"The awareness of Scandinavian crime fiction has certainly been building, with Henning Mankell and others softening readers up for Stieg," he said. "Then he came along and was so much better than all the others."
Larsson's British publisher Christopher MacLehose at Quercus agreed. "The crime writers in translation are for perfectly obvious statistical reasons better than English ones, because they are all chosen by serious publishers in their countries of origin and filtered down and down before they get translated into English," he said. "We're translating a tiny proportion so we should be getting the best of the best."
The other article from The Guardian is one about forgotten classics, link here. I'm curious to know if you have any forgotten classics that you think people should read, Gentle Reader. The Guardian wants to know, too! It's also about forgotten favourites of time gone past. I think I've read the book the author mentions, Mary Stewart's Touch Not The Cat. Eons ago. Now I want to read it again, just because it was mentioned in the article! It's fun to see what people treasured once, that they have forgotten about and rediscover. Has that happened to you? Do you find yourself discovering an old favourite, or wish that more people would read an older book that you really love? I like this article too because it says that even with all the new books being published every year, one of the joys of books is that we can turn to books from yesterday, last year, 100 years ago, and read them again. A forgotten classic can always be discovered again. And there is nothing like treasuring a book, at least for this bookaholic! So what do you treasure that you think has been forgotten? For tonight, I choose Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers. Just in time for Hallowe'en!!
The Woman in Black I reviewed here last year.
On Stranger Tides I read first 20 years ago. I loved it then. It's one of Tim Power's first books, not as early as The Anubis Gates, but with the same sense of energy and fun. It has pirates, zombies, true love, voodoo, The Fountain of Youth, the Caribbean.....it's so much fun to read, very enjoyable, and a solid mix of fantasy and horror with doses of humour. It's a forgotten classic that I think is well worth discovering.
Time for tonight's ghost story from Bluenose Ghosts:
Occasionally a single ghost turns up on a ship. This story from Glen Haven is one of my favourites. I would like to think it really happened, and perhaps it did. Ben Smeltzer was a West Dover man and one of the crew of a vessel fishing off Georges in winter. It was snowing and there were no fish, and they were getting all iced up and the captain had decided to take the ship to Boston. At this time Mr Smeltzer went down below and, when he went into the cabin, there was a strange man sitting at the chart table writing on a slate - a large, healthy looking sea-faring man.
For readers who are not accustomed to the sea and its ways, I might mention that it would be impossible in the limited space of a sailing vessel for a person to stow away for any length of time, if at all, and this vessel had been at sea for some weeks.
"Who can this be?" Mr Smeltzer thought. "What does it mean?" He had heard of strange events at sea, and he scratched his head as he went up the companionway to talk it over with his captain.
"There's a strange man below," he said. "Never seen him before."
"You're crazy," said the captain. Then observing that Mr Smeltzer was serious about it he decided to humour him and added in a voice that had in it more than a hint of sarcasm, "What did you say to him?"
"I didn't say anything," Mr Smeltzer declared. "He can't be human."
"Well," said the captain, who began to have misgivings himself, "you come down with me and show me your man." So down they went and there was no one there. However the captain was a thorough man and Mr Smeltzer had stated specifically that the stranger had been sitting at the chart table writing on a slate. He therefore strode over to the table and picked up the slate. The top side was clean, just as he had left it. Without really thinking what he was doing he turned the slate over and there he was amazed to see a message. It read: "Change your course to nor'nor'west and steer so many hours and you'll come to a vessel turned on its side and the crew hanging on it."
He put the slate down and snorted.
"Tricks. Sailors must always be at their tricks," but Mr Smeltzer insisted it was not a trick and he grew even more serious as he too read the message. More to satisfy him than anything, the captain called his crew down one by one and had each one write something on the slate. No script resembled the mysterious handwriting. By this time the crew all knew the story and they were as one in concluding that they should follow the slate's directions. Against his own wishes and judgement the captain changed his course. And sure enough, they had not gone far on their way when they came upon an upturned vessel. Men were still clinging to the hull, and they were in time to save them. They supposed then that the stranger who had appeared in the cabin had been one of the first to succumb and that he had taken this means of saving his fellow seamen.