What's This About?
Locked down? Self-isolating? As if you haven’t got enough to put up with in this strange period in all our lives, I’m inflicting a Peter Lovesey newsletter on you, my first of 2020. The year marks a landmark in my writing because my first crime novel, Wobble to Death, appeared 50 years ago and exciting things are happening to mark the anniversary. If I don’t alert my most loyal readers, they may not hear about all the goodies in store.
Wobble To Death With New Afterword
First up, my UK publisher, Sphere, has released this handsome paperback which includes an afterword from me recalling how the book changed my life and turned me from a modest teacher into a pushy professional author who sends out newsletters.
One To Collect
On October 6, 2020, my US publishers, Soho Press, are bringing out a special collector’s edition of Wobble to Death and the best-selling author Jeffery Deaver has generously written a foreword. This was a total surprise because Jeffery’s writing is so different from mine in style and subject matter that I hadn’t dreamed he would have read the book.
A Hardboiled Fan
Jeffery Deaver's support reminds me of another great American mystery writer, the late James Crumley, a hardboiled dude by his own definition, who turned out to be an unlikely fan. In a hard-hitting 1994 article for the Guardian about a forthcoming visit to England, he concluded with: ‘I won’t declaim on the failure of the modern novel to engage its audience, or indulge in my native Scottish-American antipathy towards English people in general – except for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and Helen Mirren’s implacable inspector – and distrust of the Tory government in particular, but I will, if you please, defend myself by saying that the last novel I read that convinced me that I should be more generous in my judgments was your own Peter Lovesey’s first, Wobble to Death. Nobody ever invented it once again better than that.’
Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest
At last year’s Bouchercon in Dallas, Texas, where I was honoured with their Lifetime Achievement Award, Soho announced the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest to mark the fifty years since Wobble to Death was the winner of a similar contest. The prize is $10,000, as an advance against royalties on publication. In view of the Covid 19 crisis, the entry date for this has been extended to June 1st 2020 and the winner will now be announced on December 1, 2020. Full details can be seen at www.loveseymysterycontest.com
A Diamond In My Golden Year
So what of this year’s new book in the Peter Diamond series? Fifty years on from Wobble to Death I have returned to running as a theme with:
The UK cover from Sphere shows the Tunnel of Death where runners in my fictional Bath half-marathon run through a mile-long disused railway tunnel. The Sphere edition is published on July 14.
The US cover is equally striking:
The Soho Press edition is available as an Ebook from May 12, 2020 and in hardback from August 4, 2020.
Readers of my short fiction may like to know that I have written a new story, The Bitter Truth, for a Mystery Writers of America collection. Deadly Anniversaries, edited by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, celebrating 75 years since the MWA was founded. It is published in America on April 21, 2020.
And a story I wrote some years ago, Bertie and the Boat Race, is being given a re-run (or a re-row) in Lawrence Blocks’s forthcoming collection, The Darkling Halls of Ivy, published by Subterranean Press on May 31, 2020.
As a change from storytelling, I contributed an article, to Howdunit!: a Masterclass in the Craft of Crime Writing, edited by Martin Edwards and published by HarperCollins on September 17, 2020. The piece is called Fictionalising Characters and Crimes from Real Life.
The title of The Finisher, coming as it does after fifty years at the keyboard, may strike an ominous note, but that isn’t my intention. Let me reassure you that I’m already well into the next novel, which will be the twentieth in the Peter Diamond series. I’ve always worked slowly, but regularly, and I hope to have it ready for publication in 2021.
I wish you good health and joy in your reading.