Sunday, January 25, 2015

More on Ross Thomas, plus a visit to Regrub King

I think "Regrub King" is a fine name for a restaurant, don't
you? (All photos by Peter Rozovsky, your humble blog keeper.)
==================
Friday's Ross Thomas post wound up being mostly about George V. Higgins, so here are some things I liked about Missionary Stew, the 1983 Thomas novel that sparked the post:
  • "An hour later, Draper Haere's secretary called Citron and told him she was, to use her participle, `messengering' him out $ 2,000 in cash." The scorn embodied in those inverted commas is delicious. How many crime writers today would use participle in a novel? How many people know what a participle is? What would Ross Thomas have done in a culture that thinks texting is a word?
  • "Instead of one, there were two of them. There was the tall skinny one in the cheap suit, and the other one, not quite so tall, wearing the banker blue suit and looking as if somebody had just run over his dog."
  • Two recurring tag lines, which I won't repeat here, that are all the funnier because the characters who hear them are never in on the joke.

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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13 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

How many writers today would even consider putting messengering in quotation marks?

The participling of the world is now rampant and probably irrevocable.

January 25, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's not just that Thomas finds that particular word barbaric, it's that he is enough of a writer, that he cares enough about his language, to find any such word barbaric.

January 25, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...


These days one is a lot likelier to come across authors (or translators) who do not blush at filling published novels with the fact thats by the score.

January 25, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

How do you weigh in on 'in fact' as a part of a sentence, one I find myself using a little too often for no really good reason.

January 25, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suppose I regard it as a harmless, occasionally intensifier. I don't remember ever being bothered by it. In fact, I don't remember ever thinking about it at all until now.

January 25, 2015  
Blogger Dan_Luft said...

Can't we all just get past participle.

January 26, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Your punning is outrageous.

January 26, 2015  
Blogger seana graham said...

Which in Peter's book is a virtue, Dan.

January 26, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I think that, in keeping with the tenor of the times, I should open a cute little boutique that will set cute little items related to grammar. I'd call it Part and Participle, resisting the temptation to replace and with 'n.

January 26, 2015  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Certainly a great name for that sort of restaurant, and a good fit in a crime fiction blog. So reminiscent of 'Redrum'.

January 27, 2015  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Your word play reminded me of the joke told by one of the comedians on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It still makes me chuckle. A psychiatrist and a proctologist went into practice together and called it Odds and Ends.

January 27, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Philip, the decor at a crime fiction convention I attended last year included a "Redrum" sign. It took me a couple of days to figure out that "red rum" was "murder" spelled backwards. And I just now found out that Stephen King had used "red rum" in "The Shining." He could steal an idea from Rod Serling as well as the next guy.

January 27, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

IN re "Odds and Ends," I am reading comic crime novel published in 1970 whose dialogue includes jocose references to an insane asylum as a "nuthouse" and a "bughouse." Hard to imagine that sort of thing today.

January 27, 2015  

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