FFB: Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith

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Continuing the summer obsessions (although being back to campus is the painful way of telling me summer’s over) of Highsmith and Spark, I have two plays coming up: the first is Murray-Smith’s play imagining Patricia Highsmith meeting a mysterious visitor who seems rather Ripley-esque to anyone who’s read her. There was a production in Bath that I couldn’t get to which whetted my appetite and made me wonder why I’d never heard of this though the LA version of the simultaneous debut of the play starred Laura Effing Linney. Wow. I would have loved to see that.

Probably the reason I didn’t hear about it despite having an ear for any mention of Highsmith is that LA critics were mostly ‘meh’. Insane: I swear sometimes I think no one in that city understands humour (which would explain most American ‘comedy’).

This play is crackling dark fun. If you know Highsmith at all, you know how things will turn out but it is great fun seeing just how they get there. Murray-Smith clearly has a great love for Highsmith and her writing (so much so that she hints some of the author’s most repellant personal characteristics might be played up for effect, which I rather doubt but I can see the appeal of thinking so). She captures her, right down to the snails.

Edward Ridgeway (‘Was there ever a more ordinary name?’) arrives in the titular country, emissary from the publisher who wants to squeeze one more Ripley tale our of the irascible and aging writer. Sure, it will make money for them but it will seal her legacy from being ‘…varied.’ Not that she’s dying: ‘Not quite on my deathbed, if that’s what you’re looking for. But let’s say, it’s freshly made up.’

‘Happy people are just people who don’t ask enough questions.’ I don’t know if it’s Highsmith or Murray-Smith but it’s a great line. Likewise, ‘Nice people are simply excellent narrators. They’re fakes.’

Great fun and I hope to see a production some time. What fun this two-hander must be to perform.

See all the FFB gems at Patti’s blog.

Life Just Bounces into Bouchercon!

Murder Under the Oaks-200x300I am delighted to say my story ‘Life Just Bounces’ for has been selected for the upcoming Bouchercon anthology Murder Under the Oaks. Plus editor Art Taylor added, “Let me say how much I adored your story!”

Woot! I originally wrote this as a short play and when reminded by Thomas Pluck of the fast-approaching deadline for the anthology, hastily rewrote it as a short story. I still think it would great fun for performance. It made me laugh!

Yes, of course I looted another Fall song title:

See the full table of contents at Down & Out Books so you too can be gobsmacked (seriously, what company to be amongst!) and order a copy if you’re of a mind to do so.

See you at Bouchercon!