Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, March 9, 2018

Paul St. Pierre, Smith and Other Events (1984) (from the archives Ron Scheer)

Long out of print, Paul St. Pierre's stories in this collection are a total pleasure—wryly humorous and sharply detailed in their understanding of his characters' behavior, motives, and feelings. Set mostly in the Chilcotin of British Columbia, the stories take place in the 1950s and share the same dozen or so characters—ranchers and their families, Indians, a cowboy or two, and a storekeeper.

The longest story, "How to Run the Country," involves a handful of politicos in Vancouver who persuade a local rancher to run for office. The author, having served a term as a Member of Parliament himself, tells this story with apparent delight as he interweaves the complex ironies of political careers and ambitions.

My favorites of the bunch include stories about the premature funeral for an old Indian from the local reservation, the long suffering of a ranch wife who literally spills the beans on her husband, an elderly recluse's long-distance romance with a young woman, and a husband and wife's indecision about whether to sell the ranch. In another, a mid-winter trip to town evolves, thanks to a cowboy's gambling winnings, into a days-long bacchanal in a hotel room.

Smith, the title character, is vividly drawn, perfectly believable, and as likable as he can be obtuse. The others, his wife Norah, sons Sherwood and Roosevelt, Arch McGregor, Morton Dilloughboy and his son Abel, cowboy Henry James, Ol Antoine the Indian patriarch, Frenchie and Frenchie's wife (who gets her own story), all of them are equally memorable, including Ken Larsen, whose arch-conservative values are no obstacle to his loyalty to the Liberal Party.

St. Pierre’s novel Breaking Smith’s Quarter Horse (reviewed here a while ago) takes up with the same characters and is equally enjoyable. Smith and Other Events is currently available at amazon, AbeBooks, and alibris.

Mark Baker, CRY FOUL, Sandy Dengler
Yvette Banek, COLUMBELLA, Phyllis Whitney
Elgin Bleecker, THE KILLINGS AT BADGER DRIFT, Caroline Graham
Brian Busby, BACKSTAGE NURSE, Judith Rossiter (W.E.D. Ross)
CrossExaminingCrime, DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, Elizabeth Daly
Martin Edwards, DEATH RUNS ON SKIS, Hetty Ritchie
Richard Horton, The Rim Gods, by A. Bertram Chandler/The High Hex, by Laurence M. Janifer and S. J. Treibich
Jerry House, END OF A.J.D. Robert Terrall
George Kelley, THE ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE BOOK OF LISTS, ed. Kate Stine
Margot Kinberg,  INNOCENCE; or, Murder on Steep Street, Heda Margolius Kov├íly
Rob Kitchin, NEPTUNE'S INFERNO, James Hornfischer, THE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT A WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED, Jonas Jonasson
B.V. Lawson, THE PLOT THICKENS, ed. Mary Higgins Clark
Evan Lewis, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, Ian Fleming
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, FINAL EDIT, ROBERT CARTER 
Todd Mason, WHISPERS, An Illustrated Anthology of Fantasy and Horror ed. Stuart David Schiff
J.F. Norris, IF WISHES WERE HEARSES, Guy Cullingford
Matt Paust, SIX EASY PIECES, Walter Mosley 
James Reasoner, RETURN OF THE KID, Joseph Wayne
Gerard Saylor, MAGNUS HUNTER ROBOT Russ Hunter
Kevin Tipple./Barry Egrang Bar-20, Clarence E. Mulford
TomCat, THE CLOCK IN THE HATBOX, Anthony Gilbert

TracyK,  MURDER BEGINS AT HOME, Delano Ames
Zybahn, PRISONER 489, Joe R. Lansdale

8 comments:

Rick Robinson said...

SMITH is a wonderful story collection. I have it, having read it about 20 years ago now, I guess, and would gladly read it again. Thanks for the reminder.

Yvette said...

Working on my post now, but I may not make it until later this afternoon. Is that all right? I'm sorry, but lately I just seem to be dragging.

J F Norris said...

Wi-Fi issues this morning. Ugh. Here's mine at last:

If Wishes Were Hearses by Guy Cullingford

Thanks, Patti!

Yvette said...

Finally, my post is done, Patti.

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks, Patti, for including my post. I'm glad you posted about a collection. Sometimes short stories are just the thing, and short story writing really is a unique type of writing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Haven't read St. Pierre's stuff. I need to check it out

Mathew Paust said...

I had not heard of St. Pierre either, but the Smith stories sound worth a looksee.

Todd said...

Mark's link went bad...it's at http://carstairsconsiders.blogspot.com/2018/03/book-review-cry-fowl-by-sandy-dengler.html