Friday, January 16, 2009

Noir City Notes: Spoilage!


A few people have commented (both virtually and to-my-facially) about my propensity for violating one of the cardinal rules of the mystery genre: revealing the ending. As a long-time advocate of not matching wits with twits like Hercule Poirot, I personally am never bothered by knowing whodunnit beforehand. The joy should be as much in the journey as the destination. It takes more that a clever ending to redeem a crappy book.

Nonetheless, I am aware that there are some readers bothered by this sort of thing. Point well taken. Normally, I would refrain (and will) refrain from spilling the beans if there are worthwhile beans to spill. But this assumes that someone, after reading this blog, is actually going to go out and read one of these books. I am far more interested in writing about books that most people are never going to read, either due to an excess of common sense or a lack of rarefied access. Not telling how a book ends in the former case is pointless and in the latter assholish.

My Noir City project is a special case. I'm not so much writing about the books themselves but the books as source material for films. OK, maybe here or there I'm spoiling a nice little literary surprise, but for the most part I've been suffering so you won't yet will still being able to cluck to your friends as you walk out of the Castro, "The book had a much better ending." As anyone who's ever read a book and seen the movie knows, any relationship between what you read and what you see is almost coincidental.

Next up: "The Sweet Smell of Success."

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