Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scandal on The Sand

I'm always up for the oddball paperback original that deserved a better fate than lethal obscurity.

Scandal on The Sand by John Trinian is a 1963 Gold Medal that uses the multiple viewpoint tactic favored by so many GM writers. The set-up here is on a sunny Southern California beach one morning a whale is washed up on shore and people collect around it to see how it will be dealt with. For some reason this reminds of a bit of Fellini's use of a beached Thing in the then-current La Dolce Vita. But this doesn't detract from Trinian's clever and skillful use of the symbol.

In Grand Hotel fashion we have a cast of characters that inclues a beautiful troubled girl and her jerk would-be lover; a mob hit man on the run; a truly frightening psycho cop; a fading junkie movie actor and his sixth (young) wife; and a lifeguard who comes to regret all the booze he drank the night before. Among others.

The story grips, the writing's excellent, and the way Trinian handles the sociology of the beach dwellers gives the book its distinction. He uses a camera eye to detail stray people and things along the sand and he chooses so wisely and well that there are sections that have a photographic quality. A very nice touch.

Trinian wrote a number of GMs as well as some much-better-than-necessary sex novels for Lancer's Domino line. I believe he dropped out of sight and returned a decade or so later as Kenn Davis. But I may be wrong about that.

This is a fine, tight little novel.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Where do you usually go to come across such gems? In a major city, I rarely find anything unusual. We have one of the largest used bookstores in the country and I almost never find anything rare. Do you get them online in which case you need to know what you want? Did you in this case?

Ed Gorman said...

This is a book I read when I was twenty-one. I came across it in a box of old Gold Medals I hadn't looked at in a long time. That was one of the many things I liked about Mystery-File on-line. Lots of reviews of old but worthy books.

Anonymous said...

WowW I never heard that Kenn Davis was Trinian. Is it the same Kenn Davis I know? Did some P.I. novels about as black P.I. in the art world? I'll have to ask him.


Ed Gorman said...

Remember Bob...I said "maybe." I may well be totally full of bush on this.

Quite Contrary said...

To read more about John Trinian and Scandal on the Sand, check out Ed's archives and the entry dated April 26, 2007.

Mary C.