Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forgotten Fiction: ON THE LIP OF A LION

As regular readers of this blog will know, over the past year or more, I've been gradually building up a collection of out-of-print and hard-to-find New Zealand mystery, crime, thriller and suspense novels from days recent and gone by. While many people seem to think New Zealand historically has little in the way of crime fiction, other than Dame Ngaio Marsh of course, I've stumbled over many interesting books and authors, and even a number of overlooked recurring detectives (eg Steve Arrow of Laurie Mantell's books, Reverend Jabal Jarratt of Freda Bream's books, and Doug Fisher and Liz Gresham of Carol Dawber's books, etc).

While the pace has slowed, I am still quite regularly adding to my Kiwi crime collection, and recently I purchased another book online, ON THE LIP OF A LION by Roy Jenner. Here is the back-cover blurb: "Enjoying a respite between marriages, Kris Neven is reunited with his teenage daughter at the height of the Christmas season. After casually disregarding a threat to separate him from his daughter, and his money from his bank account, Neven is plunged into a month of audacity, intrigue and violence, which rampages from the heart of Auckland to the shores of Lake Taupo as he responds to the demand for a monster ransom. Love, humour, violence and deception spill from the pages of this novel, holding the reader’s attention into the small hours."

ON THE LIP OF A LION was published Gauntlet Paperbacks, an imprint of Hazard Press, in 2004. Unfortunately Hazard Press went under soon after, taking with it the budding careers of several New Zealand popular fiction authors. I haven't been able to find any other books that Roy Jenner may have written since, and his website is now inactive.

Here is some biographical information, from the Hazard website (which is still operational, although the company is not): Roy Jenner was born in London and spent his youth in Kent. After serving in the Army he worked in the retail meat trade before moving to Auckland, New Zealand with his wife and first two sons. A shift to the real estate profession proved to be a wise move for Roy; he enjoys considerable success and features regularly in the top five per cent of sales people in New Zealand.Roy also writes short stories, poems and song lyrics.

It may interest some of you to know that the book's title, ON THE LIP OF A LION, comes from a Shakespeare quote, from Henry V:

"That's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast
On the lip of a lion."

From what I can gather online, the book appeared to get some good reviews on release. I am looking forward to reading it, when I get the chance.

Do you like the sound of ON THE LIP OF A LION? Do you like discovering out-of-print or hard-to-find crime and thriller titles? What are some of the lesser-known New Zealand authors or books you have stumbled across? Thoughts and comments appreciated.


  1. Craig - This does sound like an interesting read! And I always like to hear about those rare and hard-to-find titles. Sometimes those titles are more intriguing stories than popular and easy-to-find novels...

  2. Hello Craig - You made mention of my book On The Lip Of A Lion. Thanks for that. It would be good to chat. If you visit the site below you may find something of ibterest. Thank you

    Roy Jenner