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Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Long Saturday NIght by Charles Williams

I only picked up this paperback because of the publisher's logo - Gold Medal are famed for publishing hard boiled crime originals and most of the old paperbacks are highly sought after. I knew little about the author - Charles Williams seems to be one of those writers forgotten by all but a select few, and I was surprised to find when I Googled him that I had experienced his work before, or at least seen a film based on a book of his. 1989's  Dead Calm was actually based on a novel the author published in 1963. There have been other films based on the author's work but I'm not at all familiar with them.

Onto the Long Saturday Night - it's a fast moving crime novel in which a man. John Warren, is one the run because he is the prime suspect in the murder of both his wife and her lover. The novel is told in the first person with Warren being the narrator and it just zings along with each chapter serving up another clue among a catch of red herrings. In the end Warren teams up with his secretary and together they figure out who the real killer is but there is no way of proving it. That is until they come up with a plan that will involve Warren giving himself up to the police.

It all comes good in the end and there's even a happy ending - ah bless! The best thing about the book is the sheer readability - it grabs the reader from the first few pages and doesn't relax its hold until the very end.

I understand it Hard Case Crime brought one of the authors books back into print - Hard Case published A Touch of Death in 2006 - let's hope more come back into print since if the others are anywhere as good as The Long Saturday Night then these books are ripe for rediscovery.

UPDATE - Several people commented on this post and one comment in particular led me down a dark alley. And anyone wanting to learn more about Williams and other pulp writers may want to follow me. You see at the end of this dark alley shines an oasis of light known as the Amazon homepage (Yes I know big bad Amazon who are putting everyone else out of business. But love them or loathe them they seem to have everything and anything.) and from here you can check out a book titled - Paperback Confidential which was written by Brian Ritt.

I've not seen this book yet but it certainly looks interesting and I'm going to head up the Amazon and order immediately.

These are the authors who turned out the dark noirs and hardboiled thrillers, private detective puzzles and psychological suspense, police procedurals and backwood melodramas, stories of passion... and cold-blooded murder. 132 profiles of the men and women who wrote the books that became the backbone of the Pulp and Paperback Era from the 1930s through the 1960s. Here you will find information on the acknowledged masters like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich... the rack mainstays like Gil Brewer, Brett Halliday, Day Keene, and Charles Williams... and the unjustly forgotten like Malcolm Braly, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Ennis Willie and Douglas Sanderson. Each profile contains details about the author's life and explores key works, with special attention paid to series characters. Also covered are screenplay and teleplay work, as well as movies based on the authors' stories. Paperback Confidential also includes a handy PseudoDex with all the various names these authors wrote under, and a section for each author with further recommendations for the reader s consideration.


Unknown said...

Williams is a long-time favorite of mine. Stark House is bringing out a double book with two of his novels in it very soon, or it might be available already.

Rittster said...

Great review, and glad you liked the book. I recently wrote a book called Paperback Confidential, which has a 2-3 page biographical profile on Williams and selected reading list, as well as profiles on 130 or so similar hardboiled authors. If you're interested you can check it out here:

Brian Ritt

Fred Blosser said...

Truffaut made a 1983 movie from the novel, CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS (VIVEMENT DIMANCHE). Even Truffaut fans would probably concede that the book was better.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I've got another ten Williams paperbacks in my TBR pile and will be getting to them in time. Rittster - checking out the article and will link to it in the review.