Fifteen years ago I began writing Mr. Toppit when I was a literary agent representing the estate of A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh. I learned the story of Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, who grew to hate the fame his father's books brought him. To reshape that idea in a modern context was the single idea that was the genesis of my novel.
During the years I spent writing, another phenomenon occurred in the world of children's book publishing that made Winnie-the-Pooh's fame seem parochial: Harry Potter. Suddenly, my idea of a modern series of children's stories that take over the world did not seem so far-fetched. What had originally been conceived as a small story about my boy hero, Luke Hayman, suddenly made famous by his dead father's books widened into both an examination of the mechanics of fame and a strange journey towards a literary tipping point that has devastating consequences for the characters in my book.(from Amazon.com's website)
The second book I read was graciously lent to me by Ms. Kathy M.: The Truth-Teller's Lie, by Sophie Hannah. This was a combination of psychological suspense (think Ruth Rendell) combined with a police procedural. The chapters alternate between the first-person account of a woman who is a rape victim, and reports her married lover missing when he breaks all contact with her and disappears; and the third-person account of the police detectives investigating her missing-persons report. It's hard to review this one without giving too much away, but I thought the first-person chapters didn't work as well as the third-person ones, although it was a suspenseful and creepy tale.
Last was Gone to Ground by John Harvey, in which a Cambridge lecturer is found murdered in his house. At the time of his death, he was working on a biography of a 50s movie star, but it isn't at all clear that this has anything to do with his murder. This was a decent mystery, but not as well-done as some other John Harvey books I've read.
Since it's been a bit crazy here, with the end of the holidays, the kids home on break and some knitting deadlines approaching, I'm unlikely to read much more before the New Year, but I'll do a year-end summary soon, along with some reading resolutions for 2011. As always, please leave your suggestions or comments -- I try to respond to them in the comments section.
Check out the WEBS podcast, Ready Set Knit, this weekend, as I join Kathy and Steve to opine about 2010: The Knitting (and Crochet) Year That Was....