RARA-AVIS: Three more from Oz

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 21 Jul 2004


>From 1988 to 1994, Marele Day wrote a four book series
about Claudia Valentine, a private investigator in Sydney, Australia, THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF HARRY LAVENDER (1988), THE CASE OF THE CHINESE BOXES (1990), THE LAST TANGO OF DELORES DELGADO (1992), and THE DISAPPEARANCES OF MADALENA GRIMALDI (1994). Recently she detoured from the hardboiled genre and has received good reviews for LAMBS OF GOD (1999).

I read THE LAST TANGO OF DELORES DELGADO. Although she took home the American Shamus Award for it, it seemed like it had a lot of flat spots in it. It had an Evanovich flavor with the self-deprecating and cynical humor, but without Evanovich's edge. It's definitely hardboiled.

YELLOWTHREAD STREET, William Leonard Marshall

Marshall has got a bunch out in this series. I believe this is the first one. The story is a police procedural set in Hong Kong. Marshall has got a style that's like fingernails across a chalkboard combined with a Monty Python sense of humor. It's possible that it could grow on you, but I'm not planning on giving it a chance. One was enough.

IN THE EVIL DAY, Peter Temple

I read this one several months ago but I don't think I ever said anything about it here. It's a good book. There's a sense of paranoia bordering on hysteria that I've seen in Joan Didion's PLAY IT AS IT LAYS and Woolrich's I MARRIED A DEAD MAN, but Temple's book is hardboiled, too. It's about a modern detective agency that specializes in corporate espionage using high-tech surveillance equipment and illegal access to internet data. Temple has a detective series but when I went shopping for them, they were all too expensive.


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