Charlotte Jay wrote about 8 or 9 novels under that particular name, which was a pseudonym. She also wrote a number of novels under her original name—Geraldine Hall, I think it is, and there’s probably six or seven of those, so she didn’t write a lot and this was only her second ever novel. And so, hopefully we’ve got quite a good piece on offer and we really do have quite a good book. It’s very slow to get started, but once you get into it sort of starts to roll a bit in the second half of the book. So anyway, the basic outline is that a young woman by the name of Stella Warwick arrives in Papua, ostensibly to start a new job with the Australian administration that’s there. ‘Cause don’t forget we’re talking here, this book was written in 1952, so probably that it was released mainly in America in 1953, so therefore it was picked up for the 1954 Edgar Award. So it’s written in 1952. Australia is running Papua, as a uh, well, a territory, basically a protectorate that they’re running. All of the administration. Looking after all of the finances. All of the foreign affairs. Although health, all the public service they’re looking after all of it, trying to, well, ostensibly, trying to employ the local Papuans to fill in a number of the roles and gradually learn the business. But we learn very quickly that all of the Australians there are, well, they’re either one of two types. They’ve either gone completely over onto the Papuan side, and are trying to assimilate themselves as best they can, or they’re as racist as all hell, and they’re running it as a really strong colonial sort of government of exploitation and just treating them like dirt, basically. They’re all primitive savages as far as these people are concerned, and so you’re getting a very strong anti-colonial view right from the very beginning in this particular book. That was put to Jay at a later time, but she hadn’t realized that she was as strong on that line as other people thought, but to me it was bleedingly obvious that this is a very strongly anti-colonial piece.

Anyway Stella Warwick turns up to get a job working for the administration, but her real reason for going is to investigate the death of her husband David, who has died up-country in what has been dubbed a suicide there. She doesn’t believe that he committed suicide. She had known him for all that long while she was married and then he moved to Papua for work. And he’s in the Cultural Affairs area. He basically went up-country, didn’t never come back. The people that he went with all basically said, I know, he committed suicide and that was all there was to it. She doesn’t believe this. She turns up without telling anybody, but she has a job with the administration and starts trying to figure out what actually happened to him. Everybody that she meets misleads her, lies to her, treats her badly. Then when they realize who she is, they treat her even worse and she basically can’t make headway. They don’t tell her things that she really needs to know to be able to work out what was going on, and she finally decides that the only way that she’s going to be able to solve the mystery of her husband’s death is to take the same journey that he did up into the country of Papua to find out where he died. Now, the major difficulty that she has in this regard is that most people don’t want to go with her. Though she does finally convince that one person to go with her that was with her husband, or two people that were with her husband on the trip one. One Papuan, one Australian. Well, the Australian guy’s a real, deeply weird gentlemen and you are very suspicious of him all the way right through. The Papuan who went there is, and he and the porters that go along with them, because there’s only a couple, are all scared stiff of this particular village because it’s got a reputation of being full of sorcerers. Basically, you know point the bone, kill people left right and centre. So she has to journey up into the country dragging this Australian along with her to try to find out what happens and she does finally determine what happened to her husband. I’m not going to tell you what that is, because that would be a spoiler, and I really don’t think very many people these days have read this particular book, and I think that it’s a, very good thing for people to read.

There are actually shades of The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad in this particular book. There’s the journey up the River, they had to go to see Mr Kurtz. And so—look, you could not have written this book set any other place. And that’s what I think is really important about this particular novel, in particular that it’s set in Papua, and it could only have been set in Papua. The story that she tells could only have been told there, but it’s very interesting that while there aren’t many books set in Papua or Papua New Guinea, especially around the Australian colonial period that was there. I was reminded very much of sort of like the British Raj in India. It’s the same sort of thing that goes on, but there’s a lot more novels written around the period of the Brits in India than we have of Australians in Papua. It would be good to be able to read more of them, but I just don’t know whether very many of them have been written, so this is quite one out of the box. I think that if you want to get a bit of a view about where Australian crime is and where it’s come from, this is one of those books that you really need to have read to be able to get a full picture of it. So I would recommend it. I gave it 4.2 out of five.

David: Oh, it sounds very good, I must have look at that.

