How the Dead Live (Factory Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Can you murder for love?

In the third novel of Derek Raymond's acclaimed Factory Series, the nameless detective visits a decrepit country house to look into the case of a disappeared woman.

It is, as always for the Detective Sergeant, a deeply unsettling investigation of love and damnation. The woman's husband seems to love her entirely. And yet he seems reluctant to find ...
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How the Dead Live (Factory Series #3)

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Overview

Can you murder for love?

In the third novel of Derek Raymond's acclaimed Factory Series, the nameless detective visits a decrepit country house to look into the case of a disappeared woman.

It is, as always for the Detective Sergeant, a deeply unsettling investigation of love and damnation. The woman's husband seems to love her entirely. And yet he seems reluctant to find her, preferring to hide in a house that resembles the set of a horror film. Meanwhile other cops are getting in the way of the Sergeant and he's making new enemies on the force.

With growing desperation and his trademark sense of enraged compassion, the Sergeant fights to uncover a murderer not by following analytical procedure, but by doing the most idfficult thing of all: understanding why crimes are committed.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

First published in the U.K. in 1986, this powerful and mesmerizing novel should gain new U.S. fans for Raymond (1931-1994), known in Europe as one of the masters of British noir. The unnamed narrator, a dogged Scotland Yarder with a gift for antagonizing his superiors, travels to Wiltshire to resolve a bizarre missing-persons case. Though Marianne Mardy, a popular local figure, hasn't been seen for some time, her physician husband, William, hasn't reported her missing. The police are strangely uninterested in making any effort to locate the woman, and the narrator soon uncovers evidence of official corruption. After an initial interview with William, who lives a reclusive existence in a massive, crumbling mansion, the detective gets a glimmer of what really happened to Mrs. Mardy, only to find himself struggling to reconcile the truth with what his personal sense of justice requires. With spare, often lyrical prose, Raymond digs beneath society's civilized veneer to expose the inner rot. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
From British author Raymond (1931-94), the story of a nameless sergeant working for the Metropolitan Police's department of unexpected deaths who is sent to a country town to investigate the case of a missing woman. The sergeant is a man of philosophical bent, who has a passion for justice, though not necessarily the law, and little patience for orders that don't suit him. The missing person is Marianne Mardy, a popular, vocally talented Frenchwoman, wife of a struck-off physician. Her disappearance was ignored by the police until someone wrote to the Chief Constable. A confrontational visit to the local cop shop convinces the sergeant that there's more than one bent copper in a town that seems as dangerous and depressed as the worst of London's slums. Dr. Mardy's residence is a moldering mansion that only Poe could love. Certain that Marianne has died, the sergeant passes up the distraught doctor for less obvious suspects and what turn out to be myriad villainous schemes. Pitiless and not above using force, he methodically digs up the dirt, exposing a savage story of undying love and boundless greed. The third in Raymond's Factory series (The Devil's Home on Leave, 2007, etc.)-wonderfully wrought, violent and bleak, not for the faint of heart-plumbs the darkest depths of British noir.
From the Publisher
Praise for Derek Raymond's Factory Series

"More Chandleresque than Chandler... [Raymond] could write beautifully...and, more importantly, what he is writing about in this novel are nothing less than the important subjects any writer can deal with: mortality and death."
—from the Introduction by Will Self

"Unrelenting existentialist noir—as if the most brutal of crime fictions had been recast by Sartre, Camus, or Ionesco while retaining something of the intimate wise-guy tone of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett."
—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

"It’s one of the darkest and most surrealistically hard-boiled things I’ve ever read. The detective is at least as scary as the murderers he’s chasing."
—William Gibson, bestselling author of Neuromancer

"No one claiming interest in literature truly written from the edge of human experience, no one wondering at the limits of the crime novel and of literature itself, can overlook these extraordinary books."
—James Sallis, author of Drive

"The Factory novels are certainly the most viscerally imagined of their kind that I've ever read, or reread multiple times.  Derek Raymond wrote in a supposedly escapist genre in a manner that precluded any hope of escape."
—Scott Phillips, bestselling author of The Ice Harvest

"There remains no finer writing – crime or otherwise – about the state of Britain."
—David Peace, author of "The Red Riding Quartet."

"Carve Derek Raymond’s name into the literary pantheon. He is one of the rare authors who seek to understand evil, ferret out the darkness in human nature, and blast Noir fiction out of the genre ghetto and into Literature. His nameless detective's quest through the bleak streets gets under your skin. Amazing, painful and brilliant."
—Cara Black, bestselling author of Murder at the Lanterne Rouge

"I Was Dora Suarez blew me away - beyond hard boiled."
—Patton Oswalt

“A crackerjack of a crime novel, unafraid to face the reality of man’s and woman’s evil.”
Evening Standard

"The beautiful, ruthless simplicity of the Factory novels is that Raymond rewrites the basic ethos of the classic detective novel."
—Charles Taylor, The Nation

"A bizarre mixture of Chandleresque elegance... and naked brutality"
The Daily Telegraph

"I cannot think of another writer so obsessed with the skull beneath the skin."
The Times (London)

"Hellishly bleak and moving."
—New Statesman

“Powerful and mesmerizing.... With spare, often lyrical prose, Raymond digs beneath society’s civilized veneer...”
Publishers Weekly

The Barnes & Noble Review

Derek Raymond is the pen name of Robert "Robin" Cook (1931–93), who was born into the British upper class but chose to live among addicts, gangsters, killers, and coppers. Cook ran rackets for London's infamous Kray Gang and, as Raymond, earning the title Godfather of British Noir with his four Factory novels — republished in the United States by Melville House — crime fiction so dark that it remains viscerally shocking.

