Wednesday, 8 October 2008

James Crumley 1939-2008

Despite the marvels of the ever-present and faster-than-gossip internet, some news filters through slowly. I was saddened today to hear of the death last month of the US crime writer James Crumley. With books such as "Dancing Bear", “The Last Good Kiss,” and “The Mexican Tree Duck”, Crumley created some wonderful characters and great sentences. His writing probably had its flaws but his then unusual approach, first encountered years ago, introduced me to the pleasures of the American crime novel. He was surprising and reassuringly fatalistic at the same time. Whatever book followed one of his novels was sure to pall and it is with no small interest that I now dust off my tattered copy of his three novel omnibus “The Collection” one more time. The novels are again available in clean new editions - most on our shelves right now - but the creased, yellowing pages seem sadly appealing. Crumley died in Missoula, Montana, on September 17. Adrian