Well, Noirwich 2019 was a blast. It was my first time at this crime festival – now in its 6th year – and it has certainly hit its stride. I was there on the Saturday, as part of a range of panels at the incredible medieval Dragon Hall. It was quite a venue for our ‘Euro Noir’ panel.
Simone Buchholz and Antti Tuomainen were both on top form, and there was *plenty* of interesting discussion and laughter. Although their work shares a very strong noirish feel and humour, there are also some striking differences, which made for rich conversation. For example, Simone writes the ‘Chastity Riley’ series, while Antti focuses on standalones; Simone’s work is rooted in the ‘mean streets’ of Hamburg, while Antti’s novels wander around Finland, from the capital Helsinki to seaside towns and villages in the frozen east.
Both writers acknowledged the influence of Noir writers and filmmakers from Raymond Chandler to Jakob Arjouni and the Coen Brothers, but also felt that after a few books, these were subsumed into their own authorial voices – they had made them their own. And both felt that characters were at the heart of the story rather than the plot, and that placing characters in a quandary or difficult scenario gives narratives their oomph.
You can see how much fun we all had below… It was a very lively panel! And the bilingual readings in German-English and Finnish-English went down a storm.
Mrs Peabody’s 10 Autumn Crime Reads
These are my most anticipated reads as the nights draw in. Some are recent, some not; some are pure crime, some are cross-genre… All look great!
- Laila Lalami, The Other Americans (US)
- Stina Jackson, The Silver Road, trans. Susan Beard (Sweden)
- Margaret Atwood, The Testaments (Canada)
- John le Carré, Agent Running in the Field (UK)
- George Pelecanos, The Man Who Came Uptown (US)
- Kevin Barry, Night Boat to Tangier (Ireland)
- Elif Shafak, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World (UK/Turkey)
- Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer (US; non-fiction)
- Denise Mina, Conviction (Scotland; Denise was at Noirwich and her session made me want to grab this book.)
- Riku Onda, The Aosawa Murders, trans. Alison Watts (cheating; not out until Jan 2020, but hey).