Contemporary crime writers have a reputation for being sharp, funny and brutal and a new breed of them are upon us. To help launch the CANONGATE CRIME series, Manhattan chef ANTHONY BOURDAIN brings together cooks, crooks, lobsters and mobsters. Enjoy.
Words: Allan Radcliffe
A CURSORY GLANCE AT THE GENRE reveals that organised crime and food go as nicely together as a glass of chilled sauterne with New York State foie gras. Michael Corleone‘s induction into The Family left one crooked cop with a bullet in the temple and his face buried in a pasta bowl. Michael Gambon‘s gangster was forced to eat the well—done remains of his victim in The Cook. The Thief: His Wife And Her Lover. And who could forget those deadly cream pies a la Bagsy Malone‘.’
The culinary and the criminal have rarely been blended to such
potent effect as in the fiction of
Anthony Bourdain. whose novel Bone In The Throat is about to be released in the UK. Currently in charge of New York‘s swanky Les Halles restaurant. Bourdain has spent his professional life running
kitchens the length and breadth of
the Big Apple.
It wasn‘t until 1993 that the chef. then in his late 30s. tentatively set about pursuing his
alternative vocation. ‘l’ve always loved storytelling. but I'm very insecure about my writing talent.‘ confesses Bourdain. ‘I had to be goaded into submitting the first 100 pages of Bone In The Throat.‘
You may already be familiar with Bourdain‘s writing from Rebel Inefs 1998 compilation Rovers Return. The novella Che/"s Night ()at contained such shocking and gratuitous depictions of lobster slaughter that readers have subsequently found it impossible to meet those beady crustacean eyes without experiencing overwhelming nausea and guilt.
In Bone In The Throat. the Mafia-controlled Dreadnaught Grill provides the backdrop for the hilarious. relentless. tale of hapless sous chef Tommy. married to a colourful cast of mob characters. but concerned only with perfecting his Seafood Chowder. Outrageous scenes of extortion. heroin abuse. FBI informers. vigorous kitchen table