Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Crime in the Mountains (short story; Chandler, Raymond)

Rating: 5
Year: 1943
Genre: Crime
Read again? Yes

Number 8 of 12 in "Trouble is my Business" and another piece of the "The Lady in the Lake" novel.

John Evans gets an urgent note and an advance payment: his services are needed by one Fred Lacey out at Puma Point. Evans heads out, finds a hotel, and calls Lacey's number. Mrs. Lacey says he's not in, so Evans relaxes a bit.

I liked this description of the band: "In the deep, black corner of the room a hillbilly symphony of five defeatists in white coats and purple shirts was trying to make itself heard above the brawl at the bar." This is the kind of descriptive I've been hoping to see more of, but it's been rare in these shorts so far.

Evans decides to go looking for Lacey himself. He finds the cabin number and location and heads that way. He stops near the lake short to admire the view and look at Lacey's body. As he's walking back to his car, he's confronted by a little man with a big enough gun...and gets himself knocked unconscious.

When he wakes up, he goes to visit the widow, who tells him that Lacey had found some counterfeit money....

A good story, good characters, though the bad guys are almost comically clichee'd true-believing Nazi Germans and an inscrutible Japanese man.

The sheriff isn't the same character as the one in "The Lady in the Lake," but the descriptions and manner are identical.

Still...not gonna knock points.

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