A crime novel that's dated and progressive at the same time, and a question for readers
I inevitably contrast these with the scenes of Ned Beaumont being beaten and held captive in Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key. That novel appeared in 1931, but the scenes' brutality and Beaumont's despair would be just as fresh and just as harrowing in a novel published today.
Then there's W.R. Burnett's Little Caesar, published in 1929 and the basis of the famous movie of the same name starring Emanuel Goldenberg (left). The movie's dated dialogue disappointed me, and I'd long been curious about whether the novel was any different. It isn't, full as it is of lines like "I got lead in this here rod and my finger's itching."
At the same time, the book's opening segments alternate chapters of a heist being planned with glimpses into the minds and lives of its characters that seem utterly modern. (These include a micro chapter of Rico "Little Caesar" Bandello combing his hair that includes the famous description "Rico was a simple man. He loved but three things: himself, his hair and his gun. He took excellent care of all three.")
What crime novels and stories have you read that seemed dated and surprisingly contemporary at the same time?
© Peter Rozovsky 2013