Tag Archives: Noir Fiction

Book Review: “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” by Horace McCoy

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They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?: A Novel (Serpent’s Tail Classics)

Horace McCoy’s, along with James M. Cain and a few other authors of the ‘20s, ‘30s & ‘40s, was labeled early on as a hardboiled authors, in the same vein as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and others. But, in retrospect, most of his novels didn’t fit the classic description of hardboiled. First, they weren’t detectives. Secondly, the main protagonists were not mainly dealing with solving a mystery and often the main characters were flawed, and if not totally beyond redemption, at least of questionable character. Of course, now these writers are most identified with the ‘Noir’ genre; the ‘roman noir’ or “dark books’ as they would finally be labeled after many of them were made into film noirs of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Reissued in April by Open Road Media, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is McCoy’s most well known novel, perhaps because of the Academy Award Nominated film (it won one Oscar for Gig Young as supporting actor, and was nominated in eight other categories, including best director- Sydney Pollack and best actress – Jane Fonda) starring Michael Sarrazin and Jane Fonda.

The story opens up with the narrator and protagonist confessing to murder, thus quickly shedding any aspirations to a mystery. He confesses that he "killed her," and that he doesn’t "have a leg to stand on." alluding to the title of the book. In his youth, he saw the favorite family horse break its leg, after which it was shot and put out of its misery, also leading to the conclusion as well as the title.

The main characters are Robert Syverten, who came to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a great director, and Gloria Beatty who ran away to Dallas from a farm in West Texas where her uncle always made passes at her. In Dallas, she tried to commit suicide, then ran away to Hollywood with dreams of being in movies, but is finding only rejection. The pair meet on the morning when they have both failed to get parts as extras.

The setting for the novel is in the shabby La Monica Ballroom, perched over the Pacific Ocean on the Santa Monica Pier, near Los Angeles. Gloria talks Robert into participating entering a marathon dance contest believing the contest may be a way to get noticed by studio producers or movie stars. The novel was written in 1935, at the height of the dance marathon craze. Dance endurance contests attracted people to compete to achieve a type of cheap celebrity or monetary prizes. McCoy, whose life story very much  resembled Roberts, had briefly worked as a bouncer at contest just like this in California.

Official movie trailer, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” directed by Sydney Pollack

The book also differs from the of hardboiled books of the era in that the plot is nonlinear, being told back to front as well as flash back scenes that reveal the characters back story and histories. From the start we know that Robert killed Gloria and the plot reveals why. Further, the flash back scenes to Robert witnessing the shooting of the families pet horse and how that affected him, his hopes and dreams of becoming a great film director, and the failure he feels in just hanging on and excepting bit parts, to Gloria’s life with the lecherous uncle, her despair in trying to make it as a single girl at the height of the depression and why she tried to kill herself in Dallas before coming to Hollywood to become a movie star. All of this reveals why Gloria, from the start has a fatal outlook for her future, and maybe everyone’s future. From the start, Gloria tells Robert that she wishes she were dead, a point she repeats in most of their conversations. She also feels she has had to resort to unsavory acts, one of which will come out later in the dance contest, just to survive. One hundred and forty four couples start the contest. Robert and Gloria, like most of the contestants, are young, jobless, and drawn as much by the free food as by the $1,000 prize money (raised to the ‘princely sum of $1,500 in the movie).

The book was also printed in a dramatic fashion in that the story begins with Robert’s sentencing for murder. He confesses that he "killed her," and that he doesn’t "have a leg to stand on." He is advised to beg for mercy from the Court. The story of his relationship with the  Gloria  is then intercut after every few chapters with short excerpts from the judge’s sentencing. The excerpts of the judge’s words are written in larger and larger type until the last page of the book concludes with the words written in small print: "And may God have mercy on your soul".

