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Monday, August 22, 2011


For more than a year now, speculation has been rife about the identity of ...


"Well, there's another theory blown out of the water," I ruefully wrote.  This was after I reported that I had heard gossip (from Spymouse, him-or-herself), that the anonymous author of Cut and Run, the whodunit that won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel, was none other than well-known New Zealand playwright, Greg McGee

I had no way of proving my little friend right or wrong -- In order to preserve his/her anonymity, Bosco had declined to turn up to the inaugural awards ceremony.

Did the subterfuge help sales?

Who knows?

But looking back on history can be very interesting indeed.  Back when speculation was rife, in a very well-crafted column in Booknotes, (the newsletter of the New Zealand Book Council), Greg McGee revealed that though he had been "flattered by a rumour that I am Alix Bosco," he declined to be identified as such.

McGee knew the book that won the inaugural award (Cut and Run) well, as he is one of the team that is working it up for TV, and, as he said in the Booknotes column, "can vouch for it as a beautifully structured whodunit. I thought," he added thoughtfully, "I should read Bosco's follow up, to see if I should still be flattered."

And lo, he proceeded to review this second book, Slaughter Falls, in succinct, thoughtful prose, just as if some stranger had been the author.

Well, he decided at the end, he was still flattered, but not, alas, "as flattered as I'd be if I'd been mistaken for Justin Cartwright," author of To Heaven By Water.

And now it turns out that Spymouse was right!  He, Greg McGee was the author of the "beautifully structured whodunit" that won the inaugural award.   The evidence is there, within parentheses, in today's award announcement.

I read it in today's Dominion Post.   Slaughter Falls by "Alix Bosco (aka Greg McGee)" had been a runner up in the Ngaio Marsh competition.

I shook my head, truly.

How devious can a man be?

For interest, here is my original take on this book: Caramelised chicken tuna and Alix Bosco


Anonymous said...

He talked about it on Radio New Zealand National's Arts on Sunday this weekend:

Shayne Parkinson said...

Yes! I heard Greg McGee talking about this on Radio NZ, and one of my first thoughts was, "Joan was right!"

World of the Written Word said...

Thanks for the link to the Radio NZ interview. It was really interesting, but I was gobsmacked when McGee said he kept anonymous to protect his heroine, the female protagonist! She can look after herself, surely -- and she ain't even real to the rest of the world, if not to him.

Interesting, too, that keeping anonymous did not help sales. It does seem logical that the more the author is featured, the more likely it is for his or her books to be picked up in stores, if just out of curiosity.

Also, as Craig and I agreed in the discussion following my critique of Slaughter Falls, it is really distracting to wonder about the identity of the mysterious author.

As an experiment, I don't think it worked.

There was also no explanation of the piece in Booknotes where McGee definitely dodged the issue. Now that we know that the guess he referred to was right, he should have left it alone and said zilch on the topic.