Tangled Web UK Review September 2000
The Big Fix by
pbk out October 00
This is a re-issue of a well known book which first appeared in 1973, a classic hard-boiled Californian private-eye yarn in the style of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, but more witty and droll.
It was filmed years ago, with Richard Dreyfus playing the main character Moses Wine, and this new edition has a pithy foreword by Dreyfusss, which shows that he would have made an equally good writer as he did an actor!
At the other end of the book, Roger Simon has an afterword about how it came to be written – almost by accident when he was virtually broke - and in between is the book itself!
Simon wrote seven Moses Wine mysteries, amongst a welter of film scripts, one of which was nominated for an Oscar. The Big Fix, the only one to be filmed, is another adventure of the seedy detective set in the early ‘seventies, but with strong nostalgic overtones of the 'sixties. Moses is visited by an old girl-friend whom he had last seen many years earlier, when making love in the back of a 1952 Chrysler hearse She has gone political and persuades him to help the campaign of a Democrat candidate in the Presidential Election, whose chances are threatened by the unwelcome help of a concealed extreme radical. Moses has to find the guy before he screws up the Senator’s chances.
As with most Californian adventures, there is much roaring up and down in beat-up cars and on Harley-Davisons, but the writing is a delight, much of it a Jewish-American style. There are couple of moderately naughty bits, but the genius is in the wit and repartee. If Damon Runyon had been from Los Angeles, he could have written some of the dialogue.
A smallish book, but a compelling read, which like some good (Moses) wine, seems to have improved even more over the past thirty years.
- Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)