Friday, July 18, 2008

Forgotten Books: RAFFERTY: WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME -- W. Glenn Duncan


I don't know much about W. Glenn Duncan except that he wrote a dandy private-eye series set in Dallas, Texas, while he was living in Australia.  The Rafferty books were published in the late 1980s by Gold Medal, and I think of them as throwbacks to the kind of p.i. books GM was doing in the '50s, except influenced as much by Robert B. Parker as by Spillane.



All the Rafferty books are entertaining.  I just picked this one because I ran across a copy the other day.  As you can see on the cover, Rafferty has a double caseload.  He's used as a pawn in a murder plot, and he's looking for the guy who tricked him.  At the same time, he's trying to help out a geezer who wants to keep some kids off his lawn.  Really.  (Okay, there's more to it than that, but I like the image.)  





Rafferty has an on-going relationship with a woman named Helen, who's much more interesting than, say, Susan Silverman.  He also has a psycho sidekick named Cowboy.  Even better, Cowboy has a psycho sidekick, his wife, Mimi, who stand about four feet tall.   Here's how Mimi's introduced on page 112:  





The 9mm Beretta she'd been concealing behind her hat went into a holster on her right hip. . . .





Mimi nodded and opened her jacket.  She had an Uzi slung under her right arm. . . .




Mimi giggled and scratched her forearms where the throwing knife sheaths chafed her skin.



You don't want to mess with Mimi.  But you do want to read these books, right?  I get the feeling that Harry Hunsicker's Lee Henry Oswald is Rafferty's direct descendant, though much more modern.  If you haven't read Hunsicker, try him, too.

7 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Always interesting when a writer sets their stories in another locale, isn't it. Like Elizabeth George or Peter Robinson. I would have loved to have experienced Robinson's Canada rather than Yorkshire again.

Anonymous said...

Great - now you made me go order a couple of Rafferty books. Really, though, they sound pretty good.

Jeff

Bill Crider said...

Patti, Duncan must have lived in Dallas at one time. He definitely knows the territory.

Jeff, the books are old-styled Gold Medal stuff. If you like them, you'll like Rafferty.

Kent said...

Thanks, Bill. I came across a couple of Rafferty books, but recently sold them to my local mystery store without reading them. Trying to keep my collection to a "manageable" size. This project of Patti's is creating problems.

bish8 said...

I have all of the Rafferty titles in my collection. I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff over the years, but the Rafferty books are a mainstay. I think they're terrific!

Glen said...

The Rafferty books are good, but definiely stuck in the 80's.

Bill Crider said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.