An Isolated Incident, by Emily McGuire

David: So my next book—this is interesting in the sense, I suppose that I have a plan as to what I’m planning to read and I’ve got a To Be Read List and I try to work through that and it gets bigger every day.

Perry: Part of that problem is you David. You keep coming up. You keep coming up with ideas for this podcast and I’ve got to try to read around it to catch up with all the stuff that I haven’t read in the past.

David: That’s true of both of us I think, but anyway, the point of what I’m saying is that very occasionally I read a book completely at random out of nowhere, and it’s generally because it’s been recommended to me by one of the websites I buy books from, you know, ‘you may like this book’, or they’re offering a special deal and the book comes up and you know, they’re going to give me this for $0.99 as an ebook. I’ll give it a try, anyway. This one actually came through the library website. The library is now closed, but they’re pushing their ebooks, and this is a particular book which they, for whatever reason, it’s being made available without any limits on how many people can read it at once, which is unusual for libraries. So anyway, it’s a book called An Isolated Incident by Emily McGuire. It was published in 2016. Now I haven’t come across Emily Maguire before. She’s an Australian author, but she’s had a number of books published. She’s had five previous novels published, starting with one called Taming the Beast in 2004.

Perry: You know, I’ve read that one.

David: Have you? OK, that’s interesting. Is it good?

Perry: Interesting. That’s a basically a very weird.., a discussion for another, another time it is certainly not a crime novel. It’s basically a novel about the sexual adventures of a young woman and particularly the way she seems to be attracted to very much older men. So I don’t think this is very much like the one that you...

David: ...kind of describe, sure. Well, indeed this isn’t so much of a crime novel as a psychological study too. And a study of men’s attitude to women and how they treat them. So it centers around the murder of a young woman called Bella Michaels in a place called Strathdee, which in the book is a rural town in New South Wales, and this story is mostly told with from the first person POV of her older sister, Chris Rogers, who works as a barmaid in the town. But we also have a storyline which is written in the third person which centres on May Norman, who’s a journalist for a small newspaper in Sydney who travels to the town to report on the murder and ends up becoming obsessed with the case. So the novel opens with Chris Rogers opening the door to a police officer and she immediately knows what he’s going to tell her because her sister, Bella, has been missing for a couple of days, so Chris knows before the policeman tells her that they’ve found her body, which they have. It’s been dumped in the bush not far from the highway, and she’s been bashed and sexually assaulted. But the book really focuses on Chris and her reactions to all of this and how she bears her grief. She is really interesting character who’s had a very tough, very tough life and the book slowly fills out the her backstory of how she was raised and how she sort of really acted as a mother to this much younger sister Bella. Chris has being married, but she’s now separated from her truck driver husband Nate. But he nevertheless appears and helps her out and tries to comfort her in her grief and does a great deal to help her—she really doesn’t show him as much gratitude as he probably deserves for how he tries to look after her and he’s very considerate but he can only visit her sporadically.

We will eventually find out who killed Bella, but that’s not really not an important focus of the book. It’s really about, as I say, about Chris and how she copes with her grief. And we also have this other point of view of the journalist who becomes obsessed and starts to shed some of her journalistic instincts and become more personally involved in the story. So the book also has really a lot of critical things to say about men’s attitude and treatment of women, particularly in rural townships like this. But it started to get a little bit off track for me towards the end when Chris begins to have visions of her dead sister Bella. Now that’s not at all an unusual occurrence, of course, with people who’ve lost people they love, but then it starts to drift into some sort of supernatural connection. And it goes a little beyond that, which I didn’t much like. I thought that was going off track really, but anyway, that’s really sort of irrelevant. I thought it was pretty well written and an engaging book, so just as I say one of those books that you came across out of the blue I thought it was worth a read, OK?

Perry: Yeah, she’s got a bit of a reputation as being a, a fine young Australian writer so being well probably not so young any more when you consider that she’s basically been writing, sort of 15 to 18 years. So yeah, you sort of forget that. Well, they’re all younger than us David! That wouldn’t be hard, but basically you sort of think that they’re new young writers, and then you go and have a look and realize they’ve been around for 15 years and you think oh OK, maybe not so much anymore. So anyway, that’s alright. That’s good. Then if they are new to you, if they are new to us, Yeah?

David: Put it down as a good crop of new writers.

