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LB gets to run his mouth…

I say yes to quit a few interviews, but some of them work out better than others. The quality of the questions is a big factor, and I suspect my own mood at the time makes a difference as well. The stars were in alignment when Peter Mann and Joel Meadows interviewed me for Tripwire; with their permission I’m republishing the interview in full here on my website: A Suspenseful Life: Interview with Lawrence Block Lawrence Block is the grand master of crime, mystery and suspense novels. He has written over 100 novels and scores of short stories. He has a career that stretches back over half a century. Tripwire sent Peter Mann and Joel Meadows to interview the man himself, to find out what makes him tick TW: In the mid-1970s you published two novels Make Out With Murder (a.k.a. The Five Little Rich Girls) (1974), The Topless Tulip Caper (1975) that repurposed your earlier hero Chip Harrison into the sidekick of Leo Haig, a fat detective who raises tropical fish instead of orchids in his Manhattan brownstone. Haig, who seems to be a pastiche of Nero Wolfe, resurfaced in As Dark as Christmas Gets, a short story in the late 1990s. I assume from this that you are an admirer of the late Rex Stout? LAWRENCE BLOCK: Yes, very much so. It’s a conceit of Haig’s that Wolfe really exists, and that Rex Stout, which would translate as “corpulent king”, is a rather transparent pseudonym. Make Out With Murder was dedicated “to Rex Stout, whoever he may be,” if I remember correctly. His biographer, John McAleer, told... read more

How to Enjoy July

How to Enjoy July… Not difficult at all, really. All I have to do is take a minute to recall how long it took summer to get here and it’s no great trick to rejoice in its presence. But this past week has given me more to be happy about than warm weather. This past weekend of fireworks included several sparkling reviews, and it would take a far more modest soul than I to keep them to myself. First, the Washington Post. Here’s what Michael Dirda had to say about The Crime of Our Lives: “Lawrence Block, the multi­talented grand master of the mystery, here collects his essays on Fredric Brown, Raymond Chandler, Evan Hunter, Ross Thomas, Donald E. Westlake and more than a dozen other crime-writing mentors, friends and admired contemporaries. Since Block possesses an almost preternaturally engaging voice on the page, these pieces make for ideal hammock or beach-blanket reading.” And Sarah Weinman at The Crime Lady: “That I’m recommending this book should not surprise, because here, as in so much of his work, is this innate engaging quality that all born storytellers have…My fake quibble is I wish Block had written about Lawrence Blochman because it would have amused me. My half-quibble is that I wish he’d written more on female writers, especially as his Mary Higgins Clark piece was very good. My real quibble is it wasn’t long enough. Which of course, is no quibble at all.” And Terry Zobeck, posting in an online newsgroup: “…It was especially interesting for me to read Larry’s thoughts on Hammett and Chandler, two of my all time favorite... read more

The Crime Lady on TCOOL

Sarah Weinman had some lovely things to say about THE CRIME OF OUR LIVES in The Crime Lady. That I’m recommending this book should not surprise, because here, as in so much of his work, is this innate engaging quality that all born storytellers have. But it is another in my “nerd book” recommendations because the pleasure is in spending time, by proxy, with the writers Block admires, envies (Evan Hunter for both), dishes dirt on (no wonder the daughter of Al Nussbaum, a larger-than-life figure who can never be written up enough, took issue with Block’s piece on him, though I agree he should have written that portion), or wishes he had known what really made them tick (Charles Willeford). My fake quibble is I wish Block had written about Lawrence Blochman because it would have amused me. My half-quibble is that I wish he’d written more on female writers, especially as his Mary Higgins Clark piece was very good. My real quibble is it wasn’t long enough. Which of course, is no quibble at all. Click here to read the full... read more