Monday, October 8, 2012

Janice Law's "Fires of London"

Janice Law is an acclaimed author of mystery fiction. The Watergate scandal inspired her to write her first novel, The Big Payoff (1977), which introduced Anna Peters, a street-smart young woman who blackmails her boss, a corrupt oil executive. The novel was a success, winning an Edgar nomination, and Law went on to write eight more in the series, including Death Under Par (1980) and Cross-Check (1997).

After Death Under Par, Law set aside the character for several years to write historical mysteries The Countess (1989) and All the King’s Ladies (1986). After concluding the Peters series, she wrote three stand-alone suspense novels: The Night Bus (2000), The Lost Diaries of Iris Weed (2002), and Voices (2003). Since then, Law has focused on writing short stories, many of which appear in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Fires of London:
It’s embarrassing to admit that I now see very few movies, despite having done a long stint as a weekly movie reviewer during that golden age of foreign and US films from the late sixties to the mid-eighties. I also never think of adaptations, which is just as well, because only one of my novels, Voices, even got to the option stage –or perhaps I should say, pre-option stage–since I never saw any money.

As for Fires of London, I’m sure that there are any number of good young actors who would do just fine as Francis, genius painter and reluctant snoop, and the underfed rent boys who are in danger. But if a leading man is required, I’d suggest Leonardo DiCaprio, who has the right sort of face, and who, from his work in Inception, might be up for something, and some one, off beat.

As for Nan, Francis’ madly devoted, light fingered, and cynical old nanny, the late Joan Hickson, who was the greatest Miss Marple ever and one of the few to convey her top level intellect, would have been splendid. Today, in an ideal situation, I’d cast the divine Maggie Smith. Indeed, cast Maggie Smith as Nan – or as anything in my opinion– and you have a good chance of cinematic success.
Learn more about the book and author at Janice Law's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Fires of London.

Writers Read: Janice Law.

--Marshal Zeringue