Re: RARA-AVIS: Small Crimes + noir writers from the 30s and 40s

From: Sean Shapiro (
Date: 04 Jun 2008

Gerald Kersh wrote a lot of great creepy short stories. (A few are cornball but the majority are good solid chillers.) His most famous book is 'Night and the City' which was twice filmed. Haven't read it yet but it sits on my shelf.

Incidentally, his brother Cyril Kersh also wrote novels. Though his 'Aggravations of Minnie Ash' (a hysterically funny book about a widowed Jewish mother trying to raise her 2 children in north London during WWII) is as far from Gerald Kersh's noir world as you can get. I remember as a kid (14/15) my father once getting them mixed up and buying a Gerald Kersh collection. He was pretty dismayed with with his purchase. But his burn was my score.

Sean Shapiro

----- Original Message ---- From: Dave Zeltserman <> To: Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 1:37:35 PM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Small Crimes + noir writers from the 30s and 40s

Al, thanks. I didn't think of Paul Cain because Fast One and Small Crimes don't have a lot (if anything) in common. I know you've talked about Erskine Caldwell before and I still need to look up the books of his you've recommended, but if you've got book recommendations for Benjamin Appel, Edward Anderson, Richard Hallas, James Ross, James Curtis, Gerald Butler and Gerald Kersh I'd love to hear them.

--Dave Z.

--- In rara-avis-l@ yahoogroups. com, "Allan Guthrie" <allan@...> wrote:
> I guess you're writing neo-hardback- noir rather than neo-paperback-
> Dave. Very classy!
> The book that instantly sprung to mind from the reviewer's
description of
> the kind of "grim noir novel" he's thinking of, is Paul Cain's Fast
One. But
> to answer your own question -- about noir writers as defined by
Jack Bludis
> rather than the reviewer -- in addition to the writers Jeff
> there's also Benjamin Appel, Nathanael West, Edward Anderson,
> Caldwell, Richard Hallas, Dorothy Hughes, James Ross, James Curtis,
> Butler, Gerald Kersh and no doubt a bunch of others. Certainly noir
> in the late 40s with the arrival of the paperback original, but it
was doing
> okay in hardcover much earlier.
> Al
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dave Zeltserman" <dave@...>
> >A review in the London Times favorably compared my latest book,
> > Crimes, with: "the kind of grim noir novel they used to write in
> > Thirties and Forties. There are no good guys, only men who are
> > vicious, tough, corrupt and amoral. Action is frenzied and bloody,
> > women easy but vulnerable, dialogue curt and the plot not
> > convincing."
> >
> > To me this raised the question, who was writing these types of
> > noir novels in the 30s and 40s?? The only writers I could think
of were
> > James M. Cain, Cornell Woolrich and David Goodis (at least he
> > in the 40s). If the reviewer had mentioned the 50s instead it
> > made more sense as it would've opened up a host of other writers,
> > including Charles Williams, Gil Brewer, Dan Marlowe, etc. So
here's the
> > question--who else other than the writers I mentioned were
writing noir
> > novels in the 30s and 40s (noir with Jack Bludis's definition of
> > screwed as opposed to dark + sinister)???



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