Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Charles Williams (Again)

Because I'm doing that Gold Medal Corner article about Charles Williams for Steve Lewis' next Mystery*File, I've been re-reading some more of the books. The more I read, the more convinced I am that Williams was one of Gold Medal's best.

Nothing in her Way is about con games, and there are a couple of elaborate ones in the book, along with some minor ones. The way Williams handles these, and the way his plot keeps coming up with one suprise after another, shows you his technical mastery. And even though you might know how the story is going to end, you don't. Not really. Because another thing I've noticed about Williams is that he writes terrific endings. I'm not talking about the climactic events. I'm talking about the final sentences.

A Touch of Death is a noir thriller, one of those where a guy gets mixed up with a dame in a scheme to make some money. It seems simple at first, the way it always does, but then things start to get complicated. The narrator, Lee Scarborough, thinks he's ahead of the game all the way until the end, when he finds out that he didn't even know the rules. A devastating ending, almost as good as the one for River Girl.

If you're not acquainted with Charles Williams' books, you're really missing some great reading.

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

I hate you, I really do. Every time I read your blog, I end up going the abebooks or ebay and spending money...

Thanks to you, I now have a big stack of paperbacks... including Williams, Whittington and Jada Davis....crying out to be read as soon as I have some free time.