Monday, August 18, 2014

Bill Crider

Bill Crider is the winner of two Anthony Awards and an Edgar Award finalist. An English college professor for many years, he’s published more than seventy-five crime, Western, and horror novels, as well as a number of children’s books.

Crider's latest novel is Half in Love with Artful Death, the 21st Dan Rhodes Mystery.

Not so long ago I asked the author about what he was reading. Crider's reply:
At the moment I’m about halfway through The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marj Mills. Mills, a reporter, got to know Harper Lee and her sister, Alice, while working on a story for a Chicago newspaper. She and the sisters became friends, and Mills eventually moved to Monroeville, Alabama, and lived near them for a time. Her book tells as much about herself as it does them, as she learned a lot about life in the south and the people in small towns there. Before the book was even published, Lee disavowed it, claiming to be hurt and upset by its publication. Mills says that both Lee and her sister were aware that Mills was writing it and that they were her friends both during and after its composition. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting and engaging account, and while it doesn’t solve any mysteries or answer any big questions, it’s a charming look at the daily life of a revered author and the place she wrote about so well.

On an entirely different note, I just finished re-reading The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes. More than fifty years after its first publication, it’s a crime novel that’s as vivid and shocking as ever. It features Himes’ series characters Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, two Harlem cops who are dealing with the killing of a white man in Harlem. The furious action occupies only one night, but it covers a lot of ground. The story is grotesque, hilarious, and grotesquely hilarious. There’s satire, too, and it’s directed not just at social conditions but at just about everybody involved. Himes’ books in this series were relegated to paperback publication when they first appeared, but this one is now enshrined in an edition from the Library of America. Sometimes recognition comes along a little too late.
Visit Bill Crider's website and blog.

Learn about Crider's choice of actors to portray Dan Rhodes et al on the big screen.

The Page 69 Test: Half in Love with Artful Death.

--Marshal Zeringue