Tuesday, 4 August 2009

In Which Your Lazy Blogger Enlists Family Members To Do The Work

This is my Dad. My Dad likes thrillers, spy novels and war stories. (He also likes books about dwarves and elves, but that's irrelevant for the purposes of this blog post.) When the very nice people at John Murray Publishers sent me a copy of THE INTERROGATOR by Andrew Williams (who is either from Edinburgh, or lives there - I cannot find a website, unfortunately) I took one look at the back and thought "My Dad would love this." It's set in 1941, and is partially about the cracking of the Enigma Code. My Dad was born in 1935 and in 1941 he lived about 8 miles away from Bletchley Park where the code was cracked.

"Donna," I said to myself. "What is it, now?" I answered, "You're always such a pest." "Alright, alright, no need to be quite so stroppy. I've got an idea that will mean you can do less work on this blog thing of yours." "Really?" I said, suddenly interested...

Anyway, I thought I would get my Dad to review the book, because he would do it far more justice than I would. This has, of course, left me in a bit of a pickle with my Mum. (That's my Mum, on the left. She wouldn't let me use a proper picture "I don't like being on blogs, you get all those funny people on blogs...What is a blog anyway?) "What about me?" she said. "Am I not good enough to review books?" Now, my Mum as a reviewer would also work well, since I enjoy dark, warped books with lots of swearing, violence and bodily fluids. And my Mum...well, she doesn't. At all. At Crimefest in Bristol she met the charming Chris Ewan. He was so charming that she bought one of his books. Well, she got my Dad to buy it for her. My Mum is like the Queen, she doesn't carry cash. After she'd read it she rang me up. "Our Donna, why can't you write nice books like that nice Chris Ewan?" she said. "He doesn't need all that swearing and not nice stuff you go in for." The subtext was "I wish that nice Chris Ewan was my daughter."

So, I decided that any nice books I get, I will send to my Mum to review. Any thriller-y, spy-y, war-y sort of stuff, I will send to my Dad. So here, without further ado (since there has been far too much ado already) is my Dad's review of Andrew Williams' THE INTERROGATOR.

THE INTERROGATOR is part fictional, but based on facts about naval operations both at sea and on land. It tells the story of a naval interrogator questioning German submariners about their operations at sea, and whether the powers that be have knowledge of the codes in use by the British navy at that time. It also deals with the distrust of the so called intelligence forces, many of whom are based on actual people, though the story is fiction. The main character is of dual nationality, having a German Mother, and is not fully trusted by some of the people he works with. His friendship with some of the Germans grows, which also alienates some of his comrades, and he does maintain contact with them after hostilities have ceased.

A very enjoyable story, I was captivated from beginning to end. The heroes and villians were so lifelike, and in the end the villians turn out to be heroes, or so it seemed. I found it difficult to differentiate truth from fiction, as part of it was fact, the rest being of the author's imagination. The love interest part was believable as I understand this an acceptable part of life during wartime. Station X was mentioned a few times, a secret so well kept that it was not publicised until the 90s. Many residents of Bletchley were not aware that it existed until much later.

Thank you pater.


  1. I live in Bydgoszcz, Poland birthplace of this bloke

  2. Fascinating stuff Paul - although I had problems getting my tongue round the Polish words and my head round the science :o) Thank you for that.

  3. Your mum has excellent taste, but I'm a bit worried by the prospect of having to undergo a sex op in order to sell her my next book.

  4. Hi Donna - Big thank you to your Dad for reading my book....and sorry, haven't got website yet but will have soon - certainly in time for novel two - To Kill A Tsar [March 2010].
    FYI - live in Edinburgh with my family but I am not from there....my wife - Kate Mavor - from Glasgow which is why Scotland is home. Andrew

  5. Chris - just wear a dress occasionally - I'm sure she won't be able to tell any different.

    Andrew - thank you very much for your comment! My Dad will be chuffed when I tell him, and especially so to learn there is a second one out next March. And let me know when you have a website and I will add you to the list of links.

  6. How clever of you to enlist some (unpaid?) reporters! My father died several years ago, but when I succeed in selling some of my brilliant stuff, I will remember to let my mother write a review. She reads a book a year (and every second is a manuscript of mine). So she won´t even lie when she claims my books are some of the best she has ever come across! LOL

  7. LOL Dorte. Sadly, I think even if my mum only read one book a year and it was mine, her review would still be "That was by far the worst book I read this year." :o) When she read Helena she said "Your father and I will never be able to show our face at the Club again - everyone will think we're raging alcoholics."

  8. Donna, I thought Tolkein did write mystery novels. The dwarf and the elf did terminate a lot of orc's. The LOR's full of murder and mayhem

  9. Nice review by your dad Donna! The past truly is another country and well done Andrew.

    My own dad celebrated 90 this year, just writing his first book about the war.. takes a long time to get over some things.. obviously asked if he wants me to publish it.. he said not sure anyone would want to hear his story!

    This from a man who was in the BEF at the start (under age), missed Dunkirk and evac'ed further south by hijacking a merchant ship. Floated around the North Sea until berthing in Belfast (where he met my mum), dropped by sub into Italy after re-training as radio op, no Italian, hidden by Rome University who taught him Italian, crossed Italy briefed to contact anti-fascist partisans, did so, behind lines with them in mountains for ages, later fought at monte cassino, survived.

    My brother married for 40 years to the daughter of the partisan leader... hm.. not much of a story eh?

    Hope your Babrelo's Blood arrives soon!


  10. LOL. Nope - can't see the interest in THAT story. Bit dull don't you think? Tell him YES! We want to hear.

  11. Working on him Donna! lol He has been re-visiting many of the places he was at during the war and writing it up as he went. Rather than as a fascinating personal history I think it would form the basis of a great novel, which would be another way of preserving that history.

    If I ever have the time I might have a go at that myself. Not likely at the moment though.

  12. That sounds like a great idea for a novel.

  13. I have to think about that "don't tell mum" bit
    What did you say you were buying me for Xmas ?