Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Further Adventures of Chance Purdue

Following up on yesterday's Forgotten Books review of The DADA Caper, here are two more visits with Chance Purdue:

From The Reggis Arms Caper (1979):

___Brandy plucked at the tiny blue tufts on the bedspread.
___She said impossible.
___She said just impossible.
___She said men have never meant a blessed thing to me.
___She said a few have been so-so in bed and it stops right there.
___She said I wouldn’t give you a plugged peso for a wagonload of the bastards.
___She said they’re lazy and stupid and hopelessly incompetent.
___She said they’re everything I can’t possibly use and I have to go and fall in love with one.
___She said it just makes me sick.
___I shrugged.
___I said don’t feel bad Brandy it’s probably just a mistake.
___Brandy’s eyes flashed nasty little sparks.
___She said mistake?
___She said mistake hell.
___She said the first time you blundered in here you were six feet tall.
___She said now you look like a fugitive from Mt. Rushmore.
___She said you have a golden halo twice the size of a mill wheel.
___She said the goddam thing just hangs there and shines in my eyes.
___She said I get a great big thrill just watching you scratch your ass.
___She said when you touch me I light up like a goddam carnival and when you aren’t near me I wish to Christ I was dead and buried.
___She said does that sound like a mistake to you?

From The Radish River Caper (1981):

___Suicide Lewisite sat in gloomy silence.
___I said so what’s on your mind?
___I said you didn’t come all the way from Radish River just to step on my toe.
___Suicide Lewisite said no I’m here to hire you to investigate the Radish River Possumcats.
___He said we’ll pretend you’re some kind of sports reporter and by associating with my players you may be able to find out what the trouble is.
___I said I already know what the trouble is.
___I said you got no offense.
___I said you also got no defense.
___Suicide Lewisite said yes but there must be a reason for this.
___He said if it’s dissension I got to know about it.
___He said this team isn’t as bad as it looks and right now I’m angling for the one player who could turn it all around.
___He said if I get him we still got a shot at the bacon and I might not commit suicide as soon as expected.
___I said if he’s that good why isn’t he in the National Football League?
___Suicide Lewisite said well I understand that he’s just a bit on the eccentric side.
___He said can you be in Radish River by Saturday?
___I said hell I can be in New Zealand by Saturday.


Deka Black said...

Thinking of it... This way of writing a entire book, Is not tiring to read?

Cullen Gallagher said...

I dropped by my local mystery bookstore and asked about these books yesterday. The owner was a big fan, but sadly didn't have any in stock. She also recommended "Kirby's Last Circus." Have you read that one?

Walker Martin said...

I read a couple of novels starring Chance Perdue back in the early 1980's and found his style to be at first interesting but then tiring. For instance the examples that you quote overuse the "he said", "she said", "I said", to such an extent that I can't read the novels. The gimmick dated very fast for me. However, I see other readers like the style.

Charles Gramlich said...

Now that you've posted again, I think i HAVE seen one of these somewhere. I'm trying to remember. I know I don't have one though.

Richard R. said...

the more I read the less I like.

I guess he thought he was being creative.

Or cute.

Or maybe he was just a crappy writer.

Evan Lewis said...

I found The DADA Caper refreshing, even exhilarating, to read after a long string of more conventional fiction. I would probably tire of it I read another book right away, so I'll likely wait at least a couple of months before I try another.

Haven't read Kirby's Last Circus or any other Spencer books, but I plan to give one a try.

Yeah, the he saids and she saids are repetitive, but they develop a sort of rhythm and there always seems to be a punch line coming to break the pattern and make me smile.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the one line style turn you off Spencer. He used this style only with Chance Purdue. I felt the style helped his "one liner" jokes and increased the feel of action as the reader read faster and faster through the book.

I understand many readers prefer their mysteries serious, but as someone who enjoys humor in my fiction I feel Ross H. Spencer filled an important role in the PI genre.

It has been awhile since I read "Kirby's Last Circus" so let me quote the blurbs on the paperback edition.

Meet the private eye who makes Fletch look smooth...Birch Kirby.

"Ross Spencer is wild, shrewd, mad, and unexpectedly funny." - New York Times Book Review

"Spencer delivers!" - Booklist

"Delightful...every line Ross Spencer writes is funny." - Library Journal

Quoting from the back cover:
"He's bumbling, boozing, and broke...

Meet Birch Kirby, a down-on-his-luck Chicago P.I. with a love of fourth-rate gin mills and fifth-rate floozies.

But the CIA has noticed Kirby. They like his style. Nobody can be that inept, and they need someone with imagination.

So for fifteen hundred dollars Kirby finds himself in the backwater town of Grizzly Gulch, bumbling his way undercover as the bullpen catcher for the No Sox-keeping one eye out for the KGB and the other for the eighty-year-old nymphomaniacal No Sox owner.

Saving the world from ultimate catastrophe is new territory for a six-for-a-dollar divorce gumshoe. But like P.T. Barnum said...there's a sucker born every minute."