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? has long been considered, along with The Grapes of Wrath as one of the most convincing—and heartbreaking—fictional portraits of America during the Great Depression. It is a stunning portrait of poverty and powerlessness during the Great Depression, as Robert and Gloria, along with the supporting cast of characters risk everything I the grueling dance marathon, to ever more desperately keep their dreams alive, and as those dreams die in the face of the times, just survive. As the dance goes on, into the second and third week, the crowds grow larger and the media come out, as hoped for by the contestants, to cover and sensationalize the contest. Also, the rich and the Hollywood stars that have made it, also come out to watch, almost like people stopping to look at an auto accident. As the contest grinds on, couples break down physically and drop out, and some plot desperately to gain an advantage. The sponsors also stoop to new lows in the hopes of profiting from the desperate dancers. There are rumors of the contest being fixed half way through, and then they weather an attempt to shut down the contest by the local morals society, and Gloria, angry, bitter and outspoken in her desperation, angry, curses the women as spoiled, interfering hypocrites..

I believe that what makes the novel a classic isn’t just it depiction of life in The Great Depression, but its larger parody of life in general, in every generation. It reveals how easy it is for dreams to crumble, and also how our egos can work against us by giving us goals that are beyond our capability to achieve. Gloria dreams and searches for redemption by becoming a Hollywood starlet, when in reality she is not that attractive.  this universal theme is what makes the novel a classic and not just a snap shot of a desperate time in history.

It’s wonderful to see the book republished by Open Road, who released this book in eBook at the same time they republish McCoy’s other masterpiece of classic noir, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, which I will also be reviewing. Both eBooks feature an extended biography of Horace McCoy and are nicely formatted.

 

Article first published as Book Review: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy on Blogcritics.

 

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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One Man, One Murder by Jakob Arjouni

A Kayankaya Thriller                  

 

To rescue a kidnapped prostitute, Kemal Kayankaya must face some of Germany’s most depraved and dangerous criminals. Fortunately, some of them are his friends. . . .

OneManOneMurderHard-boiled prose, lean, clean dialogue, hard bitten as Sam Spade, cynically cool as Philip Marlowe. Kemal Kayankaya is a worthy successor to the great noir characters and hard boiled detectives of the past. This isn’t a parody or a cheap imitation, Jakob Arjouni has created the real thing. Beautiful!

Jakob Arjouni tells a tale that could have come off of the mean streets of Chandler’s Los Angles or Hammet’s San Francisco, or Chicago or New York or Boston but it takes place in Frankfurt, Germany – the dullest town in Germany, except it isn’t. One Man, One Murder was originally written in 1991 as Ein Mann, ein Mord. Melville International Crime provided me with this Galley of the translation and after reading it, it’s jumped to the top of the list of ‘Best Surprise Book’ of the year. In an original voice, Arjouni tells such a true story and he tells it so well, maintaining tension throughout, dialogue that is  clever, witty, and sad and an atmosphere that James M. Cain would have been proud of.

Kemal Kayankaya is the orphaned son of a Turkish garbage collector, a German Citizen, born and bred. But, because he is of Turkish extraction he encounters suspicion and racism wherever he goes. He meets them with a smart assed attitude and a cynical, jaded tongue.

A piece of dialog while Kemal is trying to rent an office:

“Well then, Mr. Kayankaya, I see you are a private investigator. That’s an interesting name…Kayankaya.” “Not really that interesting. Just Turkish.” I see.” The saccharine content of his smile increases; his eye slits are no wider than a razor’s edge.”Turkish. A Turkish private investigator? What do you know…I hope you don’t mind my asking, but – how come you speak such good German?” “It’s the only language I know. My parents died when I was a child, and I was raised by a German family.” “But – but you are a Turk? I mean —“ “ I have a German passport, if that makes you feel better.”…..”Mind showing it to me?”

And this from when he meets his new client:

“How did you find me? “ He looked startled….”You must have checked the Yellow Pages. But why Kayankaya, why not Muller?” “Because she is Thai, and I thought…” “You thought Thailand and Turkey both start with a ‘T’?” “How could I have known you’re a Turk? On the contrary, I expected – but…”

…They visit exhibitions in New York and go on safaris in Africa: they smoke hashish in Cairo, eat Japanese food, and purpose to teach democracy to Muscovites; they are “international” down to their Parisian underwear – but they are not able to recognize a Turk unless he is carrying a garbage can under his arm and leading a string of ten unwashed brats.

