Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bruno Fischer

Carol and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon lunch (three hours) with Bob Randisi and Marthayn Peligrimas; and Barb and Max Collins. This is the most fun I've had since our previous lunch three months ago. Great folks and great friends.

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One way you can tell you're getting old is when the good girl in the Gold Medal novel appeals to you more than the femme fatale.

Somebody wrote me about a review I'd written a few years ago of Bruno Fischer's House of Flesh. In my review I was agreeing with science fiction writer Dave Bischoff's contention that the book is a mystery that combines gothic elements with some really horrorific moments. It's one of Fischer's best novels, a very sleek, dark whodunit that lags only at the very end because he runs out of suspects. There is a particularly nasty scene wherein dogs set upon the remains of a dead horse, the carcass having rotted before they got to it. The word "flesh" has multiple meanings in the novel.

Before responding to the letter I decided to look through the book again. Held up very well. But as I read it I realized that Fischer had made the good girl so appealing--smart, funny, winsome, clean cut--that the protagonist seems sort of dotty to obsess over a rather odd woman whom he finds unattractive (but inexplicably sexy of course), aggravatingly mysterious and frequently irritable.

I know, I know--this is noir land where gonadic response to fate is not only standard but mandatory, thanks to the Law of The Crotch as writ large and eternal by James M. Cain.

The only way I can explain this misjudgement is my age. But an evening with the sweet, amusing good girl promises so much more fun than a few hours in the clutches of The Dragon Lady...

By the time they plant me Ill probably be reading those old-fashioned Harlequin romances. The clean ones.

3 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Well, the very old-fashioned romances already have their fandom...Heyer's neo-Austens. But perhaps you'll find the nurse novel of your dreams...

I need to go look up some Bruno Fischer, haven't read any of his work for years, but isn't the point for him and for Cain that the guy tossing aside the good woman is an idiot? I'm reminded of both CAT PEOPLE and DEXTER, suddenly, where things are a bit muddier...

Ed Gorman said...

That's right, Todd. That usually is the point--dumb guy tosses aside good girl for flaky murderess who'll drag him along into the gas chamber. Probably just my mood when I reread the book but the good girl was just so damned nifty and the femme fatale was so clearly self-absorbed and troubled...it's old age setting in is the only explanation. In fact, I like Heyer's mysteries. Maybe there's no hope for me. I'll probably be haunting used bookstores looking for Faith Baldwin novels all too soon.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Glad to hear the good girls count after a certain age.