John Banville, the veteran Irish author who confounded pundits and bookies to scoop this year's £50,000 Booker prize ... is to abandon the melancholy, stylistic register that bagged him the Booker to try his hand at thrillers. Set in 1950s Dublin, his new novel, Quirke, tells the story of its eponymous hero, a pathologist who in the course of his professional activities uncovers what The Bookseller describes as "a murderous plot at the heart of the Catholic establishment of Dublin and Boston". Due out in the autumn of 2006, the novel - intended as the first in a series - will appear under the pen name Benjamin Black.I guess it's a hard road living off literary grants, though his publisher could conceivably be telling the truth when he says
He doesn't want people reading Quirke and looking for the same things they do in a Banville novel. With this, his main intent is to entertain.For money or love? Apparently he's in good company:
The heavily garlanded Joyce Carol Oates turned to the pseudonym Rosamund Smith to escape the baggage of her success and wrote eight "short, cinematic suspense novels", all of which featured twins. Kingsley Amis adopted the name Robert Markham to produce a new James Bond novel, Colonel Sun, after the death of Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, in 1964. Gore Vidal, meanwhile, briefly rechristened himself Edgar Box in the 1950s to write three detective novels, while Banville's fellow Booker nominee, Julian Barnes, has brought out a number of thrillers under the name of his alter ego, Dan Kavanagh.Well.