Wednesday, October 19, 2016

David Goodis: Best bar scene bar none? plus Noircon 2016!

If you're like me, your crime fiction reading has likely included a scene or two set in a bar. But has anyone ever written bar action as surprising and as funny (and that in the midst of a decidedly downbeat story) as this, from David Goodis' 1961 novel Night Squad:
"As Nellie collided with the falling chair, Carp started a circular route that took him swiftly in the direction of the bar., Knowing what was coming, the regulars at the bar reached quickly for their shot glasses and grimly held on. Others weren't quick enough. As Carp flashed past the bar, his arms functioned with the speed of a piston. Before he reached the far end of the bar, he'd snatched and downed a double rye and a single of California brandy. Then he headed for the front door and scampered out."
Speaking of Goodis, next week is time once again for Noircon, the best little biennial crime fiction convention in Philadelphia or anywhere else. See you there. 

© Peter Rozovsky 2016

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even when he was in decline and his books were OFTAA James Crumley could write wonderful bar scenes.
In very different kinds of books, and with pubs not bars, Rdmund Crispin could portray wonderfully the oddities of alcohol-inspired behaviour and speech.

October 19, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Since you mention pubs and Crispin, I wonder if P.G. Wodehouse, Mr. Mulliner, and the Angler's Rest could qualify.

I had Martin Edwards on a panel at the recent Bouchercon in New Orleans and also had dinner with him one evening, so I predisposed toward English traditional mysteries at the moment.

October 19, 2016  
Blogger Art Taylor said...

Great scene! And sorry I'm going to miss NoirCon. I've always wanted to go, but personal conflicts on this end (my wife's birthday celebrations!) so another time for sure. :-)

October 20, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, your wife's birthday is the same time every year, I presume. You'll just have to bring her with you one of these even-numbered years.

October 20, 2016  

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