Readers' comments added to the list, and this week I've come across a clever tribute in Roger Smith's Mixed Blood. Here's the famous opening of Chandler's "Red Wind":
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."Here's Smith's opening:
"Jack Burn stood on the deck of the house high above Cape Town watching the sun drown itself in the ocean. The wind was coming up again, the southeaster that reminded Burn of the Santa Anas back home. A wind that made a furnace of the night, set nerves jangling, and got the cops and emergency teams caught up in people's bad choices."Smith repeats the motif throughout the novel, as here, on page 226:
"The wind howled across the Flats, picking up the sand and grit and firing it at Zondi like a small-bore shotgun. He felt it in his ears, up his nostrils, and it sneaked in and found his eyes behind the Diesel sunglasses."This and other bits like it may describe accurately the brutal Cape Town Flats, but they also constitute an extended homage to one of Chandler's best-known passages.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010