I've been accused of a shocking crime, compared to a Blairite government minister, described as a child of New Labour’s crass privatisation of everything. Thanks to me, apparently, Dostoevsky has been "privatised and sold off for the gain of others: a very neoconservative modus operandi".
The charges are made in a South African newspaper, the Mail and Guardian, where Darryl Accone asks:
"How many readers who have never heard of Dostoyevsky will work out, from the epigraph and “acknowledgement” [in A Gentle Axe], that the very fine Porfiry Petrovich and his search for psychological motives are really a protagonist and ideas that belong to someone other than RN Morris?"
I am even accused, slyly, of not knowing how to spell Dostoevsky's name. In fact, Mr Accone creates a spelling mistake ('Dostoesky') and inserts the term [sic], to imply that the mistake was mine. Mr Accone's preferred transliteration of the name is Dostoyevsky. I spell Dostoevsky without that 'y' in the middle, which is an acceptable transliteration widely used; I do not omit the 'v'.
Oh, and the decision to put the acknowledgement at the back was made by the publishers, not me. It is at the front in the American edition.
Leaving that petty and rather cheap trick aside, I am actually very flattered by Mr Accone's article. This quote was particularly gratifying:
"Morris has very imaginatively continued Petrovich’s career after the resolution of the Raskolnikov axe murders in Crime and Punishment. In stealing from the best, he has at least shown intimate knowledge of the original: “his” Petrovich is psychologically consistent with Dostoyevsky’s, and employs analogous methods of investigation and deduction."
Thank you, Mr Accone, that's actually the nicest thing anyone could have said.
You can make your own mind up by reading the whole article yourself.