Death Is a Lonely Business

Death Is a Lonely Business

by Ray Bradbury


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Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s.

Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend (away studying in Mexico), the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary effort—until strange things begin happening around him.

Starting with a series of peculiar phone calls, the writer then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. But as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents"—some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events, and in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380789658
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/1999
Series: Harper Perennial
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 271,120
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. An Emmy Award winner for his teleplay The Halloween Tree and an Academy Award nominee, he was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

August 22, 1920

Place of Birth:

Waukegan, Illinois


Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California

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Death Is a Lonely Business 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...lots of irritating typos. Otherwise it's Bradbury, so it's good.
DJ24 More than 1 year ago
Ray Bradbury's book was different than books I have read in the past. This book I feel was not very good. The book lacked a good plot and was quite boring. While reading the book, in order to really understand what happened your concentration needs to be complete and even then its hard to put the very weak and hidden clues together. The only bright part of the book for me was near the end where I thought I knew the killer but when the real killer was revealed it seemed rather dull and seperate from the book. Since the real killer seemed seperate the whole book felt wrong because I couldn't find any clues throughout pointing to that person. Although there is a bright spot towards the way it was written. As I read the book it had enough imagery to allow me to create an image and understand what was happening as the story went on. With all these parts missing or hidden i don't believe I will be picking up another Ray Bradbury book any time soon.
tymfos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
[Death is a Lonely Business] is Ray Bradbury's delightful foray into the realm of the mystery story.It was a dark and stormy night -- MY words, not his, he's much more creative than that! But in that classic atmosphere of mystery, in a lonely streetcar screeching around a curve, a sinister stranger whispers "Death . . . Death is a lonely business." When our protagonist stumbles upon a body -- in a most unusual resting place -- on his way home from the streetcar, we're off on the adventure.This strange, gentle mystery (populated with the kind of oddball characters that only Bradbury could conjure) is set in the strange environs of 1949 Venice, California, amidst abandoned canals and circus wagons, the constant thrum of oil rigs, and the tearing down of the old amusement pier -- and with it, the death of a way of life. Death seems to be all around, and it is, indeed, a lonely business.Throughout this marvelous little book, the reader can savor the luminous language, the amazing use of metaphor, which is Bradbury's hallmark.Highly recommended.
pretzelogic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Entertaining novel in the murder-mystery genre - the application of Bradbury's sometimes near-poetic style to the more hard-boiled subject matter was interesting, as was the unusual (for Bradbury) device of telling the story in the first-person, setting it in LA in the late 1940s. The protagonist is a very thinly-veiled version of Bradbury-as-a-struggling-young-writer himself...