What to do when you’re writing a Phillip Marlowe sequel
Raymond Chandler died in 1959, leaving the fans of his detective anti-hero Phillip Marlowe wanting more. In the ensuing years, two excellent writers, Robert Parker and John Banville, have attempted to satisfy those desires.
Parker took up Chandler’s unfinished novel and finished it as Poodle Springs in 1989. Then he wrote a second Marlowe novel, Perchance to Dream, published in 1991. John Banville’s The Black Eyed Blond (under the pen name Benjamin Black) came out in 2014.
Now Lawrence Osborne has taken up the Marlowe sequel challenge, and he tells how that came about in an article in the New York Times. His book, Only to Sleep, came out earlier this year (reviewed by the Times here). Osborne recalls his days as a newspaper reporter on the California-Mexico border and the experiences that he integrated into the novel:
I was surprised by how little I remembered writing any of “Only to Sleep.” Had it come out so automatically, without the usual torments, as if channeled not by the ghost of a dead American writer but by the ghost of my own failed and pathless younger self? Apparently so.
The article is a fascinating read and a great insight into the mind of a top-rank author.
All about Agatha: the podcast
The Agatha Christie fans out there — and they are legion — will want to join in on this weekly podcast, All About Agatha, that is devoted exclusively to the author whose popularity remains undiminished even 40 years after her death.
The podcast features Linda Brobeck and Kemper Donovan, and here’s the way they describe what they are doing:
Every month we revisit one of (Christie’s) novels in the order they were first published in the UK. Discussions range from plotting and interpretation to the impact of the beloved adaptations to an attempt at ranking them all. On the weeks in between, we take a breather to discuss one of her many (100-plus) short stories, plays, non-mystery novels, and notable periods in her life.
Christie wrote sixty-six novels and more than 100 plays, short stories, non-mystery novels, and commentaries. She also lived an interesting and somewhat mysterious life. Despite this huge output, some people can’t get enough. Brobeck and Donnovan give you a lot, however. In many of the podcasts, they take her novels apart piece by piece, often explaining and expanding based on their extensive and close reading of Christie’s books.
If you are a Christiephile, this podcast is for you.
The world weighed in on Freddie Oversteegen when she was barely a teenager. Freddie, along with her sister Truus and a friend, Hannie Schaft, fought back against that world.
It was the world that Nazi Germany imposed on The Netherlands when it invaded and brutally opposed that country in 1940.
The girls began engaging in minor anti-Nazi activities — reporting on troop movements and pasting up posters — when they come to the attention of the Dutch resistance. They were invited to join and up the level of their activities.
According to the New York Times:
The three staged drive-by shootings from their bicycles; seductively lured German soldiers from bars to nearby woods, where they would execute them; and sheltered fleeing Jews, political dissidents, gay people and others who were being hunted by the invaders.
It was serious business — and, of course, dangerous. Just before their country was liberated in 1945, Hannie was arrested, tortured, and executed by the Nazis. The sisters survived.
Truus married a fellow resistance fighter and became a sculptor and painter. She wrote a memoir of her experiences, Not Then, Not Now, Not Ever, (which, unfortunately, is out of print in English at present) and died in 2016.
Freddie also married after the war but never sought or received much attention for what she had done.
The Dutch government was slow to recognize and honor the girls because of their affiliation with Communist-leaning organizations before the war. Finally, in 1982, a sculpture of Hannie Schaft by her friend Truus was unveiled by Princess Juliana in Haarlem. Truus and Freddie were honored by the Dutch government with the Mobilization War Cross. Freddie died earlier this month; here’s her obituary in the New York Times: Freddie Oversteegen, Gritty Dutch Resistance Fighter, Dies at 92 – The New York Times
The story of Freddie, her sister, and her friend should be remembered and retold.
See also Kathryn J. Atwood’s book “Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue” (2011).
Photo: By Familieman [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Ann H.: Thank you for making the Bob Woodward interview available ,it was very interesting what he had to say about reporting and sources.
Diana R.: Thank you for your enlightening information.
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