Search This Blog

Monday, 8 June 2015

'Behind The Text’ 15 ’And Death Will Have His Day’

Behind The Text’ Part 15_’And Death Will Have His Day’
‘...Sent Before My Time Into This Breathing World, Scarce Half Made Up...’

And Death Will Have His Day’ was published in 2010 and is  the 11th chronological novel  in the      Jonas Forbes Saga’. In fact, as explained in Behind the Text’ Part 3  ‘ A FALSE START’, it was written in 1977and the e-book is a rewrite.
This thriller is set in 1965 London and is the original spoof toned down. Jonas Forbes is in his prime – and this ‘error’ has caused considerable problems with producing 10 ‘prequels’! Also the portrayal of Jonas Forbes really fits the above title (borrowed from Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’) an my creative powers have battled with the consequences.
Tom Cardew, a radical politician, is under threat and, unlike in virtually all the other novels, Jonas is NOT hired by a branch of HMG. Anne Demas draws Jonas into a world where, from the start, he comes under threat. In fact, the immediate abduction of Vanessa Holmes, his ‘Girl Friday’, prevents getting immediately down to earning his fee but, at the same, supplies him with an entry into a plot involving a race war.
As I said in Post 3 most of the characters owed features to certain friends & acquaintances at the time. This meant my main effort was in characterisation although the plot seems to rumble along at a good pace. In this novel the influence of Raymond Chandler is clear: in later works he's replaced by either Leslie Charteris or Ian Fleming. In some ways, DCI John Wyatt behaves like Chandler’s Captain Cronjager but, from the start, he and Jonas are far more of a team than the Californian couple. Wyatt is certainly not like the Saint’s stooge, Claude Eustace Teal. Some of the minor characters (Freddy Talbot, Marty and especially Red) might have been at home in 30’s California but of the female possibilities (Anne Demas, Jane or Thelma) only Anne has the makings of a femme fatale like Vivian Sternwood while Thelma possesses a  core harder than found in Fleming. I should add here that Vanessa is far more complex than Miss Moneypenny.
Because this is a private contract there is an absence of bureaucrats for my waspish pen to mock. Fools there may be (Paul Taillard & Tom Cardew are two examples) but they aren’t ‘institutional’ fools. Plato may be one of more ruthless villains I’ve created but his cruelty is largely hidden from the Reader, if not the fear he evokes. Callisto may match him in ruthlessness but not in the power to terrorise.
Obviously, in a series of 16 books, similarities must betray themselves.. Here Bill, mild-mannered but dangerous, is later recreated in ‘Californian Nightmare’ as Ernest Henry Jones. The climax here is paralleled to a certain extent in that book and, surely consciously, more closely in ‘Endgame At Watergate’. I leave it to readers to find other examples, perhaps suppressed by my own subconscious.

Next time, Jonas steps in on his own account for once.

Bob Hyslop

No comments:

Post a Comment