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jacajones
July 17th, 2004, 11:53 AM
I guess we all hit patches where the books that we read leave us, in
some way, unsatisfied. Sometimes it's down to the reader - we might
be feeling below par or simply "not in the mood" - but there are
times when you it's down to the books themselves: favourite authors
on autopilot or writers new to you that don't come up with the goods
as far as you're concerned.

I love Rex Stout - he's neither hard nor "soft" boiled but IMHO a
genre in his own right. I love the old brownstone house, Wolfe's
eccentricities and Archie's irreverance. He's not the greatest
plotter but I can overlook that because he is an entertainer and a
one-off. So why did I find The Final Deduction so dull? All of the
usual ingredients are here - NW's unwillingness to leave his home,
the potentially explosive clashes with Cramer, the array of vaguely
unpleasant society suspects etc. etc. - but for some reason it all
seems a little tired and contrived. Was Stout having an off-day or
was it me?

Chandler's The High Window was a new one for me. I know the guy has
legendary status but, on this reading, I wasn't wildly impressed. He
writes well in the sense that he is able to combine eloquence and
terseness effectively but the plot seems little more than a vehicle
for propelling Marlowe from one low-life meeting to another until he
stumbles onto the solution of his case. And don't those endless
wisecracks get just a little bit wearing?

Another "new" author, Christopher Bush and The Case of the Tudor
Queen. Am I alone in being irritated by someone who writes so
carelessly? A character "listens quickly" - how on earth do you do
that? A car has a "slight breakdown" - surely it has either broken
down or it hasn't. And in the very first chapter, Wharton, a leading
character, recalls his pleasure at seeing the (soon to be murdered )
well-known actress in her most recent play then, a few pages later,
asks Travers (the sleuth) what she looks like. Serious memory
deficiency for a Scotland Yard man or what?

Ah well, it's probably just me being a grumpy git - someone will
probably come back and say that all of these 3 are on Symons's best
ever super-duper list or something of that sort.

Anyway, on a much brighter note, Ive just started The Five Red
Herrings by Sayers and so far it's terrific. There is still sunshine
in the world......

Alan P.

Xavier Lechard
July 17th, 2004, 02:08 PM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "jacajones" <jacajones@y...>
wrote:
> Chandler's The High Window was a new one for me. I know the guy
has
> legendary status but, on this reading, I wasn't wildly impressed.
He
> writes well in the sense that he is able to combine eloquence and
> terseness effectively but the plot seems little more than a vehicle
> for propelling Marlowe from one low-life meeting to another until
he
> stumbles onto the solution of his case. And don't those endless
> wisecracks get just a little bit wearing?

Barry, here's another heathen to convert... ;-)

Friendly,
Xavier

luis molina
July 17th, 2004, 02:26 PM
He has legendary status but, on this reading, I wasn't
> wildly impressed. TRY THE LONG GOODBYE AND YOU WILL
UNDERSTAND HES FAME





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Nicholas Fuller
July 17th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Dear Alan,

I'm now onto my twenty-second Bush, and I'm not quite sure what my stance towards him is. He can be being bloody awful and almost unreadable, particularly in his early works (I finished the dreadful TCOT Happy Medium, 1952, last week), but also in some of his early ones, such as the grossly over-rated TCOT 100% Alibis. On the other hand, he can be extremely ingenious, well-constructed and to the point, notably in Dead Man Twice, Cut Throat, and (so far) in TCOT Bonfire Body. I agree with you about his writing style: his early books are far too full of Travers's epigrams, although the late ones (when they're not acting as an alternative to poppy or mandragora), narrated by Travers, do have a certain wit. On the whole, an uneven writer, but one with enough good books, particularly before 1950, to make him worth investigating.

Nick


'There is no past tense in the conjugation of genius, especially when it has left us whatever of itself can be conveyed by the printed page.'--Gladys Mitchell, Death and the Maiden (1947).