The Rúin & The Scholar, by Dervla McTiernan

Perry: Yeah, well, well I’m going to stay with stay on this Australian vein, and deal with a couple of books from a newish Australian-Irish writer. I think you’ve read these as well because I think you may have mentioned them. These two books are by Dervla McTiernan. She’s an Irish-Australian author born in Ireland and moved to Perth in WA around the time of the global financial crisis, when Ireland was in a fair bit of financial difficulty, she and her family moved out to Perth and she’s working as a solicitor over there. About five or six years ago, she decided to take up writing with a bit more seriousness. If you like sort of, put a bit more effort into it and she’s now written three novels featuring a Detective Cormac Reilly, which are all set in Ireland, uh, and uh, I’m going to talk about the 1st two of them because I’ve only got through the 1st two, although the third one has been published this year. So the first one of these, The Rúin, was published in 2018, the second one, The Scholar in 2019. Both these books follow the career of a detective called Cormac Reilly, who’s been transferred from a high profile crime unit in Dublin to another police facility in Galway. This is basically just a standard police facility it’s not one looking into levels of terrorism or high security stuff. He’s basically taking a step backward because he’s returning to his roots. He started out as a young Garda, a young policeman, in Galway and also his partner, Doctor Emma Sweeney has got a job in a large biochemical firm that is based in Galway. So they moved back to Galway and these two books follow his work there now.

Before I go on, this is an interesting thing about a lot of crime novels that when you get to have a look at them, you realize that if this isn’t true for the inspector Alan Grant book and isn’t true for Beat Not the Bones because there’s really no detective. It’s just a woman trying to solve the mystery of her husband’s death. But when you get down to people that work inside a police organization, you realize that in order for the crime writer to increase the level of tension, not only just about the case that they’re working on, but to give you this view that, the detective lives a full life and it’s not just I’ve got one thing to look at and I’m just going to keep on going. You will find that there are pieces about the person’s private life, about their family, but also about the tensions they have with other parts of the legal profession, and they’re all different in terms of different parts of the world and the way they do things. If you take things like John Rebus, Ian Rankin’s detective. He basically only has to deal with his own Department and Internal Affairs. Internal Affairs are always on his back over things, and other people are basically saying we shouldn’t be doing it this way. I should be doing that way we don’t like your technique. We don’t like your methods, so this adds a level of tension to the character. If you go for something like Harry Bosch, the Michael Connelly stuff set in LA, he seems to get a lot of good support from his police Department, but his major sources of tension are when people try to sue him for wrongful death or wrongful arrest. Or, you know, sort of making too violent arrest. He has to go through the court system to be able to defend himself about that, or if he had actually crosses paths with the FBI. He also runs into problems with tensions, so it’s all a matter of the detective basically having these other tensions around them, that increases the whole feeling of the particular book.

Cormac Reilly’s major tensions are that nobody trusts him because they think ‘why the hell did this guy leave this high flying serious crime unit in Dublin to come back to Galway of all places just to work as a as a detective?’ So in when they first start, they throw him into cold cases. That’s all he’s doing. He’s just checking out to see whether anybody did something wrong, or if they found it. I think that they could. They could work on from old cold cases. Now as it happens, as I said earlier that he started in Galway and The Rúin starts with him coming across a young boy and girl in a house where the mother has died, and he realizes that the house is sort of fairly squalid. The kids are probably not being looked after terribly well. He takes them, make sure that they are taken away, looked after because their mother’s dead, the father’s completely missing. Nobody knows where they are. But he never finds out what happened to the mother. Nothing’s ever decided and he goes off to his other career, and then he comes back to Galway. And when he gets back, not soon after he is back, there’s a case where somebody appears to have committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in Galway, and it happens to be the young boy 20 years later that he rescued from this particular family, and so the police said, well, you know, you know about the background of it here, you take it, thinking, ‘Oh well, you just close it off because it’s just a suicide’, the sister, who was five or six years older or maybe eight years older than the boy, went missing after the boy had been put into care and disappeared. Everybody thinks she’s dead, but then she turns up, she’s been back in Australia working in the Kimberley on a State sheep station somewhere or other. And she’s turned up with a fair bit of money and does not believe that the brother was committed suicide. So she’s basically trying to get the police to re investigate this thing and Cormac Reilly goes on and investigates it and so you get a really good police procedural with him looking into what had happened in the past, eventually solving what happened to the mother’s death and also working out what happens here. So it works really well.

