Friday, October 21, 2011

In Derek Raymond's world

The Devil's Home on Leave, second of Derek Raymond's Factory novels, is talkier than the previous Raymond I'd read, a kind of travelogue through Raymond's and his protagonist's moral, social, professional, political, and emotional worlds:
"The listed name of the Factory is Poland Street police station, London W1, but it'll never shake off the name of the Factory. The name sticks to the men and women who work there, also to the people who get worked over there, downstairs."
or
"I got up and tried to read, to shake off my memories and dreams. I picked up a book. But it made no difference; the book lasted far too long, like a government." 
Raymond sticks a bit closer to conventional detective-story-style investigation here (Odd in Raymond to see two officers dicussing crime without insulting one another or musing on the state of the world, for example.) Still, it's a funny and harrowing trip so far, and I shall send back further bulletins.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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11 Comments:

Blogger Dave Zeltserman said...

All the books in the Factory Series are well worth reading, and IMHO the one great book out of it is 'How the Dead Live'.

October 21, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That might be next on my list. I read I Was Dora Suarez immediately before The Devil's Home on Leave. This one's just as gut-wrenching let's say it contains more nods in the direction of conventional police stories.

But I sure as hell have learned this week why so many contemporary writers of dark crime stories revere Raymond.

October 22, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Interesting that the three Raymond novels Allan Guthrie included in his Top 200 noir novels list were HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN, THE DEVIL'S HOME ON LEAVE, and I WAS DORA SUAREZ. I suppose the lesson to be drawn is that yes, all the Factory novels are worth reading.

October 22, 2011  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

His title's were fantastic, too.Apart from The Crust On Its Uppers...

October 22, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, that one's over the top. I've also just discovered one of his Robin Cook titles that I like: The Legacy of the Stiff Upper Lip.

The Factory novels' titles are melodramatic, but they hit hard.

October 22, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

FYI: Mysteries in Paradise has a review of Dashiell Hammett's The Assistant Murderer.

Kerrie Smith liked it, is going to read more by this author.

October 23, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I've just invited Kerrie to browse this blog to get her excited about reading more Hammett.

"The Assistant Murderer," by the way, is a standalone story, featuring not the Continental Op, but a detective named Alexander Rush whose appearance and surroundings are memorably described in the story's opening.

October 23, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Are there copies in the NYPL of the book containing this story, do you know?

Just saw another Thin Man movie tonight, with the perfect twosome, and the hero, Asta, of course. On PBS.

Also, I started Kelli Stanley's City of Secrets about anti-Semitism right before WWII in San Francisco. She mentions Rex Stout as one of those who strongly fought the fascist looming danger.

And I wanted a break as I just finished A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn, which shot me through a cannon while reading the ending of that book, shock after shock. One has to keep in mind any book set in South Africa in 1952 apartheid days is not a pleasant story. I'm in recovery from this and wanted to read the new Kelli Stanley book, but it starts out with the murder of a Jewish woman in 1940.

I think I had to read a Montalbano between books or something else light and funny.

October 23, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Kelli Stanley has a great intro in the book telling of Nazi activity in the U.S., including in my city -- which I should know from the great Bogart movie of the Nazis in Yorkville, the "fifth columnists," as he put it.

October 23, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I don't which libraries have the book, but the story is available in a number of collections and also free online, I believe. Be wary when shopping for Hammett short-story collections if you decide to buy. Accept only the best!

October 23, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd say that if you want something light and funny, you might want to postpone reading Derek Raymond.

October 23, 2011  

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