Saturday, January 19, 2013

Funny Ha Ha

I got pretty surprising news this week that my first Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground has been longlisted for The Last Laugh Award at CrimeFest. It was Colin Bateman who told me about this, who, of course has been longlisted himself. The Last Laugh Award is for the Best Humourous Crime Novel published in the British Isles in the last year. I don't know if you've read The Cold Cold Ground, but if you have you'll know that it isn't exactly a laugh riot, indeed its a pretty serious noir set against the background of the Hunger Strikes in 1981. However there are quite a few jokes in the novel and one of the things I did try to do with the book was capture Belfast's famous propensity for black humour. In Ireland's literary tradition moral seriousness has always been modulated by wit, black humour and irony - and I feel that in Ulster this has been taken to an even darker and more interesting degree by a population who frequently use humour as a coping mechanism. (Perhaps one of the reasons my books don't do particularly well in America is that their sarcasm and irony is accepted at face value?) Anyway much of The Cold Cold Ground was funny to me and I'm delighted that the judges of CrimeFest seem to have gotten the joke. 
Here's that longlist in full:

Colin Bateman  The Prisoner of Brenda
Agatha Raisin  Hiss and Hers
Simon Brett  Blotto, Twinks and the Bootleggers 
Hannah Dennison  A Vicky Hill Exclusive!
Ruth Dudley  Edwards Killing The Emperors
Hesh Kestin  The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats 
Adrian McKinty  The Cold Cold Ground 
Catriona McPherson  Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses
Eileen Robertson  Blackmail for Beginners
James Runcie  Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death
Anne Zouroudi  The Bull of Mithros