Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Crime Novels

Continuing on my theme of crime novels, the first to really open a can of worms was "The Strange Affair" written by former cop Bernard Toms.  This was about a detective obsessed with putting away a notorious crime family, and his resorting to blackmail to enlist the help of a PC to help him frame them.  What was obvious was that it was based on notorious cop Harry Challenor and Toms used his knowledge to strip away the bullshit was common in police fiction.  They swore, they fitted up, they would do anything to get a conviction.  The book was released in 1967 and filmed a year later with Michael York and Jeremy Kemp.  The villains in this film broke new ground; they were nasty, they were involved in drugs, they killed, and there was no "Cor blimey guvnor!"

    An interesting novel from 1968 was Sitting Target, filmed in 1972 with Oliver Reed about a violent thug who breaks out of prison to kill his wife.  This villain had no qualms about raping and killing.  1968 also brought us "The Burden of Proof" by James Barlow, filmed in 1971 as "Villain" with Richard Burton.  Extreme violence, blackmail, armed robbery, murder!  Not a trace of "Cor blimey".  1970 saw the emergence of a book called "Jack`s Return Home" about a villain leaving London to go back up to the north of England to investigate his brothers` death.  He has run-ins with local villains plus the men he works for.  This resulted in the best British crime film of them all, "Get Carter" starring Michael Caine.  The bodies piled up as Carter kills anybody involved in his brothers` murder.  Women too.  Just goes to show that villains do not care about the "We do not harm women and children" bollocks they like to spout.

    A couple of novels came out along the lines of Newman by a man named Frank Cockain, The Inside out Man, about a tough convict blackmailed into becoming an informant & The Draughtsman, about a geek who turned out to be a brilliant planner of robberies.  Both featured a hard drinking, nasty cop called Jack Thrower.  When people complain about such depictions, I recall an article in the Daily Mirror in the late 70`s/early 80`s by journalist Bel Mooney who spoke of meeting a northern detective who was proud of his punch-ups and his payoffs  and said he would not think twice about beating up a young kid, just for the hell of it.  A really nice man!