At the same time, small differences in language and larger ones in sensibility make it a treat for native Montrealers like me and, perhaps, an interesting study for readers from exotic places like Europe, Australia and the U.S. A sofa is a chesterfield in Montrose's world, as it was in my childhood. Characters flee not to the hills, the mountains or the shore, but "up North," to the Laurentian mountains. A woman trying to discern if a house is occupied will call out not "Anybody home?" but "Who's home?"
Other differences are more noticeable. Our hero, Russell Teed, encounters beautiful, mysterious women, as would any wisecracking American P.I., only Montrose's descriptions are racier than their American counterparts.
And how about this, from Teed's client:
"In days like these, when the government has taken over most social responsibility, wealth doesn't carry social obligation any more. It's wicked to be wealthy, in the eyes of the majority, and young rich people too often act as though they were trying to live up to that reputation."The wealthy client is a staple of American hard-boiled writing, but would an American crime writer use words like "social responsibility"? Would an American crime character talk of "social obligation"?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011