 

This book would have worked so well as just a comic take on the American Hardboiled detective transplanted to Europe in the late 80’s; as a cynical updating of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, but Arjouni had loftier goals. And he achieved them in spades. Sam Spades. It is Arjouni’s willingness to confront serious social issues and display them in the light of a hardboiled/noir novel, with an avoidance of clichés, intelligent observation, and dialog that is both realistic and acid-tinged. And to do it all without preaching. He kind of reminds me of the great Walter Mosley in that regard.

 

Another piece of dialog where Kayankaya channels Sam Spade in his violent reaction:

“What’s your name, nigger?”   So, I said to myself, this must be their guy with the communications skills.I took the cigarette out of my mouth and studied its glowing tip for a moment. His beery breath struck my face. I looked at him and said very quietly: “Listen, pig. Another word out of you, and I’ll see to it that you won’t be able to stand up, sit down, or fuck – ever again.”

And then a few seconds later, he switches to the cynical humor:

(Mrs. Steiner, a bureaucratic receptionist who has just refused to serve or speak to Kayankaya because he appears to be a minority gives an explanation and then Kayankaya says…) “If you are not telling me the truth…” “I beg your pardon…” Despite her obvious fear that our argument might turn into a free for all, Mrs. Steiner looked indignant. “ I am a civil servant!”

 

This particular story opens when Kayankaya  takes on a new client, Herr Weidenbusch, who has discovered that love is never roses and springtime when your girlfriend is a Thai immigrant that has been kidnapped by a gang of pimps. This isn’t the first time either, and the simpering Weidenbusch, with his pink eyeglasses and colorful wrist watches, who rebels against his mother at the age of 40 or so, wants to get her back. He has “paid her debt” to the brothel that sponsored her, and paid for a fake passport so that Weidenbusch can marry her, and now they apparently want more. Kayankaya recognizes a name from the place where Sri Dao Rakdee worked.  “The Lady Bump”, a shady bar and house of prostitution in Frankfurt’s “Eros Center’. Slibulsky is a low life, depraved and shady criminal, a degenerate gambler no loyalty and a broken arm. He just blew a fifty thousand mark inheritance at a roulette table and is working off a further debt to the owner of the establishment. He is also a ‘friend’ of Kayankaya. The kind of friend you hope the other guy has. But Slibulsky has his ear to the ground of the Frankfurt underground and soon opens some doors to dark places where Kayankaya seeks Sri Dao.

Along the way Kayankaya encounters deadly crime bosses, indifferent and crooked cops, violent muscle men, a landlord who wants his money, an illegal immigrant ring that sells the hopefuls fake visas and then disposes of them – the hopefuls, not the visas, a miasma of bureaucratic and social injustice and racial prejudice that mirrors Americas own. The air of contemporary Europe’s racial politics and inane nationalism are the maze that Kayankaya navigates in his quest but he is well equipped with a sharp mind, a sharper tongue and meets these challenges with a cynical, smart-assed attitude and an anti-authority front. There are enough seeming dead ends, as almost any detective novel requires, but instead of having them …dead end, Arjouni has them turn into very interesting ‘small mysteries’ or stories inside the story.Jakob Arjouni Arjouni is a consummate professional. His prose are efficient with a minimalists approach that Hemingway would love, but not so minimalist that he doesn’t manage to fully develop the characters without using stock, stereotypes, and he makes them way too real. He also paints scenes both colorful and dark about the underbelly of a city and maintains a pace that lingers just enough in all the right places.

The only criticism I have for this otherwise master work is that it took to damn long to get it translated and released in English. Well, Melville International Crime has fixed that, and thank you very much.

 

 

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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“Memorial Day” by Harry Shannon “The Mick Callahan Novels”

In Mick Callahamemorialn, Harry Shannon has created a protagonist in the mold of the classic hardboiled detective, yet he is an original and many facets break that mold, or create a new. He is a man who must walk the mean streets, who himself is not mean. Though tarnished, he is a complete man and a common man –if he wasn’t always, he is now. He is a man of honor driven to do the right thing, perhaps to redeem himself in his own heart, but also for those who need his help. His place is between the law and the bad guys, and his sense of justice, his sense of right and wrong aren’t necessarily defined by the dictionary or the legal books.Mick C

Mick grew up hard, his step father making him fight other boys for money and never letting him quit. Mick ran away from home and became a navy SEAL…almost. He was kicked out for punching out an officer. From there Mick went to school and became a psychologist and rode his talent in this field, and his good looks to fame as a big time radio ‘shrink’ until it all came crashing down in a haze of drugs and alcohol and the death of a patient. Gone is the big money, the fast women and the hedonistic life-style.Now Mick is trying to regain his life, to redeem himself.