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b_ergang
July 17th, 2004, 09:50 PM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard"
<x.lechard@f...> wrote:
> Barry, here's another heathen to convert... ;-)

:-) I was waiting for that from you, Xavier.

I haven't read THE HIGH WINDOW in a long time, but I do remember
liking it in some ways more than THE BIG SLEEP and FAREWELL, MY
LOVELY. Scenes like the one in which Marlowe is confronted by the
gangster Alex Morny, who launches into a diatribe about what he
hates about private eyes while Marlowe remains silent throughout
until he finally retorts, "I get it. You don't like me" are
memorable for the deadpan humor Chandler employed to evoke a
hardboiled attitude without resorting to the adolescent street-
corner "toughness" you find in Mickey Spillane and his imitators.

Some of the moments between Marlowe and his overbearing client Mrs.
Murdoch are equally memorable.

I might not like it as much as the other two titles if I read it
now. (That remains to be seen because the only Chandler novel I've
read only once is FAREWELL, MY LOVELY.)

I agree with Alan about the reader's mood being a factor in liking
or disliking a given work. The first time I tried Ross MacDonald's
THE WYCHERLY WOMAN, I couldn't get through it. I put it aside and
went on to something else. A couple of years later I tried it again--
and couldn't put it down.

I read Salinger's THE CATCHER IN THE RYE when I was 15 and
absolutely loved it because I could relate so strongly to many of
Holden Caulfield's attitudes. I tried to reread it when I was in my
early twenties and couldn't get through it. I was older; it just
wasn't the same book.

Best,
Barry

who is currently reading and loving Michael Chabon's (non-mystery)
THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, which he strongly
recommends to those listmates who enjoy(ed) comic book and pulp
heroes, and who enjoy beautifully written fiction that convincingly
depicts time and place--in this case, New York during WWII--as well
as well-drawn characters in action.

b_ergang
July 17th, 2004, 09:51 PM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, luis molina <lrmolina47@y...>
wrote:
> He has legendary status but, on this reading, I wasn't
> > wildly impressed. TRY THE LONG GOODBYE AND YOU WILL
> UNDERSTAND HES FAME

Amen to that, Luis! :-)

Wyatt James
July 17th, 2004, 10:57 PM
To Chandler fans, this is probably heretical, but my favorite of all
his books is "Lady in the Lake" -- which comes closest to being pure
GAD, with detection and not so much gangster stuff. Sure, Marlowe gets
bashed on the head -- doesn't he always, in all of the books? One is
surprised that he isn't punch-drunk after all these books where he
gets knocked out, but after all Chandler is the one who said in so
many words "if you're writing a detective story and get stuck for
plot, have somebody barge into the room carrying a loaded gun." My
favorite character in this story is of course the laid-back country
sheriff. The book is very rural in part, especially for a Chandler,
not so much mean streets of the big city. There was always a touch of
the elegiac mood in Chandler, as well as in a large number of the
'hard-boiled' mysteries -- some could almost call it soppy schmaltz --
but it is very well done in this book. The hard-boiled sentimentality
I'm talking about is the sort of pathos presented by Brando ('I coulda
been a contender') and Robinson ('Is this the end of poor Rico?') --
pure crap, as our lamented ex-member Ritzner would have put it -- but
these touches were almost obligatory in the Black Mask School, perhaps
to show some sort of 'humanity' amongst these hard characters. In fact
these tough-guy writers were always soft on kids, sad sacks, and
victimized women, except maybe for Spillane who'd rather have Mike
Hammer beat on them, the way bully boys pick on cringing puppies.

