RARA-AVIS: My First Whitfield

From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 16 Feb 2008

De-lurking momentarily to note that I read my first Raoul Whitfield this week, and I really enjoyed it.

DEATH IN A BOWL is a nice tight proto-hard-boiled novel. As most of you know, Whitfield (astonishingly, he has *no* Wikipedia entry!) was a contemporary of Hammett's; he seems to have written just three novels but dozens of short stories (mostly ARGOSY and BLACK MASK, I assume?).

See here for a nice snapshot: http://knucklelullaby.150m.com/raoulw/raoulwhitfieldhome.html

DEATH IN A BOWL is a murder mystery with a great cast of characters and locales, mostly taking place in and around Hollywood. I'm generally not a fan of whodunnits, but in this case the prose really carried the day for me--it's echt hard-boiled, and I can't believe no film was ever made of this one, because it's almost impossible NOT to "see" this novel in black-and-white as you read it, and some of the dialogue begs to be heard aloud.

I'm officially putting Whitfield onto my "faves" list, and will turn to his other two novels real soon (I have the No Exit editions, which I've found here and there--I note his stuff is not easy to find.)

Any Whitfield aficionados here?

Best, Mark Nevins

P.S. Tip of the hat to RARA-AVIAN Keith Logan, whose off-List advice caused me to move Whitfield higher in my stack.

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