That last has a strong moral element, which I mention because I have just finished the most strongly, insistently and amusingly moral crime novel I can remember: Garbhan Downey's Running Mates.
Here's Tommy `Bowtie' McGinlay, a lawyer with chronic irritable bowel syndrome, on the novel's protagonist:
"As you and I are both aware, Stanley is a lifelong believer in the Fuck-up Factor. He knows that if you do something bad, you're going to get caught. No matter how clever you are or how many angles you close down, your inner idiot will always escape."And here's Stanley himself:
"If you only ever get to know one thing about me, Sonny, let it be this — I only ever take on one woman at a time. Two on the one page — no matter how far they are apart — is too much for me. I don't like being played for a sap, so I wouldn't do it to anyone else. But the bottom line is, if you do mess about, you always get caught."Have a character make such strong declarations, and you've created suspense and comedy, the delicious guessing as to just how the malefactors and other messers-about will get caught. It's no wonder that when Downey dropped a note to your humble blogkeeper last week, after reflecting on the ugliness he had seen as a reporter, he wrote: "Any wonder I packed in the day job and started writing comedy?" Not fiction, or comic crime, but comedy. Sounds to me as if Garbhan Downey has a definite world view.
And now, while you head to the library or the bookshop to look for Downey's books, I'll ask you to think about comedy in that sense: funny stories with a firmly moral basis in which order is restored, and characters good and bad get what they deserve. What are your favorite examples of this in crime fiction?
© Peter Rozovsky 2008