Yesterday saw the re-release of one of my early novellas, Snowball in Hell. Snowball is set during Christmas in 1943. It’s a tense time in the City of
, and murder does nothing to help the holiday spirit. Angels
I’m a great fan of vintage mystery and so writing a story set in the 40s was a natural for me. It’s a time period I know fairly well, but even so the research was grueling -- all the same, I enjoyed working on this story intensely. I had that rare but wonderful feeling of sinking into a dream each time I returned to work on it. It was my own personal noir flick.
Anyway, the novella begins…
“Hell of a thing,” Jonesy said for the third time.
Matt agreed. It was a hell of a thing. He turned his gaze from the gaggle of reporters smoking and talking beside the grouping of snarling cement saber-toothed tigers, and returned his attention to the sticky, bedraggled corpse currently watching the birdie for the police photographer.
Whoever had dumped the dead man had counted on the body sinking in the black ooze of the
Pits, and in the heat of the summer when the tar heated up and softened…maybe. But it was December, a little more than a week before Christmas, and it had been raining steadily for two days. No chance in hell. The body had rested there, facedown in the rainwater hiding the treacherous crust of tar beneath, until the museum paleontologists excavating the site for fossils had made the grisly early-morning discovery. Brea
Not only does the novella have a new lease on life, I’m beginning work on the second book in what will be called the Doyle and
To celebrate the re-release of Snowball in Hell I thought I’d hold a little contest.
It’s very simple. Match the author to the correct first line(s) of an unnamed but classic vintage crime novel. I’ll pick randomly from the correct answers and select a winner, and if no one guesses correctly, I’ll just pick randomly from those who comment on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog.
The contest will end at tonight.
Oh! And what do you win? You win an Amazon gift certificate for a copy of Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller. An informative, entertaining, and accessible introduction to film noir.
So here are the first lines -- authors listed below.
1 - Frey shrugged his broad shoulders, gestured helplessly with spread hands, palms upturned.
2 - Mrs. McGillicuddy panted along the platform in the wake of the porter carrying her suitcase.
3 - I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on
Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me.
4 - “I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go,” said Holmes as we sat down together to breakfast one morning.
5 - It was about in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
A - Dashiell Hammett
B - Agatha Christie
C - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
D - Raoul Whitfield
E - Raymond Chandler
Answer in the comment section below -- and good luck!