CHARLES ALVERSON, who died several days ago (January 19th), had a relatively minor career in the world of crime fiction, but his two books about San Francisco-based PI Joe Goodey struck me as being very done, both solidly in the Raymond Chandler tradition. After reading the two of them, I was constantly on the lookout for the third, but alas, it never turned out to be.

   Quoting from his first book (*), here’s the first paragraph:

   I was stretching a tall gin and tonic at Aldo’s, the only bar I knew that hadn’t yet torn up my tab, when I looked up and discovered that my elbow room to the west had been annexed by an elderly gentleman in a three-piece suit.

   And from the second:

   “Don’t mistake me for a moralist, Rachel.You know better. I’m just an ex-cop scuffling after enough money to stay alive and operating. If some justice gets done in the process, that’s fine. It makes the client feel better about paying.”

   According to Wikipedia, after deciding perhaps that mystery writing wasn’t going to pay the bills, Alverson Alverson was managing editor of the British environmentalist magazine Vole, financed by Terry Jones of Monty Python, and was co-screenwriter of Terry Gilliam’s film Jabberwocky, and was co-developer of the story and co-writer (uncredited) of the first draft of the screenplay that became Brazil (1985).

(*) This quote and the one following are included in Dick Lochte’s long essay on Joe Goodey you can find on the Thrilling Detective website.


        The Joe Goodey series —

Goodey’s Last Stand. Houghton Mifflin, 1975

Not Sleeping, Just Dead. Houghton Mifflin, 1977


    Plus one crime-related standalone novel:

Fighting Back. Bobbs Merrill, 1973