Another Lawrence Block novel, and several characters in it, bites the dust.
I like all of LB's books and "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes
" was among my favorites of his. This is the sixth in his Matthew Scudder series. He wrote 10 more after this one.
Scudder really hits the booze hard in this one. A funny piece of dialogue was when he and a friend, both heavy boozers, talk about how another friend is an alcoholic but they aren't.
A surprise in the book was the mention of Sioux Falls. Remember, Block is a New York guy. He's lived his life there, writes from there and most, if not all, of his books are set in NYC. So it was really odd when out of the blue, while describing the waitresses at one bar said: "Waitresses came and went. They got acting jobs or broke up with their boyfriends or got new boyfriends or moved to Los Angeles or went home to Sioux Falls or had a fight with the Dominican kid in the kitchen or got fired for stealing or quit or got pregnant."
Even more odd, this was written in 1986, before Sioux Falls was really on the map at all on the national scene, as far as I remember. So it's curious to me how he name-dropped Sioux Falls.
Oh well, we South Dakotans always seem to have a need for acknowledgement and this works. Mike Miller is from South Dakota! Tom Brokaw! I don't see a lot of other states that do this - this need for recognition - like "Hey, we exist!" But it is what it is, and Sioux Falls is in one of LB's novels. Cool.
UPDATE: So I moved on to LB's next book in the Scudder series "Out On the Cutting Edge." It's copyrighted three years later and, lo and behold, there's more references to South Dakota.
Scudder is on a case and looking for a woman and Block writes:
"Toward the end of July Hoeldtke and his wife and the youngest daughter gassed up one of the Subarus and took a trip, driving up into the Dakotas to spend a week riding horses at a ranch and seeing the Badlands and Mount Rushmore."
And later: "It was possible she'd tried to call while her parents were mounted on horses, or hiking along trails in Wind Cave National Park."
Now it doesn't seem likely that Block just picked up an Atlas and picked South Dakota out of the blue. My guess is he vacationed here in the early 1980s before he wrote and while he was writing "The Ginmill" book and it carried over into the "Edge" book.
My guess is the New Yorker was smitten by South Dakota, and why wouldn't he be?
By the way, both books were excellent and registered 8+ on the Haugenometer.