Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Everything I Consume: The Lady In The Morgue


This was a very good book, screwball and hardboiled at the same time. The story concerns the theft of an unidentified body from the Chicago Morgue and the chase to find it and identify the body. The detective, William Crane, is dedicated to the case but still finds time to have nice meals (on his expense account) with the two detectives helping him out, drink heavily and go to "penthouse parties". It was a nice change from some of the more obsessive detectives of the era. This is definitely a book where the journey is more important than the destination. I had trouble following the solution but I didn't really care that much. Hey, does anyone remember if they ever found the Maltese Falcon or who the killer was in Murder on the Orient Express? The writing is first rate but Crane's detective agency owes a lot to the agency in the Continental Op stories.

My copy was the cool 1942 printing shown above. I got it at a local antique store but the book seems to be in print or at least available in a cheap used version. I've read a couple of other Latimers including the excellent Solomon's Vineyard. Here's a great interview with Latimer.

Chicago was the home of the other great screwball/hardboiled mystery writer Craig Rice as well as the indescribable Harry Stephen Keeler both of whom I highly recommend.

1 comment:

The Wife said...

Didn't Truman Capote kill everyone on that train?