Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Death by the Book"

Lenny Bartulin is a crime writer who lives in Sydney, Australia.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his first Jack Susko mystery, Death by the Book [Australian title: A Deadly Business], and reported the following:
Death by the Book follows second-hand book dealer Jack Susko as he becomes embroiled with a wealthy Sydney family and eventually finds himself in the middle of a whole load of trouble. Jack’s involvement is complicated by his growing attraction to Annabelle Kasprowicz, the daughter of the man who has employed him to locate some obscure poetry books. Page 69 is part of an important chapter in the novel, when Jack arrives at the Kasprowicz house to have dinner with Annabelle and his relationship with her takes a deeper, more intimate turn. But before they sit down to eat, a friend of Annabelle’s is there to greet him. Page 69 is part of their exchange as they wait for Annabelle to enter the scene. It’s a good representation of the style of the book, and particularly of Jack’s cynical, wisecracking tone. And for the purposes of the story, it’s an important scene as it gives Jack an outside perspective on what’s happening between himself and Annabelle, i.e. the best friend giving him an idea of where he stands:
[Sabine and Jack are sharing wine and olives in the kitchen as they wait for Annabelle]

Sabine dropped the pip into an ashtray. ‘That’s a lovely suit,’ she said. ‘Ermenegildo Zegna?’

‘Is that the little Italian guy in Leichhardt?’

‘Sorry?’ she replied. Then she smiled, shook her head. ‘Oh, yes. Anna said you were a smart-arse.’

‘Nice to know she’s been talking about me.’

‘Not really. She won’t tell me anything.’ Sabine picked up another olive. ‘Must be serious.’
The exchange continues and for the rest of the chapter important details are revealed that continue to build the plot. Sabine’s overall role in the novel is small: but I must admit, for a walk-on character, she’s one of my favourites.
Read an excerpt from Death by the Book, and visit Lenny Bartulin's blog.

The Black Russian, the second Jack Susko mystery, is already available in Australia.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue