Saturday, February 23, 2013

The real Horace, plus a question for readers

I had read nothing by Horace McCoy, best known as the author of the 1935 novel They Shoot Horses, Don't They? until a friend send me a link to his story "The Mopper-Up." (Read "The Mopper-Up" free online.)

I'm a McCoy fan now, with They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye shooting to the top of my TBR pile.

A posting on the Rara-Avis discussion board says that "the Frost series notwithstanding, many regard a non-series story entitled "The Mopper-Up" to be McCoy's best BLACK MASK submission."  I like the story for its convincing description of an oil boom town; for its telescoping that town's history into a wonderfully short space (I wonder if Scott Phillips likes McCoy) ; for its no-nonsense hero who, despite being a Good Man, is given a strong hint of menace; for its knowing depiction of fear and uncertainty; and for lines like these:
"When he came back downstairs the lower floor was emptied. Employees had deserted Patton in his hour of need and he stood alone and captured by a taxi driver." 
Since a comment above mentions Black Mask, today's question for you, readers is: Who is your favorite 1920s, '30s, '40s, or '50s hard-boiled crime writer not named Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler?

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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10 Comments:

Blogger TomCat said...

My favorite hardboiled crime writer is Bill Pronzini, but since he's from a later vintage, I'll settle for French author Martin Méroy.

February 24, 2013  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Without hesitation, Frederick Nebel.

February 24, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

TC, I had not heart of Martin Méroy. His books were published between some nice-looking covers; thanks.

February 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I shall try to find more Frederick Nebel. I have liked the stories of his that I've read in collections and anthologies. He was prolific, too.

February 25, 2013  
Blogger Solea said...

Gypsy Rose Lee is tops with me...I loved "Mother Finds a Body" and "G-string Murders"

February 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had not heard of Mother Finds a Body, but The G-string Murders is mentioned with a good deal more respect than a celebrity crime novel would receive. Thanks for an intriguing and unexpected nomination. I may look for the books.

February 25, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

I'm way behind on blog reading, so I didn't know you had already posted about McCoy when I mentioned him. I'm having trouble finding a decent bibliography online -- something comprehensive and in order. Have you come across one?

March 02, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

And to answer your question, right now I would say McCoy. I've been raving about him the last few days to anyone who'll listen.

March 02, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You may guess from my comment elsewhere that I'm on a McCoy kick myself: the story "The Moppers-Up," Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, and, waiting in the wings, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

March 02, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly, this biographical article might point you in some useful bibliographic directions. A Black Mask index, currently out of print, I think, but available used, could help, as well.

March 03, 2013  

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