Saturday, November 12, 2011

DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS, Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century

          Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century
Pages: 368
Date: 11/11/2011
Grade: 5
Details Non-Fiction (mostly)

Irish crime writing is a recent phenomenon. While there have been great and internationally acknowledged Irish authors for a much longer time, crime was until recently a subject that authors more or less ignored.
Down These Green Streets explores why crime was ignored by Irish authors for such a long time, and why it has recently exploded into our bookshops.
A large number of Irish crime writers and journalists explore the reasons for this change in the fortunes of Irish crime writing. Through essays, interviews, short stories and personal testimonies, the reader learns how Ireland’s troubled past inhibited crime writing, the differences between crime writing in the North and South of the Island, how various authors go about putting their stories together and why they do it that way as well as a history of development of the genre in Ireland.

For someone who enjoys their mysteries, thrillers and crime novels as much as I do, this is a priceless collection of information. I honestly think that as an overview of Irish crime writing, past and present, you won’t find a better or more complete compendium than this book. My only “complaint” would be that this book showed me how many authors I still need to pick up for the first time, how much I have managed to miss out on.
This is probably not a book to be read from cover to cover as I just did. Ideally, this is a book to own and dip in and out of as the mood or curiosity strikes. I fully intend to buy a copy of this book so that I can go back to it when I’m looking for a new Irish crime author to try or for more information about an author I happen to be reading.

On a personal note, I had one very happy surprise while reading Andrew Nugent’s essay in this book. On page 298 he writes:

Once again, it is a blog-reviewer who expresses the point very accurately. I only have her first name, Meen, and I know that she is Dutch, and lives in Ireland (…).

Meen writes of my murder mysteries:
“These books are not exactly police procedurals, even if the investigators are members of the Gardai. The author is more interested in human relationships than investigative procedures.”

She is kind enough to add, ‘and for me, this really works’ and to say encouragingly, ‘I’m already looking forward to the next one.’”

There I am, in a coffee shop, eating a bit of lunch while reading this book and suddenly I’ve got a big grin on my face, softly saying to myself, “that’s me, that’s my blog. My blog is being quoted in a published book!”
If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’m still grinning about it and still can’t quite believe it. And of course this means that I will have to buy a copy of this book sooner rather than later. But, since I can see myself returning to this book time and again anyway, that won't be a hardship.
And just in case you find yourself wondering; yes, I would still have given this book the same rating if I hadn’t been mentioned in it. 


Maria said...


Jill said...

This is SO great, Marleen! If I were you, I'd buy a copy of the book just to frame the page with the mention of me on it! :-D Woo hoo!