RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled Journalists

From: Richard Moore ( moorich2@aol.com)
Date: 07 Jan 2006

I have always been partial to journalists as protagonists because they (unlike most amateurs) have a logical reason for investigating situations and asking questions. They also have access to sources of information other non-detectives would not have. Also, I spent years as a reporter both print and broadcast and know the background well. This inside knowledge also means some novels depicting reporters make my skin crawl with inaccuracies.

Fred Brown worked on a newspaper but not as a reporter. He worked in the backshop with the linotype machines and printing press back when newspaper type was set in lead in the old "hot type" process. It was a highly professional, often unionized, area of the newspaper that has disappeared with "cold type" offset presses and computers. Fred did a lot of copyediting and through that worked closely with reporters and editors but his specialized knowledge of the back shop comes into play in some of his stories. THE SCREAMING MIMI is one of my favorites but there are other Brown novels that feature reporters/newspapers. Another favorite of mine is NIGHT OF THE JABBERWOCK (1951) and his THE DEEP END (1952) is another good novel. The later was reprinted in Otto Penzler's Quill Mysterious Classic series of paperbacks.

A couple of years ago I had qualified praise for a novel that was a very good picture of the old "hot type" newspaper Edwin Lanham's SLUG IT SLAY (1946) that was later reprinted by Bantam as HEADLINED FOR MURDER. It had the great line: "Arthur finished shaving and then, although it was early in the morning for a drink, he poured a Scotch."

Michael Connelly's THE POET has already been mentioned. Connelly spent years working for the Los Angeles Times and before that newspapers in Florida. I also very much liked THE NOTHING MAN by Jim Thompson, who spent some time on newspapers in both New York and Los Angeles.

I'm sure I will think of others later or be reminded of additional great ones as others post in response.

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "iistickboy" <iistickboy@y...> wrote:
> It's really good to be back, and thanks for the welcome. I
already have a question...
> I'm re-reading Fredric Brown's Screaming Mimi's right now, and
it's still my favorite
> hardboiled novel with a journalist hero. I know reporters used to
be pulp fiction favorites,
> but I'm looking for a few more books to read in the sub-genre.
> What are your favorite novels or movies that feature hardboiled
> Thanks for the help,
> Jason Boog

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Jan 2006 EST