Friday, September 7, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #48 The Bloody Spur

"But when they should endure the bloody spur, 
They fall their crests, and, like deceitful jades, 
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on?"
~Julius Caesar Act IV; Scene 2

I love film noir and I love classic pulp fiction. There's just something about an underpaid under-appreciated guy looking for the truth, trench-coat flapping, cigarette burning. Cleaning my classroom this summer I found a bunch of old books and in that pile was this lovely book The Bloody Spur (1st edition, opposite of mint condition). I cataloged the book and looked to see if they had it on the Nook, as I knew I wanted to read it, but didn't want to hurt the spine or break the cover any more than it already was.

Just, so you know last month they began to offer this classic pulp novel as an ebook and it's only $.99. It's got a few typos, but still it's a fun read.

The story opens with the funeral of a prominent newspaper man. At the grave-site and across the way there's a procession for a murdered secretary, the second, they believe, in a row of ghastly murders committed by the same evil man.

And, like any good piece of pulp this book goes off on many devious and bawdy tangents. There are four men vying for the spot left vacant by the newsman's death. These men are sleeping with their secretaries, one hires his mistress to seduce and blackmail someone else, there's lying and thieving and conniving and in the middle of it all there's these grisly murders. Based on real life events:
In 1952, he wrote a successful book called the "Bloody Spur," which was based on the crimes of William Heirens, the "Lipstick Killer," who terrorized Chicago in the mid-1940s. Movie director Fritz Lang later made the book into a celebrated 1956 film noir called "While the City Sleeps," which was set in New York.
Now, I've got to just find that movie...although, I'm sure it's taken out all the juicy bits. 

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