From: K Montin ( kmontin@total.net)
Date: 05 Dec 2002

Speaking of Cheyney . . .

Peter Cheyney: They Never Say When (1944)

An English private-eye named Slim Callaghan and his Canadian sidekick Windemere Nikolls are hired by a beautiful woman who isn't quite telling the truth about anything. The basic story is that a precious object has been stolen from a rich guy and now it needs to be returned. Along the way, several people are murdered. Who done it and why is very hard to figure out. Every time Slim interviews someone, he spins another version of the crimes. It gets so you don't even want to read them. The real solution makes sense, but it takes a long time to get there. The detectives are heavy drinkers, cool, pretty tough, and I would say colloquial, although it's hard to judge 1923 English. The Canadian's slang is particularly funny
(and sounds totally American).

"Nuts," said Nikolls amiably. "You're takin' yourself for a ride. You don't like this Irana baby; you don't like her because she's got plenty of what it takes an' because the boss is goin' for her plenty. You don't like her because she was around here last night maybe havin' fun an' games with Callaghan Investigations himself. You're goddam jealous, Effie, that's your trouble."

The dialogue is virtually all written in play form, preceded by "Callaghan said:". It made me think that author was anticipating a movie deal, but that's not too likely.


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