--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "b_ergang" <bergang@o...> wrote:
> --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard"
> <x.lechard@f...> wrote:
> > Barry, here's another heathen to convert... ;-)
>
> :-) I was waiting for that from you, Xavier.
>
> I haven't read THE HIGH WINDOW in a long time, but I do remember
> liking it in some ways more than THE BIG SLEEP and FAREWELL, MY
> LOVELY. Scenes like the one in which Marlowe is confronted by the
> gangster Alex Morny, who launches into a diatribe about what he
> hates about private eyes while Marlowe remains silent throughout
> until he finally retorts, "I get it. You don't like me" are
> memorable for the deadpan humor Chandler employed to evoke a
> hardboiled attitude without resorting to the adolescent street-
> corner "toughness" you find in Mickey Spillane and his imitators.
>
> Some of the moments between Marlowe and his overbearing client Mrs.
> Murdoch are equally memorable.
>
> I might not like it as much as the other two titles if I read it
> now. (That remains to be seen because the only Chandler novel I've
> read only once is FAREWELL, MY LOVELY.)
>
> I agree with Alan about the reader's mood being a factor in liking
> or disliking a given work. The first time I tried Ross MacDonald's
> THE WYCHERLY WOMAN, I couldn't get through it. I put it aside and
> went on to something else. A couple of years later I tried it again--
> and couldn't put it down.
>
> I read Salinger's THE CATCHER IN THE RYE when I was 15 and
> absolutely loved it because I could relate so strongly to many of
> Holden Caulfield's attitudes. I tried to reread it when I was in my
> early twenties and couldn't get through it. I was older; it just
> wasn't the same book.
>
> Best,
> Barry
>
> who is currently reading and loving Michael Chabon's (non-mystery)
> THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, which he strongly
> recommends to those listmates who enjoy(ed) comic book and pulp
> heroes, and who enjoy beautifully written fiction that convincingly
> depicts time and place--in this case, New York during WWII--as well
> as well-drawn characters in action.

b_ergang
July 18th, 2004, 12:13 AM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Wyatt James" <grobius@s...>
wrote:
>To Chandler fans, this is probably heretical, but my favorite of
>all his books is "Lady in the Lake" -- which comes closest to being
>pure GAD, with detection and not so much gangster stuff.

It's very late as I write this and I'm too tired to check the
source, but I vaguely recall from the lit-crit examination RAYMOND
CHANDLER by Jerry Speir (who also wrote one about Ross Macdonald)
that one of the bugaboos of conventional mystery fiction Chandler
deliberately played off of in THE LADY IN THE LAKE was coincidence.
One of its near-GAD attributes is fair-clueing.

>One is surprised that he isn't punch-drunk after all these books
>where he gets knocked out, but after all Chandler is the one who
>said in so many words "if you're writing a detective story and get
>stuck for plot, have somebody barge into the room carrying a loaded
>gun."

Two comments. First: most hardboiled P.I.s, both before and after
Marlowe, should be vegetables incapable of forming single sentences,
let alone book-length narratives, as a result of the cranial
assaults they've endured. Second--and here I've gotten off my butt
to check the source--in his Introduction to the collection THE
SIMPLE ART OF MURDER, Chandler wrote: "As to the emotional basis of
the hard-boiled story, obviously it does not believe that murder
will out and justice will be done--unless some very determined
individual makes it his business to see that justice is done. The
stories were about the men who made that happen....Undoubtedly the
stories about them had a fantastic element. Such things happened,
but not so rapidly, nor to so close-knit a group of people, nor
within so narrow a frame of logic. This was inevitable because the
demand was for constant action; if you stopped to think you were
lost. When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his
hand. This could get to be pretty silly, but somehow it didn't seem
to matter. A writer who is afraid to overreach himself is as useless
as a general who is afraid to be wrong."

Some of Chandler's pulp stories may adhere to the notion of bringing
in the man with the gun, but his novels do not. Compared to other
hardboiled writers, Chandler was much less disposed to slugfests and
gunplay.

