Exciting news! I’ve updated the author and publication date lists (linked on the sidebar). I’ve also given the subsidiary lists a uniform appearance with entries separated by single spacing rather than the double spacing that Typepad assigns when the Enter key is used to separate paragraphs. Changing hundreds of HTML codes was just as much fun as I imagined. Anyway, I hope these changes make the blog more accessible.
So I thought it might be interesting to check out more of the short stories from pulp magazines. I’ve been through one whole issue of Saucy Movie Tales and the entire series of Domino Lady stories. But I was hoping for something more literary. Maybe the collections wouldn't rival those of Hammett (for example, The Continental Op, or The Big Knockover, to name a couple I've read) or Chandler (e.g., Trouble Is My Business, The Simple Art of Murder, Pickup on Noon Street) but at least they would be by authors appreciated (and reprinted) today. Many notable pulp fiction writers lived in Los Angeles, so I figured finding stories set in California wouldn’t be much of a problem. This small project got off to a good start with W. T. Ballard’s Hollywood Troubleshooter, a fairly entertaining collection of stories featuring a single character, Bill Lennox, and settings clearly in California. Next up was The Adventures of Max Latin by Norbert Davis, a prolific pulp writer who spent most of his career in Los Angeles. The quirky hero of these stories, Max Latin, is a private detective who works out of a sleazy restaurant. Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers assured me that the restaurant is in L. A. and the stories were like other Hollywood comedy thrillers (p. 78). So I confidently shelled out an unusually large amount of money for a recent paperback and looked forward to its arrival from an internet bookseller. The book showed up with no problem. I started in on the first story and was reading along happily until I realized something was missing. There was no mention (or even hint) of Los Angeles -- or of anyplace else, for that matter. The other stories were the same. I don’t know whether Davis routinely omitted geographical specifics from his short stories or whether he deliberately avoided them only for Latin’s adventures. Either way, I’m scratching Max Latin from my list of L. A. detectives. It’s possible, of course, that I’ve missed arcane associations known only to true Angelenos. If so, I’d love to know what they are.