Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir by Nick Triplow

Review published on January 29, 2018.

It must be said that if Ted Lewis were American he would be one of the most revered writers of all time. But because he is British he is forgotten, not even registering on most people’s conscience. It is easy to argue that the British readership is rather conservative in their crime reading tastes, but he is also ignored by the literary set amongst others.

Anyone who has seen the film Get Carter will know it is a British classic and was based on a book called Jack’s Return Home. Many critics and commentators agree that it was this book that helped rewrite the British crime novel.

What comes through is a brilliantly researched, nuanced and well-written biography of a man whose star may not have burnt brightly for too long and is now long forgotten. Ted Lewis was a deeply complex person, who loved to see his books in print and on the shelves, but because of the lazy British reader and their love of formulaic thrillers, his work has slid into obscurity.

Triplow describes how Lewis’ life was a cycle of obscurity with a brief touch of glamour until his early death at the age of 42. Even though he did write nine books, his life seemed to fall apart, along with his marriage. When the glamour came to end he headed home to Humberside where he also headed for his early death.

This is an informative book, one that any lover of crime fiction should read, and now I am going hunting for Lewis’s books to find what I have missed and learn from them. Triplow’s writing is an engaging style what makes this book a pleasure and an education to read this book.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir by Nick Triplow
No Exit Press 9781843448822 hbk Oct 2017

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