Norbert Davis wrote novels with a dog as co-protagonist. He wrote stories set largely in a restaurant, and he created characters named Bail Bond Dodd and J.P. Jones (the J.P. stands for "Just Plain." That's the man's name — Just Plain Jones.) Yet despite those slapstick touches, and plots, dialogue and action to match, the stories work as hard-boiled tales. Little touches in some of the stories may even reflect the grimness of the Great Depression; he published his first stories in the early 1930s.
Here's the opening sentence of "Something for the Sweeper":
"Jones limped slowly along, his rubbers making an irregular squeak-squish sound on the wet cement of the sidewalk."Is that slapstick (squish-squish), or is it gritty urban realism? In Davis, it's both. When you get to the end of this tale of murder and deception, you'll find the story has come full circle.
Find more free Norbert Davis online here, including his three man-and-dog novels featuring Doan and Carstairs, the former a deceptively harmless-seeming detecive, the latter a Great Dane Doan won in a card game. And read more about Davis at the Thrilling Detective Web site.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009