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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Part 5 - My top five films from the forties that have influenced my writing


In this, the final article in my series of blogs about the five films from the 1940s that have influenced my writing I turn to one of the most atmospheric and classic film noirs of all time, The Third Man.

The Third Man (1949)

This film screenplay was written by Graham Greene. Directed by Carol Reed it stars Joseph Cotton, Orson Wells, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard. It has everything: atmospheric cinematography, a scarred location which perfectly imitates the scarred individuals in the film, wonderful editing, echoing background sound effects reflecting the empty despair of some of the characters, and a unique musical score.

American pulp western novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, post-war Vienna, where his old friend Harry Lime has offered him a job only to find Harry dead. Soon Martins is drawn into investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death and in so doing has to face up to the shocking truth about his friend - Limes is a scheming black-market opportunist.

Selecting five films that have influenced me and my style of writing was an almost impossible task because there are so many great films to choose from. I decided, therefore, to focus on one particular era, the 1940s and even then I was spoiled for choice.

So here in summary (and no particular order of preference) are my top five:

The Big Sleep, written by Raymond Chandler, with the film starring the wonderful Humphrey Bogart and lovely Lauren Bacall.

The second is another classic Raymond Chandler crime novel, Farewell my Lovely, which was re titled for the film in the USA as Murder My Sweet, featuring Dick Powell as  Marlowe.

Number three features another private eye but this time not based on a Chandler novel. Dark Corner, starring Mark Stevens, Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb and William Bendix..

The fourth is a British film and a more light-hearted one but still crime Green for Danger adapted from one of Christianna Brand’s most successful novels featuring Detective Inspector Cockrill superbly played by Alastair Simm

Number five is one of the classic film noirs of all time, as mentioned above The Third Man..

I could wax lyrically about many more thriller movies that I love, those from the 1940s and 1950s (I haven’t even mentioned Hitchcock - Rear WindowStrangers on a Train, The Lady Vanishes!) and there are many modern day thrillers and suspense movies that I love but it’s time to end the show for now, folks. I’m off to watch a film.



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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Part 4 - My top five crime films from the 1940s which have influenced my style of writing

In this, the fourth article of this series of blogs I continue to reveal five films that have influenced me and my style of writing.  There are so many great films to choose from that I have selected five from the 1940s.

My first was The Big Sleep, written by Raymond Chandler, with the film starring the wonderful Humphrey Bogart and lovely Lauren Bacall.  The second was another classic Raymond Chandler crime novel, Farewell my Lovely, which was re titled for the film in the USA as Murder My Sweet.  The film featured a different Marlowe but an equally great actor who gives a perfect performance, Dick Powell.  My third selection was another private eye but this time not based on a Chandler novel. Dark Corner, starring Mark Stevens, Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb and William Bendix..

Now it's time to switch to a British film and a more light-hearted one but still crime, of course, Green for Danger.

Green for Danger (1946)

Green for Danger is adapted from one of Christianna Brand’s most successful novels. It features Inspector Cockrill superbly played by Alastair Simm. Directed by Sidney Gilliat and also starring the enigmatic Trevor Howard, the sexily husky Sally Gray and the wonderful character actress Megs Jenkins Green for Danger is a classic forerunner to many UK television detective programmes of today.

Set in war torn Britain in a large house converted to a hospital for the duration it captures the jealousies, suspicions and sexual undercurrents between the doctors and nurses when a postman dies on the operating table and their relationships are put under the spotlight. Scotland Yard’s insouciant Inspector Cockrill is called in to investigate this unexpected murder mystery story.

Inspector Cockrill is not like my fictional detective in the least. DI Andy Horton is younger, fitter, deeply troubled and definitely more serious  and my crime novels are contemporary although the detective in my play, Murder at The Pelican Club, Inspector Doyle, is not unlike Inspector Cockrill in Green For Danger and my play is set in 1940s war torn Britain.

The method of murder used in Green for Danger is as equally intriguing as the story line but I won't spoil it and give it away in case you haven't seen the film or read the book. Well worth doing both if you're into classic crime novels and old movies as DI Andy Horton's sidekick, Sergeant Barney Cantelli is.




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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Pauline Rowson explains how she chooses titles of her crime novels

 I'm often asked how I come up with titles for my crime novels and the answer is usually with great difficulty. Some titles are like pregnancy, taking months to develop and even when the novel is finished I might still have no idea what to call it. Other titles can come instantly, almost the moment the novel hits the page although that is rare. Dead Man's Wharf was one such case, mainly because it is set around a wharf where a dead man is found.

The location and scene of the murder in the novel can often prompt the title as in A Killing Coast when a body is found floating in the sea off Portsmouth harbour but the action also takes place around the stunning coastal bays of the Isle of Wight, hence the ‘coast’ in the title. Then there is Death Lies Beneath, the eighth in the Horton series, when a woman's body is found beneath the sea on a sunken barge just off a disused quayside in Portsmouth. The title of DI Horton number twelve, Fatal Catch, comes from the opening incident when fishermen discover they have hauled up a human hand.

The main character's actions can also prompt a title. For example in my thriller novel, In For The Kill, the hero, Alex Albury, newly released from prison after serving a sentence for a crime he didn't commit, is out to find the man who framed him and seek revenge. He is in for the kill.


