Indeed; Me. Him. Jane Austin.
I am me ( as you should know my now). He is Pete Austin ( more about him later) , and the Jane Austin is not this one.
But a man.
He is the creation of the weird, wonderful and possibly certifiable imagination of Pete Adams. He is a very well respected architect, I must check out his buildings…
To give you a flavour of the Pete Adams experience it is an experience but I have had counselling and I can talk about it now. Imagine Ustinov on the Nile, playing Poirot as if he is the quintessential Englishman. Pete wears a hat, I bet he has a striped blazer. He probably understands cricket and can explain the rules. Pete probably drinks Pimms. I bet he has a bow tie, hand tied.
You get the picture..
So here he is…. To explain about his love of ‘Austin.’
Ramsay; “DCI Jane Austin; him, me, and Kind Hearts and Martinets...”
Pete;– take your hat off.’
‘What’s the magic word?’
Pete slopes his head, looking for a more fulsome reply. ‘Miss Ramsay, I seek first to deteriorate your intonation thus relieving me of the burden of assuming your iron, on a morning when my mood is elevated and my eyes are brightened by exercise; in other words, what’s the magic word?’
‘Oh for heaven’s sake, Pete, if you would remove your hat I would be most exceedingly obliged, and yes, my family they are well, pretty please with brass knobs on.’
Pete removes his hat, ‘May I call you dearest lovely Elizabeth?’
I am the author of a series of novels called Kind Hearts and Martinets; it is a trilogy in eight books, all stand alone novels that have a continuing and developing thread of conspiracy. My Publisher says they are crime thrillers that will make you laugh, cry and think; ( Miss Ramsay said they reminded her of Tom Sharpe). She read the third, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, as she moderated my panel at CrimeFest. And asked me to blog about my central character DCI Jane Austin.
I did try to explain the character to Miss Ramsay but she is Scottish and they have a very short attention span. She admitted she had never read a Jane Austin book in her life as she prefers a death in the first five pages ( I have just started reading Rat Run and I am scared!!)
So DCI Jane Austin is an elderly, overweight, ugly and disfigured, cockney barrow boy spiv, a Mr Malacopperism, who Det. Superintendent Amanda Bruce believes has never solved a crime in his life.
I pointed out to Miss Ramsay that, although I may give the appearance of being a hard nut, a manly sort,( she laughed ) I am in fact, a gentle soul, and I am so proud to have written a polite series of books, based in a polite police station, and is most insistent that it is not a comedy of errors. If you thought that, you would be prejudiced?
(OUCH said Ramsay having just got that joke!)
Ramsay ; So how did you develop Jack (nicknamed Jane) Austin? Silence... ‘Pete? Jayziz Mary and Feckin’ Joseph, ‘Pete we would very much appreciate it if you could expand on your character Jack Austin please.’ Silence... ‘Pretty please with brass Austen injuns on top?’ - Yes that did the trick.
Well, dearest lovely Elizabeth, (sigh) I drifted into writing crime thrillers primarily as I had this notion of a ‘polite’ police station. I get riled at police TV; ‘You, my office, now!’ and ‘Shut it!’, and my family get riled with me responding to the telly saying “Please” or ”What’s the magic word then”. So I had this fanciful notion of a Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice police station, ‘Good morning, your family, they are well?’ The funny thing is that I heard from a Leeds CID officer, and another retired officer from Braisingsteak (we think he means Basingstoke), saying that I had the atmosphere of the police station about right – and I just made it up! “Act dear boy, Act”, dear, dear Johnny Gielgud said to Dustbin Hoffman, well I do that writing under my stairs.
I wanted Jane to have the ‘appearance’ of ineptitude, an air of mystery, but in the end I made him an enema, ( Ramsay – he means enigma for those of you who don’t have English as a first language and have just translated that and got a fright at that) but, he is just a lovable dipstick, supported by strong women and a gay priest, though on a good day you might think Jane was an enigma. He is an intense socialist and frequently batters his head against the Establishment, and thus, Kind Hearts and Martinets was born; a screwball crime thriller mystery and conspiracy series (trilogy), which occasionally veers to the darker side of life, melding difficult and tragic experiences and dark personal thoughts, with the resilient humour and spirit that defines ordinary people. Peter Ustinov said, “Comedy is a funny way of being serious”, and Kind Hearts tackles crime and social issues, right from wrong, in a humorous way, intending to resonate with the ordinary man and woman in the street. “I have little doubt…” readers “…will be not only be entertained by your writing, moved by it, amused by it and provoked to think by it ”, was probably the best compliment I have ever had.
So, in this trilogy in 8 books, each novel tackles elements of the Establishment in a macro and micro sense, from the Lady of the Manor in Jack Austin’s street where he lives, to the Government, and in Book 3, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, Jane Austin and his crew of monkey spanner cops, face down the military, also in a macro and micro sense. Book 1 Cause and effect, sets out the Cause for a series of events happening (to be taken up in the subsequent books), and the Effects on the vulnerable; in this novel it is social services and paedophiles. Book 2, Irony in the Soul, drifts into a more pensive mood, examining the irony of deeds both good and evil, whose God do you follow and what is the greater good?
( Ramsay; I will be questioning blog readers on this later so hope you paid attention )
I self published his first 2 books and was then signed by Urbane for books 3 and now 4 – Urbane will be reissuing books 1 and 2 in a few months time. Book 4, due out 1st November is an adventure, Jane against Nazis, terrorists, and, Napoleon...?
We will have to wait until next year for book 5, Merde and Mandarins, which focuses on the Civil Service.
Book 6, The Duchess of Frisian Tun, is written as a stage set novel and focuses right down to micro issues in the street where Jane lives; a study in English Upper Middle class moirés and geography, a sort of Canterbury Tales where the pilgrims go nowhere and written as a female pseudonym, Sue Narmi. ( Ramsay - I've heard of her, she's making all kinds of waves in crime fiction...)
Book 7, Rhubarb in the Mammon rolls straight onto the finale, ‘Umble Pie, which is a narrative written as a DNA spiral intertwining a surreal and real storyline, loosely based upon Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. When you read this final book you will be able to reflect upon the whole 8 books of the trilogy and see that, although you may have laughed in places, it is possibly the surreal notions that offer up the best social solutions, and the oft thought off the wall narratives, actually have some basis in reality.
I suppose we will have to wait and see.
Ramsay: I think..
Well done, have a wee sit down now..
Ramsay ; I think the comedy crime novel is very difficult to pull off. Bateman does it well, So does another one of my guest bloggers Douglas Skelton ( Dead Men Don’t Boogie). I was reading The Barrow Boys Cadenza and having a larf as Pete would say. Then a fifth of the way through somebody gets a bullet in the back, and among the humour and bonhomie of the book- it was actually very shocking. But I will never look at this picture below, ever again without giggling.
Pete Adams Caro Ramsay Putting words in each other's mouths.
03 06 2016