In fact, if trouble is your business, murder is your meat or detectives are your duty, you picked a good time to drop in. On April 1st, 2019, we’re celebrating our twenty-first anniversary! Feel free to send us a birthday card — preferably with a few bucks in it.
But I digress…
As you’ve probably noticed, if you haven’t dropped by in a while, things are looking a tad different around here. That’s because I’m in the middle of moving the site from our old server and turning it into a WordPress site.
There are going to be a lot of growing pains, as I slowly revamp and transfer a cranky, temperamental twenty-one year old web site over here, but ultimately we’ll have a site that’s an even better and more useful resource for fans of fictional “private eyes and other tough guys and gals who make trouble their business — and not their hobby.”
I wasn’t kidding about it being a long, hard slog — I’m only about a sixth of the way through — but as I’m wending my way through, I’m becoming more and more intrigued by some of the possibilities, and I’ve been encouraged by some of your comments and feedback. Some of you have even sent me some beer money to keep me going… always appreciated.
Right now, there’s no real rhyme or reason as to what gets moved here, and when — it’s all pretty stream-of-consciousness, as I try to figure it all out. But don’t panic — we’ll get there. Likewise, don’t get your panties all twisted about us losing anything. We’re going to save it all. We’re simply tweaking and simplifying and updating it, moving things from one site to another. Yes, it’s taking a while, but it’s also sorta fun, as entries that haven’t been touched for years suddenly get tasered back to life, and decades-old typos and run-on sentences get slapped into submission (replaced, of course, by new typos and new run-on sentences).
One of the most exciting new features to the site will be the comments section — I’m hoping to hear from even more of you. Each post/page will have a comments section, and I hope you’ll take advantage, let me know how I’m doing, what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, and what you would like to see here.
ABOUT THE COVER
This issue’s “cover” is something of a double treat for me, bringing together two favourites of mine.
This issue’s cover was “borrowed” from a Mitchell Hooks painting for one of Peter Corris‘ books featuring his Australian private eye, Cliff Hardy, from back in the eighties when Fawcett Gold Medal was still publishing those books Stateside.
Both Mitchell Hooks and Peter Corris’s Cliff Hardy series are, as I said, just the best.
Sadly, Peter Corris passed away last year, but he left behind a huge pile of books and short stories, most featuring scrappy Everyman P.I. Hardy. If you’ve never read any of the Hardy books, and you claim to be a P.I. fan, quit wasting your time here and go find one NOW! And read it immediately!
Cliff’s one of the all-time great P.I.s, and it’s truly a crime that hardly anyone in North America seems to know him. He’s a shining example of the possibilities of the shamus game, and a perfect example for authors of how to be faithful to a genre’s roots and traditions while proudly instilling your own style into the mix. Rough and ready, casting a cold eye on the ever-evolving hometown of Sydney, Cliff’s the kind of eye you’d trust to have your back, or to have a few beers with. And yet, even as he remained a thoroughly modern and decent kinda bloke, he was also a throwback to an earlier, simpler time. Imagine a slightly shopworn Joe Mannixor Philip Marlowe driving a Falcon down under and you’ve got Cliff pegged.
Meanwhile, Mitchell Hooks is simply one of my favorite artists. His covers for Bantam’s late-seventies reissues of Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer novels acted as the visual counterpoint to my descent into literary obsession. Imagine my glee to discover years later that Hooks illustrated (in a completely different style) another of my favorite series, Corris’ Cliff Hardy. And as I dove deeper and deeper into the world of fictional private eyes and used bookstores, I discovered that over his long career, Hooks had painted paperback covers for, at one time or another, many of my other fave writers, including Fredric Brown, Michael Collins, Margaret Millar, William Campbell Gault, B.B. Johnson (the SuperSpade series), David Alexander, Henry Gregor Felsen, Erle Stanley Gardner, Bart Spicer, Chester Himes, John D. MacDonald, Michael Avallone, and Charles Williams. Don’t believe me? Check out any of the many Pinterest pages dedicated to Hooks’ work.
I could probably “borrow” a cover for this site every month and never run out.
Kevin Burton Smith