Thursday, September 18, 2008

James Crumley dead

Just read from various blogs that James Crumley is dead. This is sad news, since it's not long since he last published - was it 2005, The Right Madness?

I haven't read that book, but I really, really liked The Last Good Kiss, which was translated as Viimeinen kunnon suudelma and published by Otso Kantokorpi's short-lived publishing house Jack-in-the-Box. I remember taking it with me in 1994, when me and two other guys drove up to Nordkapp* (and back!) in a beat-up Volkswagen Beetle. I read it on the way up. (This must sound like I'm an adventurous guy. Far from that. But later on that.)

Other Crumleys I tried, but didn't get excited. I tried the one with a biker gang's boss asking Crumley's private eye hero, Sughrue, to find his mother. I liked the premise and it still makes me chuckle, but I dropped the book, when it didn't seem to go anywhere. Might want to try again.

It seems to me that the Finnish publishers have neglected Crumley's earlier novels, The Wrong Case and Dancing Bear, which many cite alongside The Last Good Kiss as his best crime novels. (Then there's of course One Count to Cadence, his first novel, set in the Vietnam war.) Might I suggest someone correct this wrong? (Well, it is true that without small publishing houses we wouldn't have Crumley here in the first place. First, Jack-in-the-Box, then Book Studio.)

* Nordkapp is the northernmost town in Europe. It's in Norway. There's a tourist trap in there, but we didn't get in there, since we didn't have any money by that time. This was before euros. We drove to another town and I changed my last twenty Finnish marks to Norwegian money.

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