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The 1930's Hard-Boiled Detective Novel

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Been thinking that I need to read more worthwhile things rather than spend my time reading and writing pointless shit on the internet.

I've always had a fancy for this type of stuff but wonder if it's actually going to be shit and ultimatelty a let down.

Anyone ever read any of this?

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I've read The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, and preferred the films in both cases: more tightly constructed, less superfluous detail and more convincing characterisation. I think it helps that the people who adapted most of the hard boiled and noir novels into screenplays (e.g. William Faulkner, Jules Furthman etc.) were themselves high powered literary figures, but this time working with studio bosses breathing down their necks, and so were forcibly being given the discipline that they didn't necessarily have as novelists.

Vaguely related to which, I recently read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood on a flight after seeing the 2005 biographical film about him (Capote). I couldn't get over the mismatch between the Capote portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and the impression of him I got from the book: the former was a spoilt, precious, socialite, narcissistic brat, but from the book itself I was convinced that he must have been a very astute social commentator and observer, with both feet firmly on the ground. Very much recommended.

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I disagree with Ayatollah - The Big Sleep is a great novel, while the film is not so good: so much emphasis on Bogey and Bacall as the stars that the story had to be chopped and changed, and the most evil character was relegated to bit part. Not a great fan of the rest of Chandler's stuff.

The atmosphere of the novel is intense, it creates its own little world, erotic, there's a great twist, and the final page is epic. I've read it many times. One odd thing is that there's a plot flaw, but nobody really seems able to pin it down. You'll have to find out for yourself.

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Cheers chaps. Will give the big sleep a try and report back. Can't remember the last time I actually read (not to mention finished) a novel.

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Been thinking that I need to read more worthwhile things rather than spend my time reading and writing pointless shit on the internet.

I've always had a fancy for this type of stuff but wonder if it's actually going to be shit and ultimatelty a let down.

Anyone ever read any of this?

I'd recommend "The Long Goodbye" - certainly my favourite.

However, if you really want to sink your teeth into some worthy genre fiction, I'd go with Le Carre. "The Secret Pilgrim" is a good one to start with IMHO - a nice set of short stories based around his most famous character, George Smiley. However, if you wanted to keep it a bit HPC themed, then "Single and Single" has a tenuous link...

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Vaguely related to which, I recently read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood on a flight after seeing the 2005 biographical film about him (Capote). I couldn't get over the mismatch between the Capote portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and the impression of him I got from the book: the former was a spoilt, precious, socialite, narcissistic brat, but from the book itself I was convinced that he must have been a very astute social commentator and observer, with both feet firmly on the ground. Very much recommended.

Bill Bryson's comment's about Capote after visiting Holcomb in his book The Lost Continent are amusing:

A few weeks before I had read an article in an old Life magazine about how the townspeople had taken Truman Capote to their hearts even though he was a mincing little fag who talked with a lisp and wore funny caps. In fact, it turns out, they disdained him not only as a mincing little fag, but as a meddler from the big city who had exploited their private grief for his own gain. Most people wanted to forget the whole business and discouraged their children from developing an interest in it. [stan] Kennedy [a local teacher] had once asked his brightest class how many of the students had read the book, and three-quarters of them had never even looked at it.

And also:

The book, when it came out in 1965, was considered an instant classic, largely because Capote told everyone it was.

Bryson discusses with Stan Kennedy, a local teacher the odd fact that no one in the town he's asked about it has read the book:

"I was surprised at that myself when I first came here eight years ago," he said. "After all, it was the biggest thing that ever happened in the town. But you have to realize that the people here hated the book. They banned it from the public library and a lot of them even now won't talk about it."

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Anything by James Elroy, start with LA Confidential but my favourite is American tabloid. You will remember parts of it for the rest of your life!

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Make sure you read all Hammett's, all Chandler's, and all Ellroy's work. That shuold keep you queit for a bit. Then head off to James M Cain.

Then try Elmore Leonard and Jim Thompson for slightly later period / same sort of style.

Then do a search on amazon for 'crime masterworks' - there are about 40 books in the series.

Report back when you have finished this lot and let me know what you think.

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  • 153 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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