Paul JohnstonPaul Johnston
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The House of Dust
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The House of Dust

Now available as an ebook.

Shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

Shortlisted for the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective Novel

Author's Introduction

The House of Dust is the fifth and, for the foreseeable future, last in the Quint Dalrymple series. Having got my hero out of Edinburgh in The Blood Tree, I was having trouble thinking of a new Scottish location. Much as I love Scotland's towns and countryside, I didn't fancy sending Quint to Lossiemouth or Galashiels. The books draw greatly on the noir tradition, which is primarily an urban one. Yes, I'm aware that there are other cities in Scotland, but I don't know them particularly well. And anyway, the lure of turning Quint's sardonic eye on England was becoming hard to resist. I chose Oxford as his destination because I lived in and around the city for six years when I was a student. Which doesn't necessarily mean that I go along with the maxim "Write What You Know" - I mean, writers make things up, don't they? (Especially futuristic writers like yours truly.) But I had kept in touch with the university city and I was au fait with certain academic issues from my time as a researcher.

The high-tech angle that first appeared in The Blood Tree is even more obvious in The House of Dust - indeed some of the Glasgow characters show up in Oxford. While the earlier books in the series paid homage to Conan Doyle, Hitchcock and Shakespeare (not to mention Jimi Hendrix), The House of Dust bends the knee to Ridley Scott's masterpiece Blade Runner, which itself was informed by film noir and the L.A. crime fiction tradition. I'll say no more, but enthusiasts will be able to pick up many references. There are also hints to the worryingly large school of Oxford crime writers. What is it about seats of learning that attracts mystery writers? No, don't answer that - life is too short.

So, for the time being at least, it's farewell, Quint. One of the reasons I set this web-site up was to get reader reaction. If you want to see Quint again, let me know. If I don't hear from you, the hero gets it...

UK Hardback ISBN 0340766123 published June 2001
UK Paperback ISBN 0340766131 published February 2002

Shortlisted for the 2001 Sherlock Award for Best Detective created by a British author

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