Thursday, May 19, 2011

R.N. “Roger” Morris

R.N. “Roger” Morris is the author of The Gentle Axe, A Vengeful Longing, A Razor Wrapped in Silk, and The Cleansing Flames--thrillers starring Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate borrowed from Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment.

From his Q & A with J. Kingston Pierce at Kirkus:

What did you see in the Porfiry Petrovich of Crime and Punishment that made you want to promote him as your own fictional protagonist?

In my ignorance, when I first read Crime and Punishment as a callow youth, I think I expected it to be a detective novel, and so I expected Porfiry to be the star. Of course, it isn’t a detective novel, it’s a murderer novel. So I suppose my idea, originally, was to write the novel I’d been expecting to read all those years ago.

Going back to the Porfiry of Crime and Punishment, he only appears in person for a couple of chapters, but his presence looms large over the book. [Rodion Romanovich] Raskolnikov, the murderer, becomes obsessed by the idea of him. Everything in that book is seen through the prism of Raskolnikov. So it was interesting to try to extract a character from that distorted psychological perspective and try to bring it to independent life.

What struck me also is that Porfiry is described a couple of times as a prankster. That, I thought, was fascinating. In the kind of psychological games he plays, the manipulation, the trickery—he’s set the template for a certain kind of fictional detective, including Columbo, apparently. He’s a kind of archetype, so I was very drawn to the idea of trying to re-imagine the original.

Do you feel hampered as the caretaker of a Dostoevsky character? Must you represent Porfiry Petrovich just as the Russian author might have done?

To begin with, I felt a terrible...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue