this brought me letters of protest in a volume and of a passionate earnestness which had hardly been elicited even by my occasional criticisms of the Soviet Union.
If this prick was still alive, I would send him an email right now telling him what a putz he is. And I haven’t even read the article yet. Maybe I should take a sedagive before I begin because I saw Nero Wolfe’s name in there as I was scrolling.
beginning to feel, at the age of twelve, that I was outgrowing that form of literature.
You are a piece of work, you shit. A direct insult to all of your readers. That’s some good writing right there.
the admiring stooge, adoring and slightly dense
(for clarity he is describing Archie Goodwin here.)
I did not care for Agatha Christie and I hope never to read another of her books.
What a charming fellow.
It is all like a sleight-of-hand trick, in which the magician diverts your attention from the awkward or irrelevant movements that conceal the manipulation of the cards
I went back and read The Maltese Falcon
he lacked the ability to bring the story to imaginative life.
As a writer, he is surely almost as far below the rank of Rex Stout as Rex Stout is “below that of James Cain. The Maltese Falcon today seems not much above I those newspaper picture-strips in which you follow from day to day the ups and downs of a strong-jawed hero and a hardboiled but beautiful adventuress.
What, then, is the spell of the detective story that has been felt by T. S. Eliot and Paul Elmer More but which I seem incapable of feeling?
Perhaps you could endeavor to be something other than an unfeeling inhuman monster? That would help.
As a department of imaginative writing, it looks to me completely dead.
The spy story may perhaps only now be realizing its poetic possibilities, as the admirers of Graham Greene contend; and the murder story that exploits psychological horror is an entirely different matter
Finally the shithead shows life.
But the detective story proper had borne all its finest fruits by the end of the nineteenth century, having only declined from the point where Edgar Allan Poe had been able to communicate to M. Dupin something of his own ratiocinative intensity and where Dickens had invested his plots with a social and moral significance that made the final solution of the mystery a revelatory symbol of something that the author wanted seriously to say.
And right back into the toilet.
that second murder which always, in the novels, occurs at an unexpected moment when the investigation is well under way
Now this is true. He has identified a trope.
as in one of the Nero Wolfe stories, may take place right in the great detective’s office.
Mr. Wolfe was pissed. A fatal mistake on the murderers part.
the supercilious and omniscient detective, who knows exactly where to fix the guilt.
I know exactly where you can fix something, pal.
I made some rather derogatory remarks in connection with my impressions of the genre in general.
the embarrassing name of Lord Peter Wimsey,
the awful whimsical patter of Lord Peter.
How cute that awful little reference is.
The enthusiastic reader of detective stories will indignantly object at this point that I am reading for the wrong things:
The hell you say.
that I ought not to be expecting good writing, characterization, human interest or even atmosphere.
Another one of those delicious direct insults to the reader. Always a hallmark of fine writing.
It was then that I understood that a true connoisseur of this fiction must be able to suspend the demands of his imagination and literary taste and take the thing as an intellectual problem.
You understood nothing of the true connoisseur. A remarkable accomplishment.
I feel that it is probably irrelevant to mention that I enjoyed The Burning Court, by John Dickson Carr,
I feel that it is probably not irrelevant.
There is a tinge of black magic that gives it a little of the interest of a horror story, and the author has a virtuosity at playing with alternative hypotheses that makes this trick of detective fiction more amusing than it usually is.
Well, well. How much bullshit have we waded through to get to the second true thing?
His Farewell, My Lovely is the only one of these books that I have read all of and read with enjoyment
Only one of the best books ever written in the genre. Small favors.
What he writes is a novel of adventure which has less in common with Hammett than with Alfred Hitchcock and Graham Greene—the modern spy story which has substituted the jitters of the Gestapo and the G.P.U. for the luxury world of E. Phillips Oppenheim. It is not simply a question here of a puzzle which has
He doesn’t know it because he is such a pompous ass, but he has unconsciously stumbled on something here.
my final conclusion is that the reading of detective stories is simply a kind of vice that, for silliness and minor harmfulness, ranks somewhere between smoking and crossword puzzles.
That’s a fair cop.
This conclusion seems borne out by the violence of the letters I have been receiving
(laughs) You don’t say.
Detective-story readers feel guilty, they are habitually on the defensive, and all their talk about “well-written” mysteries is simply an excuse for their vice, like the reasons that the alcoholic can always produce for a drink.
so the opium smoker tells the novice not to mind if the first pipe makes him sick
When I was a child, I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons
One of these tells me that I have underestimated both the badness of detective stories themselves and the lax mental habits of those who enjoy them.
Who?! Who doesn’t want to wear the ribbon?!
he says, that the true addict, half the time, never even finds out who has committed the murder. The addict reads not to find anything out but merely to get the mild stimulation of the succession of unexpected incidents and of the suspense itself of looking forward to learning a sensational secret. That this secret is nothing at all and does not really account for the incidents does not matter to such a reader. He has learned from his long indulgence how to connive with the author in the swindle: he does not pay any real attention when the disappointing denouement occurs, he does not think back and check the events, he simply shuts the book and starts another.
