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RIP James Crumley

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Moderator1, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    One of the great writers I've had the pleasure of reading. I did a cut and paste on the following from an e-mail from Seattle Mystery Books (a place I visited during the outing in June):

    ‘When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.’

    That’s the opening line of James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss (Vintage, $12.95). It is often sited as one of the finest opening lines in modern mystery writing, if not of all time, in all of fiction, and the start of a modern masterpiece. Crumley died two days ago, on Sept. 17th in Missoula, MT.

    He was, like his characters, a hard-living human. He leaves us with a series of great books with private eyes C.W Sughrue and ‘Milo’ Milodragovitch [The Wrong Case is just as wonderful as The Last Good Kiss - same publisher and price – Case is the first with Milo and Kiss is the first with Sughrue]. Each had a couple of books to themselves and then, in later books, they joined forces in the same story.

    He was also the author of a notable Viet Nam novel, One to Count Cadence (Vintage, $14).

    Jim was born in Three Rivers, TX, on Oct. 12, 1939. He served in the army from 1958 – 61 and taught English at various colleges from Reed in Portland to Carnegie-Mellon. James Crumley was 68.
  2. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Wow, that's a bummer.

    One to Count Cadence was fantastic, as was Dancing Bear.

  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't read One to Count Cadence.
    Must go order now.
  4. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    A must-read if you liked his other stuff.

    The title, IIRC, comes from this:

    Fuck 'em all but nine;
    Six for pallbearers,
    Two for road guards,
    And one to count cadence.
  5. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    A great loss. Kit Rachlis, a former Boston Phoenix music editor, turned me on to Crumley. I owe him forever.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Pretty good obit from Crumley's hometown paper. Some good stories. His drinking buddy, Richard Hugo, has always been one of my favorites.

  7. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Thanks for posting that, DD. Good stuff.

    I pulled The Right Madness and One To Count Cadence down off the shelf last night and put them on my reading pile.
  8. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Might have to lift a peach schnapps tonight.

    Damn. RIP.
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