Friday, November 20, 2009

More out of print and hard to find Kiwi crime and thriller books...

Continuing on from my posts of 5 October and 16 September, I've incrementally been building up something of a personal library of second-hand copies of out-of-print and hard-to-find Kiwi crime, mystery and thriller titles, to complement the newer books I have from more recent authors still in print like Paul Cleave, Vanda Symon, Dorothy Fowler, Michael Green, Neil Cross, Lindy Kelly etc etc.

It's been eye-opening to see how many largely forgotten Kiwi authors have put out a crime or thriller novel or two, let alone some I have come across (like Freda Bream) who have put out multiple titles in a series. As you can see from the seemingly ever-growing sidebar to the right,

I have been 'discovering' more and more Kiwi authors who've written crime or thriller books ... If any of you readers can think of others that I haven't yet included, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. I'd appreciate any help building my ad-hoc list...

As I've been stumbling over more and more Kiwi authors and titles, I have also been digging through the online second-hand stores, particularly the TradeMe and Sella websites, to see if I can get my hands on copies of any of their out-of-print and hard-to-find books. I've purchased several more recently, which I will be reviewing on this site at some stage in future (including those mentioned in my earlier posts).

Then on the weekend, I stopped off and browsed the bookshelves of Jason's Books in Lorne Street, Auckland - quite a cool upstairs second-hand bookstore. Looking through the New Zealand fiction section I found a few books, including some I'd never heard of, that could fall into the crime, mystery or thriller category. Despite my 60+ book TBR pile, I couldn't resist buying four of them. Here are two of those recent purchases:

RESPONSIBILITY by Nigel Cox (VUP, 2005)
A darkly comic thriller set in contemporary Berlin. Martin Rumsfield, an international museums expert from New Zealand, is feeling hemmed in by the pressures of work and the demands of family. When a shady character from his past turns up with a sure-fire plan to scam the scammers, Martin is seduced by the glamour of a walk on the wild side. Then, in a shattering moment, he realises that he has put what he values most at deadly risk.

You can read more about Nigel Cox, who passed away in 2006, and the variety of novels he has written and his museum-related work, here.

GRIEVOUS BODILY by Craig Harrison
(Penguin, 1991)
A saga of infidelity, deceit, thwarted lust and mad dogs, not to speak of grievous bodily harm with a cricket bat. A sedate university community goes to pieces when two of its members make off with a cache of stolen money belonging to a gang of ruthless idiots. The most unlikely people are thrown together in a spectacular fashion, the highlight of which is the amazing case of the exploding pudding.

I'm guessing this is something of a comic novel that happens to have some crime interwoven into the plot - should be a bit of a nice breather from all the serial killers, murder, and darkness I'm usually reading.
Craig Harrison has written several novels, plays, short stories, satirical works and television comedies. His plays have won various awards, and his novel, THE QUIET EARTH, shortlisted for NZ Book of the Year in 1982, was adapted into a feature film. You can read more about him here.

Thoughts on the two books above? Do you like browsing second-hand bookstores to find older books that aren't available on booksellers' shelves? If so, what are some gems you have discovered?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love browsing through bookstores and looking for those out-of-print gems!! I've found several of my very old Ellery Queens there, as well as some of my John Alexander Grahams. A few others, too. I also like looking through the books when our library has a benefit sale - I always find a gem or two.