There is a kernel of truth here that describes me and my large collection of crime fiction. Nobody reads Nero Wolfe for the mystery, you read Nero Wolfe for Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
And to the seven correspondents who are with me and who in some cases have thanked me for helping them to liberate themselves from a habit which they recognized as wasteful of time and degrading to the intellect but into which they had been bullied by convention and the portentously invoked examples of Woodrow Wilson and Andre Gide—to these staunch and pure spirits I say: Friends, we represent a minority, but Literature is on our side.
Another insult and more bullshit. Fine, fine writing.
With so many fine books to be read, so much to be studied and known, there is no need to bore ourselves with this rubbish.
1981 Hardee’s header. Why the Fried Chicken Sandwich Is the Perfect Hot-Button IssuePopeyes’ new sandwich sparked nationwide debate. It’s not the first—or last—time feathers will get…Read more Read #2. Perspective | Yes, the Popeyes chicken sandwich is great. Here’s how it stacks up against the…Every once in a while, Twitter is right.Read more Read Jack in the Box. 1981....
Welcome to Night Flight. Your weekend open thread. Hub Cap Center. Hub Cap Center in Houston, Texas ... 04/1973Original Caption: Hub Cap Center in Houston, Texas. This Is One of a Series of 21 Black and White…Read more Read
The Svengoolie movie this week will be Strait-Jacket. William Castle. Joan Crawford. (Editor’s Note: Rerun post.) Strait-Jacket (1964) - IMDbDirected by William Castle. With Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John. After …Read more Read Trailers From Hell. Read more Read Strait-JacketMurder follows an axe murder home when she's released from a mental hospital.Read more Read B-Movie...
1906. Autumn oaks1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in.Read more Read 1906. Oak trees1 photograph : autochrome, color ; 5 x 7 in.Read more Read 1870. [Abraham's Oak] / Bonfils.1 photoprint : albumen.Read more Read Oak trees, New Orleans1 negative : nitrate ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller.Read more Read Oak trees, New Orleans1 negative :...
Library book. The final Bernie Gunther. Kerr died but finished one last Bernie. Metropolis by Philip Kerr review – the last outing for Bernie GuntherThis posthumously published novel sees the world-weary Berlin cop join the murder squad on the eve…Read more Read Review | Philip Kerr’s posthumous gift: A classic crime novel that delivers in high style‘Metropolis’ takes us...
William Hope Hodgson. Read more Read Thomas Carnacki, king of the supernatural detectivesThe character of Thomas Carnacki, ghost-finder, celebrates his centenary this year. Through him,…Read more Read The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. 1971. The Horse of the Invisible. "The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes" The Horse of the Invisible (TV Episode 1971) - IMDbDirected by Alan Cooke. With Donald Pleasence,...
Paperback reread. I vaguely remember this one but it’s been a long time. One of his early comic novels. Made into a movie by William Castle. A 1966 ad for The Busy BodyAn advertisement for The Busy Body, from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, April 1966. Courtesy of…Read more ReadNice ad. Review: The Busy Body “We got the clearance to rub him,...
Hoke. The Unlikely Father of Miami Crime FictionAlthough his detectives do precious little detecting, Charles Willeford sparked the modern South…Read more Read Nothing Is Inchoate, or, “When Did You Get Interested in Abused Children, Helen?”— I Was Looking for Charles Willeford: 1) Nothing is Inchoate, or, “When Did You Get Interested in …Read more Read Collecting Charles Willefordby Don...
Library book. Final Dortmunder. Final Westlake. I only had a couple I haven’t read. The Dortmunder Gang meets reality television. Pulling off a seemingly impossible jobBefore Janet Evanovich brought us Stephanie Plum, Don Westlake was the Grand Master of Criminal…Read more Read The Mind of Donald E. Westlake - The Letters, Books, and Films of a Crime LegendI have...
Thrillers. Len Deighton interview: 'Nobody could have had a happier life than I've had'This interview originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph in 2009Read more Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Len_Deighton That copy of Goodbye Mickey Mouse is pristine. That is a first edition of Berlin Game with no jacket.
Thrillers. https://www.irishnews.com/arts/2019/01/17/news/harry-s-game-author-gerald-seymour-on-weapons-war-and-how-news-no-longer-shocks-1528476/ Gerald Seymour: ‘Of course I’m still a hack. You can’t get it out of your veins’The books interview: The war reporter turned thriller writer on the Irish Troubles, Calabrian mafia …Read more Read 'The best stories are dangerous': 10 questions for writer Gerald Seymour - Sunday PostAS an ITN journalist, Gerald covered the Vietnam war and the...
Historical spy novels. Found these pics in an old spy novel post. He really is top of the line with the past masters in the thriller business. I have a first edition of Night Soldiers that is one of my most valuable books at around $100 or so. Paid $1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Furst Ranked: Every Alan Furst “Night Soldiers” NovelAlan Furst and...