Re: RARA-AVIS: Howard Browne

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 11 Jun 2001

On Mon, 11 Jun 2001, Anders Engwall (ERA) wrote:

> Now, TASTE OF ASHES is something else. If Browne's
> reputation should rest on one single novel, this is
> it.

This is the only Browne novel I've read so far, but I think it's one of the best private eye novels around. The amount of sadness, bitterness and disappointmen is huge in the book. Someone might say that this is a sadder book than anything Chandler ever wrote. In the same time, it's highly entertaining and moving. "A Taste of Ashes" is a great novel.

> Is the correct title *A* TASTE OF ASHES or *THE* TASTE
> OF ASHES? I've seen the book referred to in both ways.

I'd say "A Taste of Ashes".

A question on Browne: he wrote the screenplay for the Roger Corman film
"St. Valentine's Day Massacre" from 1967. There's a Dell paperback novelization of the film. It's bylined as Boris O'Hara. Now, don't you think that Boris O'Hara is Browne's pseudonym? The same letters - B and H - in both names and "Hara" sounds a bit like "Howard". Boris O'Hara has no other books to his name. And the name sounds phony. So if only for these shaky arguments, I'd say that "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" is part of the Browne canon.


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