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Mimi’s Ghost

“Cara Massimina was a triumph of the darkly-comic-thriller-and-something-more-besides genre. This is an even greater one”

The Daily Telegraph

There’s a moment in one of Natalia Ginzburg’s essays where she remarks that to write a tragedy you need to be in excellent spirits, whereas comedy will work best for you when depressed. For all kinds of reasons I felt pretty terminally depressed in 93 – maybe it was the big 40th birthday looming. In any event, I wrote Mimi’s Ghost, the wild sequel to Cara Massimina. The thing that really interested me about murderous Morris Duckworth was not so much his ambition to become Italian (and rich), not so much his ruthlessness when anyone got in the way of that ambition, but his insistence on seeing himself as good at the same time. In short, his piety. He has a great appetite, inspired perhaps by his beer-swilling father, but he also needs his dead mother’s regard, he will not be thought of as a villain. It’s a kind of moral sensitivity that makes life rather difficult for the criminal. Imagine Richard III if his psychology required that he think of himself as a ‘good person’. Mimi’s Ghost is a romp, a completely crazy plot. Above all, I was having fun. But when Morris’s dead girlfriend, the deeply religious darling he loved and killed, begins to appear to him to tell him how to obtain everything he wants, who to kill and how, then we have the fusion of those two aspects of his character, piety and appetite, welded together in a spectacular psychosis. The latests news is that pretty soon there will at last be a film of Cara Massimina. If it really does come off, I shall get down to a third and last book about Morris, something that I hope will be truly hilarious and terribly serious. And I mean ‘terribly’…

Short takes

A sort of twisted whodunnit… The readability of the book comes from Parks’s wonderful and audacious juggling of farcical situations and the way in which Morris’s earnest attempts to build a more cultured and just world lead him further and further into slaughter. Hilarious.

The Financial Times

Tarantino meets Peter Mayle (hmm, not so sure about that one…)

The Independent on Sunday