RARA-AVIS: HCC, Girl with the Long Green Heart & All the Way

From: Jeff Vorzimmer ( jvorzimmer@austin.rr.com)
Date: 19 Dec 2006

Since Dave brought up Hard Case Crime, I thought I'd add how much I enjoyed Lawrence Block's The Girl with the Long Green Heart. It reminded me a lot of a Charles Williams novel although it didn't have his ironic twists of fate that maintain the suspense it still kept my interest. I guess for just the opposite reason, that throughout the long con, everything goes so smoothly--no glitches--that you begin to suspect things will go badly at the end, but you have no idea how or why.

I kept wondering as I read Long Green Heart, how Charles Williams would have the written the story and whether it would end like one of his novels. Ironically, the next book I picked up off my TBR pile was Charles Williams' All the Way, which has starts off with exactly the same story. Okay, I thought, let's see how he ends it. As you might suspect the endings were completely different, but both very noir-like and I enjoyed both of them I would recommend both.

The basic setup was the same in both novels. A woman, the femme fatale of the story, works as a secretary/administrator for a businessman for many years, contributing significantly to his success. She carries on an affair with him during the entire time, while he remains married. Eventually, the wife dies leaving him free to marry, but instead he marries an even younger woman. The action of both novels begins with how the woman plots to get even with the businessman.

Long Green Heart was the last of a bunch of the HCC novels I read, trying to get caught up. One of the novels I read was Stephen King's Colorado King. There's really nothing about it to recommend it--not an interesting story, certainly not hardboiled or noir. It felt like a short story stretched out to novella length. At least it was a quick read.


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