Today I’m delighted to welcome debut crime novelist Lev D Lewis. His ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household.
“Confession, at the risk of being branded an imposter and ritually kicked off your blog: I don’t really have a Porridge & Cream read; the last thing I feel like doing when I’m ‘tired, ill, or out-of-sorts’ is staring at words. If anything, I find those states more creative than consuming; I just want to bury myself under the duvet and let my mind take over.
I do have a long list of books I want to re-read, headed by Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (I’ve studied Classical Civilization since I first read it, and it would be interesting to reread with that extra bit of knowledge) but my TBR pile tends to win out.
There’s only one book I’ve read more than once for pure pleasure, Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, so I present that as my Porridge & Cream book.
It about an unnamed British huntsman who aims his rifle at an unnamed foreign dictator, just for laughs (apparently). He’s chased back to England, retreats into an underground lair and is trapped there by his pursuer.
I can’t remember the exact year I first read it: I was a young teenager, and I found it on my dad’s bookshelf. I don’t know what drew me to it (perhaps the striking cover: the macho title in bold, pink font) but remember being totally gripped. Rather than returning it, I kept it to be re-read (which is why I still have the same copy today). But it was some thirty years later before I finally went back to it, prompted by hearing part of a reading on, I think, the now defunct BBC Radio 7 – I wasn’t disappointed. It’s slim, only 192 pages, so I’ve really no excuse for not rereading it more often which I now vow to do!”
Lev D Lewis’s Bio
Lev was born and raised in South Norwood: the wrong side of Croydon. If you’re unfamiliar with London-speak, Croydon is shorthand for ‘the armpit of the capital’. This maybe so – but he is still living there. After various false starts, he qualified as a solicitor. His legal career was cut short, not because of any disreputable deeds à la his hero/antihero, Frank Bale, but through ill-health. That’s when he started writing, basically as occupational therapy, but it’s led (after quite a few years and creative writing courses) to his debut novel, Jellyfish.
Lev D Lewis’s books
When Frank Bale was a lawyer, he wore Savile Row suits. Now he has holes in his trousers and serves papers for other, successful, lawyers. Life is bleak but he is kept going by a Philip Marlowe obsession and a longing to prove himself. When a student winds up dead, he gets the chance to investigate a real crime, relying on advice found in an old Tradecraft Manual and the sayings of his nan. But neither the manual nor his nan nor Marlowe prepare him for handling the slimiest of London’s underbelly, jellyfish, who hit back first with fists, then with golf clubs and finally with guns. Can Frank stay alive long enough to find the killer – and get the girl?
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @levdlewis love ROGUE MALE by Geoffrey Household? http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2Cy via @SandraDanby #reading