EppsNet Archive: Detective Fiction

This Was the Room I Had to Live In

14 Mar 2016 /
First edition cover

This was the room I had to live in. It was all I had in the way of a home. In it was everything that was mine, that had any association for me, anything that took the place of a family. Not much; a few books, pictures, radio, chessmen, old letters, stuff like that. Nothing. Such as they were they had all my memories.

— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

It’s Election Season in Irvine

26 Oct 2014 /

It’s election season . . . campaign signs dot the Irvine landscape.

As I drove to lunch with co-workers, one of them pointed out a sign for Ira Glasky, who’s running for school board or city council or something.

“He’s probably trying to cash in on the name recognition of Ira Glass,” he said.

“Who’s Ira Glass?” I asked, and he told me but I’ve since forgotten. A person on the radio, I think.

If I were a campaign manager, I wouldn’t be advising my clients to coattail on the popularity of people no one’s heard of.

“Maybe he’s trying to play into the popularity of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930s crime novel The Glass Key,” I suggested.

Another Irvine candidate, Lynn Schott, is in a local women’s networking group that my wife belongs to. I offered her a free campaign slogan — “Lynn-sanity!” — but she’s not using it.


Miss Marple

19 Apr 2014 /
Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

Really, I have no gifts — no gifts at all — except perhaps a certain knowledge of human nature. People, I find, are apt to be far too trustful. I’m afraid that I have a tendency always to believe the worst. Not a nice trait, but so often justified by subsequent events.


30 Feet Away

31 Dec 2013 /

From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.

— Raymond Chandler, The High Window

Farewell, My Lovely

12 Dec 2013 /

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.

— Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely

A Glutton for Punishment

16 Jun 2013 /

“You must really be a glutton for punishment,” he said.

“A gourmet, actually,” I said. “If it isn’t perfect, I send it back.”

— Jonathan Lethem, Gun, with Occasional Music

EppsNet Book Reviews: The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

9 Mar 2013 /

“Did you ever hear what J. Edgar Hoover said about justice?” she asked.

“He probably said a lot, but I don’t recall any of it offhand.”

“He said that justice is incidental to law and order.”

— Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

I love detective fiction — especially L.A. detective fiction —┬ábut like every other kind of niche fiction, it’s almost all rubbish. The Black Echo is an exception to the rule.

I have just a couple of things to take exception to:

  1. Detectives should NEVER have a love interest. They should always be loners (cf. Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe).
  2. [SPOILER ALERT] It is absolutely impossible that Rourke wouldn’t know who Eleanor Wish is. He works for the FBI. The Federal Bureau of INVESTIGATION. He’s an INVESTIGATOR. And he knows nothing about this woman? Not even her maiden name?

P.S. Don’t tell me about Linda Loring in the last two Marlowe books. She was a terrible decision by Raymond Chandler but I blame the fact that he was cracking up at the time over the illness and death of his wife.


A Sherlock Holmes Christmas

24 Dec 2010 /
Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson.

My kid comes home and sees three newly wrapped Christmas presents . . .

“That’s a book,” he says, pointing at one of the presents. Then moving on to the other two: “I don’t know what that is, and I don’t know what that is. I’m on to you guys.”

“What are you on to?” I ask. “The fact that you don’t know what’s going on? You only got one thing out of three. Nice work, Sherlock Holmes.”

“The clues don’t always come all at once,” he says. “I’m a third of the way there.”


The Erasers

28 Mar 2010 /
The Erasers

The Erasers is a combination detective story and Greek tragedy, about a murder investigation in which the victim, unbeknownst to (almost) anyone, is not really dead.

It’s also about multiple perceptions of the same events, all of them perfectly reasonable and all of them wrong.

And it’s about the inevitablility of fate, which despite your best efforts can lead you to an unimaginable deed (cf. Oedipus).

Highly recommended!