The second one, The Scholar is set about a year later, where Reilly’s partner Emma Sweeney outside the place where she works, finds a dead body in the street. It’s a girl that’s been killed in a hit and run accident and so badly disfigured in the hit and run that you can’t work out who she is. So the police turn up, search the body and they find an ID card which belongs to the granddaughter of the of the billionaire owner. So everybody thinks ‘Oh my God, now we’re in trouble. This is going to be this big political problem with the death of this particular woman’, so Reilly is thrown the case because the person, because he happens to be there at the time, he was the first one called in because his partner called him in. So he’s across what’s going on here. But then there’s the conflict about, is Emma Sweeney one of the major suspects in the particular crime, because it’s obviously a hit and run to murder because sooner or later it becomes quite obvious that the woman was hit. The car went down the road and then backed up and run over again just to make sure that the woman was dead. So Reilly tries to work out who this particular woman is. He thinks it’s the granddaughter first off of the billionaire, until he turns up at the granddaughter’s house. And there she is, and he suddenly realizes that things are a lot more complicated than they were going to be now. McTiernan really does look after plots very well here. There’s some really quite good plotting that goes on in these two particular books, quite excellently done, well worth people reading and with the third one now out, it’s best to get into these and start reading them early so that you can catch up and get to the third one. They are picking up a lot of awards around the world. The Rúin the first one won the Davitt Award for best novel, which is an award given out by Sisters In Crime for the best novel written by an Australian woman. Best crime novel written by an Australian woman. It won the 2019 Barry Award for the best paperback original. That’s a major US Crime Award, and it also won the 2019 Ned Kelly Award for best first novel. So that’s a bit of pedigree. And just recently The Scholar picked up the 2020 International Thriller Award for best paperback original novel. So a lot of people around the world really quite like these books and I would recommend them.

My only quibble is that—I’m really getting down to quibbles nowadays, but you know when you get right down at the level with it, everything else is really good, and then I’ve got to give them a rating. So I gave both of these a rating, oddly enough, of 4.0. I gave them exactly the same and the reason why I didn’t push them a little bit higher, I think is that I didn’t really have a view that these needed to be definitively set in Galway, I didn’t get that much of a view other than one or two little bits here and there that this was actually, you know, Ireland itself. It could have been really set anywhere. I was talking earlier about Beat Not the Bones could only be set in Papua and you got a good view about the jungle. How the Australians and the natives deal with each other. The Man in the Queue gives you a really good view of the London theatre scene, and Scotland, and the other book that I’m going to talk about later on will also is dealing with a particular location that could only be there. The only quibble I have with this one is I don’t actually get that as much as I think we should do. I spoke to my wife about these, had read these and she thought I was just crazy. Basically sort of ‘oh come on, you really are draining the bottom of the barrel to be able to do this,’ and I said ‘no, do you ever think about the John Rebus books set in Edinburgh you come away from those particular books almost being able to walk the streets of Edinburgh? being able to figure out almost where everything is and there are bits and pieces of the city that are integral to the plots’. I don’t find that that’s the case here. I think it might be because. She’s a youngish writer just trying to find her feet trying to work out to make sure she gets the plots right, and gets the characters right. She’s got all those bits going. She just needs to add in a little bit more of Ireland and Galway. And I think she’s going to do really, really well. Certainly an author to watch.

David: Yes, I think were lucky to have her come to Australia and write from here. Her work when it first came out reminded me a lot of the novels of Tana French who is also an Irish writer, although not native Irish. She’s an American, I think, who came to live in Dublin 20 or 30 years ago I think. But all her books are written in Dublin or around Dublin and feature something called the Dublin Murder Squad. At least all but the last of her books does that. And Dervla McTiernan’s books certainly reminded me of Tana French, certainly of an equivalent standard. I think Tana French’s books are terrific and with Dervla McTiernan I was very excited to think about, ‘Here’s another Irish writer who’s gonna continue with this sort of tradition’ So, yeah, it’s interesting to compare the two. I must talk about Tana French at some stage.

