Thursday, September 20, 2007

High-altitude weirdness...

...on my trip this week.

I always forget something when I pack, and this time it was reading material. I zipped into a bookstore at LAX and found a copy of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. With only a few moments left before boarding, I grabbed it and ran for the gate.

It seems strange to me that I've never read any of Hammett's books before. My loss. Though there is a definite 1920s feel to his writing style, he had character-defining skills few modern writers can match.

My first shock in the book is something those people who know the "real" me and have read the book can easily guess. They will also know why I don't write about it.

Otherwise, it was an enjoyable and can't-put-it-down read.

At least until I neared the end, and realized that Hammett had penned an eerily accurate portrait of someone I knew and, well, loved. Sometimes still do love.

If I should ever write about her again, I shall call her "Miss Wonderly" or "Brigid O'Shaughnessy." Even though the one I knew never, so far as I know, iced anyone in her life. Otherwise, they are incredibly similar.

At the end, which coincided with our "gradual descent into Los Angeles Airport," I discovered that Hammett, now long-gone, must have anticipated that I would read his book 78 years after it was first published.

That too, must remain a mystery.

Next, I'll track down a copy of The Thin Man. I don't expect to have it affect me so deeply in odd ways; though I love martinis, I am neither rich nor sophisticated. And I do not, alas, have a lovely wife/partner named Nora. Or named anything else, for that matter.


joan said...

I guess I haven't read it either since I have no idea what you are talking about. I do look forward to a good read on a trip though.

MrScribbler said...

Joan -- Even if you read the book (and you should), you might not understand what I'm nattering on about.

I like being cryptic sometimes. Wasn't "Cryptic" the name of Superboy's dog?