The meteor that was Mick’s life came crashing to earth in Dry Well, Nevada a dusty, tumbleweed section on the Nevada desert where not much ever happens, except it is the wild west that Mick grew up in. He is covering the local radio station for Loner McDowell, the owner of the only talk show in town. Loner offers the job to Mick while he is out of town for a couple of days, as a favor to help Mick out and give him a leg back into society now that he is sober and clean and not in jail. Mick soon finds that the town is more used to alien abductions than radio shrinks and as he covers the last night with very few calls to the show he struggles to find that personality and the drive that made him a star. Then a young girl calls in, he calls her Ophelia after the character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Who Hamlet tells, "get thee to a nunnery"  of course, Ophelia doesn’t listen, she’s in love with Hamlet and that leads her to climb a tree and fall to her death in a brook. Prophetic. She is having boy friend problems and he knocks her around, He’s “deep” into drugs….but before Mick can try and help her she hangs up. On the walk back to his flea bag motel, Mick stumbles across a body in an alley and as he goes to check, he discovers the man has had his finger tips sliced off and his teeth destroyed. There is a neat little hole in the back of his skull, and then there is a gun at Micks head. It is the local law, Sherriff Bass, who had run Mick out of town years earlier. He is quickly eliminated as a suspect, but honors the cops request to keep things quiet and not say anything about the body until the investigation is complete. He also promises to leave town, eager to get to L.A. for an interview and not wanting to stay around this one horse town, even if it was once his home.

Harry Shannon

The next day, he says goodbye to his buddy Jerry, a horribly scarred drifter who keeps an electronics shop and has a reputation as a hacker. But, on the way out of town he stops at the Memorial Day picnic, talks to some old friends and happens to end up talking to a young girl he knew years before. Sandy Palmer, the daughter of the local millionaire who had foreclosed on Micks families dusty little ranch. He gets the feeling that she is the Ophelia  that called in to his show the night before, the girl with the abusive boyfriend with the drug problem and since a similar girl died when Mick was famous because he ignored her needs, it weighs on his soul. Sandy comes clean and admits to being the caller,but before Mick can talk to her about her worries, he nearly gets into a fight with three young hooligans, one of which might be the boy friend. Sherriff Bass breaks it up before things can get out of hand and remind Mick of his promise to leave town. Mick heads to the motel to pack his car and Jerry decides to join him since the same three toughs are after him for flirting with another girl in their clique. As they are driving out of town, they notice a lot of commotion in the park. Sandy Palmer has been found dead, beaten, her head busted from an apparent fall onto some rocks, just like Ophelia, in a creek. The local veterinarian –acting as coroner- suspects she actually drowned in the shallow creek. So Mick stays, feeling an obligation to find her murderer and to see if it could be linked to the body in the alley.The suspects are numerous. The three toughs, the girls half brother, Will Palmer, a misogynist ne’er do well, and yet other locals, but it doesn’t jibe with the mob hit feel of the first unknown victim.Burning Man

Harry paints very real scenes of a dusty Nevada desert town, more dead than alive and full of characters in various forms of personal dead ends. He builds the story behind some of the greatest action and fight scenes as well as fully fleshed out characters; an old flame who runs the local café after going through a few husbands, the Doc with a taste for young girls and porn, Loner who has a bit of a gambling problem and a shady criminal past of his own, Bass haunted by his  time in Vietnam, Jerry scarred by a woman who didn’t love him, Will Palmer the spoiled rich boy who treats women as toys and the town as his personal fife. And then the three tuffs, none of who will ever win a citizen of the year award. While dredging up his past Mick discovers that almost everyone has a past worse than his and almost everyone used, abused and had reason to harm Sandy Palmer, but does the past intersect at two murders over Memorial Day in Dry Wells?

