Friday, October 22, 2004

A.A. Fair

I finished reading THE BIGGER THEY COME, the first Donald Lam/Bertha Cool book by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair. This is a very entertaining blend of tough guy banter and a plot so complex I'm still not sure if I followed all of it (common for me when reading a Gardner book). The edition I read was the sixth Pocket Books printing from 1963, and it smells great. I read somewhere years ago that decaying book paper gives off mold spores that are slightly hallucinogenic. I don't know if that's true or not, but I sure love the smell of old books. The first Pocket Books edition was in 1943. Just imagine how good it must smell by now, man. If the Hardcase Crime guys want to really recapture the feeling of that era, they've got to find some way to get rid of that new book smell.

On a slightly more serious note, I was sorry to see the Astros' season come to an end, but they had a good run. I don't have anything against the Cardinals, but I hope Boston wins the World Series.

Thanks to a tip from Bill Crider, I've added yet another blog to my list of regulars, Book Heaven, from Andy Jaysnovitch. In the late Seventies, Andy published a mystery fanzine called THE NOT SO PRIVATE EYE. I bought copies of it from him and that was my introduction to the world of mystery fandom, as well as to a couple of guys who are still my friends, Bill Crider and Joe Lansdale. They had letters published in the magazine, and I was thrilled to discover there were actually other people interested in the same stuff I was. Better yet, they were in Texas. Someday I need to dig out those old copies of TNSPE. I can't get to them easily, but I know where they are.

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