Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trouble is my Business (short story; Chandler, Raymond)

Rating: 4
Year: 1939
Genre: Crime
Read Again? maybe

Nine out of 12, and I'm ready for it to end. Time for something different.

Anna Halsey hires Marlowe to dig up dirt on Harriet Huntress, an unsavory woman who works a scary gamblin' kingpin. Harriet's on the prowl for a rich man's son; the rich man wants her gone.

Mr. Jeeter's the prissy rich man, a complete snob who carries his air of superiority the way a man wears a hat. Marlowe doesn't like him--and he doesn't take crap from the man, rich or not.

Jeeter Junior owes the gamblin' kingpin $50,000 in debts. Pops refuses to pay, even after he hires an investigator to see whether the debts are legitimate. Marlowe goes to meet the investigator, John Arbogast.

Arbogast is, of course, dead. Shortly afterward, some heavies try to scare Marlowe off the case.


Anonymous said...

Just to mention it, this story was another that served as the nucleus for a novel. I forget which one, though, since I thought it sucked.

This is starting to sound like your Lackey reviews, as though you're making yourself read stuff you're tired of as a punishment or something. Is forcing yourself to read things you're not enjoying a habit, or have you become Catholic and adopted this as a penance or something? -- LR

JW said...

It wasn't a slog like Lackey's "Brightly Burning"--individually, the stories were fine. I think what was getting to me was that it took so long to get through. The stories weren't very long, but it took me a few days short of a month to get through it, which made it seem a lot longer.

Add that to the formulaic construction--he's in his office, gets asked onto a case, goes to see a guy, the guy's dead...very easy to lose count.

Anonymous said...

So what sort of books make up the bulk of your fiction library? Do you sort of specialize in sci-fi, fantasy or pulp/thriller stories, or are these just what you started with? -- LR

JW said...

Most of my collection is Sci-Fi (mostly Star Trek) and Fantasy, and much of that is stuff I've already read. I've been trying to grab stuff I haven't read before (or often) instead of the old stand-by stuff like Zelazny's "Amber" series. I was reading the entire set every 6 months or so until the mid- to late-90s.

Anonymous said...

Have you read Brust's books? He's my favorite author, and he writes fantasy. Or maybe E.M. Forster? He's best known for Howard's End and other boring novels - they bore me, anyway - but his shorts are amazing, a breathtaking combination of fantasy and sci-fi. "The Machine Stops" (1909) accurately predicted a number of things, including TV and blogging, and his "Celestial Omnibus" is pure magic. -- LR