Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled Journalists

Date: 10 Jan 2006

This is edited from two posts I made some time ago about John R. Riggs:

Riggs's Garth Ryland lives in a small town in Wisconsin. He is the editor/owner of the Oakalla Reporter. The series features a number of recurring town characters and a lot of driving around on rural roads in the quirky car Garth inherited from his grandmother. Garth receives help and information from Ruth, his feisty elderly housekeeper who is a clearinghouse on town gossip.

Must be a cozy, right? Hell, it sounds like it could be a CBS mystery, complete with Angela Lansbury in the role of Ruth.

There is a bit of humor, but this series is far more about the darkness hiding in the hearts of these small town people, with all of the bitter rivalries, jealousies and secrets you might find in a big city. They may even be worse than a in big city because they have been allowed to fester for so long while living in close proximity with the offender, who becomes a daily reminder.

The first in the series, The Last Laugh, is particularly macabre as Garth tries to figure out if a man was buried alive and if he was, was it part of a practical joke gone dreadfully wrong or was it intentional? Along the way, Garth is forced to suspect his best friend, which is further complicated by the fact that he is in love with the suspect's wife. The whole series is written in a dark, borderline depressed voice. I guess you could shelf Riggs with the smalltown noir of K.C. Constantine (okay, Rocksburg isn't exactly a smalltown, but it ain't a big city, either) and Archer Mayor.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Jan 2006 EST