Belfast

An Interview with Sharon Dempsey

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Still Silver’s city? Maurice Leitch’s 1981 prize-winning novel re-released.

A review by Daniel Magennis. PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast.

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Front cover of the May 2017 reissue of ‘Silver’s City’ by Turnpike Books.

A German once said the Irish always reminded him of a pack of hounds pulling down a stag, but, Nan, we only drag down our own kind. Or try to. (107-8)[1] Continue reading

No Alibis : An Interview with David Torrans

No Alibis

 

 by Annika Breinig (with thanks to Portia Ellis-Woods and Dominique Jeannerod)

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No Alibis : a  Bookshop to die for (83, Botanic Avenue, Belfast, BTL7 1 JL) Continue reading

San-Antonio’s International Connections

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The San-Antonio International conference took place last week end  at Queen’s University, Belfast, under the aegis of the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities and the School of Modern Languages. It gathered specialists, scholars, collectors and members of the public from around the world. They came to discuss (in French, mostly) the immense body of work left by one of France’s most famous popular writers, Frédéric Dard, aka San-Antonio.  Joséphine Dard, his daugther, attended the conference and took part in the discussions. People came together who don’t normally get to talk together.  Genuinely multidisciplinary, the conference relied on  expertise from various fields (from American Studies to Linguistics, from Cultural History to Literature studies),   on  public and private collections, and on new digital tools.  The multiplicity of approaches and expertise allowed to  tackle precise research questions on a defined and contained (if vast) corpus of texts Continue reading

Troubles Thrillers, made in France

shannon(With thanks to François Rivière)

The  “Troubles Thriller” is an international genre. Albeit  peripheral,  and taking place in a small country,  the conflict in Northern Ireland has generated a flurry of crime novels set there during the Troubles.  In addition to the several hundreds Crime and spy novels written in Britain and in America on the ” Troubles” in Northern Ireland, there have been a number of novels written on this subject by European Crime authors and published in their own countries. These works have very rarely been translated into English (nor, as a rule in many other languages), as they primarily targeted their  own domestic market, and sought to offer there a similar fare to the Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins and others who dominated the genre. They might be derivative, but this in itself does not make them redundant.  Their take on the conflict is often highly idiosyncratic. They are controversial, but they were read by hundred thousands, if not by millions of readers.   The political views they display and the representations of Ireland which they carry are of interest, making the books  precious sources  for a cultural history  of European responses to the situation in  Ireland. Continue reading

The Irish Crime Week Giveaway!

Following the Roddy Doyle giveaway last week (which was won by Col at The Only Way is Reading), this week I have a crime related prize up for grabs!

_DRB5180 Photo: DRB Images

As I’m going to be spending the week reading and reviewing Irish Crime Fiction, I’m offering one lucky winner signed copies of Eoin McNamee’s Blue is the Colour and Stuart Neville’s The Final Silence, along with a rather nifty tote bag from Northern Ireland’s greatest bookshop – No Alibis (where both these books were bought!)

Blue is the Night(taken from Eoin McNamee’s website)

1949. Lance Curran is set to prosecute a young man for a brutal murder, in the ‘Robert the Painter’ case, one which threatens to tear society apart. In the searing July heat, corruption and justice vie as Harry Ferguson, Judge Curran’s fixer, contemplates the souls of men adrift, and his own fall from…

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Undercover : an Interview with Gerard Brennan

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What is Fireproof about?

Fireproof, on the surface, is about a man who ended up in Hell due to a bureaucratic bungle and is sent back to Earth with a mission to establish a satanic church in Northern Ireland. It’s not based on a true story.

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Is it crime fiction?

The book straddles a few genres. There are certainly crime fiction elements (or tropes if you want to be unkind), such as a femme fatale, murder, mystery, revenge… But it also features supernatural creatures such as Lucifer, an imp, and Cerberus, a three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hell/Hades in Greek mythology. Oh, and I like to think it’s a wee bit funny as well. Continue reading

Which San-Antonio books should you read ?

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San-Antonio, Bérurier au Sérail, Paris, Fleuve Noir, 1964

In a Series totalling 175 novels, it is understandably difficult to locate, or even to remember, in which country each adventure is set. Even if one discounts some 70 novels where the action is set in France, in many others the characters travel to several foreign countries, rather than just one. This adds to the variety of settings in San-Antonio’s adventures, but  it renders any orientation even more difficult.  To provide such an orientation, the following  list serves as a simplified database. It  links the countries most visited by San-Antonio with the  title of the books in which  each country is  visited. This might come handy especially if you are considering putting a proposal to the San-Antonio International Conference in Belfast in May…   Continue reading