Thursday, August 19, 2010
Nobody seems to want to republish any of the Grofield novels. I have paperback versions of all four (the first three in Foul Play Press editions and Lemons Never Lie from Hard Case Crime) and just finished the third one, The Blackbird. And while I love Grofield, this book was not a strong outing by Westlake. In the first Grofield book, The Damsel, Grofield hears, in his head, a specially composed film score to accompany whatever he's doing. I thought that was the funniest and most endearing thing I've ever read about a character in crime fiction. Sadly, there's no more of this in the next two books. I think Westlake knew that The Blackbird was not properly implausible - but he let's us know that hippies are implausible characters, too (a clear reference to the two hippie villains in the previous Stark novel Deadly Edge.
Now I am on to Slayground, which shares the same opening chapter as The Blackbird. I should have stricter standards but I love this shared chapter thing in these books and simultaneously feel that it would be a cheap gimmick if anyone else did it or does it. (Has anyone ever done this?) I know Westlake does it some with Joe Gores.
I read an interesting piece in the New Yorker last week about Charlie Chan
and its may be planting the seeds of a future collecting project. I've never read or seen anything Charlie Chan but the hunt for the books I think I could enjoy irrespective of that little fact.
Also in the New Yorker was a good piece on Agatha Christie
whom I, despite me being a long-time fan of crime fiction, have never read.