Abandoned Books

Reviews of books and authors not much discussed on the web.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Short Takes: David Anthony


I keep a book log of everything I've read since 2004. Much of what's in there won't fit into this project, but it occurred to me that some of the authors would. So occasionally I'll raid the journal for some shorter takes on authors.

For a variety of reasons I'm reading a great deal of mystery/crime fiction right now, so expect a lot of that.

David Anthony (pseud. of William Dale Smith) -- I read his novel The Midnight Lady and the Mourning Man, which I think I bought on the recommendation of Pronzini in his 1001 Midnights. Generally not that hot -- my notes call it blah and mention that it was obviously Ross Macdonald influenced. Ross Macdonald was a big influence on a number of PI writers of the late Sixties and Seventies, and most of them did not use the influence well. A great number of PI novels from this period tend to be quiet character studies with the crime almost incidental; a hard thing to pull off if you don't know what the heck you're doing. They're usually extremely literate but oddly lacking in excitement -- one has the feeling of ever-fussier presentations of the same damn recipe. I like macaroni and cheese as much as the next guy, but how often can you eat it?

Here's some info. on the series from Thrilling Detective, a useful site:

http://www.thrillingdetective.com/butler.html

It was made into a movie with Burt Lancaster, who also got a writing credit on the screenplay. (!)

William Dale Smith was a movie studio executive, apparently. Irritatingly, he's known as "David Anthony" on the web. This is the best hunk of info. I could find on him:

http://www.answers.com/topic/david-anthony-writer-drama-mystery

Although he merits a one-line entry on a page devoted to famous West Virginians:

http://members.aol.com/jeff560/famousa.html

Did you know Patch Adams comes from West Virginia?

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