>The hard-boiled sentimentality I'm talking about is the sort of
>pathos presented by Brando ('I coulda been a contender') and
>Robinson ('Is this the end of poor Rico?') -- pure crap, as our
>lamented ex-member Ritzner would have put it -- but these touches
>were almost obligatory in the Black Mask School, perhaps to show
>some sort of 'humanity' amongst these hard characters. In fact
>these tough-guy writers were always soft on kids, sad sacks, and
>victimized women, except maybe for Spillane who'd rather have Mike
>Hammer beat on them, the way bully boys pick on cringing puppies.

Contrast Chandler's novels to the short stories *and* novels of
Hammett, Whitfield, Nebel, Davis, Cain and others, and you'll find
far less overt physical violence in them. In one of his letters,
Chandler admitted Marlowe's "toughness" was more verbal than
physical, a projection of attitude over physicality. Marlowe could
throw a punch or fire a slug when the situation demanded it, but
unlike a Mike Hammer or Shell Scott, doing so wasn't a primal
impulse.

Best,
Barry

jacajones
July 19th, 2004, 12:37 PM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Nicholas Fuller
<stoke_moran@y...> wrote:
> Dear Alan,
>
> I'm now onto my twenty-second Bush, and I'm not quite sure what my
stance towards him is. He can be being bloody awful and almost
unreadable, particularly in his early works (I finished the dreadful
TCOT Happy Medium, 1952, last week), but also in some of his early
ones, such as the grossly over-rated TCOT 100% Alibis. On the other
hand, he can be extremely ingenious, well-constructed and to the
point, notably in Dead Man Twice, Cut Throat, and (so far) in TCOT
Bonfire Body. I agree with you about his writing style: his early
books are far too full of Travers's epigrams, although the late ones
(when they're not acting as an alternative to poppy or mandragora),
narrated by Travers, do have a certain wit. On the whole, an uneven
writer, but one with enough good books, particularly before 1950, to
make him worth investigating.
>
> Nick


Hi Nick

I'm sure you're right - in fact a friend who is into GAD put forward
exactly the same views when I discussed Bush with him yesterday
afternoon. My best bet is to find another title and read it with an
open mind. First impressions are not always the best.....imagine
being introduced to Christie with something like Postern of Fate!

Alan
>
>
> 'There is no past tense in the conjugation of genius, especially
when it has left us whatever of itself can be conveyed by the printed
page.'--Gladys Mitchell, Death and the Maiden (1947).
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Bob Schneider
July 24th, 2004, 08:59 PM
Alan P.

Haven't read THE FINAL DEDUCTION so can't comment on that but Stout
often brings me great joy with one story then disappoints with the
next one. Sometimes it's because of a weak plot, sometimes it's
because of a lack of detection, sometimes it's becsuse he does not
play fair with the reader and sometimes (rarely) because the dialogue
is not snappy and funny. I guess maybe sometimes it could be my mood
at the time of reading.

That's a great phrase you used to describe Stout's usual
suspects "the array of vaguely unpleasant society suspects ...".
I think I'll steal that one.

Bob


--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "jacajones" <jacajones@y...>
wrote:
> I guess we all hit patches where the books that we read leave us,
in
> some way, unsatisfied. Sometimes it's down to the reader - we
might
> be feeling below par or simply "not in the mood" - but there are
> times when you it's down to the books themselves: favourite authors
> on autopilot or writers new to you that don't come up with the
goods
> as far as you're concerned.
>
> I love Rex Stout - he's neither hard nor "soft" boiled but IMHO a
> genre in his own right. I love the old brownstone house, Wolfe's
> eccentricities and Archie's irreverance. He's not the greatest
> plotter but I can overlook that because he is an entertainer and a
> one-off. So why did I find The Final Deduction so dull? All of the
> usual ingredients are here - NW's unwillingness to leave his home,
> the potentially explosive clashes with Cramer, the array of vaguely
> unpleasant society suspects etc. etc. - but for some reason it all
> seems a little tired and contrived. Was Stout having an off-day or
> was it me? ...