Perry: I’m certainly not trying to put anybody off reading these particular books, because they’re wonderful. They’re really good police procedurals and I really enjoyed reading them, but I have a tendency to have an emotional response to books, and sometimes I think something I’m not quite sure what it is here that, um, I think could have been slightly better. That’s all I’m trying to say, and I think that anybody that reads these books is not going to be wasting their time at all. They’re really quite good.

David: Yeah, they’re both very, very good. Yeah.

Where the Dead Go, by Sarah Bailey

David: OK, my next one that I was going to talk about is another Australian crime novel and this is by Sarah Bailey, it’s called Where the Dead Go and this is her third novel. This is in a series which features a police detective called Gemma Woodstock. Sarah Bailey’s first novel was called The Dark Lake, which I think is brilliant. And that’s set in the rural NSW town of Smithson. The sequel to that was Into the Night, which was set in Melbourne and I didn’t think that was anywhere near as good. And if you could talk about sort of your real sense of place, Into the Night really didn’t do it for me, even though it was about the city I live in. Then we come to this third book. So I think that the her second book was one of those victims of that kind of syndrome, that a lot of writers get into. They get an absolutely brilliant first book. They get all the plaudits, and then they bring out a second book, which they struggle to try to hit the same heights. Anyway, I think she’s pretty much back to standard, not quite up to the standard, of the first book, but better anyway than Into the Night with this book called Where the Dead Go.

When I wrote about The Dark Lake, I said in part that Gemma Woodstock was one of the most psychologically fraught detectives I’d encountered in fiction. She has a very complicated personal life. She has a young son by a man called Scott, but they’re not living together and Scott takes on most of the burden of looking after their son Ben. She has a very, very complicated personal life and like the others in the series Where the Dead Go, is told from her first person point of view, so we follow Woodstock as she returns to the little town of Smithson for the funeral of this child’s father, Scott, who was died of cancer. We discovered that Gemma has an ongoing relationship with another detective called Max in Sydney where she’s been working for a while and she plans to go back to Sydney and take a son Ben with her to live there. But before she can return to Sydney however, at the start of this novel she is asked to step into a case, in Fairhaven, which is a coastal town in northern NSW, and what’s happened there is that there’s a 15 year old girl has gone missing and a couple of days after she goes missing her boyfriend is found murdered. So she leaps on this. She particularly wants to take this case up due to a previous case that she failed to solve. So despite the strong advice of her boyfriend Max and her father and just about everyone else around her, she decides that she’s going to take on this case in this coastal town and travels to the town with her son Ben in tow. This is literally the same day that’s the funeral of this young child’s father, so, you know, I think this poor boy is, of course struggling to deal with his grief and loss of his father, and so her move seems to be rather reckless. But she seems to feel that getting out of Smithson and the constant reminders of Ben’s father is the best way to help the child overcome its grief. Not sure about that.

The plot was a bit slow to take off, but by about the middle of the book, I was really quite engaged in the mystery of what had happened in this town, and it wasn’t by any means obvious to me how it was going to be solved, because the case isn’t any by any means as straightforward as it first seems. The girl who goes missing is apparently just broken up with this boyfriend and a few days later, his body is found murdered and he’s been hit with some sort of blunt instrument and suspicion naturally falls on this girl’s father. But then there’s an English backpacker they discover who was trying to get close to the girl who’s gone missing and he’s found to have abruptly left the town shortly after she goes missing. He’s left all his friends behind and just headed off somewhere else and they have to kind of track him down. Trace him, working out where he is. So more and more complications arise and there emerges a connection with the trade in illicit drugs in the town, possibly facilitated by the doctor who runs the local hospital so it all gets very complicated, and because the book’s written in the first person we spend a lot of time inside Gemma’s head, she struggles to overcome her own psychological issues and at the same time protecting and comforting her son Ben and still solve the case. But she, she’s one of those characters, which is very much like the character Martin Scarsdale in Chris Hammer’s book Silver, where every so often you want to shake them by their shoulders and say, ‘listen you’re being so bloody stupid!’. But you know, they don’t pay any attention, but anyways, it all sort of works out and in the end the crime is solved and we find out what has happened to the girl who went missing and who killed the boyfriend and it all seems to resolve itself. So yeah, it was pretty enjoyable as I said but still not quite as good as her first book, which is stellar really. So yeah, I enjoyed it and it was she certainly an author I’ll be keeping a very close eye on in the future as she writes other books.

