Wed 29 Apr 2009
DAVID ANTHONY - The Organization. Coward McCann, hardcover, 1970. Paperback reprint: Pocket, 1972.
David Anthony’s Stud Game (reviewed by Steve Lewis in the previous post) was nominated for an Edgar as best paperback mystery of 1978. The Organization is an earlier episode in the life of the same main character, professional gambler and part-time private eye Stanley Bass.
And it’s quite an episode. While reading it I was reminded very much of the 1950s paperbacks of Charles Williams, the ones in which a man becomes involved with a woman who in one way or another gets him into a situation from which there seems to be no escape.
I don’t make this comparison to Williams lightly, because I really admire his work. The ending, while perhaps not as ironic as those achieved by Williams, still leaves Bass with very little.
The story? A beautiful woman wants to kill Bass’s tennis friend, Jack Prince, a man with mob connections. Bass meets her and tries to dissuade her. He does so by coming up with a way to get Prince’s own bosses to do him in.
But things go awry and Bass finds himself hunted by both the police and the organization for a number of things which he didn’t do. But who did do them? The answer isn’t as easy as it first seems, and Bass has the devil of a time getting out of the mess he’s gotten into. How he does so makes a fine hardboiled tale.
Bibliographic data. [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin]
ANTHONY, DAVID. Pseudonym of William Dale Smith, 1929-1986.
The Midnight Lady and the Mourning Man. Bobbs-Merrill, hc, 1969; Warner, pb, 1973. [Morgan Butler] Film: Universal, 1974, as The Midnight Man.
The Organization. Coward McCann, hc, 1970; Pocket, pb, 1972. [Stanley Bass]
Blood on a Harvest Moon. Coward McCann, hc, 1972; no pb edition. [Morgan Butler]
Stud Game. Pocket Books, pbo, 1978 [Stanley Bass]
The Long Hard Cure. Collins, UK, hc, 1979 [Morgan Butler]