Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: SPEAKING OF MURDER Interviews with Masters of Mystery and Suspense - Edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg

If it's Friday, it's Forgotten Book Day, the weekly meme hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE  Don't forget to check in and see what forgotten books other bloggers are reminding us of today.

My entry is, SPEAKING OF MURDER Interviews with Masters of Mystery and Suspense - edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg - published in 1998 by Berkeley Prime Crime. With a forward by mystery author Ed Gorman.

Each chapter of SPEAKING OF MURDER is done up simply in question and answer form. There are 21 suspense novelists whose answers are as varied and intriguing as their books.


Stephen King

LS (Interviewer Lee Server): Somebody said, "Bachman is King without a conscience." (Talking about Richard Bachman, King's writing alter ego.)

SK: Stephen King is a family guy, a grounded individual whose morals are recognizable as roughly the same as the morals of most of the people who read his books. They are fairly well grounded in terms of sanity and morals. Which is good, because a lot of people read the books. I assume that most of them have their wheels on the road. But Richard Bachman does not have all his wheels on the road. That's just the way it is.

Mickey Spillaine

CLPS (Interviewer Charles L.P. Silet): You begin a story with the ending?

MS: Sure I do. Why do you listen to a joke? The biggest part of the joke is the punch line, so the biggest part of the book should be the punch line, the ending. People don't read a book to get to the middle, they read a book to get to the end and hope that the ending justifies all the time they spent reading it. So what I do is, I get my ending and, knowing what my ending is going to be, then I write to the end and have the fun of knowing where I'm going but not how I'm going to get there.

Elizabeth Peters

D.J. (Interviewer Dean James): Is there any truth to the rumor that you are the illicit love child of H. Rider Haggard and Dorothy L. Sayers?

EP: Make that illicit grandchild, if you don't mind.


The authors featured in SPEAKING OF MURDER:

Stephen King
Patricia Cornwell
Mary Higgins Clark
Sue Grafton
Mickey Spillane
Anne Perry
Tony Hillerman
Sharyn McCrumb
Joan Hess
Ed McBain
Simon Brett
Elizabeth George
Peter Lovesey
Marcia Muller
Carolyn Hart
Ian Rankin
Elizabeth Peters
Dominick Abel
Bill Pronzini
Minette Walters
John Harvey

For some reason I missed Volume II of SPEAKING OF MURDER which has another fabulous list of author Q&A. So I'm adding it to my shopping list. Here's that cover:


  1. OF course, among the missing interviewees in these volumes is Ed Gorman, which is a pity (and he far more interesting than some who are included, on many levels).

    Charles Platt and Douglas Winter have done comparable books for sf & fantasy and for horror that you might well find fascinating, Yvette.

  2. I enjoy this sort of book. Craig MacDonald's recent one ROGUE MALES is excellent.

  3. Todd: Yeah, I noticed that. But I mentioned he wrote the Forward.

    I'll add those names to my TBR list, Todd. I like this sort of Q&A type thing. Don't read a lot of horror, but I read Sci-Fi more as I get older.

  4. Patti: Me too. Didn't know about ROGUE MALES. Duly noted. :)

  5. Who would ever guess that Mickey Spillane and Agatha Christie had something in common? They both wrote the ending first. I love it! Very cool book, Yvette. I'm going to see if it's in the Chicago Public Library system. The Minette Walters and Ed McBain interviews are the ones I would most want to read. Lovesey's might be intriguing as well. He's one of my idols.

  6. John: I love Peter Lovesey too. I consider THE HOUSE SITTER one of the best mysteries ever. It goes on my list of Best 100 for sure.

  7. I think I read THE HOUSE SITTER - is that with the female cop whose first name is Hen? There is a great twist in that if I remember it correctly. I prefer Lovesey's retro mystery tribute to John Dickson Carr and all the Golden Age reading characters in BLOODHOUNDS (for obvious reasons). but out of all of his books I think ROUGH CIDER is his masterpiece. Now there's a FFB post worth considering.

  8. Winter's book is FACES OF FEAR: "Faces of Fear is a World Fantasy award-winning book (Berkley Books 1985, revised 1990) where writer, critic and lawyer Douglas E. Winter interviews seventeen contemporary British and American horror writers about their life and art. The writers are V. C. Andrews, Clive Barker, William Peter Blatty, Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell, John Coyne, Dennis Etchison, Charles L. Grant, James Herbert, T. E. D. Klein, Stephen King, Michael McDowell, Richard Matheson, David Morrell, Alan Ryan, Whitley Strieber and Peter Straub."

    Hmm...aside from Andrews, no women. Platt was mostly missing women in the first DREAM MAKERS collection of interviews, but there are some more in DREAM MAKERS II.

  9. John: The book's plot is lost in the sieve that is currently my mind. I know it begins with a dead body on a beach and takes off from there and yes, the second half of the book is unexpected. I was glued to the book.


    Haven't read BLOODHOUNDS or ROUGH CIDER. I'm going to check the library. Thanks for the tip.

    But I'll hold up THE HOUSESITTER against any mystery.

  10. Todd: Thanks for the info. I'm surprised Connie Willis isn't on that least. I consider her a sci-fi/fantasy STAR.

  11. Connie Willis was just getting started when Platt was putting those books together, around 1980 (well, she had a story a decade before in WORLDS OF FANTASY, but hadn't published much since then till the turn of the '80s).

  12. Oh, okay, Todd. Thanks for the info.


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