It’s Over. Let It Go.
Everything I looked forward to in my last newsletter is now history. The 2019 books, Killing with Confetti and The Crime of Miss Oyster Brown and Other Stories and Bertie: the Complete Prince of Wales Mysteries, earned pleasing reviews:
‘When I closed the cover, I thought where has this man been all my life?’
‘Eighteen superb mystery stories by MWA Grand Master Peter Lovesey.’
‘England’s most unlikely sleuth remains as winning a loser as he was thirty years ago.’
More quotes can be seen at peterlovesey.com
In September I visited one of my favourite villages in West Sussex and spoke in Slindon Church to what I suppose I can call a full congregation – although the subject matter wasn’t of a spiritual character. A wonderfully organised evening. As so often, there were surprises. Fellow-writer and friend, Simon Brett was there with Lucy and so was Keith Cook, a university friend I hadn’t seen for sixty years.
About a month later between showers I led another walk around the mean streets of Bath pointing out places that feature in the books. Topping & Co organised the event and I was ably supported and marshalled by my friends, Kirsten Elliott, Andrew Swift, Liza Cody and Michael Z.Lewin. The Abbey bells rang out that Sunday morning, making it difficult for me to be heard at times. Could this have been a reminder from on high that speaking in church is for men and women of the cloth, not crime writers?
And in November, I was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in Dallas, Texas, at the World Mystery Convention known as Bouchercon. The picture shows me receiving the trophy from Harry Hunsicker, the Toastmaster. I don’t look too eager to grasp it. Maybe I was thinking how heavy it would be to carry back to England.
As I said at the time, the main achievement of my life so far was finishing a Texas T-bone steak. I was royally looked after by the Bouchercon committee and my publishers, Soho Press. A highlight, literally, was a meal with other guests, including James Patterson, Felix Francis, Deborah Crombie, Sandra Brown and Hank Phillippi Ryan, in the revolving restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower, with spectacular views across the city.
George Easter, the editor of Deadly Pleasures magazine, steered me painlessly through the guest interview. George knows my story as well as anyone and is always generous with his reviews. In 1997 I was the recipient of the first-ever Barry award for best novel – Bloodhounds – sponsored by his magazine in memory of Barry Gardner.
At the Crime Goes Global party sponsored by Soho, my US publishers made an exciting announcement to mark my fiftieth year as a crime novelist.
There’s a nice symmetry about this because in 1970 my first novel, Wobble to Death, won the Macmillan/Pan first crime novel contest and launched the Macmillan crime list. Someone at Macmillan remarked to me that I was therefore the Godfather to Colin Dexter, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Ann Cleeves, Robert Galbraith and Peter James.
Here I am with my editor, Juliet Grames, responding to the news that Soho are offering an advance of $10,000 to the winner, to be decided by me from a shortlist drawn up by the editorial staff. Full details can be found at https://www.loveseymysterycontest.com
Things to Come
So what’s in the pipeline for 2020, apart from deciding the winner of the contest?
First up will be a new short story, The Bitter Truth, in a new Mystery Writers of America collection called Deadly Anniversaries, to be published by Hanover Square Press in March. The MWA is ahead of me on anniversaries. This book was commissioned for their 75th.
An article of mine, Fictionalising Crime and Characters from Real Life, will appear in Howdunit: a Masterclass in Crime Writing, by members of the Detection Club, edited by Martin Edwards and published in June by HarperCollins.
And yes, I completed the nineteenth novel in the Peter Diamond series. It is currently in manuscript and being read by my UK and US publishers, so I can’t say any more unless and until we all sign on the dotted line. But all in all, 2020 looks like being a vintage year. Keep an eye on my website peterlovesey.com
Meanwhile, I wish you joy in your reading.