Janet Roger's Backstory
As a teenager I’d read all of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective stories - not so long after they were written as I’d like to think - and they knocked my socks off.
He wrote about a Los Angeles of neon-lit boulevards, a sour, gritty downtown and gun-toting cops (a novelty to this young European) and made them exotic. But what really got under my skin was Marlowe's voice guiding me around the next street corner, and beyond it into a stale apartment block or a down and low bar. He invited me in to look over his shoulder, let me see the highs and the lows, talked me through them and then put me in the seat beside him to drive me home.
It was heady stuff, up to the point where the story began to seem incidental to the city, its moods and characters and speech patterns. What really mattered was a time, a place and the people you might run into there. I’d discovered a new kind of mystery writing and got hooked. I wasn’t the only one. Pretty soon it just wasn’t possible to take the Chandler out of anyone’s idea of LA.
By now you might have the same thought about Leon and Venice, Lehane and Boston, or Block and New York. And when that happens, you know they’re getting under your skin too.
"If you love your film noir, your detective fiction in the style of Chandler or Hammett, then you should be all over this. Janet writes as if standing in the shadows, a cigarette hanging from her lips, the collar popped on her raincoat. An absolute must read."
Phil Clarke, Philmscribe
I'm a noir crime fiction fiction author, Trained in archaeology, history and Eng. Lit. I have a special interest in the early Cold War and the City of London.
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Shamus Dust: Hard Winter, Cold War, Cool Murder is a Chandleresque private-eye fiction, set in the City of London in 1947.
Many people have asked me why the City of London and why in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
Well, I always did find that financial square mile, the City of London, exhilarating, but in 1988 something rather special happened there.
Stop for a second and imagine you've got an absolute fortune riding on commercial real estate development, somewhere near to Wall Street. The ground is cleared, foundations are being dug out, and one day you get a call. It says everything is on hold, because excavations on the site have uncovered the first Viking settlement on Manhattan island! No kidding, something like that happens fairly regularly in the City, notably since reconstruction began after the blitz of World War 2. Today it can happen whenever a new subway is cut, or the latest, tallest skyscraper needs deeper foundations.
In the Square Mile, the layers go right down to the original Roman settlement of London, and in 1988, a routine excavation for Guildhall's new art gallery hit the jackpot. What the archaeologists found were signs of an amphitheater - think of the Colosseum in Rome itself - in the shape of an oval the size of a football field! Amazing. And it took another twenty years to preserve the remains in a spectacular gallery of their own.
But it turns out those remains had first been recorded almost forty years before, when postwar reconstruction was first getting underway. The significance of what the archaeologists found, it was said, just hadn't been spotted at the time. It set me thinking about the immense sums that were at risk - and the huge temptation to a cover-up - if the significance of the find had been appreciated. In recent years in Athens, for example, some ancient Greek remains were simply trucked out of a construction site (it's assumed) and dumped overnight in a dry riverbed. Where the original site might have been, no-one could tell.
Shamus Dust tells the story of another kind of cover-up at the outset of the Cold War. But in the most valuable square mile on the planet, the need is more urgent, the stakes are deadly, and the solution is nastier by far.
Published by Troubador in 2019 Shamus Dust won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Crime Fiction, was Fully Booked's Book of the Year, Finalist for the 2020 Montaigne Medal and received an Honorable Mention in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Awards.
Shamus Dust has garnered very many five-star reviews, from some of the best-read magazines and award-winning writers in crime fiction.