Friday, May 03, 2013

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday's Forgotten Books

Ed Gorman is the author of several series of crime fiction books as well as standalone mysteries, westerns, and the editor of many anthologies.

Rendezvous In Black by Cornell Woolrich

Forgotten Books: Rendezvous In Black by Cornell Woolrich

This is one of Woolrich's famous "Black" books and black it is. Bleak as David Goodis gets his protagonists usually attempt to make some kind of connection to another human being. Not with with Woolrich.

I'm not going to describe the set-up here because laid it flat it is so outlandish you might think twice about reading the book. But Cornell Woolrich was nothing if not shrewd. By the time you figure out what's going on you've had a chance to prepare yourself. You've been putting it all together piece by piece so when the picture is complete you just nod and accept it.

And anyway as with most Woolrich books and stories the set-up doesn't matter all that much anyway. What makes Woolrich Woolrich is how his protagonists respond to the set-up. This novel is built on a series of richly detailed character studies of several men who have begun dying in ways that would be ironic even to them if they could step back and see it with any objectivity.

Woolrich is often compared to Poe and while I think that's fair--they are both masters of claustrophobia and obsession--I think in all Woolrich's real literary father was Guy de Mauppassant. Woolrich has de Mauppassant's fascination with society high and low for one thing, and a sly ear and eye for realistic daily life. There is a lot of Edward Hopper in Woolrich's word paintings of the Thirties and Forties. I'm not sure that Poe an equivalent interest in his own time.

This is my favorite Woolrich novel which is to say that he has told a story of such cleverness and nihilistic power you see why Woolrich is so revered. This is one of those books, one of those books that crush, and linger on long after you finish it.

Patricia Abbott is your host. Patricia Moyes' series. (from 2008)

I don't have adequate time to do Patricia Moyes justice, but when I think back to the various detective series I read in my twenties, one that stands out for me is Patricia Moyes' series of mysteries about Inspector Henry Tibbett, who solved many of his cases with the help of his wife, Emmy. I found their marriage as well as their cases fun.

Anthony Boucher wrote this in the NYT at the time of the first of the series, DEAD MEN DON'T SKI.

“If you’re as hungry as I am for a really good whodunit. you will welcome the debut of Patricia Moyes."

We may not be as hungry for whodunits as we were then, but they can still be very satisfying when done well. If I can count on my memory, these were.

The setting for that first book DEAD MEN DON'T SKI was the Italian Alps, where Henry Tibbett, on vacation from Scotland Yard. Henry and his wife. Emmy, have settled in for some skiing, when Henry uncovers a smuggling ring, which includes hotel guests.
Then a guest who was alive when the ski lift began its descent is found dead when the lift touches bottom.

Henry Tibbett, Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard, gave me many hours of pleasure and I remember sadly the day when I learned of Moyes' death.

Here are the books in the series:

Dead Men Don't Ski (1958)
The Sunken Sailor (1961)
aka Down Among the Dead Men
Death On the Agenda (1962)
Murder a La Mode (1963)
Falling Star (1964)
Johnny Underground (1965)
Murder By Threes (1965)
Murder Fantastical (1967)
Death and the Dutch Uncle (1968)
Who Saw Her Die? (1970)
aka Many Deadly Returns
Season of Snows and Sins (1971)
The Curious Affair of the Third Dog (1973)
Black Widower (1975)
To Kill a Coconut (1977)
aka The Coconut Killings
Who Is Simon Warwick? (1978)
Angel Death (1980)
A Six Letter Word for Death (1983)
Night Ferry to Death (1985)
Black Girl, White Girl (1989)
Twice in a Blue Moon (1993)
Who Killed Father Christmas?: And Other Unseasonable Demises (1996)

Sergio Angelini
Les Blatt, VULTURES IN THE SKY, Todd Downing
Brian Busby, STORIES FOR LATE NIGHT DRINKERS, Michael Tremblays
Scott Cupp, DOC SAVAGE: SKULL ISLAND, Will Murray
Martin Edwards, CORPSE GUARDS PARADE, Milward Kennedy
Jerry House, TARZAN, JR, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Randy Johnson, THE SHORES OF SPACE, Richard Matheson
Nick Jones, DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS, David Whitaker
George Kelley, SLAM THE BIG DOOR, John D. MacDonald
Margot Kinberg, A IS FOR ALIBI, Sue Grafton
B.V. Lawson, THE COMFORTABLE COFFIN, Richard S.Prather
Evan Lewis, WHAT PRICE MURDER, Cleve F. Adams
Steve Lewis, SCATTERSHOT, Bill Pronzini
Todd Mason, Some Anthologies from WEIRD TALES
J.V. Norris,ALARUM AND EXCURSION, Virginia Perdue
James Reasoner, THE BEST OF SPICY MYSTERY: VOL. 1, Al Jan editor
Gerard Saylor, GHOSTS OF BELFAST, Stuart Neville
Ron Scheer, THE PRAIRIE WIFE, Arthur Stringer
Michael Slind, DISSOLUTION, C.J. Sansom
Kerrie Smith, THROUGH THE WALL, Patricia Wentworth
Kevin Tipple, SHOTGUN SATURDAY NIGHT, Bill Crider
TomCat, THE TITANIC MURDERS, Max Allan Collins
Jim Winter, OUT OF SIGHT, Elmore Leonard


John said...

Just finished my post. Please change my link to this one:

Alarum and Excursion by Virginia Perdue


Ron Scheer said...

Patti, have you seen "Searching for Sugarman"? A tribute to a forgotten Detroit legend.

Todd Mason said...

I'm in, in a tardy way, with

Some anthologies from WEIRD TALES, a quick survey:

Anonymous said...

The only Moyes I read was the Crippen & Landru short story collection. Not sure why. I've seen her at mystery conventions.

As to the others, you can't go wrong with Crider or Leonard and I really like the Sansom series.

Jeff M.

Richard R. said...

Moyes has long been a favorite of mine and I've read all but one of those listed, which for some reason I don't have. I'll have to go searching. I once had a pair of cats I named Tibbet and Emmy.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks as ever for including my post!

Charles Gramlich said...

Woolrich is a name that continually appears on my radar.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Patti do you know how hard it is to figure out which book are in which series??!! Well done.
We're always trying to find them listed with dates. Of course, it keeps my gainfully retired hubby busy!
Cheers from Cottage Country!