Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, August 31, 2018

 Bill Crider (from archives)

Forgotten Books: EPITAPH FOR A TRAMP -- David Markson (

I first read this book a few decades ago, and I have copies of both the Dell and Berkley editions. But for some reason I picked up another copy the other day. I guess I couldn't resist. Markson wrote a sequel, Epitaph for a Dead Beat, that I also read, but he didn't write crime novels much longer. He moved on to become the highly regarded author of such postmodern novels as Wittengenstein's Mistress, a book much praised by the likes of David Foster Wallace.

For all that, the two books about Harry Fannin are more or less conventional private-eye novels, with maybe a few more literary allusions than most. In this one, Fannin finds himself in a classic situation. His ex-wife dies at his doorstep, and there's a lot of missing money that other people are looking for. Fannin and his cop buddy investigate, and the first solution isn't the right one. I remembered the second solution from my first reading, but it was probably obvious even then.

I liked the voice of the book quite a bit, and I liked the writing. I was bothered a little by the gay-bashing, which I probably didn't even notice forty years ago. I remember thinking that Markson must have read Ross Macdonald, though that didn't seem so obvious this time. Macdonald handles some gay issues in The Drowning Pool, and he does so more circumspectly than Markson. But Markson's book was published in 1959, some years after Macdonald's. Some of the dialogue might seem dated to modern ears, but to mine it was still amusing. I'd certainly recommend this novel, and if you run across a copy, give it a try.

Mark Baker. LOST LEGACY, Annette Dashofy
Yvette Banek, MURDER MAKES MISTAKES, George Bellairs
Les Blatt, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW, Elizabeth Daily
CrossExaminingCrime, TILL DEATH DO US PART, John Dickson Carr
Martin Edwards, THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Minette Marrin
Curt Evans, THE MAN WITH TWO WIVES, Patrick Quentin
Richard Horton, THE FOUR FEATHERS, A. E. W. Mason
Jerry House, ELECTION DAY 2084, ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
Margot Kinberg, FACES OF THE GONE, Brad Parks
Rob Kitchin, THE SHINING GIRLS, Lauren Beukes
Kate Laity, SWITZERLAND, Joanna Murray-Smith
Evan Lewis, WATERFRONT FISTS, Robert E. Howard
Steve Lewis, SEEING IS BELIEVING, Carter Dickson
Matt Paust, LAST BUS TO WOODSTOCK, Colin Dexter
James Reasoner, THE WATER BEND FEUD, William MacLeod Raine
Richard Robinson, A FALL OF MOONDUST, Arthur C. Clarke
Kevin Tipple, BAD LITTLE FALLS, Paul Doiron
Tomcat, FLASHPOINT, John Russell Fearn
TracyK, DARK PASSAGE, David Goodis


Todd Mason said...

Well, plays, mostly. Good to see a Bill reprint. Thanks for assembly!

K. A. Laity said...

I got one up over at my other site:

Yvette said...

My post is finally up, Patti. Thanks once again.

TracyK said...

Thanks for including my post, Patti. I enjoyed Bill Crider's review of the Markson book, and it was new to me. I am like Bill, I will buy multiple paperback editions of a book if I like the covers.

Mathew Paust said...

The only Kindle Markson I could find was a three-novel set: This is Not a Novel and other novels. Finally getting on board!