TIMOTHY HARRIS – Good Night and Good-Bye. Delacorte, hardcover, 1979. Dell, paperback, 1980. TV movie: CBS, 1988, as Street of Dreams (with Ben Masters as “Kyd Thomas.”)

   A book more solidly “in the Raymond Chandler tradition” is hard to imagine. From the opening impact of the first page of Chapter One to the ending that comes as inevitably as the passage of time to its sadly depressing conclusion, there is not a single doubt that Timothy Harris has read, devoured, and assimilated the complete works of the master.

   This is not meant as disparagement. The tone and style are Chandler’s. The prose and dialogue are not, quite, but if they aren’t, they are Harris’s own, in a revised and updated typically Californian tale of modern morality.

   Private eye Thomas Kyd, like his Elizabethan namesake, may have a talent for melodrama, but he lives it as well, instead of just telling it. There is a girl named Laura, and it is she whom the story is about. She is a junkie, and a liar, and she is in trouble.

   She meets Kyd, who helps, but she marries a wealthy movie writer named Paul Sassari instead. He is murdered soon after. As she says, “People don’t get much out of knowing me.”

   Kyd is a master of lost causes, a Sir Galahad on horseback, a champion of ladies in distress, but, as he soon discovers, he is not truly a denizen of the fast, jet-paced world of drugs, easy money, and expensive women.

   On the other hand, since he is familiar with life in the shade of shabby sidewalks and sordid secrets, he almost makes out okay. Finer entertainment for the confirmed private eye aficionado is also hard to imagine.

Rating:   A

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 5, No. 3, May/June 1981 (very slightly revised).

Bio-Bibliographic Notes:   There was but one other book in the series: Kyd for Hire (Dell, paperback, 1978) but published earlier in the UK in hardcover as by Hyde Harris (Gollancz, 1977).

   The two other books by Harris included in Hubin are paperback novelizations of movies: Steelyard Blues (1972) and Heat Wave (1979). According to IMDb, Harris was also the screenwriter for ten films, including Trading Places and Kindergarten Cop.