RARA-AVIS: If You Have Tears

From: abc@wt.net
Date: 05 Mar 2003

As usual, I'm wandering around in the wrong decade. IF YOU HAVE TEARS, by John Evans, was published in 1947. When a paperback turned up on eBay at a low price, I nabbed it. Evans (Howard Browne) was one of the better Raymond Chandler imitators, but here he's in his James M. Cain mode. The book's plot will be familiar to anybody on this list:

Larry Sungail works at a bank. Larry Sungail has an expensive mistress. Larry Sungail steals from the bank. Larry Sungail finds out there's going to be an audit. Larry Sungail remembers that his wife has double indemnity life insurance. Larry Sungail is . . . screwed.

There are some twists in the plot, but readers on this list are are going to see at least two of the "surprises" coming from a mile away. That's only because we're so familiar with this kind of book, though. Even that fact doesn't destroy the book's effectiveness because Evans was a heck of a good writer. And the ending is very well done.

Bill Crider

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