Crime Fiction

Yesterday (July 23) was Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday. I meant to write a post about that, but as seems to be the case in general with my blogging at the moment, I didn’t get round to it. Anyway, today I found time to add my short biographical piece on Raymond Chandler, which appears in Steven Powell’s 100 American Crime Writers to my Articles pages. You can read all 2500 words of it here. There are quite a few Chandler-related posts and pages on this blog now, so here is a round-up:

Raymond Chandler at Dulwich College

Raymond Chandler’s Early Life

Raymond Chandler on Writing

Raymond Chandler: A Matter of Disguise (an early academic article of mine).

Also, I just posted something about In a Lonely Place (novel and film) over at the Venetian Vase.


100 American Crime Writers

Steven Powell reports over at the Venetian Vase that his book 100 American Crime Writers is now available. I handed over the reins to this book at an early stage, back in 2010 (or was it 2009?), when I found I was unable–too ill, too busy–to continue working on it. Steve took it on as a moribund project and has gone his own way with it. I’m delighted to see the book in print. Here’s what the blurb has to say:

From Edgar Allan Poe to James Ellroy, crime writers have provided some of the most popular, controversial, acclaimed and disturbing works in American literature. 100 American Crime Writers provides critical biographies of some of the greatest and most important crime writers in American history. Both an important scholarly work and an enjoyable read accessible to a wider audience, this addition in Palgrave’s Crime Files series includes discussion of the lives of key crime writers, as well as analysis of the full breadth and scope of the genre – from John Dickson Carr’s Golden Age detective stories to Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled Philip Marlowe novels, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct police procedurals to Megan Abbott’s modern day reimagining of the femme fatale. Drawing on some of the best and most recent scholarship in the field, all of the key writers and themes of the genre are discussed in this comprehensive study of one of the most fascinating and popular of literary genres.

‘Out of the Venetian Vase’: From Golden Age to Hard-boiled
‘After These Mean Streets’: Crime Fiction and the Chandler Inheritance
Megan Abbott
Paul Auster
W.T. Ballard
Ann Bannon
Robert Bloch
Lawrence Block
Leigh Brackett
Gil Brewer
Fredric Brown
Howard Browne
Edward Bunker
James Lee Burke
W.R. Burnett
James M. Cain
Paul Cain
Truman Capote
John Dickson Carr
Vera Caspary
Raymond Chandler
Harlan Coben
Max Allan Collins
Richard Condon
Michael Connelly
Patricia Cornwell
Robert Crais
James Crumley
Carroll John Daly
Norbert Davis
Mignon G. Eberhart
James Ellroy
Janet Evanovich
William Faulkner
Kenneth Fearing
Rudolph Fisher
Kinky Friedman
Jacques Futrelle
Erle Stanley Gardner
William Campbell Gault
David Goodis
Sue Grafton
Davis Grubb
Frank Gruber
Dashiell Hammett
Thomas Harris
Carl Hiaasen
Patricia Highsmith
George V. Higgins
Tony Hillerman
Chester Himes
Dorothy B. Hughes
Roy Huggins
Day Keene
Jonathan Kellerman
C. Daly King
Jonathan Latimer
Dennis Lehane
Elmore Leonard
Ira Levin
Elizabeth Linington
Eleazar Lipsky
John Lutz
Ed McBain
Horace McCoy
William P. McGivern
John D. MacDonald
Ross Macdonald
Dan J. Marlowe
Margaret Millar
Walter Mosley
Marcia Muller
Frederick Nebel
Barbara Neely
William F. Nolan
Sara Paretsky
Robert B. Parker
George Pelecanos
Edgar Allan Poe
Melville Davisson Post
Richard S. Prather
Bill Pronzini
Ellery Queen (aka Dannay and Lee)
Arthur B. Reeve
Mary Roberts Rinehart
James Sallis
George S. Schuyler
Viola Brothers Shore
Iceberg Slim
Mickey Spillane
Rex Stout
Jim Thompson
Ernest Tidyman
Lawrence Treat
S.S. Van Dine (Willard Huntington Wright)
Joseph Wambaugh
Carolyn Wells
Donald E Westlake
Raoul Whitfield
Charles Willeford
Charles Williams
Cornell Woolrich

Here’s the page on the publisher’s website, and here is the link for Amazon.

Dead Sharp–Review on the Venetian Vase

My review of Len Wanner’s collection of interviews with Scottish crime writers is on the Venetian Vase blog. Here’s how it starts:

Len Wanner’s book Dead Sharp (Two Ravens Press, 2011) contains nine informative, and entertaining interviews with Scottish crime writers, and a Ten Commandments for successful interviewing. In his Ten Commandments Wanner asks “Am I a good enough interviewer to tell you how to become a better one?” On the evidence of the interviews here, he is. He picks his questions well, is friendly without being gushing, presses his point to get an answer, and manages to bring a lightness and humour even to such glum and serious subjects as gender politics.

It is probably inevitable that the book begins with Ian Rankin, and that his name, and the description “Tartan Noir” should turn up more than once, even in interviews with other writers. Wanner’s interview with Rankin sets the tone for the questioning throughout the book; that is, unexpected, and revealing. The question “If Rebus is an ‘Old Testament sort of guy’, what kind of God are you?” elicits the response from Rankin that “I’m a much more forgiving God than Rebus would accept”, which tells us something about Rankin, and Rebus, but also leads to a discussion about Presbyterianism and guilt in Scottish crime writing that brings in Christopher Brookmyre and Stuart MacBride, both subjects of later interviews.