And in Silent Running the first book in the new Art Marvik marine mysteries the title describes how Marvik is trying to come to terms with his new career after leaving the Royal Marines, working undercover as a marine investigator for the UK’s National Intelligence Marine Squad. The second in the series is called, Dangerous Cargo and is inspired by the fact the novel involves, well you’ve guessed it, and maybe I shouldn’t say anymore for fear of giving away the plot.









The DI Horton novels and the Art Marvik series are both set against the backdrop of the sea so there has to be a marine element in the book’s title, for example, Undercurrent, Footsteps on the Shore,Blood on the Sand.

The title must also reflect the genre. This makes it even more challenging.And titles are often changed in translation to suit the country of publication.



But are titles remembered? The majority of them are not. If the book is memorable, or becomes famous or controversial, or is the name of a film/TV series, or is treasured by the reader then it will stick, hopefully along with the name of the author but not always. Characters though have far greater staying power in a reader’s mind and generate loyalty over a much longer time frame sometimes even after the author has long been gone, therefore much better to concentrate on creating a memorable character rather than getting hung up a title.

 

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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Part 3 - My top five films of the forties that have influenced my style of writing

In this series of blogs I reveal five films that have influenced me and my style of writing.  There are so many great films to choose from that I have selected five from the 1940s.  My first was The Big Sleep, written by Raymond Chandler, with the film starring the wonderful Humphrey Bogart and lovely Lauren Bacall.  The second was another classic Raymond Chandler crime novel, Farewell my Lovely (Murder My Sweet in the USA) and this time the film featuring a different Marlowe but an equally great actor who gives a perfect performance,  Dick Powell.

Here is my third film with yes, you've guessed it another private eye but this time not based on a Chandler novel.

Dark Corner (1946)

This great film noir contains one of my favourite lines, ‘I’m backed up in a dark corner and I don’t know who’s hitting me’ uttered by Brad Galt, who plays Mark Stevens, private eye and one time prison inmate framed for murder and now trying to start afresh with a new agency in another part of America.

My crime novel In For the Kill features a similar theme but instead of the private eye a one time successful businessman framed for fraud and embezzlement newly released from prison, set on revenge determined to track down the man who framed him.

But to get back to Dark Corner.  What I particularly like about this film noir, apart from the great script and wise cracking dialogue, is the character portrayed by Lucille Ball.  OK, so boss falling for secretary, the role she plays, and vice versa is a bit predictable but in this film it is the secretary who emerges the stronger character and has more staying power than her boss. It also shows how talented an actress Lucille Ball was. Directed by Henry Hathaway it also stars the talented Clifton Webb and brilliant William Bendix with that gravelly voice which I could listen to for ages.

A fast-paced film with great acting. Highly enjoyable.


In For The Kill a crime novel by Pauline Rowson


"I was hooked from the first page. Rowson's thrillers are a contemporary take on the classic page-turner. She weaves terrific plots around memorable characters. Her writing is as sharp as a punch in the ribs. Attention-grabbing. Compulsive. Next one please!" Editor - Hampshire Life Magazine.    

"A change of direction at every turn. Keep notes on all the players. If you like Jeffery Deaver, you'll love this story. The best mystery I've ever read by a female author." Amazon 5* Review


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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries



Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Shroud of Evil - DI Andy Horton - How far would you go to protect a secret?



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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Silent Running, the first in the Art Marvik Marine Mystery Series by Pauline Rowson



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Now out as an unabridged audio book.

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Pauline Rowson's books USA

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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Part 2 - Farewell my Lovely - five films that have influenced my writing - Part 2

In this series of blogs I reveal five films that have influenced me and my style of writing.  There are so many great films to choose from that I have selected five from the 1940s.  My first was The Big Sleep, from the novel written by Raymond Chandler, with the film starring the wonderful Humphrey Bogart and lovely Lauren Bacall.  Here is my second choice, another classic Raymond Chandler crime novel and this time the film features a different Marlowe but an equally great actor who gives a perfect performance,  Dick Powell.

Farewell My Lovely (called Murder My Sweet in the USA) (1944)

A classic film noir directed by Edward Dmytryk starring Dick Powell, the wonderful Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley.  The film was released in the UK under the title Farewell, My Lovely, the same as the 1940 Chandler novel, but it was renamed for the American market to prevent film goers from mistaking it for a musical for which Dick Powell was already famous.

Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired by petty crook, Moose Malloy, recently released from prison to find his girlfriend, Velma, who according to Moose is ‘cute as lace pants’.   What looks a simple case on the surface quickly becomes complicated and Marlowe’s enquiries lead to a tangled web of deceit involving bribery, perjury and theft.

Readers of my crime novels know that I also like complex plots, with lots of twists and turns. Things are never what they seem in my crime novels. Trust no one, believe nothing is the motto of DI Andy Horton who currently features in twelve police procedurals.

It could equally be said of the other hero of my crime novels Art Marvik, my former Royal Marine Commando now working undercover for the UK's National Intelligence Marine Squad. Like Marlowe a private detective, Marvik  works outside the law, although unlike Marlowe he is attached to it and like Marlowe he finds himself in all sorts of tricky and dangerous situations..

There are some fantastic lines in Farewell My Lovely (Murder My Sweet).  One of my favourites is, 'A black hole opened up and I dived in.'

 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Book Trailer - Fatal Catch - DI Andy Horton investigates a gruesome catch



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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries


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