22 September 2011 3 Comments

Screenplaying

Whenever a novelist’s biography tells me that he’s “working on a screenplay,” my heart falls. I feel pity for the poor fellow who’s no doubt heading for disappointment (most scripts don’t get made) and for the novel, which exerts such a lesser lure than the glamour of the movies that a perfectly good novelist will […]

28 April 2011 0 Comments

MOZART’S LAST ARIA: my new book

My new novel, MOZART’S LAST ARIA, is out May 1 in the UK. I’ll be writing more about it in the next week. Set in Vienna in 1791, Nannerl Mozart, the talented sister of the great composer, tracks clues about Wolfgang’s death. She comes to believe that he was murdered and his last opera The […]

13 October 2010 0 Comments

Love and the crime novel

The crime novel tradition seems to have little connection to love. Maybe sometimes love in a perverse sense is the spur to the murder at the heart of most crime novels – the spurned husband killing his wife, for example. But usually the detective is a loveless loner, pining without much hope like the great […]

22 July 2010 3 Comments

Signing up

A book takes a long time to write, and then it takes a while to sell. And another while to sell in another country, and another after that. So a writer’s smile spreads across time. My long-term grin widened this weekend, when I signed with my UK publisher for my next two books. Not only […]

10 March 2010 0 Comments

Bigmouth loves ‘Bethlehem Murders’

Me and My Big Mouth is the blog of the inimitable Scott Pack, the most innovative (and, to many, the most controversial) man in British publishing. We met a year ago in freezing Oslo, tramped through the snow to the Ibsen Museum, and generally had a great time. It’s possible we were the only teetotallers […]

24 February 2010 0 Comments

Inventing the Palestinian detective

The dead man’s mother raged and cried as she told me how she’d discovered her son’s body, in the cabbage patch outside her home. She’d gone down on her knees, she said, touched his blood and wiped her fingers on her face and called out that God is most great. As the winter wind came […]

15 February 2010 2 Comments

Who’ll play Omar in the movies…?

On the My Book, The Movie blog, I was asked to write about who I’d choose to play Omar Yussef in the movies. Here’s what I wrote: I didn’t need to think of an actor. Not until I’d finished my book. Then the thinking really started. The Palestinian detective hero of my books, Omar Yussef, […]

8 February 2010 0 Comments

‘The Fourth Assassin’ takes Page 69 Test

The Campaign for the American Reader blog empire’s flagship is the Page 69 Test. The premise is this: open any book to page 69; if it grabs you, that’s a better indication of whether you’ll enjoy the book than simply reading the opening page. Try it on a book you like (and one you don’t), […]

15 January 2010 1 Comment

Writer is pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli

The best thing about moving from journalism to fiction writing is that people show you more respect. As a journalist covering a contentious issue like the Israel-Palestinian conflict, I was often subject to rather nasty verbal attacks during public speaking engagements. For a partisan of either side, I seemed a fine target for their generalized […]

10 January 2010 0 Comments

Book Tours Not Just Ego Tripping

Not long ago a friend of mine commented that my travels to promote my books must be a great pleasure to me. “You just have to talk about yourself,” he sneered. “You must like that.” I ignored the implied insult (until now). But it struck me that people might think book tours are literally ego-trips. […]