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Rachel Johnson on her latest book Winter Games

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 18 November 2012

Mariella Frostrup talks to Rachel Johnson about Winter Games, her book set across two time zones - the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in Bavaria and pre-credit crunch 2006 London, in which a granddaughter seeks to understand her grandmother's exploits in Nazi Germany.

How many times have you never wanted the book you're reading to end or felt so involved in a character's life that you want to keep their company for longer than the final chapter allows. Or perhaps you're left on a cliff edge, desperately wanting to know why a character has acted in a particular way but left by the writer without closure. Mariella discusses the world of prequels and sequels with Ronald Frame, who has written Havisham, a prequel of Dickens' famous jilted bride in Great Expectations and Geraldine McCaughrean, who wrote the authorised sequel to JM Barrie's children's favourite Peter Pan.

Despite only writing five novels, in the late 1920s and early 30s, Dashiell Hammett re-defined the genre of detective fiction with his dark, hard boiled , gritty thrillers set on the mean streets of the United States.
Hammett's book The Maltese Falcon was famously made into a noir film with Humphrey Bogart playing his tough talking detective Sam Spade and his last novel The Thin Man not only spawned a popular film but also 5 sequels for a cinema going audience who couldn't get enough of the retired private investigator Nick Charles and his heiress wife Nora, along with their dog Asta
As two sequel novellas, which he used as an outline for those films are published under the title The Return to the Thin Man, Hammett fan Michael Carlson examines the man, his novels and his influence.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

  • Read the Opening Chapter of Winter Games by Rachel Johnson

  • Get ahead with Mariella’s next book Ruby Redfort by Lauren Child


    Winter Games - Rachel Johnson

    Publisher: Fig Tree


    Havisham - Ronald Frame

    Publisher: Faber and Faber


    Peter Pan in Scarlet - Geraldine McCaughrean

    Publisher: Oxford University Press


    Readers guide to Dashiell Hammett:


    The Return of The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

    Publisher: Head of Zeus


    The Four Great Novels: The Dain Curse; The Glass Key; The Maltese Falcon; Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett

    Publisher: Picador


    The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

    Publisher: Penguin Classics




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