BILL PRONZINI – Gun in Cheek: A Study of Alternative Crime Fiction. Coward McCann & Geoghegan, 1982, hardcover, 1982. Trade paperback: Mysterious Press, 1987.


Introduction by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter)

“Without Malice, A Forethought” by Bill Pronzini

1. Wanna Woo-Woo?

    “Someone standing inside the body of the black cat would be able to fire a revolver through its mouth!”

2. The Eyes Have It

    “He was dead, all right. He had been shot, poisoned, stabbed, and strangled. Either somebody had really had it in for him or four people had killed him. Or else it was the cleverest suicide I’d ever heard of.”

3. Cheez It, the Cops!

    “Since when did you get around to using all those two-syllable words?”

4. The Saga of the Risen Phoenix

    “A sudden thought bounced her heart to her larynx.”

5. The Goonbarrow and Other Jolly Old Corpses

    “In plain English, Patterson,” said Pye, “nix on the gats!”

6. Dogs, Swine, Skunks, and Assorted Asses

    “And here I slave over a hot tommygun all day!”

7. C-H-I-N-K-S!

    “Think of it! A pretty girl to cuddle up to on cold nights and her shirt-tail to keep your feet warm. Bully, my boy, bully! Maybe a couple of little dingy-dingies coming along to call you ‘papa’.”

8. The Vanishing Cracksman, the Norman Conquest, and the Death Merchant

    “The vicissitudes of a capricious fate are indeed inconsistent and incommensurable!”

9. In the Name of God — WHOSE HAND?

    “Your toe went up the staircase?”

10. The Idiot Heroine in the Attic

    “In the warm glow of happiness that enveloped her, the caption on the billboard did not strike her as even faintly ominous. It said, “Fly Now Pay Later’.”

11. Don’t Tell Me You’ve Got a Heater in Your Girdle, Madam!

    “My jaw bounced off the back of my skull and I wallowed in the softness of a cloud. I groped around for my brain and after a couple of years it came back from San Francisco and said ‘Get up!'”

12. Ante-Bellem Days; or, “My Roscoe Sneezed: Ka-chee!”

    “Drop that corpse, you fool!”

Editorial Comment: Thanks to Mike Tooney for providing the quotes. We both believe that if you’ve read this post without cracking up out loud at least three times, you ought to see a doctor.