Perry: Isn’t it interesting that we’ve got? Bailey, Jane Harper and McTiernan all having written three novels around about in around about the same amount of time and so three or four years ago, there was a big surge of those three plus Candice Fox who still going incredibly strong. Yeah, so we’ve got a surfeit of riches.

David: Yes, we’re blessed with good female writers. Australian writers.

Perry: Yeah, there don’t seem to be as many young male writers around writing them. I know that Chris Hammer is one that is doing quite well, but you’ve got reservations about his particular books.

David: Yeah. It might just be me.

Perry: No, that’s OK. Yeah well, well, I’ll have to read them and come back here and let you know. But it’s interesting that those three are all coming along very well in a similar sort of time frame, and I think that if people want to get a bit of an idea about what’s happening in Australian crime, writing at the moment, those three are ones that are worth having a look at and trying to keep up on. But you gotta get started because you’re already—if you haven’t even read any of them yet, you’re only nine books behind. And then that takes a little while to catch up. So one a month and it’s almost a year. And by the time you get through those nine, there will be another three of them stacked up.

Raven Black, by Anne Cleeves

Perry: Well, I want to move to a little bit further away from Australia than we’ve been so far, but I want to move to the Shetland Islands and the book I want to talk about here is Raven Black by Ann Cleeves, which was written in 2006. This is the first of the Shetland Island, series starring and Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. Fantastic name. This particular book, Raven Black, won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award in 2006, which is their sort of the English crime writers Hugo Award, if you like, so the top of the tree for them. People will recognize this as being a Jimmy Perez novel as it’s been made into a TV series: four or five seasons of a program called Shetland, where Jimmy Perez is the main character. The adaptation isn’t the same as the books. It looks like some parts of this particular book appeared in the first season, but there are subtle differences between the books and the and the TV series, but in general it’s set on Shetland, and for this particular book the location is absolutely and utterly important. Again, it’s one of those things where, oh OK look, you could have shifted it to the Faroe Islands and you could possibly have done it in Iceland, but emphasis would have been slightly different, but you really need it in one of those very small enclosed communities where everybody knows everybody and it’s pretty isolated, as the Shetland islands generally are now. Jimmy Perez, great name. Now it does come out that he’s descended from a sailor who was shipwrecked off the Shetland Islands as a result of the Spanish Armada. As you remember David, the Spanish Armada took off from France, heading over towards England and got clobbered with a gigantic gale that swept up the English Channel, and swept them all the way right up the side up the East Coast of England up towards Scotland and by the time...

David: I’m not sure I remember that though, Perry.

Perry: No, no, but you know you, you know the story. I’m not assuming that you’re that old but anyway, so basically what ended up happening was the ships got so far up there was no point trying to turn around and come back against the gale that they started to go around all the way right around the top and go all the way right through. I don’t think very many of them made it back, a lot of them were shipwrecked on Scotland, Shetland, and so on. But anyway, he’s the result of long line of Perezes that have come down all the way through now. He originally grew up on the Fair Isle, the island, which is halfway between Shetland and Scotland. He went to school on Shetland and after he went to school, he finished there, he went and became a police officer who was living in Aberdeen. His marriage breaks up though, I think they lose a child. His marriage breaks up. He decides to go back to Shetland. His ex wife moves down to the borders with the UK. So he’s back there in this sort of small, cozy little police station in Shetland, when the body of a young girl, well, she’s sort of, you know, 16 or 17, so she’s near the end of high school, is found strangled in a field. Now there are no, footmarks around it, but it has been snowing and oddly enough, there’s snow all over the body, but not on the face. Now as it’s happened about 8 years previously to this particular death, a young girl of about 6 or 7 went missing and was never found. The main suspect for that particular murder of that young girl was a guy called Magnus Tate who’s a strange lonely old bloke who lives in a small farmhouse which is right by the field where Katherine Ross, the 16 to 17 year old, has just been found. The police go to interview him and it becomes pretty obvious that he found her and wiped the snow off her face. When he was asked why he did that, he said, ‘well, I couldn’t just leave her there like that, but I couldn’t do anything for her because she was dead’. Why didn’t you ring us? ‘I don’t have a telephone and there’s no telephone nearby. I don’t have a telephone’, but he’s a strange lonely guy. His mother and younger sister have both died. He’s there on his own living in this small place, and everybody thinks that he’s the culprit.

