Thursday, 2 June 2011

matadors, sharks, liars



I'm co-hosting a bookswap on Sunday at Stoke Newington public library. The authors are John Butler and Ian Leslie, who, for clarity, is a friend of mine. (I think reviewers - which I am not in this case - should always mention their relationships with people they are reviewing. Other people think differently. We can't both be right.)

Anyway, John Butler's written an intercontinental coming-of-age novel called The Tenderloin and Ian Leslie has written Born Liars, which is a book about lying. Or is it? (It is.) (Or is it?) Here's a paragraph from it. Or is it?:

Keeler's heavy drinking led to the end of his marriage with Katherine Keeler, a glamorous and accomplished woman who trained as a forensic scientist before establishing her own all-female detective agency in Chicago. Soon after doing so she left Keeler for Rene Dussaq, a Cuban-American with a degree in philosophy from the University of Geneva who at various times was a matador, polo player, Davis Cup tennis player, fencing champion and highly decorated war hero. Katherine was killed in 1944 after the plane she was flying solo across country crashed into a field in Ohio. Keeler died of a stroke caused by alcoholism four years later, aged 46. John Larson spent the rest of his career working for various penal institutions, collecting newspaper clippings about his machine [the polygraph, which Larson collaborated on with Keeler], and working on a nine thousand-page book on psychology for which he never found a publisher. He died in 1965, aged 73.

I looked for a picture of Dussaq with which to illustrate this post, and found the above ex libris. Another on the same page is below. It's weird, isn't it?

4 comments:

edge_of_infinity said...

Yes, very weird. I wonder what what after BB, with MM, for WW means...

~L~

Ian said...

That site describes this as the ex libris of Wolfgang Wissing, so that would be "WW". From the image, I'd guess that "BB" is Bertolt Brecht, who of course provided the lyrics for the Threepenny Opera, and thence "MM" is (in German) Mackie Messer (Mack the Knife in English translation), whose song you'll recall includes the lines: "Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear, And he shows them pearly white, Just a jack-knife has Macheath dear, And he keeps it out of sight". And so on.

edge_of_infinity said...

...Blimey!

Doug Dussaq said...

My grandfather was Rene Dussaq. Any questions or information would be great! Very interesting to find this artifact!