Monday, March 05, 2012

MCM

Welcome to Detectives Beyond Borders' 1,900th post. I celebrate the occasion with an homage to beauty. First up are two bits from Roger Smith's new novella, Ishmael Toffee, the title character freshly out of Cape Town's Pollsmoor Prison and surveying his new surroundings:
"When he leaves the shack in the morning the sea of rusted iron that is Tin Town sprawls out into so much space that it robs him of his breath and he almost runs back inside."
 and
"Distant Table Mountain and its cloth of cloud rises up clear and sharp over the endless shanties and box houses of the Cape Flats ..."
The Cape Flats, "apartheid's dumping ground," must be one of the most hellish places on Earth ("Smith's Cape Town slums are as grim as any steam-punk Victorian hell hole," I wrote after reading Wake Up Dead.) Yet the image of a sea of rusted iron sprawling "out into so much space" has a certain desolate beauty. One secret to good noir is keeping the beauty and the dread in perfect tension so the reader is attracted and repelled at the same time. Smith does it.
***
Vicki Hendricks' beauty is of a different kind: hot, steamy, sexy,  and doomed, what the movie Body Heat wishes it could have been on its best day. Everyone's headed downhill in Hendricks Edgar-shortlisted Cruel Poetry, but on their way, Hendricks gives them some lines as funny as Allan Guthrie's:
"He can’t imagine that a woman living at the Moons could write anything, but who knew? Maybe a female Charles Bukowski—frightening thought. He hopes she never asks him to look at her work."
and
"Despite the cold air conditioning of the office, he’s beginning to overheat. He scoots his chair closer to the desk to skim the last essay. He’d shuffled it to the end of the stack, in case he might die and never have to grade it."
© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Peter.

March 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies, didn't realize I was "anonymous" in my post saying thanks. Roger Smith.

March 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No trouble. This way I get two comments instead of one, and I keep the old traffic up. The world looks forward to Capture.

March 05, 2012  
Anonymous Liz said...

Wow. 1900. Congratulations. Looking forward to 2000 (but then my nieces and nephews assure me that I am still in the 19th Century).

March 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. We'll party like it's 1,999.

March 05, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

Congratulations, Peter. That's an impressive number.

And I must indeed get to Mr. Smith before too long.

March 05, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks. You know I endorse the suggestion that you get to Mr. Smith before long.

March 05, 2012  
Blogger May said...

Congrats, Peter.

March 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks!

March 06, 2012  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Well done you, Peter. You're one of the best, and I thank you for the great deal of pleasure your blog's given me.

March 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, thanks. It's been pleasure to have such sharp readers.

March 06, 2012  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Congrats, Peter! As I've said many times, your blog brought me back to crime fiction and I'm so glad I found i.

March 07, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Much obliged. I was greatly flattered when I read that DBB had brought you back to crime writing. I hope that entitles me to royalties.

March 07, 2012  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Your blog is unstoppable...

On further reflection about ghost estates in Ireland, it is a wide field, as the Germans would say.

I find little more to say about them than the numerous papers being published by public bodies and universities, not to mention the avalanche of metaphors in the print media.

March 09, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, just sit back and see where ghost estates lead the imaginations of all those fine Irish writers.

March 09, 2012  

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