EIBF 2011: Christopher Brookmyre adopts subtle pseudonym for latest work - interview
Chris, not Christopher, for Where the Bodies are Buried
This article is from 2011.
When Christopher Brookmyre has three syllables thrown at him, he knows he’s done something wrong. Despite his full first-name appearing on every book jacket since his debut novel in 1997, those around Brookmyre have called him Chris for years. ‘I tend to be Christopher to my mum,’ he says, ‘or my wife when I’m in trouble.’ But now his fans can also call him by that more intimate moniker.
Where the Bodies are Buried, Brookmyre’s 12th novel, was written by Chris, not Christopher.
While the decision to change was initially suggested by the jacket’s designer – ‘he thought it would look better’ – it also signals a slight change in tone for the author. His new work features poignant descriptions of the emotional scars left by bereavement, sitting tastefully alongside a more measured humour. Although as Brookmyre says, ‘it’s the wrong way round; when I was being flippant I should have been Chris.’
Fans of Brookmyre’s trademark black humour, twisting plotlines and likeable characters have not been disappointed, however, as Where the Bodies are Buried still has a healthy dollop of all three. Having introduced readers to a new set of characters, in particular the smart but sensitive police detective Catherine McLeod and rookie private investigator Jasmine Sharp, Brookmyre will be hoping for positive feedback from his Edinburgh Book Festival audience.
‘Although my new book is more serious, I’ve selected passages that have some degree of humour, but also introduce the two characters and their narrative voice,’ he says. ‘When you’re writing a book, you wait a long time for any kind of feedback, so when you get an instant response from an audience, it’s quite reassuring. And if you’re getting laughter back, you know you’re hitting the spot.’
16 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8).