Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Paul Denver: The Deadly Chance (1973)

Okay, I'm cheating here a bit. This is one of the books I'm including in my forth-coming book on British paperback crime fiction. I only browsed through the book while cycling at the gym. I think that's enough for this book, which isn't exactly quality stuff.

Paul Denver was one of the pseudonyms used by the British writer Douglas Enefer. He has no Wikipedia entry, but there's always Goodreads. I've read some of his books starring private eye Michael Power, they are mildly ok, mediocre but still entertaining enough. (Actually I first thought, over ten years ago when I was writing my first book, Pulpografia, that Denver was American.) Enefer also wrote some Cannon novelizations as by Paul Denver, and the titular The Deadly Chance is one of them. I believe the story went like this: when the bona fide American Cannon novelizations (written by Richard Gallagher) ran out, the British publisher World Distributors asked Denver to write more of them. And that's just what he did. I don't know whether Denver wrote on an outline or a screenplay of an episode or whether he just made it all up. I'll have to check that out.

The first problem is that Denver/Enefer can't write like an American. There's always a feeling someone's cheating. Denver/Enefer is clever enough though to keep descriptions at minimum. The dialogue also gives the Britishness of the author away, but that doesn't happen all that often in the Finnish translation (though it at times adds layers of its own). The story is a bit silly with its depiction of a small town drug scene, but there's a twist that might keep the reader interested. I say "might", because I skipped lots that went on interim. There's something tired about the book.

There are good British paperback crime novels out there, but this doesn't seem to be one of them. Included is the Finnish edition from 1976, published in a series that consisted only of TV novelizations.

Edit: I changed the publisher from Consul to World Distributors. They put out the Cannon novelizations written by Paul Denver. Consul published earlier paperbacks by Denver.

2 comments:

Todd Mason said...

I take it CANNON must've played in Finland to give the publishers locally some reason to issue a translation...wow...super-tenuous...

Juri Nummelin said...

Yeah, it played in Finland. I remember seeing the credits, even though I wasn' allowed to watch the show.