Monday, December 4, 2017

Hilary Bonner

Hilary Bonner is the author of many crime novels and five non-fiction books. A past Chair of the Crime Writers' Association, she was previously the showbusiness editor of the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mirror.

Her latest novel, Deadly Dance, is the first in an intriguing new series featuring Bristol detective, DI David Vogel.

Recently I asked Bonner about what she was reading. Her reply:
As is so often the case I am reading Agatha Christie, this time re-reading a first edition of a great favourite - given me by my partner, who scours markets and car boot sales looking for early Christies to add to my collection.

It’s the famous one with the unreliable narrator. I will not name it, it because for any new reader unaware of the premise of this novel, it would then be ruined. Those who know, know!

Christie only used an unreliable narrator once in her 66 novels. Indeed, it is probably a ploy that even the prolific queen of crime would not dare repeat.

Partly inspired by Agatha, I too chose an unreliable narrator for one of my 13 novels, and again everything would be given away if I revealed which one. It’s a fascinating concept, and technically very challenging for an author.

Agatha’s book caused quite a stir when it was published. The great dame was even accused of cheating.

One Amazon reviewer accused me of producing an ending which was quite impossible, and another said the ending was obvious and she’d guessed it on page two.

So, I reckon I probably got it about right. And there’s no doubt at all in my mind that Agatha Christie produced a bit of a masterpiece.

I also particularly like to read books written by friends. I have two on the go at the moment. Handsome Brute is true life crime; the story of notorious British serial killer Neville Heath, written by Sean O’Connor who is also an acclaimed UK based producer and director working in film, TV and theatre. It’s a masterful piece of work, not for the squeamish!

North Facing is a haunting journey back in time to 1962 South Africa, in the days of apartheid, seen through the eyes of a central character now in his sixties and living abroad, who returns to the country of his youth, and finds himself confronted with the disturbing consequences of his own childhood behaviour. Written by South African born Tony Peake, my agent for nearly 25 years, and a most accomplished novelist, this is probably his finest yet.
Visit Hilary Bonner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue