Who Killed Emil Kreisler? Stories by Nigel Jarrett

November 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

We are proud to announce the publication of our (drum roll) 29th publication: Who Killed Emil Kreisler?  by Nigel Jarrett. An intriguing title, and the genesis of the title story is explained by Nigel below. But first, this is what you need to know:

Nigel_Jarret-9780956892119-Perfect.inddPostcards from a dead woman; a tale told in letters, centred on a strange musical instrument; the journey of Bismarck’s helmet … In Who Killed Emil Kreisler? Nigel Jarrett takes the reader through centuries and across continents to places well beyond their comfort zone.

Jarrett’s stories take seemingly ordinary or innocent situations and gently tease out their emotional complexity.

Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday

Who Killed Emil Kreisler?  costs £12 plus p&p. Order two or more books from Cultured Llama and p&p is free.

Nigel Jarrett also designed the striking cover image for the book (overall cover design by Mark Holihan). A man of many talents. Here is what he has to say about the title story of Who Killed Emil Kreisler?

Only twice have I ever been tempted to fictionalise something that really happened. On the second occasion, it resulted in the title story of my new collection, Who Killed Emil Kreisler? It was based on the bizarre (and tragic) death of the composer Anton Webern in 1945. Webern was visiting his brother-in-law, a black-marketeer, just before a curfew was to be imposed by the occupying Americans. On his way out to light a cigar, he was confronted by an US army cook, Raymond Norwood Bell, who was on guard duty after drinking, and precipitately shot the composer dead. Bell survived the war but expired in 1955, an alcoholic and full of remorse.

Before the worldwide web soaked up every fact ever known about the world and made it instantly accessible, the incident was a footnote in the history of music. But even in that fugitive state I found it incredibly moving. Its power as an inspiration for fiction lay in its extra-particular dimension: the idea of a soldier knowing that he’d killed someone famous in battle. Who was the sniper, I wondered, whose unerring bullet had done for the poet Wilfred Owen on the Sambre-Oise Canal on November 4, 1918? Did he survive the war? And did he, unlike Bell, become lost along with his victim in the uproar and clamour of war and its imminent end, never knowing specifically whom he’d shot – one of many, no doubt? I cannot get out of my mind the image circumscribed in his sights, as the poet moves inexorably, silently, into the telescope’s reticule of fine hairs, like a fly in a spider’s web. Bell, of course, would have had to account for himself.

Since I first learned of the circumstances of Webern’s death, the internet has become full of information about the story, to the extent of Bell’s family and friends defending the poor wretch against a swathe of opprobrium. The Webern family’s pain, of course, was no more and no less than that experienced by one mourning an uncelebrated and unsung relative.

I decided on a ventriloquised piece in the first person, depicting how mixed up and tormented Bell must have been. I set the semi-literate narrator down in the mid-West, maybe a prairie so vast one could sense the parameters of the world. I also researched and employed some Western terms, such as ‘freshet’, meaning a river in spate. Anyway, there it is: a short take, almost a piece of flash fiction. It seemed sufficient for portraying a man’s ineradicable anxiety. As a music critic, I was also attracted to other aspects of the Webern incident.

The first story I wrote based on fact doesn’t appear in the collection but is also set in wartime. I read a newspaper NIB (news in brief paragraph) about a concentration camp survivor who’d been known for cultivating flowers, red salvias, outside his hut, and had reached one hundred years of age. The collection’s other stories, I hope, also reflect the imaginative and geographical range of the title.

Who Killed Emil Kreisler?  costs £12 plus p&p. Order two or more books from Cultured Llama and p&p is free.

Reviews and News of Stories and Curious Things

November 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Maggie Harris is interviewed by Rupert Dastur on The Short Story. Maggie is the author of two short story collections, both published by Cultured Llama, plus many poetry collections and a memoir. Read the full interview here.

Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning and In Margate by Lunchtime by Maggie Harris each cost £12 plus p&p. Buy them both and p& p is free.

9780993211997-Perfect BC EDIT 060916 Only The Visible v1 CS5.5 VOnly the Visible Can Vanish, Anna Maconochie’s debut story collection, is reviewed by The Erotic Review 

Maconochie’s London, her city, never relaxes its grip on her characters – and the pace is refreshing and brisk; white water rafting down the narrative rapids. The reader is left gawping and grinning at the scope and variety of her distinctive human landscape as it passes by. A brand new talent has emerged. Don’t miss it. It’s sharp and very funny.

Read the full review here. The books costs £12 plus p&p, and can be ordered here: Only the Visible Can Vanish

9780993211911-front-cover-SMALLThe Music of Business by Peter Cook is just one of our Curious Things: often genre-defying or hybrid works of cultural non-fiction. One of the chapters in the book is on business lessons from David Bowie, and is adapted in this article on Management Today.


If you run a creative business, you must also find your focus. Sometimes this takes years of experimentation and occasional failure. In Bowie’s case he began performing music at 13 years old, learning the saxophone and playing in a number of mod bands. All these bands released singles, which were generally ignored, yet he kept learning and adapting.

In 1967, he released the music-hall styled ‘Laughing Gnome’ to commercial success. He later formed a mime company and an experimental art group. All of this formative experimentation across disciplines developed the foundations for Bowie’s unique fusion of music and the arts. It disproves the often-held view that success in business is an overnight affair.
In addition to being the author of several books on business, music and creativity, Peter Cook runs creativity and innovation consultancies The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics.
Order Peter Cook’s The Music of Business  for £15, and Punk Rock People Management for £10 plus p&p. Order both, and p&p is free.

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