Now the interesting thing about this particular book is that Ann Cleeves has written a number of books prior to this in various other things. I think she also wrote the Vera books as well. Maybe I’ll probably get in trouble for that as well, David, so I don’t really know all that much about Vera, but there we go anyway. So she’s written a number of books prior to this and knows how to handle a crime novel, so the idea is that a lot of times you set up a suspect so that the reader basically goes. Yeah, OK, it’s that particular person here. It looks pretty obvious. Why is this book so bloody long? It’s this particular... Yeah, hang on a minute. There’s a few things coming up that they start to find. Well, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense, he couldn’t have done that. Couldn’t have done this, and then the reader slowly moves away from that particular suspect and then fixates on somebody else who seems to be the other one that, well, this must be this person then, and she stays with that particular person right through to the very end. And it’s only in the very last chapter, of the book that suddenly it all comes together and Perez is able to say Yep, bang, you know exactly who it is. It’s handled very, very well and you kick yourself because you think I should have seen this right from the very start. I talked to my wife about this book and she said, ‘well, I picked it’. But then she’s always picking these things. She’s read so many crime novels over the journey, she just goes yeah, yeah, well it’s gotta be that person because that fits the formula. I’m not that ofay with all the the nuances but I really like the way the author was able to integrate the whole of the sort of Shetland cultural community into this particular crime, to lead the reader along to one suspect and then another before finally bringing the final, final suspect, the culprit in to view and then it all fits in and all makes sense. And I thought I thought she’s done very, very well with this. It’s well paced. It’s well written. Great locations everything you want in a police procedural. I think there’s about 8 in the series, and I’ll gradually work my way through them. I think I would recommend them to everybody. I’ve got this one about a 4.2.

David: OK, very good.

Truth, by Peter Temple

David: OK, very good. Well, you’ve talked quite a few times in this episode, Perry about the importance of place and giving people a sense of place and the idea that a book is ideally set in a place where you can’t imagine it being set anywhere else, and indeed that’s very true of the book I’m going to talk about, which is Truth by Peter Temple, and it’s all set in the city of Melbourne, Victoria and it’s very much a book about the place. It’s a bit of a cliche to say it, but it’s one of those stories where the city itself is kind of a character in the in the story. But this is quite true, I think, so it’s an interesting, very interesting depiction of somewhere which is very familiar to Perry and I, and it’s so interesting to see it cast in this light, because we see very much the gritty, side of Mebourne for sure, and the crime scene here anyway. Truth is interesting because it won the Miles Franklin Award in 2010, which is Australia’s premier literary award, and as far as we know it’s the first genre novel to win that award. It’s the sequel to Temple’s novel, The Broken Shore, which I talked about in the podcast a couple of episodes ago, which I really liked, but it’s only a sequel in the sense that several of the characters are the same between the two books.

This one centers on the character of Steven Villani, who is the head of the Homicide Department of Victoria police. Not sure whether once it should say, Homicide Department or Homicide Squad. Anyway, in charge of homicide and he is a really sort of hard and sardonic character. He deals with some of his colleagues in a tough and brisk sort of way. He’s a workaholic who’s dedicated to the job. But as the novel progresses we get more and more of his backstory, and we learn how he came to be the way he is. He has two daughters and, I think, a son as well. But his son is living overseas. But he’s got two daughters who were living at home, but he’s certainly distanced from his wife who travels to do with work. I think she’s a cinematographer or she produces documentaries or something like that and she is away a lot of the time. Anyway, early in this novel his youngest daughter, who is only 15 years old, runs away from home and a lot of his anxiety throughout the book of course centers around trying to find her and make her safe. But as the story opens, Villani is returning from, a gory crime scene, crossing the Westgate Bridge and one of his colleagues tells a story of how his father was on the Westgate Bridge when it collapsed during construction quite a few years ago, decades ago. Anyway, they are alerted to a death in very suspicious circumstances in a nearby high rise tower and this new tower is very fancy and it incorporates a casino and restaurants and residential apartments. Very high-end residential apartments. In one of these apartments, a young woman is found dead naked in the bath with a broken neck and other injuries. But to say that the building owners and managers are uncooperative would be an understatement. They really just want to do anything they can to avoid any bad publicity, and don’t even want it to be considered to be a murder. It could have been an accident. Then they’re really trying to not really be helpful at all. The identity of this young woman is unknown and remains so for most of the book. Interestingly enough, none of the tower’s fancy security systems were working properly at the time of the murder, so there’s very little evidence of what went on, but the building owners really resist Villani getting involved in this and they have high level contacts in the government and they use them to pressure Villani to back off, which he obviously resists as much as he possibly can.

