Monday, May 16, 2011

A Template for Parker?

I just picked up a copy of something called The Professional Thief by a professional thief.   It was published in 1937 by the University of Chicago Press.  The book is a monograph by a professional thief known as Chic Conwell and was annotated and 'interpreted' for publication by Edwin Sutherland, an important sociologist.

I've only skimmed it but the book has Parker written all over it.  Donald Westlake/Richard Stark has this trick of explaining how professional thieves live and work that makes it seem as if he is letting us in on their secret rules - peering into how their guild operates.  I have no idea how thieves operate but the way Parker operates feels like it has to be real and true. It is utterly convincing.  (And really - other than what we learn from books, movies and televsion, what do most of us know about crime?) Turns out, according to this book, Westlake nailed it.  The only significant difference is how Parker is so anti-social/always puts himself first.  But that just makes him a better character.


OlmanFeelyus said...

Oooh, neat little find. I'll have to check this out.

Book Glutton said...

Olman - If you hit 75 this year, this copy is yours.

OlmanFeelyus said...

Okay! I am on it.