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#694 - 07/27/99 09:08 AM In-Laws and Out-Laws
Anonymous
Unregistered


I started this Barbara Paul mystery last night and was amazed, this week of all weeks, to have picked out a story about a multi-member, strongly connected, wealthy family with a home on Martha's Vineyard, which has suffered multiple deaths. Though I don't suppose the Kennedys were consciously in your mind, Barbara?

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#695 - 07/28/99 10:12 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
No, but they should have been. I ought to have known that people would read "powerful New England family" and think Kennedys. It's a natural association, and I should have foreseen that. I wish now I'd set the story in California and sent them all off to Catalina instead of Martha's Vineyard.

Oh well.

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#696 - 07/29/99 10:45 AM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Years ago, Barbara, before this book appeared, I remember reading an interview with you (was it in The Drood Review?) where you said that this was what you were working on, that it had been sparked by seeing the phrase "Death Elsewhere" in a paper, that that was your title for the novel, and you might possibly change it once you were done. And indeed, you did change it. I think both are terrific titles (I so admire your gift for memorable titles -- I'm terrible even at thinking up decent headlines for my articles); do you recall what led you to pick one over the other?

This book also uses one of my favorite literary devices. For those who've not yet read In-Laws and Outlaws, I won't say what it is (though it's not really central to the mystery in this case), but it puts Barbara in the company of Christie, Collins, Ishiguro, Ford, James, and many more.

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#697 - 07/29/99 03:08 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
At first I really liked Death Elsewhere because it struck me as such an odd heading in an obituary column; it jumped right off the page at me. As if all death could be divided into two categories, death here and death elsewhere.

But as I got farther into the book, it struck me that the phrase "Death Elsewhere" was noticeable only in its original context; as the title of a mystery novel, it sounded like 600 other mystery titles. There was no image to remember, no wordplay to stick in the mind. I've been grumbling for years about the interchangeability of most mystery titles (many of which are editor-selected, not writer-selected; for a long time, editors were more interested in selling the genre than the individual work). I was afraid Death Elsewhere was going to fall into that bottomless well of generic titles, so at the last minute I opted for In-laws and Outlaws -- which at least has a different sound to it.

So different, in fact, that the editor of the English edition objected; she said "outlaws" made her think of cowboys. She ingenuously suggested Death Elsewhere -- "You know, from the obituary column?" I allowed myself to be talked into it, heh. So in the end I wound up with both titles.

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#698 - 07/29/99 06:55 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Anonymous
Unregistered


Isn't that funny? The whole time I was reading it, I thought "I wonder why she didn't use Death Elsewhere for her title."

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#699 - 07/30/99 09:10 AM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Thanks for the explanation. It's certainly true that even a casual reader who's aware of title changes (between UK and US, for instance) notices how often "Death" or "Murder" gets added during a transatlantic crossing. Christie and Barnard are two that can drive a person nuts in this respect -- sometimes buying the same book twice (nice for the author, if not the reader).

Now, what's the story with Good King Sauerkraut becoming Lord of Misrule?

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#700 - 07/30/99 09:29 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
I should give Barbara a chance to answer, but when I saw that, I said, "Of course!"

Good King Sauerkraut, the corrupted version of the Christmas carol, was a standard part of Walt Kelly's Pogo, and those of us who were Pogo people ( I still have a little figure of Porky Pine standing on my desk to remind be "don't take live serious, it ain't no how permanent") probably still sing those goofy words to that tune.

I would guess that the lovable little possum from the Okeefenokee Swamp and his friends never made it across the big pond.

Andrew, et al, am I right about that?
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Kay
Botticelli Moderator

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#701 - 07/30/99 09:34 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
That's the reason I was given, that the reference wouldn't mean anything in England. The German publishers, however, liked the title just the way it was and didn't even translate it into German. English title, German text.

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#702 - 08/01/99 04:17 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Der Gut Koenig Sauerkraut?

mit Schnitzel?

Bratwurst?
_________________________
Kay
Botticelli Moderator

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#703 - 08/01/99 05:59 PM Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Servitur cum sinapio.

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