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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A MYSTERY WITHIN A MYSTERY WITHIN A MYSTERY

Well, one mystery is solved.  At last we have a winner for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, founded by Craig Sisterson, the indefatigable and extremely hardworking fan of crime fiction, local crime fiction in particular.

The winner is Alix Bosco, for the extremely well reviewed Cut & Run.

Now the mysteries begin.  As books-and-publishing commentator Graham Beattie comments, no one knows who the hell is Alix Bosco.

The world doesn't even know if she is a she or a he.  The suspicion is "she" because the protagonist is female.  There is also a theory that s/he lives in Auckland, because according to an interview in Craig Sisterson's Crime Watch,  s/he appears to know the suburb of Ponsonby very well.  Her writing reveals that s/he also knows Brisbane very well, though, so his or her tip to drink wine at a certain cafe in Ponsonby could be just another red herring.

S/he is also an experienced and skilled writer, who is very successful in some other genre.  Or so the publisher, Penguin, informs us.

Theories abound.  But could the jacket design of the paperback be a deliberate clue?  For no one has mentioned the possibility that s/he might be a romance writer  -- and hey, Georgette Heyer semi-successfully bridged the gap between bloody murder and hazard-strewn courtship. I can think of at least one extremely successful romance writer who has won a few literary awards in the past.  And no one has picked up yet another clue -- that the writer "talks" about television and actress Robyn Malcolm with something that sounds a lot like familiarity.  So a successful television script writer should also be in the mix, and I have one of those in mind, as well.

Another mystery is why s/he hides his/her identity.  Because s/he is ashamed of crime writing? Oh, tut!

As it is, the anonymity has proved a great publicity stunt, and maybe that was in mind, as well.

The small problem of accepting the award was solved by having the director of Penguin Books to step forward.  Which leads us to another mystery -- why was it reported in the papers that it was accepted on Bosco's behalf by publishing director Geoff Walker, when the new hand at the helm is Debra Millar?

7 comments:

Shayne Parkinson said...

An intriguing mystery in its own right!

I'll probably turn out to be completely off-track here, but I'm wondering about Philippa Boyens. She's certainly a highly successful "writer in other media", she's originally from Auckland, and the pen name could be a clever play on words (Alix/Philippa, Alexander [the Great]/Philip; Bosco/Boyens). In which case the links with Robyn Malcolm would be ironic in the light of the recent... difficulties.

Joan Druett said...

A theory worthy of a psychological thriller! Thanks for your input, Shayne. More theories welcome ....

Anonymous said...

Louise Crisp is Penguin's South Island sales representative.

Joan Druett said...

Thank you for solving a mystery within a mystery ... Mea culpa -- the publishing director is Debra Millar, of course. Thank for the correction.

Anonymous said...

And as I'm sure you know, the paper are wrong and Louise accepted on Bosco's behalf :)

Kiwicraig said...

Geoff Walker was meant to be there to accept on Bosco's behalf if needed, but couldn't make it, so Louise Crisp stepped in - some newspapers might not have realised the change. I was a little surprised that The Press got it wrong, because I thought they were going to have someone there on the night...

Joan Druett said...

In what capacity? As the editor who acquired the book? I thought Geoff Walker has retired from Penguin, but the website is remarkably uncommunicative.