The 1970s/1980s London that Raymond conjures is dank and claustrophobic. His protagonist, a nameless Detective Sergeant, works in the Unexplained Deaths Department of the Metropolitan Police in a building known as the Factory, handling cases passed over by more ambitious detectives. "?I can get on with it, as a rule, almost entirely on my own," the Sergeant explains in The Devil's Home on Leave, "without a load of keen idiots tripping all over my feet." There is something of Bertie Wooster in that genteel sentence. But if Raymond recalls Wodehouse — in his laconic wit, his comic timing, and his nostalgia for a vanished Britain — it is Wodehouse in Hades. "?I stepped back with a last glance at his face," the Sergeant says of the mutilated corpse at the heart of He Died with His Eyes Open. "They had left some of it, I will say, whoever they were. It wasn't a strong face, but one that had seen everything and then not understood it until it was too late."

The opening scene of that novel contains elements that become familiar, but never stale, in subsequent novels: a filthy street, a destroyed corpse, a showdown between the beat cop who moves "with a controlled restlessness, cherishing his fists," and the sardonic, fearless Sergeant. Here, an audio diary kept by the victim leads the Sergeant into the man's past, where an erotic entanglement reveals the foul truth behind the killing. Lean and relentless, He Died with His Eyes Open is a moody sketch of a society in which the spirit of Dunkirk has been replaced by the doctrine of Margaret Thatcher.

The Devil's Home on Leave, arguably Raymond's most chilling novel, is an intimate study of McGruder, an ex-soldier turned psychopath. In one of several conversations during which McGruder describes his own exceptional nature, the Sergeant suddenly realizes "what hell it meant not only to be a killer, but a bore. You think nothing of taking life; but your own existence fascinates you?" The novel's tight plot hinges on espionage and is enriched, as always, by Raymond's incidental descriptions — of an April evening, for example, ("The weather had turned sick") or a pompous suspect ("...everything looked honest in that room except him.").

How the Dead Live takes the Sergeant into "what passed for rural Britain now," where the wife of an impoverished aristocrat has disappeared. As the novel develops from a curdled version of a country weekend mystery into a gothic nightmare, it takes us deeper into the Sergeant's desolate heart. "My conception of knowledge is grief and despair," he confesses, and we believe him. He loves his sweet sister, his incarcerated wife, and his dead child, and mourns his country. "The best went into the two wars and stayed there," an old soldier tells him. Only the dregs remain.

This theme, the fate of innocence in such a world, is monstrously portrayed in I Was Dora Suarez, the most complete distillation of Raymond's vision — more hallucination than fiction — which even the toughest readers may find unbearable.

Anna Mundow writes "The Interview" and the "Historical Novels" columns for The Boston Globe and is a contributor to The Irish Times.

Reviewer: Anna Mundow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612190150
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Series: Factory Series , #3
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 504,672
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Derek Raymond was the pseudonym of British writer Robert Cook, who was born in London in 1931. The son of a textile magnate, he dropped out of Eton and rejected a life of privilege for a life of adventure. He traveled the world, living in Paris at the Beat Hotel and on New York’s seedy Lower East Side, smuggled artworks into Amsterdam, and spent time in a Spanish prison for publicly making fun of Franco. Finally, he landed back in London, working in the lower echelons of the Kray Brothers’ crime syndicate laundering money, organizing illegal gambling, and setting up insurance scams. He eventually took to writing—first as a pornographer, but then as an increasingly serious novelist, writing about the desperate characters and experiences he’d known in London’s underground. His work culminated in the Factory novels, landmarks that have led many to consider  him the founding father of British noir. He died in London in 1993.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Factory Scotland Yard thriller

    He knows the brass hates him as he is a British bulldog with no regard to his superiors, procedure, or the media when it comes to solving a case or for that matter keeping apolitically correct silence when some Home Office idiotic suit lectures. His boss can¿t fire him because he is so successful, but tries to exile him whenever a remote area asks for help. --- Thus for opening his mouth during a mandatory class, this Scotland Yard detective finds himself leaving London for tiny Thornhill village in Wiltshire to investigate a missing-person. Apparently Marianne Mardy vanished her husband Dr. William Mardy has not reported her missing no one has. Since the local police suffer from duck disease up their arse, he is sent to rusticate make that investigate a possible murder so that his boss can have some needed R&R make that the gossipers can rest easy. In Thornhill, the outsider affirms the local police are uninterested in what happened to Marianne. As he keeps digging, he runs into corruption and soon begins to comprehend what happened to Mrs. Mardy when he learns HOW THE DEAD LIVE, but has problems with insuring justice not legal mumbo jumbo truly occurs. --- This is a reprint of the third Factory Scotland Yard thriller written by the late Derek Raymond (see HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN and THE DEVIL¿S HOME ON LEAVE neither read by me). Written two decades ago, the tale is a terrific British police procedural Noir narrated by the unnamed detective who is as excellent at solving cases as he is at annoying his boss. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this engaging one sitting detective tale that exposes the underbelly that society pretends does not exist. --- Harriet Klausner

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