I meant to reply to this one too. I am, I think, one of the few enthusiasts for Jim Thompson's The Criminal. In that, te murder is secondary and, in fact, it is not positive that a murder has even occured. The book is all about the varios other characters that interact with a crime investigation.
On the topic of lead up to a crime. Back when I practised law, I briefly attempted to get out of the unrenumerative criminal defense gig for the sunny climes of family law. It was terrifying. I told one of my colleagues, "It's like working a murder trial, except the murder hasn't happened yet." He, being more experienced, just laughed at my naivete. My favorite family law call was when my client informed me that his wife's boyfriend was dropping cinder blocks on his head and what should he do? "Call a cop", was my helpful input.
----- Original Message -----
From: Todd Mason
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 18:05
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: a quick question about Willeford's THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Harry Joseph Lerner <harry.joseph.lerner@...> wrote:
> My quick question is this...I recently read Charles Willeford's THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY and was very intrigued by the story being the lead-up to the crime. That is, how the story was all about the events and motiviation that ultimately lead to the commision of the crime in question. The crime itself was, at best, tangential to the story. It was a very refreshing approach to story telling (in my admittedly limited experience.)
> Any suggestions for other hard-boiled or noir stories that follow a similar pattern?
Well...at the moment, most of the items that come to mind might not quite comport with what you're asking, but they are essentially about matters either leading up to the initial crime or otherwise make that act not quite the focus of the story...rather obvious examples being Robert Bloch's PSYCHO, Dashiell Hammett's THE MALTESE FALCON, John MacDonald's THE EXECUTIONERS and Albert Camus's THE STRANGER. I'm sure I'll come up with some more narrowly-focused and less clangorous examples shortly.
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