Last week's tribute to the books of Donald Westlake seemed to have been enjoyed by writers and readers and several people have suggested we do it again. Here are some tentative choices for another round. Of course, the author must have quite a large number of books for it to work out. Whose books would you like to write/read about?
John D. MacDonald
Ruth Rendell (although she is still alive. Dead might be better for our purposes if not hers).
Reginald Hill (also wrote under Patrick Ruell)
Patricia Highsmith (almost enough)
Who else? I think reviews from writers with only one character like Sue Grafton might be tedious to read. That might be true of a few here. I am thinking Simenon might work. He has many standalones as well as the Maigrets. Millar has about twenty some novels although some might be difficult to get your hands on. John D. has both Travis and standalones. Ross is mostly Archers. Parker, mostly Spenser. Rendell would be a good choice in many ways because she has a series and standalones written under two names. I am thinking of early April. What say you?
Ed Gorman is the author of the Sam McCain series and the Dev Conrad series as well as countless westerns, anthologies and other good stuff. You can find him here.
Patti Abbott, THE SUMMING UP, W. Somerset Maugham.
Who could not like a book with the line, "Though I have loved a good many times, I have never experienced the bliss of requited love. I have most loved people who care little or nothing for me and when people have loved me, I have been embarrassed." (the last bit saves it from being too maudlin).
Or "In my twenties, the critics said I was brutal, in my thirties, they said I was flippant, in my forties they said I was cynical, in my fifties they said I was competent and now in my sixties they said I am superficial."
I loved all of Maugham's books way back when (especially CAKES AND ALE) but this is my favorite. Originally published in 1938, this is not quite a memoir, not quite a book on writing, this is in fact, a summing up. If you want to read an erudite book that looks at the writing (and reading) life more than the writing craft, this is an excellent one. In the self-deprecating way of the quotes above, you are introduced to a very wise man. Self-deprecation and modesty are such great traits. Too bad they are not valued on this side of the pond.
I hope you can find a copy with bigger print than mine.
Steve Lewis/Ray O'Leary