Murder and laughs in the library

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MURDER and laughs will be had in Glengormley Library tonight, Thursday, February 10.

Respected author, broadcaster, historian and journalist Ruth Dudley Edwards will be visiting the Carnmoney Road branch as part of the ‘Speaking of Books’ programme of events organised by Libraries NI.

Ruth has been awarded for her crime fiction books and also lauded for her non-fiction works.

Her most recent work ‘Aftermath: The Omagh bombing and the families’ pursuit of justice’ won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger award for non-fiction.

“I was delighted when I was asked to take part in the ‘Speaking of Books’ event,” Ruth told the Times.

“I have a real love of Northern Ireland, which may be strange for someone from the south.

“But I have travelled throughout the province during the course of my work and I’ll make any excuse to get back.”

Ruth will be reading extracts from her ninth novel, The Anglo-Irish Murders, a satire on the peace process.

“I take the hand out of everyone, from hardened republicans, unionists, the Orange Order and well-meaning Brits,” she said.

“I think there was a period when the whole peace process was driving me mad and the book became an outlet for my frustrations.”

Ruth has been shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for the John Creasey Award for the best first novel and twice for the Last Laugh award for the funniest crime novel of the year. ‘Murdering Americans’ won the Last Laugh Award Crimefest in Bristol, 2008.

“I write non-fiction during the day and the fiction at night as a means of escape. I have written about some of the most terrible atrocities, like in my Omagh book where real murder takes place and then gone on to write a very different type of murder in my fiction.

“I try and satirise the killing and make light of it and I find a catharsis in that. But there is no blood or gore in any of my books, I see too much of that in the day job.”

Despite being recognised for the comedic element in her novels, Ruth never intentionally set out to tickle the reader in her works of fiction.

“Not at all,” she said, “for my first book I set out to write a straight crime thriller and in the first chapter found the humour just came naturally.

“It’s not always laugh out loud, although many have said it can be, but I like to think of my jokes as more like twists.

“In one of my first books I murder someone by bashing them over the head with a sculpture called ‘Reconciliation’, which is how my mind works.

“You have to have humour, I hate the politically correct world and the narrow-minded way some people think we should be living.

“I have no censorship when it comes to humour, you should be entitled to laugh at all things and anything.

“It has been said that my works are offensive to all, irrespective of race, creed or gender. And there is a solace to be found in that.

“My mother always used to say, you have to laugh, because there is nothing to laugh about in life.”

Ruth will be in Glengormley Library tonight (Thursday), from 7pm.