Q&A with Richard McCartney
On the Gulf is a departure from the previous novels written by Desmond Cory. Having written a number of successful detective novels with series characters Prof. John Dobie and before that Johnny Fedora, the author wanted to experiment more and touch on some modern themes. It is the first novel from the author based in the Middle East where he lived for a number of years, and is arguably quite topical given the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world right now.
2. Why did you feel the need to publish it after his death?
In addition to several requests we received at the Desmond Cory website asking for more novels, we felt that On the Gulf was probably one of the best Cory novels ever written, and therefore deserved to be published. It was 99% finished needing just a few tweaks, and with many well-known authors turning to self-publishing, we felt this was the best way to go.
3. What was Desmond Cory like as a father?
Incredibly modest. He never really told us about his success as a novelist, as a screen-writer of Graham Greene's novels, or many of his literary awards he won.
More likely than not, he was often typing industriously at the keyboard, puffing away more than just occasionally on his favourite brand of cigarettes, nonchalantly stroking a sideburn with the middle finger of his left hand, completely impervious to the world around him, lost in silent meditation and creative thought, weaving his magic on his next novel. Only later did we learn how successful his novels became.
4. Has your dad ever given you any advice that has stuck with you throughout the years?
He was a strong believer in learning yourself from life. It's something I've appreciated more as I have grown older myself. He also taught me the importance of following your own gut feeling and not to be too influenced by others.
5. Do you have a favorite book written by your dad?
The Catalyst (published as The Strange Attractor in the UK) remains my favorite. The humor in it is great, and the plot is just so clever.
6. Do you fancy yourself a writer or do you have other passions you pursue?
No. One has to know one's limitations, so while I can edit and promote books online, I leave writing to those who clearly have a talent for it.
7. What is one thing you want people to remember about Desmond Cory?
Some critics have rendered Desmond Cory a disservice by indiscriminately linking his name more or less exclusively with the fictional secret agent genre. He was much more than another Ian Fleming. He was a prolific and marvellously eclectic artist, equally at home with spy novels as with thrillers (Deadfall – subsequently made into a movie starring Michael Caine with music by the late John Barry), detective stories (the Lindy Grey series: Begin, murderer; This is Jezebel; Lady Lost; The Shaken Leaf), psychological masterpieces (The Night Hawk; The Circe Complex), creating a very credible and amusing stylistic imitation of some of the giants of English literature (Lucky Ham), children’s books (Anne and Peter in Southern Spain; Jones on the Belgrade Express), combining all these facets with his own unique humour (The Dobie Trilogy: The Strange Attractor; The Mask of Zeus; The Dobie Paradox), writing film scripts (England Made Me), while at the same time publishing numerous erudite academic studies on English and European literature. His work also won important accolades such as the Sunday Times best crime novel of the year, and crime critics' choice of the year. Moreover, he could twinkle on the old ebonies and ivories with a certain panache, was a dab hand with brush and canvas, a talented amateur photographer and spoke Spanish and French quite fluently. But perhaps even more importantly, he was a loving and currently greatly-missed husband, father and grand-father.
8. When and where will this book be available?
It has just been published on Amazon Kindle at:
What they are saying about it:
"It has been far too many years since I had the pleasure to read a new work by Desmond Cory and now that wait is over. "On the Gulf" is a terrific return by a master who creates really interesting and complex characters and throws them together with a plot that keeps the reader guessing. Though several different people have major parts in this tale, the one called Bone is my favorite and I really enjoyed following him. The craziness of the Middle East political scene is a must read but will leave you shaking your head at the way allegiances seem to change for reasons that are realistic as they are frustrating. The Cory style of writing is truly a pleasure.
By Randall Mastellar, editor of critics website "spyguysandgals.com
Check out more books and information about Desmond Cory on his website.