From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Feb 2007

Didn't want Goodis month to end without someone mentioning OF MISSING PERSONS.

This may be, for most Goodis fans, the least favorite of his works, because it's a fairly straightforward whodunit, with good guys, bad guys, and an ending in which the hero emerges triumphant.

But I think it's worth remarking on because it's an early example, before the term had even been coined, of a carefully researched police procedural. In fact, Goodis even dedicated the book to his technical advisor, the head of LAPD's Missing Persons Detail.

Interestingly, though the book is apparently set in LA, the city is never mentioned by name (prefiguring Ed McBain's "New York that isn't New York but really is").

The one disappointing aspect of the book, at least for me, was an unconvincing climax in which the cop-hero pulls off a complicated and unlikely sting operation in order to flush out the villain.

I've heard that OF MISSING PERSONS started life as a movie script which, when it failed to get produced, Goodis novelized. Of course, it might have been that he wrote a screen adaptation of the novel that was never produced. Accounts differ. The out-of-place climax doe lends some credence to the story's having started out as a screenplay. It reads kind of like a movie climax.

Any Goodis experts out there know for sure?


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