From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 08 Jul 2003

It took decades for Australia to develop a hardboiled voice of its own. For a long time Australian readers were perfectly happy to read what originated in the United States. Australian hardboiled first developed because of economic reasons. After World War II, high tariffs made prices on imported books unreasonably expensive and encouraged a local, homegrown effort. Less than art and more a cottage industry, an incredible stream of mediocre work was churned out. Carter Brown was one of the most prolific. Sometimes multiple writers wrote under one house name, such as Larry Kent. The setting was almost always in the United States.

Singer's YOU'RE WRONG DELANEY, written in 1953, is a contemporary of Carter Brown and the Larry Kent writers. Although he was obviously inspired by American hardboiled, he broke with the tradition of setting them in the States, and the characters and towns and customs are distinctly Australian. This Singer novel is written in first person, introducing Del Delaney. As the book starts, Delaney is on the run after his criminal boss is murdered in Melbourne. A police detective discovers him in the small town of Black Springs and Delaney struggles to stay alive and prove his innocence.

The book is written in Delaney's tough, uneducated patois. Although this lends an air of authenticity, it requires reader endurance. Delaney also has an irritating habit of belaboring the point, making the prose stilted and awkward. Delaney must mention his commando experience a dozen times. My impression is that Delaney is a second-rate variation of Hemingway's Harry Morgan from TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT.

Bant Singer is a pseudonym for Charles Shaw, and his YOU'RE WRONG, DELANEY is the first in a series of four, followed by DON'T SLIP, DELANEY (1954), HAVE PATIENCE, DELANEY (1954), and YOUR MOVE, DELANEY (1956). The books were supposedly written to continue in the footsteps of recently deceased Peter Cheyney. All the plots involve Delaney being framed for murder. Charles Shaw died in 1955.

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