Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, October 20, 2017

 (From the archives)

I am reluctantly finishing this book, which I have so enjoyed. I can't imagine any of you would not. More than 100 current writers choose a crime fiction book they admire and write an essay about it. Each one approaches it a bit differently. Some of the essays are scholarly. Some are personal. Some discuss the author more than the book. But nearly every one is worth reading. It is interesting to see how one writer has influenced another's work too. Some of them make perfect sense. With some the connection is less clear.

I had a hard time thinking of a book I would have included that wasn't here. In a review in the Washington Post, the reviewer asks where is Nicholas Blake and a few other golden age writers, but on the whole there are not too many great books not represented. Most of the books chosen do not come from the cozy sub-genre though.

I had read only half the books essayed here. Some I had never heard of. A few of the essayists were new to me too. But I sure went over to my TBR pile for three books I own but haven't read.

What book would you have chosen for your "book to die for?"

I would have chosen THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Although Highsmith is remembered for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN-a very clever novel, I think Tom Ripley is a more memorable and important character. Perhaps a book of characters to die for would be fun. 

Sergio Angelini, SINGLE AND SINGLE, John LeCarre
Yvette Banek, THE FRIGHTENED STIFF, Kelly Roos
Elgin Bleecker, TRUE GRIT, Charles Portis
Brian Busby, BLACK FEATHER,  Benge Atlee
Bill Crider, THE BODY LOOKS FAMILIAR and THE LATE MRS. FIVE, Richard Wormser
Richard Horton, MR. FORTUNE'S MAGGOT, Sylvia Townsend Warner
Martin Edwards, TOO MANY COUSINS, Douglas G. Browne
Jerry House, CHASING THE BEAR, Robert B., Parker
George Kelley, SECRET AGENT X, Paul Chadwick
Margot Kinberg, THE BLIND GODDESS, Anne Holt
Rob Kitchin, A DANGEROUS MAN, Charlie Houston
B.V. Lawson, WIDOW CHERRY,  Benjamin Leopold Farjean
Steve Lewis, WHO IS SIMON WARWICK, Patricia Moyes
Steven Nester,(THE RAP SHEET) THE BIG FIX, Roger L. Simon
Matt Paust, Maigret Double Feature, Georges Simenon
James Reasoner, SLAVE RUNNER. Gordon MacCreigh
Richard Robinson, TIMELESS, Armand Baltazar
Gerard Saylor, THE HIGHWAY KIND, ed. Patrick Milliken
Katherine Tomlinson, AN EXCESS MALE, Maggie Shen King
TracyK, THE NIGHTRUNNERS, Michael Collins
Westlake Review, ASK THE PARROT


George said...

I'd choose THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO as the book to die for. I've read all the books in the series and really enjoyed the Swedish movie version, too!

Gerard Saylor said...

I consider myself a big fan of Westlake's Richard Stark novels. The Parker series is an absolute favorite of mine and I'd list one as a "book to die for".

But, those guys on Westlake Review go into way more detail and discussion than I can handle.

Yvette said...

Hi Patti, my contribution is up and running as of right this minute. :) Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is an odd book to me - quite often the right author with the wrong book (I mean, HAVE HIS CARCASE as the best of Sayer?) but tother thin when it comes to the early years of the genre. The omission of the likes of Ellery Queen, Camilleri, Pronzini, Stanley Ellin, GK Chesterton, Len Deighton and John Dickson Carr is truly inexcusable though

Mathew Paust said...

I'd rather think of books to live for, but there are so many I'd have to put another 100 or so years on my tires to read even half of them.

Nick Jones (Louis XIV, the Sun King) said...

Well as you've already bagged The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patti, I'll have to go for Ripley's Game. Although I've probably banged on about that one on my blog quite enough as it is...

Rick Robinson said...

TIMELESS isn't forgotten, it's brand new, but thanks for the listing anyway.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I liked the book a lot too.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye. I've read it at least 5 times.

TracyK said...

I agree with Sergio that there were many authors from the early years of the genre that I would have included, but I enjoyed reading about the books that were included and I loved reading Books to Die For.

I would choose a book by Rex Stout. Fer-de-Lance or Some Buried Caesar or ...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, I don't think they were trying to cover the genre. It was mostly free choice, I think. Although I loaned someone my copy who never returned it. So I can't check on that aspect. Written thirty years earlier, some of those writers would have appeared.

Gerard Saylor said...

Any book like that is a product of it's times. Not to mention dependent on those people chosen to write a chapter. As Bill Crider writes on link lists, "I'm Sure You'll All Agree".

Yvette said...

I too might have picked a Rex Stout book. Though Dick Francis and Robert Crais both have written 'books to die for' as well. Did anyone pick Josephine Tey's DAUGHTER OF TIME?

Chris said...

Of the Ripleys, I'd pick Ripley Underground, even though the first of the Ripliad is perhaps the most original and disturbing mystery novel ever written. It doesn't break the rules so much as hit them with an oar and dump them overboard. I just happen to prefer the second, because that's where it becomes a series, which she never imagined it would ever become. The man we think of as Ripley doesn't really take form until then.

My book to die for might be The Man With the Getaway Face, by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)--for much the same reason. Parker was never going to be a series character, he was one of those hardboiled hooligans who flame out in the end, but Bucklin Moon, who was editing at Pocket, said they'd buy The Hunter if Westlake would change the ending, and write a bunch more. So good as The Hunter is, original as it is, it's the second book (that Westlake wanted to call The Mask, but Moon wouldn't let him) that opens up the character, gives him room to run. He had run quite a long way before Ripley got back to work.

I know Westlake was very aware of Highsmith (and anybody in his genre who could write and think, a rare combo). I've yet to determine whether she was aware of him. I'm guessing yeah.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think I have read that one. Maybe only read the first in the Parker series.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Seems like someone chose Daughter of Time.

Mathew Paust said...

Daughter of Time, one of my all-time favorites. Sucker for historical mysteries.

Todd Mason said...

And I believe the TO DIE FOR crew was aware of HRF Keating's 100 BEST book which did cover the earlier era rather well, albeit with the same potential arguments than any such book faces.

Todd Mason said...

Nick Jones has a bad link at the moment...welcome back to assembly, and thanks!

Todd Mason said... for convenience!

Nick Jones (Louis XIV, the Sun King) said...

Thanks Todd! (Although considering how longwinded my latest post is, interested parties might actually prefer to be directed to oblivion.)