Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 20:42:35 UTC
146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
Blackmask is to be commended for republishing a lot of pulp era
fiction which has gone public domain. The downside is that apparently
they seek out a copy of the original, scan it and then OCR the
images. This causes a lot of typos; in this book, for instance,
the word "time" is almost always rendered as "tune", and sometimes
you have to figure out that "bun" means "him". Of course these are
all real words, so they are not caught by spellcheck..
That aside, this is an engaging little mystery, and perhaps the
Chicagoest book I have read. Brown gives you enough clues to figure
out more or less what's going on, but the real draw is the engaging
character of Sweeny.
One reviewer below called the book homophobic. I think that's an
overstatement. A book from 1949 is not going to have a modern view
of homosexuality, but the atitude is very "live and let live", and
Sweeny does come to respect the shop-keeper a bit.
Is it hard-boiled or an action thriller? Not really. Sweeney is
a man of culture as much as deeds, and is only really in danger
once, but Brown makes shoe-leather as interesting as shoot-outs.