Friday, April 08, 2011

Westlake is international!!!

"The hall was full of Scotsmen. Hundreds of them gamboled in the aisles and thronged the lobby, with more arriving every minute."
***
"Stately, plump Joe Mulligan paused in the privacy of the hallway to pull his uniform trousers out of the crease of his backside, then turned to see Fenton watching him.`Mp,' he said, then nodded at Fenton, saying, `Everything okay down here.' "Fenton, the senior man on this detail, made a stern face and said, `Joe, you don't want any of them princes and princesses see you walking around with your fingers up your ass.' ... A bit of a martinet and a stickler for regulations, he liked the boys to call him Chief, but none of them ever did."
— Donald Westlake, Nobody's Perfect

***

Here's an interview about Westlake with his friend, the author and screenwriter Brian Garfield. The interview appears in the University of Chicago Press blog in conjunction with the reprint of Butcher's Moon. I link to it here because Garfield explores the roots of a trait I've always loved in Westlake's work: his inventiveness:
"I remember Don's fascination with the way Ira Levin had cleverly concealed the identity of the killer in A Kiss Before Dying, and we all admired the way Mickey Spillane solved the mystery in Vengeance is Mine in the final word of the novel. I don't know that it's ever been done that way before."

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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12 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

There is something very funny about the idea of gamboling Scotsmen.

April 09, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

There's something funny about much of Westlake. He didn't have to have the burglary coincide with a concert by the Queen's Own Caledonian Orchestra, but he did, and it works. This is not a spoiler, but the Scotsmen get into a brawl with the gang, the painting goes missing, and whiskey gets spilled.

April 09, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

How about "Stately, plump Joe Mulligan"? Thing is, Mulligan is a minor character from a previous book. Westlake did not make up the name just for this occasion so he could make the Ulysses reference. We need Seana to weigh in on this.

April 09, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Yeah I LOVE that. I've read about half a dozen DEW. I like him better than Elmore Leonard.

In fact next novel around I'm going to have to steal all my chapter titles from Westlake as a tribute.

April 09, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That interview with Brian Garfield placed that whole gang of writers who used to hang out and play poker togeter -- Westlake, Garfield, "Larry" Block, "Bob" Ludlum -- in social context. They hung out together, got paid little, churned out books. Garfield noted that they were probably the last generation of writers that started their careers while the pulps were still around. That speaks well of the discipline imposed by the pulps and the fun these guys probably had writing.

If you title your chapters for Westlake novels, you could wind up with a very long book. I just counted the number of Westlake's books I've read: 47, with at least one more to go, and I think that was a little less than half his output.

April 09, 2011  
Blogger PE Westlake said...

Video: Donald Westlake Memorium

April 10, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. Westlake always had much of interest to say in addition to what he wrote in his books. And that was the first time I'd heard his voice.

April 10, 2011  
Blogger PE Westlake said...

His laugh was legendary. Glad to share it.

April 11, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And that was quite a Brooklyn accent he had, too, if I have my accents right.

April 11, 2011  
Blogger PE Westlake said...

Brooklyn via Albany. Close enough. ;-)

April 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's right. I knew he was from somewhere in Upstate New York, and I learned from Lawrence Block's introduction to the University of Chicago Press edition of Butcher's Moon that he lived in Canarsie at one time. I also associate him with Greenwich Village from the Dortmunder books.

April 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You know, I hope the Bouchercon in Albany in a couple of years will plan some special Westlake events and panels.

May 05, 2011  

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