Dublin gets its own PI

The Celtic Tiger’s had many byproducts, but one that in hindsight makes perfect sense is the emergence of some awfully good crime writers. One of the newest is Declan Hughes, whose debut THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD marks a switch from his previous career as a playwright. And as the Times found out, Hughes is having a great time working within genre boundaries and its inherent traditions:

“I like to think of it as mythological, but, of course, one person’s

myth is another person’s cliché,” Hughes says. “The reason that those

clichés of the genre evolved is because they’re absolutely necessary.

Because if he’s not free and driven and needy in terms of solving the

case, if you don’t feel he has an inadequacy to which the solution of

the case is the conclusion — and of course it won’t be a full solution

— then why would you go along with him?”

Hughes’ spin is to take the PI tropes and work within Dublin’s changing environment – a city that until very recently, wasn’t ideal for a crime fiction setting:

“I just had a sense of the difference between the houses on the

hills with the big gates and what was happening on the streets, and I

thought, this is ready, this can happen,” he says. “You have the

conditions of a gold-rush town in Dublin at the moment, that maybe

Hammett had in San Francisco, or Chandler had in Los Angeles. You have

a lot of people who’ve made a lot of money very, very quickly. The template is there, and you’ve got a city that is now able

to fill it. Twenty years ago, perhaps, it would have been hard to set a

hard-boiled story in Dublin.”

Much of the book is set in a fictionalized Dun Laoghaire, which happens to be one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever spent time in. So if it really does incite delusions of California, as Hughes put it, I completely understand…