RARA-AVIS: Recent reading

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 20 Aug 2001

I read John D. MacDonald's 1962 Gold Medal original A KEY TO THE SUITE today--146 pages of the usual tight, crisp JDM/Gold Medal writing, with nothing wasted and no padding. I picked it up over the weekend at a used bookstore that had a milk crate full of JDM, mostly McGee books, but a number of others, including this one which I'd never seen before.

It's about a guy who's sent to a trade convention to give a final look at a sales manager his boss wants to fire. The cover makes it out to be an expose of business conventions, and brother, if conventions were like that, I hope they're not any more. There are prostitutes, alcoholics, murders, and a guy phoning up a friend on the police force to get a drunk taken to a private hospital and doped up for a few days to keep him quiet. The protagonist seems at the start to be the JDM hero we expect, but he turns out not to be, he's been broken by the system and the modern business world and his own weakness.

Are there any other boks about the business world by hardboiled writers? THE OFFICE by Frederic Brown comes to mind, but it's more a memoir as I recall. Willeford talked about how used car salesmen work in THE WOMAN CHASER. Are there any that get into offices and the daily grind at 9-to-5 white collar jobs?


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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