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The Crust on Its Uppers
     

The Crust on Its Uppers

by Derek Raymond
 

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Those who search for brilliantly written mystery novels exchange the same few names when they meet— names unknown (except for Chandler and Hammett) to general literary readers. If you’re one of those seekers you know Derek Raymond, author of bleak yet intriguing, compellingly narrated novels of murder in England. Raymond’s forgotten first novel,

Overview

Those who search for brilliantly written mystery novels exchange the same few names when they meet— names unknown (except for Chandler and Hammett) to general literary readers. If you’re one of those seekers you know Derek Raymond, author of bleak yet intriguing, compellingly narrated novels of murder in England. Raymond’s forgotten first novel, The Crust on Its Uppers is a great oddity.—Puncture

Derek Raymond was born in 1931. His novels include How the Dead Live, I Was Dora Suarez, and A State of Denmark, also published by Serpent’s Tail. Derek Raymond died in 1995.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This jittery novel, originally published in England in 1962 under the name Robin Cook ( I Was Dora Suarez ), shows some signs of age (particularly in its depiction of hardline Communists), but it retains the appeal of an old film noir--not of our time, but still interesting. Writing from a prison cell, the unnamed narrator reconstructs an account of upper-class British men turned crooked and an international scheme gone bad. The narrator's voice is so tinged with slang that it is sometimes incomprehensible, despite the inclusion of a glossary. Through all the talk of ``gaffs'' (apartments) and ``boilers'' (elderly wealthy women) the story slowly emerges. Despite his reservations, the narrator participated in a grand plan to import counterfeit money. He embellishes this skeletal tale with bits and pieces from his international past--including a stint involving stolen tape recorders in Spain--and wry observations about Britain's class system and relations between the sexes. While he has a ``boiler'' whom he visits to maintain his income, his true love interest is Christice, the daughter of a lord whom he feels he is fated to be with because ``certain ones simply have your number on them, like bombs in the war.'' (July)
Library Journal
The nameless narrator of this 1962 British crime novel, written by Robin Cook (not the same of medical mystery fame) and published here for the first time, scorns his privileged background and lives as a petty crook in swinging Sixties London. Suddenly offered a chance to bring off a big coup, he finds he's embroiled in dangerous dealings not only with the law but with East German Communists. He and his pals match wits and courage in a tense confrontation with greater powers than they know. In 1962, the heavy mix of hip, criminal, and cockney slang might have been colorful. Now it's dated and annoyingly inconvenient. Nor has the story worn well, crime having moved on--way on--from cheating at cards, popping ampules of amyl nitrate (``snap''), and passing counterfeit currency. It all seems quaint and precious. For nostalgia buffs only. A glossary is provided.-- Ann Donovan, St. Petersburg Junior Coll. Lib., Fla.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781852427351
Publisher:
Serpent's Tail Publishing Ltd
Publication date:
10/01/2000
Series:
A Five Star Title Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.50(d)

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Meet the Author

Derek Raymond was born Robin Cook in 1931. The son of a textile magnate, he dropped out of public school aged sixteen and spent much of his early career among criminals. The Factory series followed his early novels, The Crust on Its Uppers and A State of Denmark. He died in London in 1994.

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