Ard boiled crime from the 1950s
But I sought Kevin's advice during an Ard-shopping expedition through the convention's book room, and I wound up with The Diary, one of Ard’s ten or so novels featuring the New York private investigator Timothy Dane (Ard wrote several other series in his his short life.) Here’s some of what I’ve learned:
1) Ard would make a perfect subject for “Beyond Hammett, Chandler, and Spillane,” which I first offered at Bouchercon 2014 and which spotlights lesser-known authors of the paperback-original and pulp eras. Ard is, indeed, little remembered, to judge by the paucity of references to him online and the apparent scant availability of his books. Little or none of his work is available in electronic versions, for example, where many lesser-known crime writers of the past have found new life.
2) He was fairly prolific in a short career, turning out about thirty novels though he died before his 39th birthday.
|Kevin Burton Smith|
"I find Ard's work far more enjoyable than that of Ross Macdonald in the same time period. Sure, Dane's cases tend to be a tad pulpier and melodramatic than Archer's, but at the same time, Dane's a far more compelling and down to earth character."4) The Diary's ending conforms to Kevin's assessment about Dane's cases compared to Archer's. Ard built The Diary around themes familiar from Hammett and Chandler: political corruption, family secrets, and wild daughters. But he knew how to build something unexpected out of familiar P.I. set-ups, such as the shamus in his office waiting for a client or the tough guys who confront the P.I. Several times near the novel's beginning, I'd think, "I know what will happen now," and I'd be wrong. After this happened two or three times, I figured this guy Ard's a pro who knows how to hold a reader's interest.
5) Dane also wrote crime series featuring characters named Lou Largo, Johnny Stevens, Barney Glines and Mike (later Danny) Fountain plus Westerns. I haven't read them, but thanks to The Diary, I may look for them.
© Peter Rozovsky 2015