Daily Archives: January 9, 2014

More on Noir

Yesterday I mentioned how wonderful I found the Spartacus TV show. Today I’m confessing that I finally got around to reading Raymond Chandler’s first Phillip Marlowe novel, The Big Sleep. Wow. Talk about lovely, evocative writing. Sure, I’m ┬ájust as puzzled as everyone else about who really killed the chauffeur, but what fine, fine prose.

My fascination with noir continues and I’m bouncing back and forth between Hammet stories of the Continental Op, Frederick Nebel stories about MacBride and Kennedy, Marlowe novels, and the Quarry books by Max Allan Collins. Collins is impressing me more and more, sort of the way Donald Westlake/Richard Stark did, in that the more I read of his work the more I come to appreciate how finely tuned the engines are in what seem, upon first glance, pretty simple vehicles. They’re not really simple at all, no more than a still life by a master painter is simply a snapshot of a bowl of fruit.

I came upon the Quarry books at just the right time, because I see that a TV series based around the character is now in the works. Should be interesting. I can imagine, though, that like Spartacus and Justified, it probably won’t be something I can watch with the rest of the family.