Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Category Archives: Noir

Today’s crime flash fiction

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A fixed, 100-word length is a challenge. This story arrived in my head almost fully formed, but when I’d written it, I knew it could have only one title.

 

‘B’ Movie Plot

 Dashing off the curb, the teenager ripped open the car door and jumped into the passenger seat. He aimed a small caliber semi-automatic at the driver.

Al Marino was unperturbed.  “Jacking cars, kid?  That’s no way to make a living.  Know who I am?  I could use someone like you.”

“Pull around the corner,” the young man said.

“Sure, kid.” Marino turned the luxury sedan and stopped.   “You’re making a mistake.”

“No mistake. I ain’t no ‘jacker. This is for my sister you got hooked on smack. Now she’s a ’ho’.”

Marino thought the kid wouldn’t shoot.

He was wrong.

Noir-street-scene

Only the orange hat can save his life

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Phantom Lady
Cornell Woolrich writing as William Irish
Introduction by Barry N. Malzberg
Centipede Press 2012
288 pages
Trade paper $18
Originally published in 1942

Hear the clock ticking? It’s counting down the minutes and seconds that Scott Henderson has to live. He’s accused of murdering his wife who, he admits to police, had refused to give him a divorce. But he didn’t kill her.

At least we don’t think he did, although his alibi is almost impossible to believe. He says he spent the evening with a lady he picked up in a bar. They attended a musical revue together, then parted after the show without ever exchanging names or personal information.Phantom-Lady-novel-cover

Fans of Cornell Woolrich will appreciate this new edition of Phantom Lady. It contains a unique, if rambling, reminiscence about the author by someone who was his agent a year before he died. It also includes color pictures of posters from the 1944 movie based on the novel and shots of various cover treatments of the book since its original release. This beautiful edition, on heavy stock, makes a great addition to your mystery library.

If you’ve just discovered Woolrich and are working your way through his substantial body of suspense work, Phantom Lady is not a bad place to start. Although it’s not my favorite Woolrich tale, it’s an edge-of-your-seat nail-biter until the end. But that was Woolrich’s MO for more than two dozen books. Continue Reading →

“Kiss Me Deadly,” a good, bad detective movie

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When you read the plot synopsis and cast list, Kiss me Deadly, adapted from a novel by Mickey Spillane, sounds like a run-of-the-mill detective movie: A private eye finds a lost girl along on a road at night. This film, however, is really more complex.

I rented it recently because I thought it would be filled with campy fun. Turns out, some people see this as a classic noir detective yarn that ranks with the best of the genre. Continue Reading →

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