Harry has created a great character in Mick Callahan and Memorial Day is the first in the series. I can’t say enough about this character or this book. Mick is both action hero and cerebral empath. Harry recently released the first three Mick Callahan Novels in one volume that is available at Amazon.com for $4.99, a great deal for three books that are sure to become classics. besides, after reading Memorial Day, you’ll want to catch up with  Mick in his next adventure, Eye of the Burning Man. Want my advice, buy the collection. You’ll be glad you did.

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Cassidy’s Girl- David Goodis

Lundy’s Place, a port for rudderless boats.

Cassidy's Girl3

If ‘Noir Fiction’ is defined as a sub genre of the hardboiled with an “…emphasis on sexual relationships and the use of sex to advance the plot and the self-destructive qualities of the lead characters.” Then Goodis wrote that definition in ‘Cassidy’s Girl’. 

In deed, practically every character in this minor master piece is self-destructive and bent on the failure of the very idea of redemption for Jim Cassidy.Cassidy's Girl2

Jim Cassidy, the high school football star and All Pacific-Coast Conference Guard at the University of Oregon whose brilliant achievements in the halls of learning and on the grid iron left him third highest man in his class. Jim Cassidy, who piloted B-24’s in WWII through 80 missions and came home a war hero  to pilot commercial airliners. Capt. J. Cassidy whose steadiness led them to promote him to the transatlantic run was riding on top of the world. Wearing $125 suits and being invited to all the best parties where they served the best champagne and several of the more elegant post-debutants were wishing he’d turn his eye their way.  Then fate steps in and the big plane, on take off suddenly nosed over only to crash in the marshes at La Guardia leaving only eleven survivors out of seventy-eight passengers and crew. The copilot had suffered an emotional collapse,Cassidy says, but the review board does not believe him noting that Capt. Jim Cassidy had attended a champagne party the night before. The authorities label him a liar and a drunk. The families of the dead demand he be punished. The news papers splash his picture all over the papers, and blame him for the worst commercial air disaster of all time. It’s bad enough in New York, but even when he returns to his small Oregon home town, he is ostracized.

Cassidy's Girl

  Thus begins the downhill process and Cassidy begins to drink in earnest. No matter where he goes, they have seen his picture splashed across the nations new papers and they want him out. And they even attempt to throw him out bodily, but Cassidy is a big, strong man and fights them and ends up in jail for a week. He retreats from small town Oregon and lands in Nevada with his ten thousand dollars life savings from his years with the air lines only to see it fly away faster than his steady reputation, at the craps tables. Soon Cassidy is doing ten days for fighting and vagrancy and sixty days for assault and battery and putting men, and himself in the hospital as he drifts across the country. Cassidy's Girl art

He lands in Philadelphia, where so many of Goodis’ works always land. Cassidy is now piloting a bus for a three-bus company and making the run to Easton three times a day. He does his drinking at Lundy’s Place, a water front dive filled with “rudderless boats.” A place of dirty floors, cracked walls and disorganized human beings. But the shots of rye are cheap and one day, after his third drink he spies a bright purple dress wrapped around a woman with a body out of a Wagnerian Opera. Mildred. Mildred with bulges in all the right places. Mildred filled with violent sex. Mildred who can fight like a man and drink like ten. Mildred who would rather cheat on him than make him dinner. After nine or ten drinks they are married. For four years they do battle, physically and emotionally and sexually,  Cassidy’s only link to sanity is piloting that bus, maintaining that vestige of his control over his life and his value as a man.

Cassidy's

Cassidy is doomed, irretrievably broken, life has killed him but forgotten to kick the dirt over the top until one night, in Lundy’s, he has a fight with Mildred and her latest lover. In the aftermath he decides he can save his life, he can climb out of the hole that life has dug him. And save the life of young Doris who has her own tragic story. A farmers wife who fell asleep smoking one night and burned her husband and children to death. Doris is in Lundy’s to ‘drink herself to death’ as punishment for her failure and Cassidy sees her as someone damaged as much as himself. He decides to never return to Mildred and that maybe, just maybe by saving Doris he can save himself. But Mildred has other plans.

