Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

By my bedside, a coverless 1972 Ballantine edition paperback of Raymond Chandler's short story collection, Trouble Is My Business.

In the book's "Introduction", the former Depression-era oil executive tells us that it is "the smell of fear," not "violence," "originality of plot or character," or "fine writing" that makes the stories found in detective magazines from the late twenties and early thirties so "powerful."

(Something about the smell of old paperbacks, how they return me to my teenage years, when fear and being afraid were as different from each other as rain and sleet.)

What did Chandler learn about fear as an oil company executive? Surely he was aware of what the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was up to in Iran back then, the tactics they employed. 

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