Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: Chandler

Ross Macdonald taught us how to do it


Private investigator Lew Archer walks into the mob boss’s house. “It looked as if the decorator had been influenced by the Fun House at a carnival.” Then Archer says something to irritate the boss.

“His fresh skin turned a shade darker, but he held his anger. He had an actor’s dignity, controlled by some idea of his own importance. His face and body had an evil swollen look as if they had grown stout on rotten meat.”

These are the words of Ross Macdonald from his Lew Archer series, “the finest series of detective Ross-Macdonald---Way-Peoplenovels ever written by an American,” according to William Goldman in The New York Times Book Review.

I’m a Ross Macdonald beginner, having only read a sampling of his work—and I’m hooked. It’s easy to rave about his exquisite way with words. He pounded a typewriter the way Heifetz played the violin, Reggie Jackson swung a bat. He belongs in the company with the best American detective writers, and some would say, with the best American writers period. Continue Reading →

Short mystery story writers quiz – part 1

          “Cops, Crooks & Other Stories” contains flash fiction mysteries, certainly not the first time whodunit writers have reduced the genre to a few pages (or a few words).   In fact, many of the most well-known mystery novelists also published also short stories–some short-short stories.  (Which begs the question, are they short mystery stories or mystery short stories or maybe short story mysteries?)  In any event, here (and in the next installment) is a quiz about writers of short mystery fiction.   It’s not too easy.  Answers next time.


1.  Known more for mystery novels than short stories, this prolific author wrote hundreds of short stories.  Only Shakespeare’s works have been published more than this author’s.  A mystery play by this author has been running continuously in London since 1952.

a. P.D. James

b. Agatha Christie

c. Josephine Tey

d. Ellery Queen


2.  Many of this author’s 200 short stories featured a detective who was a parish priest .

a. G. K. Chesterton

b. Mary Higgins Clark

c. Dorothy L. Sayers

d. Donald Westlake


3.  Also an attorney, this British author wrote about a curmudgeonly barrister with a taste for wine.   More than a dozen short story collections featuring this character are in print.

a.  Colin Dexter

b.  Earl Stanley Gardner

c.  John Mortimer

d.  Lawrence Sanders


4.  Although this author is known for novels, First Blood and Brotherhood of the Rose, his/her suspense short stories include Dead Image and Black Evening.

a. T.  Jefferson  Parker

b.  Robert B. Parker

c.  Charlotte MacLeod

d.  David Morrell


5.  Awards presented by the Mystery Writers of America bear this short story writer’s first name.

a.  Arthur Conan Doyle

b.  Agatha Christie

c.  Raymond Chandler

d.  Edgar Allen Poe

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