introducing readers to writers since 1995

March 05, 2004

Kit and Caboodle

by Ron Hogan

To Greenwich Village and the mystery bookshop Partners & Crime, where Leslie Silbert was celebrating the publication of her debut thriller, The Intelligencer, which combines the exploits of a sexy Ivy League-educated PI named Kate Morgan (not entirely unlike, I suspect, Ms. Silbert herself, who quips that she become a sleuth as "an interesting way to pay the bills while writing in the evenings and on weekends") with a reconstruction of the last weeks of the life of Christopher Marlowe (beware the MIDI). And though I'm reasonably certain that the use of the Celtic Cross tarot spread in the late 16th century is anachronistic, I'm not going to quibble too strongly with a novel that introduces Europe's top cat burglar in chapter two only to have him kill himself with an exotic poison hidden in a ring a few pages later, because that's a special sort of riproarin' fun that keeps me going to the finish (though it's a pity he won't be able to make it for the sequel). Silbert, who also gets extra points for bringing "a genuine Elizabethan shilling which Marlowe could have touched during his lifetime" to the party, noted during the Q&A that her "hands down absolute favorite" writer is Frederick Forsyth, though she also claims inspiration from Tom Stoppard's Arcadia for the novel's dual-timetrack plot.

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