When it seems that Mildred might let him part from her civilly he discovers that she has thrown all his clothes in the river . While he marches to Lundy’s bent on violence for Mildred and her lover and anyone else that would stand in the way of his redemption,  he encounters three thugs paid to do him an injury, but Cassidy is not so easily way-laid. And so begins the struggle for Cassidy to save the frail Doris and himself. But, naturally life stands in his way. GoodisHis final downfall is engineered by Mildred’s would be lover who causes Cassidy’s bus to crash and kill everyone on board except Cassidy and the lover. Cassidy is soon condemned by the authorities when his past is rediscovered. And even when he manages to escape from police custody and dreams of escaping with Doris as a stow away on a ship bound for South Africa. When he dares to plot a new life with Doris in a far away land where they will eat in decent restaurants and sip sherry after dinner and where there will be no need for ‘that other kind of drinking’, life and his doomed friends plot to hold him back and keep him in the gutter where he belongs.

When Cassidy’s Girl was first released in paper back it sold a million copies and established David Goodis as a successor to Hammett and Chandler in the second generation of hardboiled writers that would eventually be known as the paperback writers. The whole story and all the characters are a metaphor for everything uncontrollable in life that can drag a man down. Even the twisted,  Goodis, happy ending is no happiness at all but a validation of the dirty failure waiting for us all.

David Goodis was a prolific writer who sometimes turned out 10,000 words a day. Born to a respectable Jewish family in Philadelphia, and 1938 graduate of Temple University, he published his first novel Retreat from Oblivion in 1939. After the publication he moved to New York City where he wrote for the pulps. During the 1940s, Goodis scripted for radio adventure serials, including Hop Harrigan, House of Mystery, and Superman. Novels he wrote during the early 1940s were rejected by publishers, but in 1942 he spent some time in Hollywood as one of the screenwriters on Universal’s Destination Unknown. His next novel wouldn’t come until 1946 when  Dark Passage was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post, published by Julian Messner and filmed for Warner Bros. with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall heading the cast. Goodis Boogie & Bacall  He worked in Hollywood, writing screenplays and adaptations with varying degrees of success until 1950 when he returned to Philadelphia where he lived with his parents and his schizophrenic brother Herbert. At night, he prowled the underside of Philadelphia, hanging out in nightclubs and seedy bars, a milieu he depicted in his fiction. He died in January 1967 a week after suffering a beating  in a robbery attempt. Cause of death was listed as "cerebral vascular accident," meaning a stroke .  Cassidy’s Girl is a lost master piece in what would be called the ‘Noir Fiction’ genre and a journey into dirty world.

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The Rap Sheet: It Was the Best of Crimes: Critics’ Choice

Over on The Rap Sheet, they have compiled a list of the 100 best crime novels of the past 100 years. The list has a decidedly British bent, being compiled by H.R.F. “Harry” Keating who dies this week, and Mike Ripley, but it does include a number of American Crime Fiction writers i.e.: Dashiell Hammett, Kenneth Fearing, Raymond Chandler et al. But I was disappointed by the exclusion of some notable titles. For instance, Mickey Spillane’s , I, The Jury   I The Jurywhich sold 6.5 million copies with the combined total of the 1947 hardcover and the Signet paperback the next year, in the U.S. alone. There are many more I’d have liked to see on this list, even if it is compiled by two British Critics, but it did remind me of some classics that I haven’t read in awhile. Take a look at the list and let me know who you think is missing.

It Was the Best of Crimes: Critics’ Choice

In the summer of 2000, British critics H.R.F. “Harry” Keating and Mike Ripley were commissioned by the London Times newspaper to conduct a survey of the best crime novels (mysteries/spy stories/thrillers) of the 20th century, choosing one per year, 1900-1999. This, said the two critics, couldn’t be done so neatly, but what they would do was select 100 books to represent a century which began with the recall of Sherlock Holmes and ended with the death of Inspector Morse.
In the end, Ripley cheated a bit by nominating 101 titles to include Keating’s own The Perfect Murder from 1964, which modesty had forbidden its author from suggesting.
The survey, with a brief justification for each title, was published in a 16-page supplement to The Times on Saturday, September 30, 2000. The basic list of titles selected is republished here for the first time as a tribute to author and scholar Harry Keating, who died earlier this week at age 84. (Titles and years are as when published in the UK.)

The Rap Sheet: It Was the Best of Crimes: Critics’ Choice

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