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Mystery In Spiderville
About the book
  • Published: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446450956
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

Mystery In Spiderville

'A fascinating debut which combines madcap surrealism, film-noir and eroticism' - Guardian

Alongside the names of James Hadley Chase and Erle Stanley Gardner we must now add that of John Hartley Williams - though Mystery in Spiderville is no run-of-the-mill hard-boiled thriller. The décor is by Dali, the plot is a mixture of Breton and Burroughs, and the main character - the protean and unkillable Spider Rembrandt - has six toes, sleeps in a grave and dreams of congress with the pert and playful Reedy Buttons.

Sucked into the vortex of Spider's philandering mind is a narrator - sometimes Spider's adversary, sometimes his victim - who lies upon a bed brooding on the absence of a nameless, brown-haired woman. He, too, is protean: full of passionate longings and homicidal tendencies.

A surrealist film-noir that blends the forensic with the erotic, the seedy penny-dreadful and the lyric prose-poem, Mystery in Spiderville is one of the strangest, strongest and most arresting fictional debuts in years.

  • Pub date: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446450956
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

About the Author

John Hartley Williams

John Hartley Williams is an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist and critic. He has published nine collections of poetry, including Blues (2004), two of which have been shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize and he won the Arvon International Poetry Competition in 1983. He has also written a romance, Mystery in Spiderville (2002), and co-edited Teach Yourself Writing Poetry. He teaches English at the Free University of Berlin and has lived in Berlin since 1976.

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Praise for Mystery In Spiderville

“Surrealist film noir that blends the forensic with the erotic”

Laura Wilson

“If there's been something missing in your life ever since William Burroughs went to the great needle exchange in the sky, then perhaps John Hartley Williams is the author for you”

Sunday Herald

“Nodding as much to William Burroughs as to Raymond Chandler”


“Probably the first crime novel to ally forensic procedures with lyrical poetry”


“This is the evil twin of the novel: a form locked in the literary basement that deserves to see the light of day”

The Times

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