Meanwhile, there’s another crime uncovered. There’s a grisly find in a shed in Oakleigh. Three men are found dead. Two of them have been terribly tortured and strung up or strung up and then tortured. It looks like some sort of drug related execution. So as we go through this story, these two cases become sort of intertwined and we get we get to see what the solution is and why, why things have occurred. But as Villani struggles to solve the crimes, he’s also constantly anxious about his father, as well as his daughter, who’s gone missing and she hasn’t turned up. He’s also very anxious about his father, who lives in the countryside, and there are bushfires raging. It’s summer, and this huge bushfires are blazing and getting closer and closer to where his father lives, and he’s got a very fraught relationship with his father. When he was only a kid himself and his father traveled, I think as a truck driver and things and he had to leave Villani alone at home with his brothers to look after them, so Villani is growing up tough. There’s a lot of background about that and it’s really very much a novel of character, and about how we’re raised shapes as we become adults. Anyway, as the book progresses, Villani discovers that the case in the high rise tower is tied up with corruption inside the government and within the police force. Villani himself isn’t a clean skin. We progressively get to learn that he was involved in incident where the police essentially executed a criminal and he’s helped cover up. In this case, as I say he’s no clean skin himself, and so it’s like we get more and more details of this corruption that’s gone on both in the police force and the government, and why this case is in the tower is had to be kind of covered up and suppressed is all to do with the way the owners of the building are dealing with the government, so it’s a very gritty, honest novel about policing and crime, and about the impact of all that on characters like Villani. No one comes out very clean at the end. I really liked it. A great book and see why it won the award. It makes me want to hunt up Peter Temple’s other books, those featuring Jack Irish, who by the way makes it very brief cameo appearance in this book. But it’s brief. So yeah, I thoroughly recommend this. It’s really an excellent, excellent novel.

Perry: I was going to was going to mention the Jack Irish novels on the basis of, again location. You know where he basically hangs out in the pub with these 3 old guys that are sitting up sitting up at the bar, old ex-Fitzroy diehards have now had to change their allegiances, and when their football team disintegrated. Look, Temple’s a great loss. He was a wonderful writer. There’s some fantastic stuff that he’s done. All we can do, really is be thankful for what he left us, but he left too early a couple of years back, died in his early 70s and you know he still had a lot of work left to do, I think. It’s just a bit of a shame that, he’s not around, but all things must pass David, all things must pass, but look I was impressed with all of the five books that I read that I talked about here, enjoyed them all and anybody listening to this decides to read any of those is not going to be disappointed by what they get. We could quibble all we like and we do because that’s what we like doing, David, finding little things to have a bit of a chat about but I think also I was happy I read all of them.

David: Yeah, I enjoyed all the books I read, so yeah, and as I say it’s nice to get a bit of a break from the science fiction genre and look at a different genre for awhile.

Perry: Yeah, we’ll have to look at crime again sometime later in the year or early next.

David: Yeah, or early next year indeed.


Perry: OK David, well that brings us pretty close to the end of this particular episode, so we’ve carried on, quite long enough, well over the hour yet again, but it’s been a good one and an enjoyable one. Next episode, David, we’ll be moving away from books and looking at three films by one particular director.

David: Oh yes we are, of course. Yes, yes we are. We won’t give it give it away now.

Perry: We won’t give it away, but we’re dealing with one particular director next time and then after that we’ll be back into science fiction again, I believe. So a bit to look forward to so until then, David will see you later.

David: Indeed. Enjoyed it, we’ll see you all in two weeks time.

Perry: Yep goodbye. See you then. Bye.

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