Re: RARA-AVIS: Forties Top Five

From: Ed Lynskey (
Date: 23 Dec 2002

--- Robison Michael R CNIN <> wrote:
> Here's my pick for the top 5 novels in the 40s. I would
> qualify this pick
> by noting that I'm not very well-read in the time frame, with
> about 15
> total. Top pick is NIGHTMARE ALLEY, descending from there.
> NIGHTMARE ALLEY, William Gresham 1946
> SOLOMON'S VINEYARD, Latimer 1941
> I, THE JURY, Mickey Spillane 1947
> RIDE THE PINK HORSE, Hughes 1946
> What are your top picks for the 40s? I'm not trying to
> instigate a new
> list. I'm just fishing for more books to read and opinions
> about them.
> miker

At fifteen, you've outread me in the 40s time period. I'd agree w/you on NIGHTMARE ALLEY. It was rich in atmosphere and content. Every thing you wanted to know about the geek show, and more.

Spillane will always have an audience (I heard on the news that Robert Blake was reading Spillane to fill his days in jail.)

I guess I'd propose David Goodis' DARK PASSAGE for the suspense. The face operation was every killer's fantasy to escape detection. Also, PHANTOM LADY by Cornell Woolrich, although his purple prose can distract.

Also, Dorothy Hughes' THE SO BLUE MARBLE for her mean bastard twins as the bad guys.

I've added your other titles to my TBR pile.

Ed Lynskey


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