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Talking About a Plague Book
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When Barbara Leavy told us she intended to write about one of our mysteries I was uneasy. Barbara is a former Professor of English Literature and currently an Adjunct Professor of English in Psychiatry. She has five books on literature to her credit, including Ruth Rendell: Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family available from Poisoned Pen Press, and her work has received plaudits in the New York Times Review of Books.

As for me -- from the time when I drew cartoons and humorous essays right up until today's blogs and books, my aim has been merely to entertain. And not in the lofty sense that Graham Greene wrote his so-called "entertainments" either!

Barbara, however, argues that "...good mysteries cannot avoid dealing with significant subjects: good and evil; reasons for the existence of evil in the world; the motives for human behavior; the concept of justice; political intrigue and how it impacts on individuals; the conflict between the individual and society. Successful mystery writers may not insist that readers ponder these subjects. Many of the narrative motifs will emerge because they are intrinsic to the story or will reflect the authors’ attitudes even if expressing them are not the writers’ main concern."

No doubt that's true (consider Graham Greene) but I simply don't see myself as writing the sort of thing that lends itself to literary analysis.

Luckily, Barbara decided to simply talk to us. She chose to discuss Five For Silver which takes place in 542 during the Justinianic plague. The book was of particular interest to her because the bubonic plague, thought to be the disease which hit the Mediterranean world in the sixth century, was one of four diseases she discussed her own book To Blight with Plague: Studies in a Literary Theme.

Mary and I think it was an interesting conversation. But then we would....You can make up your own mind here A Conversation with Mary Reed and Eric Mayer about Five For Silver

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