The Book Show S4 #21 Muriel Spark, Waterstones Cork, Jake Arnott. by The Book Show RTE Radio 1 published on 2017-12-10T12:09:29Z This week on The Book Show, Sinéad Gleeson visits the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh which is celebrating the centenary year of Muriel Spark’s birth with a large exhibition called The International Style of Muriel Spark. She was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and is most famous for her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which is set in the city of her birth. The exhibition displays letters, images and records from the archives and demonstrates Spark’s international success. Sinéad joins Head of Exhibitions at The National Library of Scotland Jackie Cromarty and Colin McIlroy who is the Muriel Spark project curator at the library and looks at some of the items on display. She also speaks to writer AL Kennedy who is a fan of Spark’s and who has written the introductions to some of her novels. Spark, she says, captures some of the essence of the moral spirit of Edinburgh in her writing and yet she also represents the Scottish diaspora and her international style and lifestyle is an example of this. In the run-up to Christmas bookshops are at their busiest. Booksellers are keen to make sure that customers are not only greeted by piles of the predictable bestsellers but also will try to use their knowledge to offer something a bit more unexpected. We visit Waterstones in Cork where booksellers there suggest some titles that they think will be hits this Christmas. Jake Arnott is a crime writer whose novels such as The Long Firm and He Kills Coppers are set in the criminal underworld of 1960’s London. His latest novel The Fatal Tree is also set among crime gangs in that city but in the 18th century and it’s a world of slang, sex and gin. It centres on the true-life character of Edgeworth Bess who was an accomplice to her more famous partner, Jack Sheppard. His life as a thief and a jail-breaker is well-documented but hers is less so. Sinéad meets Jake Arnott to discuss The Fatal Tree and he introduced her to some of the slang that was used by criminals of the time and also tells her about London’s infamous ‘Molly Houses’ where 18th century men could meet each other in a similar set up to modern gay bars.