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Thurber on Crime Hardcover – November 1, 1991

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From Publishers Weekly

Crime seems as American as apple pie in this assemblage of Thurber's (1894-1961) stories, articles, essays and drawings. With cheerful equanimity he catalogues the horrible things that men and women do to each other in pieces on domestic strife, gangland rubouts, kidnapping, murder, robbery, smuggling, Prohibition, etc. Among the 36 selections, "The Catbird Seat," "The Lady on 142," fables about dogs and many other works will be familiar to Thurber enthusiasts, but five of the stories haven't appeared in any previous Thurber collection. He parodies spy novels; reads Macbeth as an Agatha Christie whodunit; and spins a Kafkaesque parable about a man who joins a secret organization, the purpose of which remains hidden from him. Thurber's crisp, non-sensationalistic crime reportage puts modern practitioners to shame. The delightfully unpredictable writing is enlivened by his jaunty cartoons. Mystery Guild selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892964502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892964505
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,069,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on January 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Thurber, best remembered today as the creator of Walter Mitty, is one of the group of staff writers who earned The New Yorker its reputation as the "greatest magazine in the world, perhaps the best that ever was," as the old commercial used to inform us. There were several different types of writers in that group, the infamously long essays were turned out by folks like Joseph Mitchell and Berton Roueche (my two favorites), while shorter pieces, drawings, poems, etc., were the province of Thurber, Robert Benchley, E. B. White and several other polymaths. Considering the range of his duties, that he was writing for a weekly magazine, and the length of his career (the pieces in this collection span a period from 1929 to 1961), you could probably fill numerous volumes with Thurber's work and indeed there are plenty of collections of his varied output available, many published during his life but many others posthumous.
Though he would not be considered a crime writer, this book happens to be organized around the topic of crime, and that serves to give it a thematic coherence that a random anthology would lack. Included are drawings, stories, and articles that cover a whole range of topics, fiction and nonfiction. Plenty of folks only look at the cartoons in The New Yorker, and if you enjoy that style of humor, you'll enjoy Thurber's drawings. His artwork borders on the amateurish--and since he eventually went blind, it got worse as he went along--but it's certainly distinctive.
Most all of the stories are written with the wry wit for which Thurber was best known--in his Introduction, Donald E. Westlake calls it "gentle comedy.
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