Friday, October 30, 2015

FFB: This Gun for Gloria -- Bernard Mara (Brian Moore)

Best known now as a writer of literary fiction, Brian Moore wrote paperback originals for both Dell (as Michael Bryan) and Gold Medal (as Bernard Mara).  Back on 2007 Patti Abbott sent me a copy of Mara's A Bullet for My Lady, which I reported on here.  I thought it might be time to read another of Mara's books, and this is the one I grabbed off the shelf.

Mitch Cannon, and up-and-coming reporter in the U.S. falls for the wrong woman, and things go downhill.  So he leaves the country, and now he's in Paris, living the freelancer's life.  He's not doing well.  He's just about flat broke and doesn't know how he's going to get any money.  Sure enough, into his grubby little apartment comes Dorothy Gaye, an obviously wealthy woman who wants Cannon to find her daughter, Gloria, who's gone missing in Paris.  Cannon would like the money, but he's not a detective.  He turns down the offer.  However, Mrs. Gaye leaves behind a pile of money.  Mitch decides that he can use the money to get to Berlin and find a big story.  All he has to do is find Gloria first.

It's not easy.  Gloria's been hanging out with the wrong crowd, which is good for the reader if not for Cannon.  In the two books I've read by Mara, local color is what he does best.  I have a feeling that this book gives as good a picture of certain parts of Paris in the '50s as just about any other.  The disaffected youth, the jazz clubs, the drug culture, the crooked cops -- it's all there and all vividly realized.

The plot is very complicated, and naturally there's romance in the offing for Cannon, as there often is in Gold Medal novels.  The writing is a lot better than the plotting.   As to what the title and the cover of the book have to do with the contents, your guess is as good as mine.  There's no relationship that I can determine.  But who cares?  This Gun for Gloria moves fast and entertains.  It's not Gold Medal fiction at its best, but it's still good enough.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Sounds worth reading for the Paris stuff alone, which sounds reminiscent of PARIS BLUES with Paul Newman. I've read books by Moore but not any he wrote under other names.


George said...

Brian Moore is an underrated writer. I've enjoyed all the books I've read under his own name or his pseudonyms.

Brian Busby said...

I liked This Gun for Gloria, Bill, but like you wondered about the title. After all, neither of the two guns mentioned in the novel belong to the hero. As I remember it, there's a gunshot, but no real damage. They're really used to intimidate and pistol whip.

I wonder whether the title was Gold Medal's? Moore's last paperback original, Murder in Majorca, features no murder. The title was Dell's. Moore wanted to call it Free Ride Home.

Unknown said...

This is nothing but a guess, but I think the title was GM's. It wounds like a GM title, even if has nothing to do with the book. It doesn't even make any sense.