Category Archives: Qui Xiaolong

Pulp Friday: the pulp of John D MacDonald

The Empty Trap popular Library 1957“He Sold His Soul For Another Man’s Wife.”

This weeks Pulp Friday is a selection of covers from the prolific US thriller writer, John D MacDonald.

MacDonald got his start writing for pulp magazines in the late forties, then rode the paperback boom that occurred in the fifties and early sixties. He was the author of over sixties books, as well as numerous short stories and articles.

He is probably best know for creating the fictional private investigator Travis McGee, who featured in 21 of McDonald’s books.

A number of his books have been adapted for film and television. His novel The Executioners was filmed as Cape Fear, starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen, in 1962, and again by Martin Scorsese in 1991. One of the McGee books, Darker Than Amber, was made into a film of the same name, starring Rod Taylor, in 1970.

The following selection of covers spans the late fifties to the early seventies and include many of the Fawcett Gold Medal editions of McDonald’s work, as well as the UK Pan paperback additions.

Enjoy.

April-Evil3 You Live Once Fawcett Gold medal 1957

Cape Fear Coronet Books 1960

Death Trap Pan 1958

The Only Girl in the Game Fawcett Gold Medal 1960

The Only Girl in the Game Pan Books 1960

One Monday We Killed then all Fawcett Gold medal 1961

On The Run Gold Medal Books 1963

The Drowner Fawcett Gold medal 1963

The Quick Red Fox Pan Books 1964

Dress Her in Indigo GM version Fawcett gold medal 1969

Darker than amber. Pan Books 1966jpeg

The Damned Fawcett Gold medal

The Neon Jungle FG medal 1988

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Writing noir fiction in Asia

Late last week in Phnom Penh a book was launched that I’m very proud to have a story in.

It’s called Phnom Penh Noir, an anthology of 14 noir stories set in Cambodia. Amongst the authors are Roland Joffe, the director whose credits include the 1984 film The Killing Fields, John Burdett, author of the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series and Christopher G Moore, who also edited the book. Interestingly, there’s also stories by Khmer and Thai authors.

If you’re looking for an interesting take on noir fiction, I’d urge you to check this book out.

I’ve noticed a bit of interest lately around the idea of setting noir crime fiction in Asia.

My debut novel Ghost Money is set in Cambodia the mid-nineties, the point at which the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency started to fragment and the country was torn by political instability. It’s been out for several months now and nearly everyone who has reviewed it has labelled it noir fiction. Which is very fine with me.  As I noted in my last post, some have even dubbed it Asian noir, which sounds even cooler. 

Ghost Money is the story of a disillusioned Vietnamese Australian ex-cop called Max Quinlan, who is hired to find an Australian businessman, Charles Avery, missing in the chaos.… Read more

Book review: Death of a Red Heroine

Several months ago, I did a post (which you can view here) on why so little indigenous crime fiction comes out of China.

One of the authors I mentioned, probably the best known Chinese crime writer in the West, is the Chinese born US-based Qui Xiaolong. His character, a poetry-sprouting cop called Chen Cao based in Shanghai, has featured in several novels.

When Karen Chisholm, one of the reviewers of the excellent site Australian Crime Fiction, mentioned she was reviewing one of Xiaolong’s books, Death of a Red Heroine, published in 2000, I was keen to cross post it. Her review is below.

Book synopsis:

Shanghai in the mid-1990s is a city caught between reverence for the past and fascination with a tantalizing, market-driven present. When the body of a young “national model worker,” revered for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up in a canal, Chen is thrown into the midst of these opposing forces. As he struggles to unravel the hidden threads of this paragon’s life, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. With party-line-spouting superiors above him and detectives who resent his quick promotion beneath him, Chen finds himself wondering whether justice is a concept at all meaningful in late-20th-century China.… Read more

In China, crime fiction and social harmony do not mix

Something was confirmed for me over the last couple of days that I’ve long suspected: crime fiction and authoritarian governments do not mix.

But before I explore this further, a little background is required.

On Friday night, I and over a thousand other people crammed into the Melbourne Town Hall for the Gala Night of Story Telling 2011: Voices from Elsewhere, organised by the Wheeler Centre.

Of the eight writers who spoke, my favourite story was Chinese writer Murong Xuecun’s parable about the power of traumatic historical events, in this case Mao’s Cultural Revolution, to distort the individual psyche, even long after they are over.

Murong was 28 and working as a sales manager for a car company in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and China’s fifth most populous city, when he started posting his first novel on the Internet.

The book, originally titled Chengdu Please Forget Me Tonight, focuses on three young men in newly capitalist Chengdu, their dead-end jobs, and relationships, their drinking, gambling and whoring.

It became a cult sensation among young middle class Chinese. It also landed him in a lot of trouble, especially when Murong refused to join the Chinese Writers Society, the state sponsored writers organisation.

In addition to selling through the roof in China, the book has been translated into English as Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu.… Read more