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Pictures from my reading in Innsbruck

What do you think a reading with Robert Pimm looks like?

I was delighted on 18 October to read from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit in Innsbruck.  

Some pictures:

The reading took place at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek

Q&A afterwards with Andrew Milne-Skinner

Questions were incisive and challenging

Afterwards I signed copies of “Blood Summit” and “Seven Hotel Stories”

As I mentioned in my curtain-raising post (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site), the reading was organised by the excellent English Reading Circle in Innsbruck.  I am particularly grateful to Maria Kandolf-Kühne, who brought the book to the Reading Circle and suggested I do a reading in Innsbruck; and to Andrew and Sandra Milne-Skinner, who were instrumental in setting things up.

If you want to know more about Blood Summit, see my blog Blood Summit: the US President in the killing chair.  It is available from English language bookshop Shakespeare & Company at Sterngasse 2 in central Vienna, or from Amazon.  If you have a book group, you may like to read my blog post Blood Summit: Reading Group Questions.

I also presented in Innsbruck my recently-published paperback of Seven Hotel Stories.  It seemed to go down well.

 

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook.  Or you can join my mailing list – I’ll be delighted to give you a free “Hotel Story” to say thanks.  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

 

A complete short story: “Fixing It”

I wrote the following story as flash fiction at a writing course I attended recently (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).  Unlike my recently-released collection, Seven Hotel Storiesit is not a comedy.  Comments welcome.

Fixing It

I was born in sadness.  My mother, bless her soul, was not killed by my arrival on this world.  But she was ruined, my father said.

The doctors agreed.  My head was too big, they said.  I ruined her.

Maybe the doctors in our village were not too great, either.

I never knew my father before I was born, of course.  I never knew whether he hated my mother before I ruined her.  I never knew if he hated me, either, before I arrived.

What I do know is that after I arrived, he wanted neither me nor her.

Maybe my mother tried too hard to please him, after he said she was ruined.  It made him angry that she could no longer climb the stairs of our small house, to where the bedrooms were.  She made the front parlour sparkle and the kitchen smell of bread and herbs and put wine on the table for when he came home.

Still, my father was angry.

One of my first memories was of her, dragging her poor broken body (more…)

“Seven Hotel Stories” paperback now available!

The paperback version of Seven Hotel Stories is now out.  It looks like this:

I’m pretty excited about this, so all shares, retweets etc welcome!

The text on the back reads:

“Funny, pacy and sexy” – Matthew Parris

You’ll never make a fuss at a hotel again. (more…)

Friday 18 October: come to my live reading in Innsbruck!

Hello to all you readers out there.

I shall be reading from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit at the Stadtbibliotek (city library) in Innsbruck at 1900 on 18 October.  Come along!

The reading has been organised by the English Reading Circle in Innsbruck at the magnificent Stadtbibliotek, whose rather good slogan is “Innsbruck’s biggest living room – a place for everyone”.  This seems a splendid description of a library.  You can read about the event at the site of the Stadtbibliotek.  I shall read from Blood Summit and will be happy to answer questions, as well as signing copies. (more…)

From Russia with Love: sexist, homophobic cold war time capsule

What if Ian Fleming wrote a James Bond novel in which the hero did not appear until halfway through?

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “From Russia with Love” is by Fay Dalton

Such a book exists.  It is the fifth novel in the series, From Russia with Love, which came out in 1957.  The first ten chapters of the book outline a dastardly Soviet plot to kill Bond.  They take place in Crimea and Moscow within the bureaucracy of SMERSH – an actual organisation created by Stalin in 1943 whose name is an acronym for “SMErt SHpionam” or “death to spies”.

These chapters introduce two of Fleming’s most memorable villains: (more…)

Diamonds are Forever: civil servants and “shills”

A new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, lurches over the horizon.  Will it be any good?

Almost certainly not (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

Will it contain bizarre and dated attitudes to women, clothed in feeble nods to political correctness?  Almost certainly.

But I will keep hoping.

Despite the ghastliness of most recent Bond outings, I remain a fan of the original Ian Fleming novels.  I am the proud owner of a growing set of Folio Society editions, and recently read Diamonds are Forever, whose illustrations by Fay Dalton evoke the mood of the book:

The story moves at a leisurely pace.  Bond does not take the menace of US gangsters seriously, and attempts a relationship with the magnificent but damaged Tiffany Case before a satisfying resolution on board a transatlantic liner.  Like many in the series, it contains a good deal of language which by today’s standards is racist, homophobic and misogynistic.  I tend to feel that such texts should not put a book out of bounds for today’s audiences, even if they make a modern reader cringe: they are a reminder of how far we have come.  But many readers may feel differently.

Diamonds are Forever also contains some splendid set-piece descriptions, for example of the “Acme Mud and Sulphur Baths” or of US horse-racing at Saratoga, which are reminiscent of the descriptions of fox-hunting and cross-country horse racing which appear regularly in Trollope. (more…)

The Americans: Return to California

When I climb into an Uber driven by Jonathan (not his real name) in San Diego, he is playing reggae.  Rashly, I comment on this. He tells me, silencing the music as he does so, that he likes reggae because the music speaks for the downtrodden and left behind of the earth.  The world would be better, he said, if we could get rid of money.

Unfortunately, the credit card payment has already gone through.

San Diego has many beautiful features.  This is the beach at La Jolla 

Visiting California in 2019 for the first time in 40 years, I am struck that people’s certainty about everything, together with their openness, friendliness and confidence that it is reasonable to explain their views, their religious beliefs, their financial situation, their relationships and their medical history to total strangers has not changed one iota from my 1979 hitchhiking trip around the United States (bold italics are links to other posts on this blog).

In 1979, too, I heard many confident and confidential explanations of how the world really worked from people I met hitch-hiking.  One young man in Seattle of profoundly liberal views, including on the legalisation of narcotics, argued passionately that numerous events which I regarded as historic facts had not in fact taken place.  A truck-driver with whom I shared a ride in Arizona regaled me and others in the vehicle with an account of his miraculous escape when the driver of the vehicle in which he had been riding had been impaled on girders projecting from the trailer of another vehicle.  He told us of his subsequent stranding in the desert; his wandering in the wilderness; and his eventual escape to be with us on the ride. (more…)

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