In my review of Sarah Stewart Taylor’s book Judgment of the Grave, in the post just preceding this one, I referred to it as noirish, but truth be told, the word surprised me when I wrote it. It came out naturally, but believe it or not, calling the book “noir” hadn’t occurred to me until that very moment.

   It’s really a detective story with darker than usual overtones, and it’s very possible that Ms. Taylor had nothing more than that on her mind when she wrote it. So I’ve been puzzling it over. Why did my subconscious take over like that?

   Is the book noir? Probably not, but I said in my original comments, with a slight but deliberate change of focus and intent, it could have been. (The marketing efforts were probably along the lines of it being an academic cosy.)

   But continuing in the direction I was thinking, since I mentioned a black-and-white film version, I’ve come up with a possible cast, if the movie were to have been made back in the 1950s:

      Sweeney St. George – Ruth Roman

      Tim Quinn – Dane Clark

      Ian (Sweeney’s friend in England) – Zachary Scott

      Beverly Churchill (the missing man’s wife) – Beverly Garland

      Cecily Whiting (mother of the boy with leukemia) – Mercedes McCambridge

      Bruce Whiting (divorced from Cecily) – Robert Ryan

      Lauren Whiting (Bruce’s new wife) – Gloria Grahame

      George Whiting (Bruce’s father) – James Whitmore

      Will Baker (local innkeeper) – Raymond Burr

   With a cast like that, there’d be no doubt. Not so?