Sunday, March 11, 2018

Temple, Wilhelm Pass Away on Same Day

The crime-fiction world lost two of its notable creators last week: South Africa-born Australian novelist Peter Temple, who died on Thursday at age 71; and American mystery and science-fiction writer Kate Wilhelm, who expired on that very same day, aged 89, after what’s described as “a brief illness.”

In its Temple obituary, The Sydney Morning Herald explains that, in addition to his being “the first crime writer to win Australia’s most significant literary award, the Miles Franklin [in 2010], ...
Temple was also the first Australian writer to win the British Crime Writers’ Association major award, the Gold Dagger, which he did for The Broken Shore in 2007. It was Truth, the follow-up to that novel, that won the Miles Franklin in 2010. He won five Ned Kelly Awards, the local crime-writing prizes, beginning in 1997 for his first book, Bad Debts.

Temple was perhaps best-known for his Jack Irish novels, which featured his Fitzroy-based solicitor-cum-fixer hero. The Jack Irish books—there were four—had a magnificent stable of recurring characters, many of whom drank in a fictional pub, The Prince of Prussia. In total he wrote nine novels.
To all of that information, The Australian adds:
His unexpected passing puts doubt over the much-anticipated third novel in the series that started with The Broken Shore in 2005 and went on with Truth, which won the Miles in 2010.

It’s understood Temple was working on the third book, tentatively titled
The Light on the Hill, but was not happy enough with it to submit a manuscript to his publisher, Melbourne-based Text.

His death also draws a curtain on the loveable rogue Jack Irish. The popular books were made into a television series with Guy Pearce in the title role. As well as boxing, cabinet making and following the AFL, Irish liked to bet on the horses, something he shared with the author.
The Morning Herald notes that Temple “had had cancer for the past six months, having dealt with a bout of the disease several years ago. He is survived by his wife, Anita, and his son, Nicholas.”

I was fortunate to have commissioned, in 2002 and on behalf of January Magazine, an interview with Temple, conducted by David Honeybone, the founding editor of Oz’s Crime Factory magazine. In the years since, Temple occasionally dropped me e-mail notes, commenting on both literary and political matters, and lightly suggesting that I sample his latest published work. Thus I amassed not only all four of his Jack Irish books (including the last, 2003’s White Dog, which I wrote about in an early newsletter version of The Rap Sheet), but also Broken Shore and Truth. I can only hope to someday read the third Victoria-set novel in that trilogy, even if it’s not in the condition Temple would have found perfect.

Meanwhile, it’s Janet Rudolph of Mystery Fanfare who brings word of author Wilhelm’s demise. “Kate Wilhelm was what I consider a Renaissance writer,” her post begins.
She wrote award-winning science fiction, fantasy,
speculative fiction, magical realism, and mystery. She wrote standalones and series, poetry and non-fiction, short stories, and edited many collections. She was extremely prolific, and she was extremely good.

Kate Wilhelm wrote 14 novels in the Barbara Holloway legal mystery series and six novels in the Constance Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn P.I./psychologist series, as well as several collections, short stories in
EQMM [Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine], and standalone mystery/suspense novels. Her works have been adapted for television and movies in the United States, England, and Germany. Wilhelm’s novels and stories have been translated to more than a dozen languages. …

Kate Wilhelm won three Nebulas, two Hugos, and two
Locus awards, and was an inductee to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
The Ohio-born Wilhelm was married to science-fiction writer Damon Knight (her second marriage) from 1963 until his death in 2002. She lived in Eugene, Oregon. According to a note on Facebook, a Wilhelm obituary will run in that city’s Register-Guard next Sunday, and “a celebration of [her] life will be held in Eugene on Friday, June 8, 2018, Kate’s birthday. Details will be announced.”

* * *

Finally, a follow-up to our reporting on the mid-February passing of Aussie crime-fiction reviewer Bernadette Bean, author of the blog Reactions to Reading. In a piece for the Australian Crime Writers Association’s official site, Ngaio Marsh Awards founder and former Ned Kelly Awards judge Craig Sisterson recalls that
Bernadette loved books. She loved good storytelling. And she believed it was vital that everyone had access to books, and a chance to learn about the array of good writing, particularly Australian crime writing, that was out there. She was a book critic who could cast a scathing eye over stories, when required, but was always supportive of authors and those in the books world. “Bernadette pulled no punches in her reviews,” says [her friend and fellow reviewer Kerrie] Smith. “She was very thorough in identifying where she thought the author had got it wrong, and fulsome in her praise of those she thought had written a great book.”

Two mystery writers I’ve spoken to since Bernadette’s death, British and American, both shared how nervous they were when Bernadette was going to review their debuts, because of her “fearsome,” pull-no-punches style which left no doubt about what she liked or felt didn’t meet muster.

“I knew how skilled she was at reviewing, and thought, 'Oh, here it goes!,’” said the American. “But she liked it. That feeling that someone whose opinion I respected so much liked my work was so special.”
You can find Sisterson’s full remembrance here.

READ MORE:‘The Novel Is About Making Believe Your World Is Real’: An Interview with Peter Temple,” by David Honeybone (Pulp Curry).

1 comment:

Craig said...

Thanks for posting this. I stumbled across "Bad Debts" and loved it, and ended up tracking down the other three books in the Jack Irish series. I recently discovered there's even a Jack Irish TV series in Australia, starring Guy Pearce (best known in the U.S. for "L.A. Confidential"). Very sorry to hear the news of Temple's passing.