Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last Exhange with a Literary Lyon

Jeff Pierce of The Rap Sheet has posted two wonderful tributes for private eye writer Arthur Lyons, who died recently in his home in Palm Springs. In one, he provides an unpublished essay he wrote about Lyons in the early 80s.

In another, he reflects on Lyon's life and contributions to the PI genre, and describes the experience of doing an interview with him in November 1980. He also recounts how he and I came to contact Lyons as a result of research I was doing for a series of Rap Sheet articles about The New Black Mask.

Here's the e-mail I sent to Lyons on November 4 of last year:
Dear Mr. Lyons,

I'm a big fan of your Jacob Asch PI books. I'm writing a short article on THE NEW BLACK MASK, where your story "Trouble in Paradise" appeared. I wanted to give an update on what you are doing of late. I know that you host the annual Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. Would you be willing to share any other news?

Thank you very much in advance, and I just wanted to say again how much I admire your books. I've got most all of them in reach on my bookshelf as I write this.

best regards,

Mark
Here are the aforementioned books--reprint editions from Henry Holt published in the early 80s:


And here's the response I received back from Lyons on the 14th of the same month:
DEAR MARK:

WHILE MOST OF MY TIME IS CURRENTLY BEING TAKEN UP BY THE FESTIVAL, I'M ALSO IN THE MIDDLE OF A NEW DETECTIVE NOVEL WITH A NEW MAIN CHARACTER, AS WELL AS MAKING PLANS FOR A NEW BOOK ON FILM NOIR.

THANKS FOR THE INTEREST.

ART
It would be wonderful if someone would published the unfinished novel. Or, for that matter, step up to reprinting his series.

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