Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Bagging a Fresh Bagley

In the latest edition of his column for Shots, “Getting Away with Murder,” Mike Ripley reports that this coming May will bring forth a new novel by British journalist and thriller writer Desmond Bagley. More than 35 years since his death in 1983, writes Ripley,
a previously unpublished novel will finally see the light of day. It was a novel which started out as a “classic whodunit” under the working title Because Salton Died, and its long journey to publication involved a fair amount of detective work by researcher Philip Eastwood who runs www.thebagleybrief.com, editor Michael Davies and publisher David Brawn, all of whom, needless to say, are Bagley fans.

Philip Eastwood discovered the first draft manuscript of
Because Salton Died among the Bagley papers deposited in the Howard Gotlieb Archive at Boston University in America and, on the title page, a plea from the author: “if you can think of a better [title], please do.”

It was written in 1971 following a period of “writer’s block” not helped by a brief, but salutary experience in Hollywood where he was invited to write a screenplay of one of his most popular thrillers,
Running Blind. He was to say later that “Everything you have read about Hollywood is true” and that it had been “a poor experience.” Possibly to exorcise his Hollywood demons, Bagley opted to write a whodunit rather than one of his trademark adventure thrillers, but thankfully you cannot keep a good thriller-writer down and the basic mystery plot of how and why property magnate David Salton died on the formerly British Caribbean island of Campanilla develops into a vintage Bagley scenario of siege, jeopardy and explosive action.
Ripley says Domino Island—which can be “pre-ordered” here—“will not disappoint hard-core Bagley fans. It will bring new readers who appreciate straightforward, honest story-telling, to his backlist.”

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