RARA-AVIS: When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

From: Nathan Cain ( IndieCrime@gmail.com)
Date: 12 Nov 2007

I just finished When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. It was the first Scudder novel I've read where he's still drinking (although it is told in flashback by a sober Scudder.) I was struck by how morally ambiguous it was when compared to the other two books in the series I've read. In Ticket to the Boneyard and The Flowers Are Dying, there's really no question that Scudder is a good guy, and that the actions he takes are the right thing to do, even if those actions are illegal. In Ginmill, Scudder's motives and actions are suspect, particularly with the way he handles Tommy Tillary, who hired him to investigate the murder of his wife. At the end it's not at all clear that Tillary is, in fact, guilty of the crime, and yet Scudder takes some pretty drastic action to make sure Tillary gets what Scudder thinks he has coming. It was not what I was expecting. I was expecting something more conventional, like the other novels I've mention. Are the earlier Scudder novels more ambiguous?
 (And thanks to everyone who made recommendations in the Best Block Novel thread)

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