Monday, November 12, 2007

Maureen Jennings

Maureen Jennings' novels include the acclaimed Detective Murdoch series of which A Journeyman to Grief is the seventh volume. Other titles in the series include Except the Dying, shortlisted for both the Anthony and the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Awards; Under the Dragon’s Tale, Poor Tom Is Cold, Let Loose the Dogs, shortlisted for the Anthony Best Historical Mystery Award; and Night’s Child, shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award, the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award, the Barry Award, and the Macavity Historical Mystery Award, and Vices of My Blood.

Last week I asked her what she has been reading. Her reply:
I'm always interested in what other writers are reading. Whew. So many books, so little time.

Having now finished The K Hand Shape, which took me into the world of Deaf culture, not to mention serial killers, I am currently embarking on a new book which means saturating myself in research material. The book is set in England of 1940 in Shropshire and I have been reading everything I could find on:
  • The Women's Land Army;
  • The internment camps;
  • Hitler and the Nazis.
I can't believe how much I didn't know. For instance I had no idea that 'enemy aliens' were interned in England for sometimes as long as two years. As the majority were Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany and were highly unlikely to want to spy for him, the situation was cruel and unfair. As one book called it, Blatant Injustice. One of the books on the Nazis is Ian Kershaw's superb biography of Hitler and one of my absolute favourite writers, John Keegan has a book on World War II.

This is keeping me busy but sitting seductively on my TBR table are several crime novels; the latest Henning Mankell one of my faves, Ken Bruen who has to be one of the most brilliant writers around; my Canadian pals are also there, Eric Wright's latest, Gail Bowen who never disappoints, and Linwood Barclay who hit a home run with his suspense thriller, No Time for Goodbye. I'm sure hoping that some of that mega star dust drifts my way.

On my beside table are the books that are suitable for just-before-sleep reading. (I have to be careful what I read at night just before sleep. Nothing too gruesome please) As well as the usual dog training books, there are two anthologies that I have really enjoyed. One is called, Writers on Writing which is a PEN benefit book and is a delight as various writers talk about some aspect of the writing life. The other is called, The First Man in My Life and is a collection of articles by a wide range of women about their fathers. Fascinating reading.

That's about it. I'm in dire need of yet another bookcase.
About The K Hand Shape, the second Christine Morris novel, which will be available in early 2008:
Christine Morris is awakened early on a chill November morning by a phone call from one of her colleagues, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Leo Forgach. His daughter, Deirdre, is missing. Despite the fact that she and the doctor have never seen eye to eye, Christine agrees to help in the search for Deirdre -- only to discover her brutally strangled body in the lake. Heartbroken, Leo tells Christine that his daughter was deaf and had recently given birth to a child she had deliberately ensured would be deaf. As a militant suporter of the Deaf Culture, Deirdre wanted a deaf child to make a political statement. Although some people supported her stand, many did not -- including Deirdre's own father. Christine must use her new kills as a forensic profiler to discover the killer.

Visit Maureen Jennings's website.

The Page 99 Test: A Journeyman to Grief.

--Marshal Zeringue