Sunday, November 20, 2005

My private eyes

We were in Pori to visit my mother (I also attended a class reunion; only ten people showed up, but we managed to drink quite a lot of booze) and I got to dig old notebooks of mine that my mom keeps in the closet. I was actually looking for some poetry experiments I was talking about with an acquaintance of mine for another possible project (and found them; will be reporting about it here or on the other blog), but then I came across some notebooks that had crime stories in them. As I've written here earlier, I wrote lots of P.I. fiction in my teens - say, from thirteen to eighteen. All of the stories took place in America (one might've been in Australia, though) and the heroes had great names. Here's a list:

Johnny LaShelle
Ed Aristoteles [should be Aristotle, of course, were he meant to be American)
Monty Suffern
Mel Shawcross
Lou Parker [this might've actually been a screenwriter down on his luck, getting mixed up with some criminous producer or something like that]
LeRoi Taylor [a space private eye]
Joe Stone
Curtis Strock
Jim Amadeus
Spencer Cartmell
Joe Villalobos
Sam Odessa
Ted von Mayerling
Jack Lee Brougher
Jimmie Christina
Evan Taylor
Charles Leroy
Philip Hunter
Lou Carroll
Eddie Ray Ford
Eddie Carradine
Charlie Waits
Arnold Clothes

Then there was of course Joe Novak, who's still my hero. Ted von Mayerling is now a part of the Novak mythology, popping up every now and then as a rich and annoying private eye (something like Jake Gittes in Chinatown). (He hasn't been mentioned in any of the published ones, though.)

I like those names, man! I don't think the stories are anything close... Take note that the later ones are the more parodic ones: Sam Odessa, Joe Villalobos, Ed Aristoteles. The early ones are more straight-forward.

I also had heroes called Nero Woodward and Archie Moulton. It's pretty obvious who I'd been reading...

I also found something that I hadn't remembered: I was clearly on my way to be a professional book packager! I had made notes for two series about international spy rental offices, with meticulous detail into what cars the spies drove, what kind of guns they had, and so on. The one was about the Netzer & Netzer Agency (the story was about a spy called James Stapley) and the other was about the multinational Smith-Mao-Buligin agency. Very nice! From the handwriting, it seemed that I was 11 or 12 at the time.

I took some of the stories with me and I'll read them. I don't think they'll hold up (the dialogue seems pretty stilted), but it strikes me now that maybe I should've pursued this line of work more powerfully, instead of going to the university and tried hard to be an intellectual. I could be a published fiction writer now, doing top thrillers... I'll report about the stories here later on.

STOP THE PRESS: I looked up some more from the experimental anti-novel that's up on my other blog: Nick Partner, Chuck DeWitt, Arthur Shape, M. Ed Pierce, Ray Minerva, Socrates Hulce. Tom Soupdish doesn't really work, unless in some zany parody. Ray Minerva was purported to be gay, but I don't think I ever got on with it. (I remember now that a friend of mine once told me about a story he had written in school with a hero called Jeremy Graveyard in it!) I seem to remember now that I made a list in a small notebook with all the private eyes I'd come up with... Must look that up next time!


Anonymous said...

Monty Suffern is a real Australian. He and George Fury were a famous rally car team in the 1960s-70s based at Swinburne University of Technology (then Swinburne College of Technology). Monty's interest moved to aviation and he is now at Baylor University, Texas. See

Juri said...

Thanks, this is interesting!