Described by The Times newspaper as 'England's funniest crime writer', Mike Ripley is the author of the award-winning Angel series which has won the CWA Last Laugh Award on two occasions. As well as his Angel series he has also written several stand alone novels including Boudica, the Lost Roman and most recently The Legend of Hereward. Ripley is a respected critic of Crime Fiction as well as an author and writes for several newspapers including The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Mike's most recent project is completing a Margery Allingham novel, featuring her most famous creation, the gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Albert Campion is one of the great characters of Golden Age British crime fiction. Following Margery Allingham's death, her husband Youngman Carter completed her last book Cargo of Eagles and then wrote two further Campion tales before passing away himself with a a third posthumous novel still incomplete, which Ripley, acclaimed author of the Angel novels, has now completed. Shenanigans are afoot in a dusty Suffolk town and the elderly Campion investigates. Familiar characters from the series return, while new ones are introduced and gentle, old-fashioned sleuthing is afoot again, with Ripley making matters appear seamless. Traditional but warming fare, for the many fans of straightforward storytelling and cosy crime. A welcome return.
An entertaining history of British thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed, in which award-winning crime writer Mike Ripley reveals that, though Britain may have lost an empire, her thrillers helped save the world. With a foreword by Lee Child. When Ian Fleming dismissed his books in a 1956 letter to Raymond Chandler as 'straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety' he was being typically immodest. In three short years, his James Bond novels were already spearheading a boom in thriller fiction that would dominate the bestseller lists, not just in Britain, but internationally. The decade following World War II had seen Britain lose an Empire, demoted in terms of global power and status and economically crippled by debt; yet its fictional spies, secret agents, soldiers, sailors and even (occasionally) journalists were now saving the world on a regular basis. From Ian Fleming and Alistair MacLean in the 1950s through Desmond Bagley, Dick Francis, Len Deighton and John Le Carre in the 1960s, to Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins in the 1970s. Many have been labelled 'boys' books' written by men who probably never grew up but, as award-winning writer and critic Mike Ripley recounts, the thrillers of this period provided the reader with thrills, adventure and escapism, usually in exotic settings, or as today's leading thriller writer Lee Child puts it in his Foreword: 'the thrill of immersion in a fast and gaudy world.'In Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Ripley examines the rise of the thriller from the austere 1950s through the boom time of the Swinging Sixties and early 1970s, examining some 150 British authors (plus a few notable South Africans). Drawing upon conversations with many of the authors mentioned in the book, he shows how British writers, working very much in the shadow of World War II, came to dominate the field of adventure thrillers and the two types of spy story - spy fantasy (as epitomised by Ian Fleming's James Bond) and the more realistic spy fiction created by Deighton, Le Carre and Ted Allbeury, plus the many variations (and imitators) in between.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Maxim Jakubowski June 2017 Book of the Month. Following on from Martin Edwards' splendid, award-winning Golden Age of Murder, about Christie and the heyday of the British cozy school of crime writing, Ripley's exploration of popular literature's history moves on in time and closely examines the boom in British thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed, a period and genre that had hitherto mostly been glossed over by both academia and critics. Witty and meticulously researched, Ripley's exploration of a much-maligned category demonstrates how British values and the shadow of the Empire coloured the works of so many authors, many of whom so deserve to be revived, following their initial heyday, like Desmond Bagley, Alastair MacLean, Alan Williams, Hammond Innes, Ted Allbeury, Lionel Davidson and scores of others alongside better-known names like Le Carre, Deighton, Jack Higgins, etc... Many of the books and authors evoked were a reflection of their time and Ripley cleverly argues for their posterity in an impeccable exercise in scholarship and entertainment that makes you want to scour the second-hand shelves or EBay every few pages, or hark back to memories of your reading youth should you be of a certain age. Indispensable and destined for awards. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
The Golden Age of British Detective FictionThe idyllic English village of Lindsay Carfax isn't run by the parish council, the rating authority, the sanitary inspector nor the local cops as you might suppose. The real bosses are the Carders - something to do with wool, four hundred years back. They wound stuff on cards, I suppose. But these boys are very fly customers - they're right on the ball. Boiled down, it comes to this; they're a syndicate who run this place - which makes a packet - with their own rules. One way and another they probably own most of it."e; Thus ruminated Superintendent Charles Luke to Albert Campion who was contemplating visiting his wayward artistic niece in Carfax. And when a missing schoolteacher reappeared after nine days, and Campion's car was "e;inadvertently"e; damaged, not to mention Campion himself, then all the signs were that not all was what it seemed. Campion himself plays the central role in this quintessentially British mystery, but there are appearances too from all of Margery Allingham's regular characters, from Luke to Campion's former manservant Lugg, to his wife Lady Amanda Fitton and others. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the observation keen, and the climax is thrilling and eerily atmospheric.
Roy Angel is slowly adjusting to the pressures of working at Rudgard & Blugden Confidential Investigations, although his Raymond Chandler 'training manuals' still haven't reconciled him to going to work every day. It would seem that Angel could take it easy with his latest case however; finding the retired Mr Ellrington's long-lost love shouldn't be too demanding, should it? Handling his partner Amy May, fashionista turned fearsome nesting mother-to-be, as well as his ailing father and his Page 3 girlfriend, might be another matter though. From meeting Huddersfield's very own Double-O-Seven, to getting entangled in a shootout where the OAPs are acting like kids, Angel's latest caper boasts a cast of unforgettable characters and the indefatigable humour that rightly makes Mike Ripley the King of Comedy Crime.