Friday, October 20, 2017

FFB: A Twofer from Stark House: The Body Looks Familiar & The Late Mrs. Five -- Richard Wormser

As a fan of Richard  Wormser's work, I was honored to write the introduction to this Stark House twofer.  I don't want to say much about the plots or the books or how I got my hands on one of them, since that's what I cover in the introduction.  But I'll say a little to give you a hint of why you should read them.

I won't go so far as to say that the plot of The Body Looks Familiar is unique, but I'll bet you haven't read anything like it in years, if ever.  And it raises the question in my mind about whether a book can be noir and not noir at the same time.  That question isn't answered in the intro, by the way.  You'll have to read the book and decide for yourself.  The book was a Dell First Edition, although it originally appeared in condensed form in Cosmopolitan.

The Late Mrs. Five was a Gold Medal novel, and it's a nice little man-on-the-run story, set apart from many others of its type by it's setting, a very small town where there aren't many places for a man on the run to run or to hide.  There are some mighty big coincidences in this one, but that just made the book more fun for me.

Stark House is doing a fine job of bringing forgotten writers back into print.  This one will be available in January, but you can preorder it now so you won't forget.

7 comments:

George said...

I'm reading this STARK HOUSE omnibus edition now. I really like Richard Wormser's work! And, I really like your INTRODUCTION!

Mathew Paust said...

Thanks for introducing me to Wormser. I'll keep an eye peeled for this one.

Don Coffin said...

I love the title of what appears to be his autobiography:
"How to Become a Complete Nonentity: a Memoir"

Bill Crider said...

It's an interesting but very short book that doesn't cover nearly enough.

Todd Mason said...

A name like Wormser is perhaps a bad start in an Anglophone country, and Dick might not improve things. He's another I first read in a "Hitchcock" anthology, I'm pretty sure, and will be reading this soon...having already read the fine Intro...

Richard Moore said...

I've long been a fan of Richard E. Wormser--both his pulp work as well as his later stories and novels--mystery as well as westerns.

His cookbook--SOUTHWEST COOKERY, OR, AT HOME ON THE RANGE (Doubleday 1969)--is another favorite of mine. His recipes and background to them are quite good. His two inflexible rules for Chili: a) do not allow a greasy film on top and b) never, ever use hamburger. I have yet to try Cabrito Asado (Roast Kid) but hope to one day. I will, however, skip Cabezita (Little Head).

I agree with Bill that his autobiography published after his death is too short but am grateful for what we have. Among the highlights are stories from his Hollywood years, especially at Republic.

And, FWIW, I very much enjoyed Richard L. Wormser's (best known as a documentarian) HOBOES: WANDERING IN AMERICA 1870-1940 (1994) a book on one of my favorite subjects.

Richard Moore said...
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