I’ve been reading on the BBC website that William Boyd is to write a new James Bond novel. Jeffery Deaver and Sebastian Faulks have already trodden a similar path, and Charlie Higson has written a series of Bond prequels. And then there’s And Another Thing ... Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three (Hitchhikers Guide 6) by Eoin Colfer. Is it a good idea for a different author to take over an established body of work?
I’ve recently read The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz. I loved it. It was just like reading Conan Doyle. But I’ve also read Death Comes to Pemberley by Baroness P. D. James, her follow-up to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. With the greatest respect, I found it curiously unsatisfying – neither t’other nor which. The mystery element wasn’t that mysterious, and the Austen element felt too self-conscious, as though the author kept telling me: ‘Look! I’m writing like Jane Austen!’ But what do I know? I doubt the Baroness will lose any sleep over my comments.
When I was at school, my redoubtable English teacher Mrs Hudson set us the homework task of rewriting Great Expectations from Estelle’s point of view: quite a feat for a bunch of 12-year-olds. It was an interesting academic exercise, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t enhance Dickens’ work!