Archive for May 15, 2008


Peter Clenott has two good marketing ploys which are bound to get his intelligent thriller Hunting The King noticed and out ‘there’.

Firstly there is an exciting video on ‘You Tube’ that got me interested, and secondly he has named his heroine Molly O’Dwyer, which qualified her for an Irish Crime Fiction blog post this week by Princess Lillyput’s daddy here.

Peter very kindly consented to answer a few questions. You notice I am being very polite just in case this novel makes it big and is the new Da Vinci Code, although I think it is probably much more intelligently written than Dan Brown’s book.

Over to you Peter.

How did I come to write the book?

HUNTING THE KING is actually the sequel. The original Molly O’Dwyer book was written way back in the 1990s. I had read an article in the Boston Globe in which a leading figure in the Church claimed that he could deny people access to God if they belonged to any organization he disapproved of. So, I wanted to write a novel whose theme was faith vs reason. The main character became a scientist, in this case an archaeologist with strong roots to the Catholic Church. Molly is both a passionate scholar and an observant Catholic, so she is often conflicted between the academic in her and the religionist.

What other crime thriller writers do you read?

Actually, I don’t do a lot of reading at the moment. I have three young kids and work two jobs to support them (hence the desperation to do well in sales with my book). I am currently writing my next book, so I have little time to do pleasure reading. The last thriller I read was Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and the Bourne books by Robert Ludlum.

Have you been inspired by any particular book?

No, I think I’m inspired by the joy of writing and, as I said, by pure unbridled desperation. I enjoy a lot of writers but emulate none.

Who would play Molly O’Dwyer if the book was ever filmed?

I’m not sure, but I damn well want the casting couch. Molly’s a red head. Keira Knightly is too young. Lucille Ball’s too old. (And dead) How about Scarlet Johanson? Cate Blanchette could probably hold her own in the role, too. Renee Zellweger?

Having taken 34 years of writing to get published, what in your opinion makes a best seller?

Sleeping with the right agent. I have no idea. Writing a very good book means creating characters that resonate with people or creating a plot that somehow captures readers’ imaginations. I am all over the place. I have written about chimpanzees who know sign language, the rise and fall of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, the life of Jesus’s illegitimate daughter, comedy, drama, you name it. Ultimately, in the real world, in order to get published let alone to get a best seller, you have to have contacts.

What other plans do you have for Molly O’Dwyer?

There is a prequel with Molly digging on an island in Boston harbor and uncovering her own mysterious past. Beyond that, if the books generate enough interest, I would write more archaeological mysteries. But I don’t want to be caught doing one series or stuck in a particular genre.

For example, my last book revolved around the last survivors of World War I (There are about 12 worldwide including 111 Henry Allingham who is England’s oldest man). My next book COMRADE LOLITA will focus on the Puerto Rican nationalists who tried to assassinate President Harry Truman. But Molly will always be there if people want to see more of her. (By the way, she can kick Harry Potter’s ass).

You can read a review of Hunting The King here and it can be purchased here or here.


6) How was an author of a Roman epic unaffected when a detective changed his name?

Paul Newman starred in the 1966 film The Moving Target as Ross Macdonald’s detective Lew Archer. But because of Newman’s lucky-H superstition the name Archer was changed to Harper.

Lew remained as the first name and this was derived from Lew Wallace, Civil War general and author of Ben Hur.

7) Who was requested to go to the Court of the Pope, and what was the connection with Lebanon?

I am a bit embarrassed by this one as in trying to make the question more difficult I perhaps made it impossible unless you knew the exact part of the story it refers to.

Court of the Pope=Pope’s Court and Lebanon is Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

I took the paper from him and read as follows:


On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins of Lebanon Penn., U.S.A…..

All red headed men………Apply in person on Monday , at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.

The Red Headed League, Strand Magazine 1891, Arthur Conan Doyle

8) Who in the world of crime fiction worked as a:

Professor of Forensic Pathology: Bernard Knight [Crowner John mysteries]
Professor of Medical Law:
Alexander McCall Smith [No 1 Ladies Detective Agency]
Professor of Mathematics:
Professor James Moriarty
Professor of French:
Sian Reynolds [translator for Fred Vargas]
Professor of Anthropology:
Kathy Reichs [Temperance Brennan]

9) How are a system of metal pipes, hounds crossing a river, and a saintly Milanese bishop connected?

I am surprised this one gave trouble; Milan’s patron saint is Ambrose, and the Italian Banco Ambrosiano famously collapsed in 1982.

The Domenicans known as Blackfriars are also referred to as domini canes, the Hounds of the Lord.

In 1982 banker Roberto Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding [a system of metal pipes] underneath Blackfriars Bridge.

10) Guns play a big part in crime fiction but in real life who said:

You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.

Chicago gangster and tax dodger Alphonse Capone.

And When I hear the word ***** I reach for my Browning. What is the missing word and who said it.

The word was ‘culture’ and it was said by Hermann Goering.