RARA-AVIS: 40's Month

From: M Blumenthal ( blumenidiot@21stcentury.net)
Date: 31 Dec 2002

I read a couple of books that originally were published in the 40's:

The Buterfly - This is the first book by James M. Cain I have ever read. I liked it. I guesss it could be called rural noir. Jess Tyler, who lives in a Kentucky valley, has lived a limited but God and the law observing life since his wife took their two young daughters and left him for another man. His life changes when his older daughter, now grown up and very attractive comes to live with him. He lusts after her and allows her to persuade him to break the law. As he he loses his values he invitably declines.

In the preface Cain writes of the research he started over twenty years before for this book. He denies being influenced by others stating, " I Have read less tan twenty pages of Mr Dashiell Hammett in my life." and "I owe no debt, beyond the pleasure his books have given me, to Mr. Ernest Hemingway."

The Big Clock - This is neither hard boiled nor noir. It seems more an attack on magazines like TIME than a believable mystery. The protagonist, George Stroud, is put in charge of investigating a murder for which he should be the most likely suspect using the magazine's resources. Even though he tries to sabotage his investigation, it seems to find out more information than the police. While the ending supposedly would remove all suspicion from him, I don't think it would. Mark

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