Fall for the Book is over for this year, and not only did I have the pleasure of reading at a Noir at the Bar event, I also saw Roxane Gay and Sophie Hannah. Roxane’s reading was packed with fan-girls, and the line to get books signed was outrageous. I’m told the ran out of copies of Bad Feminist.
Sophie Hannah read from and talked about The Monogram Murders, a new Hercule Poirot mystery she has written, approved by the Christie estate. There are so many fascinating details about how Hannah worked with the estate and built the book that I urge you to keep an eye out for any interviews she gives, but there was a particular takeaway that keeps me thinking . . . She said that she really loves writing characters that are exceptional, like Poirot, and that she loves creating plots that are barely possible, pointing out that a lot of contemporary crime writing is about normal people doing desperate but sadly common acts of badness, and that contemporary sleuths are rarely as gifted as Poirot or Holmes. The reason I keep thinking about that is I don’t think I’ve ever written an exceptional character, someone who is a genius or truly talented. I always write about nervous freaks, most of whom are trying very hard not to be noticed in the world.
Maybe it is time to try that–to write about someone who is more than competent, more than lucky.