I normally don’t like mysteries. They don’t grab me.
For a period of time, I was thinking this was a sign of my superiority, but then I realized it’s more a sign that i’m bad at finding the clues. You know? I just never catch on to whodunit.
I read books for the pleasure of the journey, and I don’t want to know where it is going to end up. That is why I don’t like formulaic books at all.
UNLESS! they are done with style. Which brings me to my point:
Raymond Chandler. Wow and wow again.
I was reading White Oleander a while back, and it starts out by talking about the Santa Ana winds. I was telling Chris about it, and he immediately said, “that’s from Raymond Chandler.”
He’d mentioned Raymond Chandler to me, telling me I should read it. So now, he dug up a paperback of short stories and I read it, once I got through White Oleander.
I loved it for so many reasons. I don’t like formulaic stories, but some formulas are so true to life. Like, some people, especially people who are bent on doing the wrong thing, are so predictable.
Like the dispirited blonde lady cop who falls in love with a con and keeps on wanting to reform him. She may be more complicated than that, but while she’s on the reform path, that’s pretty much all she is.
During moments, people can be just the one thing, not full complex people. Chandler captures that so well. People makes types of themselves, narrow themselves down. I get the idea that the stories emerge from the character’s choices, not the manipulations of the author.
And he boiled it down to such lovely sentences.
Plus, now that I live in LA and work across the block from where he lived, I find glimpses of my city in his books. He practicaly gives driving directions to crime scenes. It’s a vieled realism that’s really exciting.