This morning Paul Staines (the best-named by-name-and-by-nature in the political shadows until Roger Bird) excels in one-eyed ignorance:
I have an immaculate first-edition on the shelves behind me, should anyone wish to make a substantial offer (though it’ll be cheaper and in bulk at your local Oxfam bookshop).
It was published by Hutchinson in September 2007. Harris is, of course, a featured writer for the Sunday Times (proprietor: Rupert Murdoch). He enjoys what seems a happy working relationship with the BBC, who have serialised his previous work. In 2010 the film version (titled, as the novel, The Ghost Writer outside the UK), directed by Roman Polanski, was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The film came courtesy of €3.5 million DFFF funding from the German Government.
Of course, a film which barely-fictionalises the assassination of a living ex-Prime Minister requires certain warnings and ratings to be attached: Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference.
By comparison the collection of Hilary Mantel short stories, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, which BBC Radio will put out late at night, to an eclectic audience, finally arrives at the title episode in the last paragraph of the last story. Even then, two hundred and fifty odd pages into a complex text, the act is suggested, rather than detailed:
High heels on the mossy path. Tippy-tap. Toddle on. She’s making efforts, but getting nowhere very fast. The bag on the arm, slung like a shield. The tailored suit just as I have foreseen, the pussy-cat bow, a long loop of pearls, and—a new touch—big goggle glasses. Shading her, no doubt, from the trials of the afternoon. Hand extended, she is moving along the line. Now that we are here at last, there is all the time in the world. The gunman kneels, easing into position. He sees what I see, the glittering helmet of hair. He sees it shine like a gold coin in a gutter, he sees it big as the full moon. On the sill the wasp hovers, suspends itself in still air. One easy wink of the world’s blind eye: “Rejoice,” he says. “Fucking rejoice.”
And that, folks, is what this synthetic fuss is all about.
But then Tories frothing-at-the-mouth rarely need any cause for their froth and self-aggrandisement.