RARA-AVIS: The Flitcraft episode again

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 02 Nov 2001

A Toronto mini-chain of bookstores called Book City celebrated their 25th birthday this year by getting two local mystery writers to collaborate on a short novel called MY BROTHER'S KEEPER. Eric Wright's Inspector Charlie Salter and Howard Engel's Benny Cooperman meet up while investigating a missing doctor. Neither is hardboiled--the Salter stories are excellent at describing Toronto and are restrained procedurals done in the classic old Ontario way; Cooperman's a soft-boiled private eye from a small city south of Lake Ontario, which is to St. Catharines what Isola is to New York--but something familiar pops up in the book.

In one of the Cooperman chapters, Benny relates this (and it's Benny who's hazy on the details, Engel certainly knows them):

| Like the guy in the Hammett book, THE MALTESE FALCON. Forget his name,
| but he ran away from his life after nearly being killed by a falling
| grand piano or safe or something. Changed his life, left his wife,
| kids, job, house, car, and bolted. When Sam Spade caught up with him a
| couple of years later, he'd created his former life all over again,
| like God did for Job. Seems after the first big shock that woke him up
| to the reality of his ordinary life, he got used to the fact that grand
| pianos or safes don't fall out of the sky every day. So he slipped
| back into his rut, a different rut, as comfortable as the first one.

I mention it so we can keep track of all the spots Mr. Flitcraft shows up. He gets around.


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

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