Dear Associates,

I am the literary critical detective.

In my work I examine the mise en scene of classic detective stories carefully, paying attention to the smallest metaphorical detail, sifting through the facts and then distorting them according to my whim.
My friends have been kind enough to express some interest in my observations and so to this end I am making this journal available. I hope that you might also find it of some interest.

The Literary Critical Detective.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Summer Reading in the Winter Garden

Two years ago, during the hot and stormy summer, I began to read that equally stormy and tempestuous novel The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

This work, like all Dostoyevsky’s work, is visionary and hysterical. It exists in a sweltering, sweating heat of paranoia and obsession.

I took to reading this novel in the Winter Gardens in Sheffield which, despite its name, is actually a kind of hothouse full of tropical flora. Here, amongst the ferns and trees, I read about Prince Myshkin and Rogozhin.

I had previously read the author’s Letters from the Underworld in an old paperback edition that I had bought at a local jumble sale for 10 pence. Come to think of it, I bought my copy of The Idiot from a boot fair.

Yesterday, in this high English summer which is really a kind of perpetual autumn, an endless October of rain, I returned to the Winter Gardens to read some of the letters Franz Liszt wrote during his first residence in Weimar (at which point, Dostoyevsky was in prison doing hard labour).

I sat there and read under towering ferns, the great beams of the roof looking like they had been transplanted into reality from China MiĆ©ville’s fictional city of New Crobuzon.


What a space in which to read.

Although I like to do my summer reading in the Winter Gardens, I like to do my winter reading in the snug warmth of a parlour, in front of a fire, dreaming of Wuthering Heights and Poirot’s broken central heating.

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