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Depeschen aus der Abteilung Files from the morgue

Essay: The rise and rise of Florida crime fiction
»L.A. noir spoke to those far from California because readers recognized the hidden truth that the web of American corruption implicated everyone. All the great scandals of American life from the Second World War through Watergate involved some acknowledgment that sordid actuality and the shiny official imagery were, so to speak, scenes from one movie. Florida-glare novels speak to us because we see our current condition in the way that violence rises out of nowhere and is barely noticed.«
— Adam Gopnik

Bloodlines of genre fiction Adam Gopnik about the history of Florida crime fiction. His essay In the Back Cabana, first published in June 2013, is now available online at The New Yorker.

»Since Chandler is so famous, you can find criticism of his work. I haven’t found much criticism of Thomas; people say that he is great and underrated and leave it at that. Probably his place in 20-century literature is reasonably secure but it would be nice to get him a little more respect. It doesn’t matter that Thomas doesn’t always provide a satisfying dénouement. He provides voice, subtle perception, history, and a passionate but cynical love of politics unrivaled by any other author in the genre.«

Ethan Iverson

In remembrance of Ross Thomas: Ethan Iverson about the writer Ross Thomas, who died 18 years ago. His essay Ah, Treachery! at his blog Do The Math.

»This year [2009] marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of V. C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic, the best-selling novel about incest, imprisoned children, and very, very bad parenting. Andrews went on to write six more books, each one beloved by millions of readers, mostly young women, and each a play on the same themes that made Flowers wonderful and unique: lust, violence, and pain. For two generations now, a private ritual of female adolescence has been reading Andrews’s spine-creased paper-backs, often passed down from an older, wiser girl with the whispered promise of secret knowledge hidden between the covers.«

Sara Gran and Megan Abbott

Files from the morgue: Sara Gran and Megan Abbott’s essay about Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews, Dark Family, is now available to read in full online at The Believer.

»Lefty Gomez said his secret was »Clean living, and a fast outfield.« Mine is something like that.«

Elmore Leonard

Jon Wiener met Elmore Leonard, who died on August 20 at age 87, a couple of times. In 2000 Mr. Wiener spoke with Mr. Leonard, after he had just published Pagan Babies, a comic novel on the unlikely subject of genocide in Rwanda. Read the interview at The Los Angeles Review of Books.