>
> Alan P.

jacajones
July 27th, 2004, 02:45 AM
--- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Bob Schneider"
<speedymystery@y...> wrote:
> Alan P.
>
> Haven't read THE FINAL DEDUCTION so can't comment on that but Stout
> often brings me great joy with one story then disappoints with the
> next one. Sometimes it's because of a weak plot, sometimes it's
> because of a lack of detection, sometimes it's becsuse he does not
> play fair with the reader and sometimes (rarely) because the
dialogue
> is not snappy and funny. I guess maybe sometimes it could be my
mood
> at the time of reading.

That's exactly the way I am with Stout.
>
> That's a great phrase you used to describe Stout's usual
> suspects "the array of vaguely unpleasant society suspects ...".
> I think I'll steal that one.
>
> Bob

Thanks for the compliment!

Alan
>
>
> --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "jacajones" <jacajones@y...>
> wrote:
> > I guess we all hit patches where the books that we read leave us,
> in
> > some way, unsatisfied. Sometimes it's down to the reader - we
> might
> > be feeling below par or simply "not in the mood" - but there are
> > times when you it's down to the books themselves: favourite
authors
> > on autopilot or writers new to you that don't come up with the
> goods
> > as far as you're concerned.
> >
> > I love Rex Stout - he's neither hard nor "soft" boiled but IMHO a
> > genre in his own right. I love the old brownstone house, Wolfe's
> > eccentricities and Archie's irreverance. He's not the greatest
> > plotter but I can overlook that because he is an entertainer and
a
> > one-off. So why did I find The Final Deduction so dull? All of
the
> > usual ingredients are here - NW's unwillingness to leave his
home,
> > the potentially explosive clashes with Cramer, the array of
vaguely
> > unpleasant society suspects etc. etc. - but for some reason it
all
> > seems a little tired and contrived. Was Stout having an off-day
or
> > was it me? ...
>
> >
> > Alan P.

Tony Medawar
August 24th, 2004, 06:06 AM
I have ben told by the discoverer that the next issue of CADS will reveal a
new pseudonym for Christopher Bush.

agh7746
August 24th, 2004, 07:54 AM
Hopefully they will be easier (and less expensive) to find than the Cecil Waye books. I only have two of the four and I don't think I will see those other two titles in my lifetime... at least not on my bookshelves.

Anita


----- Original Message -----
From: Tony Medawar
To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 10:06 AM
Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Christopher Bush


I have ben told by the discoverer that the next issue of CADS will reveal a
new pseudonym for Christopher Bush.



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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Nicholas Fuller
August 26th, 2004, 02:13 AM
There's the Michael Home one, of course, under which he wrote a few thrillers (The Place of Little Birds, etc.).

Nick

Tony Medawar <tonymedawar@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
I have ben told by the discoverer that the next issue of CADS will reveal a
new pseudonym for Christopher Bush.



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'There is no past tense in the conjugation of genius, especially when it has left us whatever of itself can be conveyed by the printed page.'--Gladys Mitchell, Death and the Maiden (1947).


---------------------------------
Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Tony Medawar
August 27th, 2004, 10:58 AM
Oh no this is a new one and before you ask there isn't a copy of the one
book on any booksearch engine nor in the Library of Congress - just the one
in the British Library!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Nicholas Fuller" <stoke_moran@yahoo.com>
To: <GAdetection@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 11:13 AM
Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Christopher Bush


> There's the Michael Home one, of course, under which he wrote a few
thrillers (The Place of Little Birds, etc.).
>
> Nick
>
> Tony Medawar <tonymedawar@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> I have ben told by the discoverer that the next issue of CADS will reveal
a
> new pseudonym for Christopher Bush.
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
> To visit your group on the web, go to:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GAdetection/
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> GAdetection-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
>
>
>
> 'There is no past tense in the conjugation of genius, especially when it
has left us whatever of itself can be conveyed by the printed page.'--Gladys
Mitchell, Death and the Maiden (1947).
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>
>
>
>