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  • Clair Lamb

February 2023

Dear Folks,

I’m writing this from snowy Portland, Maine, although by the time you read it I hope to be back in the bosom of my family, clutching to my own bosom something resembling the manuscript for next year’s book, or possibly the book for the year after.

I could, of course, simply have swanned around Portland, waving to the masses and laying hands on the sick, until someone reported me to the relevant authorities. But no, I worked, even after giving my thumb a nasty cut with the bread knife, because I wanted you, gentle reader, to be happy. Is it possible to care too much, to be just too darned giving? Modesty prevents me from commenting, but I did look up the qualifications for sainthood, just in case. It seems the process can’t begin until five years after someone’s death, which is a bit of a shame, but that doesn’t mean the preparations can’t start a bit earlier.

So maybe we could work towards a basilica for my 60th in 2028.

Perhaps a church, then.

Okay, a chapel.

What about a shed? Frankly, I’m sorry I asked. You don’t deserve me.

Reluctantly, we move on.

THE FURIES coming in paperback to the UK this week!

The most recent Charlie Parker book, THE FURIES — two short novels in a single volume — will go on sale in paperback in the UK and Ireland on Thursday, March 3rd. My own preference for print over electronic text, and for paper over screens, is well known; for those of you who share that preference, I’m glad to have the book available in a more affordable format. (US and Canadian readers will get the paperback, with a different cover, on September 5th.)

The two stories in THE FURIES, “The Sisters Strange” and “The Furies,” find Parker back in Portland, several years after the events of A BOOK OF BONES — just before the pandemic outbreak, in fact. In “The Sisters Strange,” Parker investigates a theft that coincides with the return of a dangerous criminal, Raum Buker; as you may remember, an earlier version of this story appeared in serialized form on my website in 2020, but it is considerably revised and extended here. In “The Furies,” Parker crosses paths with two other thieves who find they’ve carried away more than they expected. Both stories have connections to The Braycott Arms, a seedy and sinister hotel that bears no resemblance to any real place in Portland, Maine. At least, I don’t think it does, and if it does, I don’t want to stay there.

Making Crime Pay

If you’ve ever thought about writing your own crime fiction, the UK-based Writers Online is holding a day-long webinar called “Make Crime Pay” at the end of this week, on Saturday, March 4th. I’ll be one of several authors interviewed, along with the estimable Liz Nugent, Cath Staincliffe, B.A. Paris, M.J. Arlidge and more. Several other writers, including Tom Mead and Susi Holliday, will conduct workshops and give talks about writing. Recordings of the interviews and talks will be available to registrants after the event. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, here.

Coming in September: THE LAND OF LOST THINGS

My publishers on opposite sides of the Atlantic are finalizing cover art and jacket copy for THE LAND OF LOST THINGS, coming from Hodder & Stoughton (UK/Ireland) on September 7th and from Emily Bestler Books (US/Canada) on September 19th.

THE LAND OF LOST THINGS is a book I didn’t think I’d never write, a sort of sequel to THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. If that book was about a child’s fear of losing a parent, and the grief that follows when the worst happens, THE LAND OF LOST THINGS is about a mother terrified of losing her own child — but it is set in a version of the world that David explored in the first book, and readers will recognize many of its inhabitants.

I will be making appearances for this book in Ireland, the UK, and the US between the end of August and the end of September, but we won’t have those schedules until sometime this summer. For those who don’t want to wait, preorder links should go up next month in the UK — we’re just finalizing plans for what the edition(s) should look like — and they are already up in the US.

I’ll share all those links and add the book to my website sometime next month, once we have cover art. Rob Ryan, who created the cover for the original book, is also working on the design for the new novel. As anyone who has seen the cover for THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS can attest, it’s an intricate piece of artwork, painstakingly cut from paper with a blade. These things take time to get right.

For 2024: Charlie Parker returns

“But what about Charlie Parker?” I hear you cry. You’ll be glad to learn (at least, I hope you’ll be glad) that I will be turning in the next Parker novel, the one on which I’ve been slaving in Maine — a detour to the Great Lost Bear apart — late this summer. It has a title, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.

Around the world

My international publishers continue to issue translations of the Parker novels, each of them on their own schedule. Fanucci TimeCrime published the Italian edition of THE DIRTY SOUTH as SPORCO SUD last month. Tusquets will publish the Spanish translation of THE NAMELESS ONES in June. In France, Presses de la Cité has just published LA JEUNE FEMME ET L’OGRE, the translation of THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS, in paperback, and we expect to see the translation of A BOOK OF BONES in the next month or two.

Online and on the air

Family commitments and the doctoral degree I’m working on will keep me quiet and close to home for the next several months — who knew that a PhD required quite so much effort? I can see why people cop to the honorary ones now — but you can still listen to my weekly radio show, ABC to XTC, on the internet station RTÉ Gold every Saturday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Dublin time. RTÉ has a free mobile app that seems to be available for download worldwide, or you can stream the show through the RTÉ Gold website. Shows remain available for playback for a few weeks after their original broadcast.

I still check Twitter most days, and Clair posts news to Facebook when she’s not skipping off on vacation. Twice in seven years! I ask you! She’ll want to be paid next.

Thanks, as always, for your friendship and support.


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