I make it my habit, on the shortest day of the year, to devise a project which will keep me gainfully occupied until the longest day of the year. On the longest day of the year, by contrast, I resolve to make no effort to do anything whatsoever until the shortest day of the year, thus keeping my life in the proper equilibrium as recommended by Blötzmann (Second Handbook, Lavender Series).
Today being the shortest day, I have been exercising the cranial integuments to come up with something that will not only keep me busy but, I hope, earn me oodles of cash. So I have decided to attempt to write a bestseller. Devoted readers will know that on occasion I lament what I think of as the “blinkered airhead” approach to publishing in this land, a state of affairs which means that my sweeping paragraphs of majestic prose are considered to be “not commercially viable”. Like Raymond Roussel, I console myself with the thought that my (posthumous) fame will outshine that of Napoleon, and, indeed, of such modern luminaries as Vince Cable, Kate Winslet, and Tinie Tempah. In the meantime, however, it seems like a good idea to bash out the kind of potboiler that will fly off the shelves of airport bookstalls across the globe.
I know that in order to sell by the million, I will need to write something absolutely in tune with the zeitgeist. That is why I hit upon the unbeatable idea of a fat novel about a Scandinavian detective monkey, to fit in with the current popularity of Scandinavian detective fiction and of talking monkeys. I am even thinking of doing a crash course in Swedish or Finnish so that I can write my thriller in that language and then have it translated back into English for added authenticity.
My Scandinavian detective monkey will be called Lars Porsena, and it will be a somewhat depressive monkey, perhaps with a drink problem and other “issues”. It will solve a series of crimes which take place in snowbound forests, usually in the dark, or at least the twilight. I am not much good at making up such scenarios, so what I might do is to read dozens of Scandinavian detective thrillers and cobble together some of the crimes, and the forests, and the snowdrifts, and then, in sweeping paragraphs of majestic prose, insert Lars Porsena the Scandinavian detective monkey into the scenes and have him solve the crimes, and swing from tree to tree, and scamper in the snowdrifts, while recovering from a hangover or battling one of his other “issues”.
This seems to me a foolproof template for a bestselling potboiler, and I am already seeking legal advice about adding a couple of diacritics to my name, so that when published, Lars Porsena : Scandinavian Detective Monkey will be attributed to Frånk Këy. Now all I have to do is to learn a Scandinavian language, read shelves’-worth of both Scandinavian detective fiction and talking monkey fiction, and write the damned thing before the longest day in 2012.
You could tie it in to the Mr Nilsson character from the Pippi Longstocking books. Here he is: