Re: RARA-AVIS: Tropical Noir

From: Richard Moore (
Date: 06 Mar 2008

I really liked Barry Gifford's PORT TROPIQUE, which was reprinted in one of the original Black Lizard paperbacks. It has a wonderful tropical atmosphere of smoky bars with slowly revolving ceiling fans and danger hiding in the shadows. It reminded me of a bar in DaNang, Vietnam where the western media liked to gather back in the day--good steaks, top brand whiskies, and guards with automatic weapons.

Another one from the late 1930s is Richard Sale's NOT TOO NARROW, NOT TOO DEEP which takes place on Devil's Island. Clark Gable and Joan Crawford starred in the 1940 adaptation entitled "Strange Cargo."

Both the Sale and Gifford novels have a little more going on than a ripping adventure tale but that's okay with me. In fact, I would say that old Joseph Conrad turned out several that wouldn't be out of place on this list. His novel VICTORY, which came out around 1915 IIRC, features a very chilling killer. Yep, more I think about it, Conrad would be a good place to turn for a tropical fix.

Richard Moore

--- In, harry.lerner@... wrote:
> Hello All,
> On a completely new topic...I'm just curious about what's out there
> terms of noir set in tropical environs. I know, for example, that
> first third of Ross MacDonald's TROUBLE FOLLOWS ME takes place in
> Hawaii during WW2 and that Raoul Whitfield's Jo Gar stories are set
> the Phillipines, but what other tropical settings have been used in
> noir or hard-boiled literature?
> Thanks in advance!
> Best,
> Harry

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