this is the 175th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
We’ll Always Have Murder by Bill Crider, Ibooks 2003 hardcover – mystery novel featuring Humphrey Bogart and Terry Scott
“I was dreaming about something that involved me, Rita Hayworth and a tube of Burma Shave when the ringing phone jarred me awake.”
Terry Scott is a fixer for Warner Brothers Studios. When something potentially embarrassing or “difficult” for the studio or one of it’s stars needs to be quietly solved, Jack Warner calls Scott and Scott fixes things. He’s on retainer to the studio though that’s not enough to pay the rent so he’s also the head and sole employee of Scott Detective Agency with an office in L.A. “and not the best part of town at that”. He’s called to the studio and when he gets to Warner’s office, Humphrey Bogart is there. Seems Frank Burleson, a snoop for rival studio Superior Pictures, may be trying to blackmail Bogey. Warner wants it stopped. Bogey wants to help.
Scott and Bogart play off each other as they attempt to solve the case, they get along and enjoy giving each other the needle. Bogey is Scott’s entry to places he ordinarily couldn’t go and the two go to restaurants, clubs and movies studios, meeting some stars along the way (for example, breakfast at Romanov’s with Peter Lorre). There are some familiar plot elements to anyone who has read Chandler or seen the Warner Brothers films of the time; alcoholic has-been star, slick gangster club owner, drinking, shooting, it’s all here. When reading this I visualized the scenes in black and white. Very enjoyable. I’ve long hoped there would be more of these, but have so far been disappointed. I’m still hoping.
You can’t go wrong with a Bill Crider mystery!
Truer words were never… you know.
I liked this one a lot and was really hoping for a sequel, but sadly it never came.
Instead publishers want crap like GREY.
Great job, Bill.
Thanks for the review, Rick. I was ready to go with a sequel. What happened is that the publisher if iBooks was killed in an auto accident. Since this book was work for hire, I didn’t own the copyright. I don’t know who, if anyone, owns the rights now.
You ought to see if you can get those rights, maybe publish this as an ebook.
I meant to read this as soon as I got it. Sadly, it made its way down from atop the TBR pile to where it is now, sitting lonely on a shelf in my daughter’s room. I’ll go retrieve it now. Thanks for the reminder!
You’ll be glad you did, Steve. I liked it a lot.
That it is, Charles, that it is.
Read it, liked it, to quote incisive critic Mildred M. Jones.
A forgotten book? Bill Crider? The two don’t go together.
I know what you mean, but this one has slipped from the public’s eye for too long.