Friday, March 02, 2012

Forgotten Books: I'll Cry when I Kill You -- Peter Israel

Besides having written several crime novels, Peter Israel was an editor at G. P. Putnam. Though he wasn't a fan of SF, he became the editor of Philip K. Dick (for one novel), Frank Herbert, and Robert A. Heinlein. He's done an excellent blog post about that, and I highly recommend it. His association with SF writers seems to be what led him to write I'll Cry When I Kill You.

Philip Revere works as an investigator for high-powered New York attorney Charles Camelot. One of Camelot's clients is a famous SF writer named Raul Bashard, who believes someone wants to kill him. He's determined to go to a convention in honor of his 80th birthday, however, and Revere is to be in charge of security. Sure enough, someone does kill Bashard at the con. It's up to Revere to find out who did it.

Complications include Bashard's beautiful 18-year-old granddaughter, whom he's legally adopted as his daughter. Sounds weird right? Well, it is, and there are some hints at darker things. The daughter also has a yen for Revere, who, as we're told more than once, is "old enough to be her father." (Yes, the yen is satisfied.)

I'd read other Israel novels in the past, but I'd missed this one. Someone mentioned that Bashard seemed to have been based on Robert A. Heinlein, so that made me curious. If that's true, it's a far from flattering picture. Heinlein and other SF novelists are name-checked in the course of the novel, but only one other fictional one is prominent. I don't know if he's based on an actual writer. Could be, I suppose. As a mystery, the novel works pretty well, and the solution is more complicated than it first appears.

SF fans don't come off too well: "'It's every guy who never made the team, every girl who never had a date in high school.'"

The book was published in 1988, sort of at the beginning of the personal computer era (PCs play a fairly important role) and just before the cell phone era. Revere mentions his dislike of his beeper several times. If he's still around, he must really dislike cell phones.


George said...

I enjoyed Peter Israel's story of how STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND title came about. I'll have to track down I'LL CRY WHEN I KILL YOU.

Todd Mason said...

The close one was to Heinlein, if they didn't worship him, as with the accounts of Asimov and (very guardedly with) Pohl, the more one gathers he could be an immense pain in the ass.

Dick was famous for his receptivity to editorial suggestion, at least up through the early '60s, I guess.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites. Think I'll pull it out of storage and read it again.