Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Basil Copper's Mike Faraday

In my on-going research into British pulp and paperback crime writing, I read the two novels by Basil Copper translated in Finnish. Both have Copper's private eye Mike Faraday as the hero, and both are pretty basic old-fashioned hardboiled private eye stuff.

Flip Side (1980, translated as Kuoleman kääntöpuoli/"The Flip-Side of Death") puts Faraday delve into the international jewel trade. Snow Job (1986, Älä huoli huomisesta/"Don't Worry About Tomorrow", meaningless title if there ever was one) has Faraday look into the drug trade, even though he doesn't know that from the start. Copper knows his business: in the end Faraday is investigating another case than he's originally hired to investigate. He runs into corpses and beautiful, but deceitful ladies, heavies with guns in their hands, all that stuff that's been known since Black Mask and Dime Detective made the cliches popular. The books were entertaining enough and Copper keeps the story moving, but there's still one problem: I've almost forgotten what happened in them.

Basil Copper also wrote some high-regarded horror stuff which I haven't read. He also wrote the Solar Pons stories after August Derleth died. I think I've read some of Derleth's Solar Pons stories, but none of the Copper ones.

The books in the picture above. The right one has the cover illo by Kari T. Leppänen, who's best known for his work in the Phantom magazine for the Swedish publisher. It's quite nicely done, but it's also pretty static for a hardboiled private eye novel.


Jerry House said...

I'm slowly working my way through the Mike Faraday books(there are more than fifty of them!). Great fun and completely different from Copper's horror and his Solar Pons stories.

jurinummelin said...

I'd be interested to know if the earlier ones are different from the later ones, i.e. are they better than the ones I read? Not to say they were bad.

Jerry House said...

They're not much different, Juri. I love the concept of a tough L.A. private eye written with British sensibilites (and spelling) and involving so many far-out capers.