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The Wake (Part Four)

I wasn't privy to Martin and Crawford's phone conversation Monday 24th May – I spent most of that day on the train – but it seems to have been pretty heated. Things Were Said And Aspersions Cast; the dread word "unprofessional" was bandied around, again. I leave it to the reader to judge whether that's the best way to describe Martin's efforts to keep the Burke & Hare show on the road and salvage what he could from the weekend, but it will surely come as no surprise that he didn't think so – especially coming from someone who'd just spent two months alienating his business partner, stringing contractors along with platitudes, losing control of his supply chain and failing to turn up to major promotional events.

Thus, by the time I got home that evening, Martin had resigned from his editorial post at Vigil and formally withdrawn himself from future promotional support for Burke & Hare so long as it remained under license to Insomnia. I could see that he'd been put in an awkward position, but I hoped his resignation would simplify things. If he wanted to step out of the spotlight to avoid dealing with Crawford, that was a personal matter: I was just a freelancer with a book to punt, and I said as much to Crawford later that week.

Unfortunately, it didn't end there.

While I was out on Tuesday night, Crawford remembered the existence of the Red Eye blog, and posted there a diatribe which he quickly revised into an asscovering pep talk, dismissing all the problems of the previous few months as "spring cleaning" and rationalising the exodus of his senior editorial staff by saying:
"I guess some people just don't like change"

Whether he'd have gotten away with that if Martin hadn't seen the unedited version is something we'll never know. As it was, it was a pinprick too far. On Wednesday 26th May, Martin asked for his contract for Burke & Hare to be dissolved, on terms which would leave Insomnia free to sell the remaining stock of the first edition and (assuming my and Paul McLaren's rights also reverted, being of limited value in the absence of a script) us free to look for a publisher who'd be capable of exploiting the book's potential without pissing on our goodwill.

In ignorance of these developments, I'd also contacted Crawford that morning to say that in Martin's absence, I was willing to do the National Library talk by myself. But apparently that wasn't an option. Which was a pity, as the event's cancellation left Dave Gordon still holding the box of books he'd agreed to deliver to it, and anyone else having physical charge of the books had been one of the things that set Crawford off in the first place...

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