Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn's latest historical novel, The Man Who Never Returned, revisits the case of Joseph Force Crater, the real-life New York State Supreme Court judge who mysteriously disappeared in 1930.

From his Q & A about the book with Steven Kurutz for the Wall Street Journal:

Why did Judge Crater's disappearance resonate with people?

For a lot of older New Yorkers, they associate his disappearance with the Depression. By 1932, there were two million people on the road in the U.S., looking for work. Crater became a symbol of that lost time.

The book does a wonderful job of evoking mid-1950s New York, with references to Wanamaker's department store and the Herald Tribune.

That's the city I grew up in. I'm old enough to have been on the Third Avenue El. That city is gone. Of course, that's part of the magic and pain of living in New York—it's always going away.

So are New Yorkers forced to be less sentimental?

New Yorkers are incredibly sentimental. They're never quite happy in the city that is. They want the city that was. When I was a kid, my parents talked about the city at the end of the war. Now people are saying it was such a great city in the '70s. It was so alive and creative. Yes, but the crime was also so bad that you couldn't ride the subways.

What aspect of modern New York would make a great novel?

The new...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue