Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Whanganui Literature Festival

The weekend before last I had the pleasure of being a guest at the Whanganui Literature Festival. Joan Rosier-Jones and her crew of trustees and volunteers put together a interesting and varied programme over the three days of the festival, with writers Elizabeth Knox, Elizabeth Smither, Jenny Robin Jones, Peter Wells, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Masterchef Brett McGregor, myself, Bill Manhire and Joseph Romanos.
One of the things I love about smaller festivals is the milling around and chatting with attendees and the happy buzz that permeates the whole affair. One of the things I particularly loved was having breakfast each morning with Jenny Robin Jones and Elizabeth Smither and friends. For a gal from a male dominated house (even the cat is a bloke) breakfasting with the ladies was wonderful.
I am very fond of Wanganui. Every time I go back the town has improved and there's always something cool going on. Festival weekend also coincided with the Wanganui Festival of Glass - the town has a vibrant art glass community and their work was on display throughout the shopping centre. Lets just say that I added to the local economy, ahem.
I had a great time at the Whanganui Literature Festival. Congrats to Joan and the organisers for a great event. I arrived back home feeling happily weary but invigorated.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


By Jo Nesbo.

Roger Brown is a headhunter - a recruiter for big-business, a man who has it all - a high power, high paid job, a beautiful wife. When he thinks he's discovered the perfect candidate for Pathfinders best client in the form of Clas Greve he thinks he's got it made. Even more so when he discovers Greve owns one of the holy grails of the art world, a long missing Rubens paining - The Calydonian bear Hunt. For Roger Brown has a double life, when he is interviewing potential clients, he is also seeking potential victims, he is an art thief, and of course he can't resist the big one. But from then his life turns on its head, and too late he realises he has bitten off more than he can chew with Clas Greve, and he has to think and react fast to survive.

There were parts of this book I really enjoyed, and parts of this book where I had to suspend belief too much for my tastes. I think my main problem was that I didn't warm to the narrator, which meant I generally felt a bit ho hum about it all. There were some great twists, and I can see that it would make a great movie, which is coming out next year. But for this reader, it was ok but not great.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The cover art of Justin Todd

I've been quiet on the blogging front as I've been frantically working on the novel revisions...almost there, thank heavens. When I have had a moment to spare I have strayed dangerously to troll on Trade Me, and have made one or two, ahem, purchases - all in the name of research, honest.

As you know I'm a bit of a Ngaio Marsh fan, and have been collecting her books, and in particular those of one or two cover artists. Here are three recent acquisitions, Fontana editions featuring the work of Justin Todd, who manages to capture an almost comically gruesome atmosphere in his work.

Death at the Dolphin (1976 edition)
I like the nice teeth theme he has going on here.

Singing in the Shrouds (1976 edition)
Again, plenty of teeth, and some seriously filmed over eye action.

Death in a White Tie (1977 edition)
Not quite as dramatic as the first two, but there's still plenty of eye bulging happening.

Can't wait to find some more...