Monday, August 4, 2014

Vintage Monday: Dark and Rainy

Hollywood at night 1950s

As a writer you'll be scoffed at if you if your plot relies even on a single coincidence. But coincidences happen.

We've been having unpleasant weather here in L.A. recently--hot and muggy. Then it started to rain. In August. It never rains in the summer in southern California. Our window for precipitation is roughly October-March.

It was drizzling when I drove over to the used bookstore to search for books on cocktails and bar tending for my next project. While there I checked the mystery paperback section for Ross Macdonald books I don't have yet. I found one: The Far Side of the Dollar.

MacDonald wrote my favorite type of mystery, hardboiled detective novels from the fifties to the seventies. The filmic equivalent of this genre is Film Noir. They won the name both for content and their dark visuals. It's ironic that the biggest names in the hardboiled genre--MacDonald, Dashiel Hammet, Raymond Chandler--set their stories in perpetually sunny Southern California.

At the bookstore I pulled The Far Side of the Dollar off the shelf, opened it, and read the first line:

It was August, and it shouldn't have been raining.

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