RARA-AVIS: The Gaudier the Patter

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 02 Dec 2009

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    Patrick wrote:

    > That's putting it mildly. I doubt he plotted BLUE MURDER at all, just wrote it stream of consciousness and let it do whatever it did without too much input from him. The story makes no sense. I suppose you can laugh at it, but if I'm looking for laughs I'd rather read Wodehouse. In reading BLUE MURDER, I actually thought Bellem might be a woman spoofing the macho style of the time. I've been assured I'm wrong about that. I can't believe anyone published that book.

    BLUE MURDER isn't Bellem at his best -- for that, you need to read the Dan Turner short stories. Bellen was either a genius or a lunatic, but he knew absurdity works best in small doses. Which may be one reason INHERENT VICE didn't work for me. Too long for too few laughs.

    But INHERENT VICE's "Fly Me to the Moon" scene? That's as giddy-goofy as anything Bellem came up with. And even now, Bellem's slang dictionary-on-speed riffing is a hoot.

    In fact, Pynchon and Ellroy (another literary motormouth who's a sucker for gaudy patter -- the gaudier the better) could both learn something from Bellem.

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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