Re: RARA-AVIS: Jonathan Latimer

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 14 Nov 2002

> I was thinking about reading 42 DAYS FOR MURDER, but then when someone
> else read it I thought I pick up something else, for the sake of
> I'm reading HEADED FOR A HEARSE (1935), by Jonathan Latimer, one of
> Bill Crane books.
> There's a fellow who's in jail for murdering his wife, and he's going
> be executed in six days. There are a few points of evidence that
> clear him, and some people get together to work on it. Now, this is a
> like Cornell Woolrich's PHANTOM LADY (1942). Its first chapter is
> Hundred and Fiftieth Day Before the Execution." A man's on death row
> the only thing that can save him is finding the mysterious woman of
> title. The vise is tightening from the first line and doom is
> In the Latimer book, on the other hand, the convict bribes the warden
> have meetings in the jail. The first day, Bill Crane, his partner,
> two beautiful women, all go have a nice lunch, which is described in
> detail. Then they break and reunite for dinner, where a witness may
> to them. They go to a fancy club and what they eat and drink is
> again. Then the witness is shot in the face in the middle of the
> but no-one's particularly concerned.
> I read SOLOMON'S VINEYARD (1941) a while ago and can't remember
> about it except it was tough and good. This one's described as being
> screwball hardboiled locked-room mystery. It's a lot more relaxed
> I'd expected. All the meals keep making me hungry, too.
> Bill
> --
I've recently read Latimer's "The Dead Don't Care" featuring Bill Crane. Crane & his partner's m.o. while working on a job seems to consist mainly of consuming large amounts of expensive food & liquor (at their client"s expense), chasing any women within proximity (including their client's girl) & punctuating their strenuous efforts with daytime spells swimming on their client's private Florida beach. While they do this, Crane & his partner gossip about their client & his friends, eventually cracking the case. Nice work if you can get it. A light, reasonably entertaining read but it doesn't live up to its noirish, hardboiled title. My copy, from No Exit, has a typically grim photo cover, courtesy of the legendary photographer, Weegee - again, implying a much more brutal read than eventuates.(The photo is of a corpse lying on a street, gun lying nearby). Rene

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 Nov 2002 EST