Thursday, August 21, 2014

Forgotten book: LIGHT SPEED (1996)

LIGHT SPEED by David Frame (Quoin Press, 1996)

The blurb: Who killed the lovely Claire Bartlett, New Zealand's youngest, prettiest, greenest Member of Parliament? Was it Rufus Trout, MP for Nowhere in Particular and thwarted lover; Dale Thomas, fiscally correct crusader, or one of the many other characters who swarmed around the Golden Girl of Greendom?

Before being blown to bits by her briefcase on a Greencorp boat, Claire had single-handedly given a grateful nation the Light Speed Act 1999, but not everyone is delighted by a nifty piece of legislation which severely retards the speed of light in the name of Environmental Awareness...

Enter Morton Mains, physics lecturer, sceptic and reluctant detective. As he stumbles through the increasingly obscure world of professional politics in an attempt to piece together the last hours of Claire's life, Mort finds he's in a race against time like no other.

The author: Dave Frame was born in Invercargill in 1969. He was educated at Otatara Primary School and Southland Boys High School and majored in Physics and Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, from which he also holds a Masters degree in Astrophysics. He wrote LIGHT SPEED concurrently with his PhD thesis. He plays rugby and cricket and likes to borrow money from his mates. This is his first novel.


I found this book last week at Arty Bees Books in Wellington. An outstanding bookstore that for my money has by far the best out-of-print and hard-to-find New Zealand literature section I've ever seen. Both times I've visited I've found one or two old crime or thriller novels I didn't yet have, and I've compiled an amateur collection of more than 150 New Zealand crime novels from earlier days. So it is very hard for me to find anything I don't already have. If you're in Wellington, definitely check out Arty Bees, they have more than 100,000 books. It's a delight wandering their aisles and perusing their shelves. I was there for an hour plus.

From what I can gather, and there's not much available online about LIGHT SPEED or its author, Frame went on to work at the Treasury for two years after finishing his PhD, and is now Director and Professor of Climate Change at the School of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand's capital. You can see his faculty page here. He does not appear to have written any more fiction, although he has written several academic papers.

I'm looking forward to reading this books, which apparently is a bit of a satirical thriller.


What out-of-print or hard-to-find crime fiction have you discovered and loved?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Craig! I'm collecting the blog links this week for Friday's "Forgotten" Books tomorrow, and have added this one to the list. Anything that combines satire and physics sounds like a lot of fun - thanks for bringing it to our attention!