Re: RARA-AVIS: Who's O'Hara ?

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 06 Aug 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "George C. Upper III" <> To: <>
> "These disappointments are more than made up for
> by the great delight of rediscovering an old favorite
> and finding I like it more than I ever did--because
> now I'm far better equipped to appreciate the author's
> excellences It seems to me that every time I return
> to John O'Hara and Somerset Maugham I discover new
> evidence of their enormous craft."

> I've never read O'Hara myself, but I certainly respect
> Block's opinion.

I read a few of O'Haras back in the days when I didn't read crime fiction, and remembered them quite fondly until, a couple of years ago, I encountered one of Lawrence Block's recommendations (not the one George quotes). I dug out "Appointment in Samarra", "Butterfield 8" and "Elizabeth Appleton". This time round I found them all indescribably dull. The furthest I got with any of them was halfway through "Appointment". (I left "Pal Joey" and
"Lovey Childs" alone: I can still remember them as being fast and entertaining reads).

Evidence, if it were needed, that a diet of dead bodies and zillion dollar coke deals destroys the literary palette.


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