Unjustly Overlooked

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Unjustly Overlooked

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Editado: Out 12, 2007, 5:28 pm

Don't know if anyone comes to this group any more but, for those who do, a great site: http://therapsheet-onebook.blogspot.com/ The Rap Sheet's One Book Project. More than 100 crime writers answer this question: What one crime, mystery, or thriller novel do you think has been most unjustly overlooked, criminally forgotten, or underappreciated over the years?

The answers are all over the place and some may not belong (Asimov's The Caves of Steel or Charles Portis' True Grit?) Some may be well-enough known not to qualify (Charles Willeford's Miami Blues for instance). But that's always the way with these lists. Only five books were mentioned more than once and only five authors, ditto. One book got three votes: Night Dogs by Kent Anderson. I haven't read it, but I'm going to look for it and some others here, too.

I liked seeing Mitchell Smith's Stone City make the list and Fredric Brown's Night of the Jabberwock and some other obscurities I've enjoyed.

My own choice? Well, I thought about some early Elmore Leonard (like Swag aka Ryan's Rules) but he's well-known enough. And I saw one of Ross Thomas' books named, not the one I'd choose, still, he has his audience. And I could jump categories and name Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, a better, more neglected SF mystery than Caves of Steel IMO (and how about his "Fondly Fahrenheit" for a great SF/crime short novel/story/whatever.) Or I could get all snotty and remind people that Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery and not widely read at all (I don't care how many copies in print, few non-Russians have read it or Crime and Punishment either. Quick! Tell me how many people Raskolnikov murdered? Ha! Knew you were faking it!)

So, okay, I think a very neglected crime writer (also named by Louise Penny) is Josephine Tey and the novel of hers that I would name is Miss Pym Disposes. Tey was also a playwright and very conscious of literary modes and categories. She wrote crime novels that were themselves examples of specific types, for instance, To Love and Be Wise is a Shakespearian comedy. Now Northrop Frye said that comedy is the basic mythos for mysteries. He was thinking of 1930s drawing room crime, Agatha Christie stuff. The hard-boiled fiction of Hammett and Chandler are in the mythos of Romance, but Frye apparently never read them. Miss Pym is, in Northrop's categorization, Satire, a bitter tale of winter where age is defeated (as always) by youth.
But that's just me. Find your own neglected mystery/crime/suspense novel.

Jul 9, 2007, 7:59 am

Interesting link--thanks! Your link is a bit messed up, though...you've got the word "The" stuck on to the end, there. :)

Jul 9, 2007, 8:25 am

Very cool ... I wish the blogger did have one big list, though ... like MikeCulpepper, I enjoyed seeing books/writers I thought no one had ever heard of on the list ... like Miami Purity, Bodies Electric, Tomato Red ... my suggestion would be (Like a hole in the head) by Jen Banbury ... she's really got the style down.

Regarding Mitchell Smith, I also loved Stone City ... I thought I was really on to something, but his other books have really been disappointing.

Editado: Jul 9, 2007, 4:39 pm

KromesTomes: I wish the blogger did have one big list, though

They do have one big list, you just have to dig around a little.

Set 17, 2007, 11:29 pm

Of the hard boiled women: Helen Nielsen
and Dorothy B Hughes. For the guys: Wade Miller, Geoffrey Homes, James Hadley Chase,
Charles Williams.

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