Title: The Fabulous Clipjoint
Author: Fredric Brown
Pages : 168
Rating: 3.5 of 5
I needed a break from philosophical C. S. Lewis reading so I grabbed something from my go-to escapist genre: mystery/crime from the 1920’s-50’s.
There was nothing fancy about this book; no snappy dialogue like Hammett or Chandler and no steadily building dread like Goodis or Woolrich. However, it had a decent plot with some good twists and turns. The story follows 18-year-old Ed Hunter as he and his Uncle Ambrose (a carnie) try to track down his father’s killer in Chicago. The tale features the usual noir fiction assortment of drunks, gangsters, crooked cops, and a femme fatale or two. I guessed whodunnit pretty early on, but there were enough red herrings and obscure motives that I didn’t get bored with it. There is also the added interest of this being something of a “coming of age tale” for Ed. I was a little disappointed that the carnie angle didn’t play into the story as much as I’d hoped, but I guess you can only fit so much into 168 pages. Overall: exactly the kind of escapist read I was hoping for.