New York-forfatteren Stefanie Pintoff har vunnet Edgar Ward, anbefaler dim sum, elsker kriminologi, og har akkurat oppdaget en nordmann.
For en drøy måned siden skrev jeg en sak om en litt skjult New York-skatt av en forfatter, i hvert fall her i Norge. Hun heter Stefanie Pintoff, og skriver fengende krim fra New York på begynnelsen av 1900-tallet. Hovedpersonen i In The Shadows Of Gotham, A Curtain Falls og The Secret Of The White Rose er detektiven Simon Ziele, med krimonologiprofessoren Alistair Sinclair som en slags sidekick.
I USA er de så glade i henne at hun fikk en høythengende Edgar Award for Best First Novel By An American Author for In The Shadows Of Gotham.
Her i OP-5 er vi veldig glade i New York. Jeg besøker byen titt og ofte, og Aslak har til og med bodd der. Så vi sendte noen spørsmål til Pintoff i håp om å få noen kortre svar tilbake. Pintoff svarte først kjempehøflig at hun gjerne ville svare, men måtte levere manus til sin fjerde bok først. Så når deadline var ferdig, rant det inn utfyllende svar.
Sjekk hjemmesiden til Stefanie Pintoff her
Why did you choose New York 100 years ago as the backdrop for your novels?
– I chose early 1900s New York City as a setting because the time period represents a crossroads between the old and the new — specifically, late Victorian and early Modern values and innovations. I was particularly fascinated by early criminal science and how it was being used to solve crime at the turn of the last century. By 1905, more innovative criminal scientists were beginning to challenge the prevailing opinion that criminal behavior resulted from a flaw of nature – a view popularized by Lombroso’s theory of the “born criminal.” Scientists like my Alistair Sinclair sought to disprove these notions by interviewing and learning from a variety of violent offenders. This practice was not uncommon, but it was highly controversial. People worried that if we came to understand the criminal too well, then we might excuse – and not punish – his or her behavior. Criminology is a passion of mine, so I introduced elements of “new” science in each book – fingerprinting in the first, graphology in the second, and ballistics testing in the third, when experts had just discovered that is was possible to match a particular gun to the bullet it had fired.
Where do you find the inspiration for the plots in your books, like for example the serial killer on Broadway in A Curtain Falls?
– I thought the theater was the perfect setting for a plot about greed, jealousy, and the obsessive desire for fame. I was able to incorporate my long-time fascination with the type of murderer who is compelled not only to kill, but also to write about it. These men – for so far, they seem universally to have been male – were theatrical and fame-seeking in their own, distinctive ways. From Jack the Ripper to BTK, Albert Fish to the Austrian killer Jack Unterweger, we’ve seen very different examples in real life history. I draw upon each of them in some way in creating the “series killer” who stalks the actresses of A Curtain Falls.
If you were to introduce Simon Ziele to somebody who never read about him, how would you describe him?
– When we first meet Simon Ziele, he is still reeling from the loss of his fiancée aboard the General Slocum steamship disaster, which claimed over a 1,000 lives and was the worst tragedy to strike New York City prior to 9/11. Ziele played a part in the rescue efforts, suffering an injury to his right arm – a permanent reminder of that fateful day. Ziele’s personal loss and humble beginnings are central to his character and tenacity as a police detective.
What kind of crime books/writers do you read yourself?
– Jeffrey Deaver for what he does with suspense and modern-day forensics, P.D. James for her mastery of character and psychology, and Dennis Lehane for his terrific surprise endings. Jo Nesbo is a new favorite of mine as well.
…and what detectives/heroes were your favorites as a kid?
– Nancy Drew was the first — quickly followed by Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. I was also lucky enough to discover detectives like Adam Dalgeish and Inspector Morse at a fairly young age.
If somebody made a film/series of your Simon Ziele stories, who is your favorite to star and direct?
– I’ve often wondered who could best bring Simon, the brooding, earnest, and “ahead of his era” detective to life. Christian Bale often comes to mind, as does a younger John Cusack. Martin Scorcese did such a wonderful job capturing the tone and zeitgeist of this era in Gangs of New York that he seem an ideal choice.
And for us Norwegians who love to go to New York for vacations, do you have some favorite spots you’d like to share?
– I have so many favorite spots in New York. A few choice ones include: the Sculpture Garden on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jing Fong for Dim Sum in Chinatown; the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan; and Central Park for a walk any day before 9 am, when my dog joins hundreds of others in having off-leash fun.