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Alex Grant at ABC Books

"Skip" Mabee’s
1234 Granville Street -
Vancouver BC Tel: 604 682 3019

In the immediate wake of The Great War, British pulp fiction, begun by Sax Rohmer and Edgar Wallace, caught its second wind with the prolific output of the creator of The Saint, Leslie Charteris, the man who invented Lemmy Caution, Peter Cheyney and James Hadley Chase, the creator of countless tough-guys and femmes fatales, such as the CIA’s Mark Girland and private-eye Malloy the owner of Universal Services.

Since 1947 Vancouver has been the beneficiary of a cornucopia of second-hand paperbacks fiction - "Skip" Mabee’s ABC BOOK & COMIC EMPORIUM now located at 1234 Granville Street on the East side of our main drag, between Drake and Davie.
Skip a native Arizonan has ridden herd for fifteen years on a motley crew of expert bibliophiles- his staff and trainees at 1234.

In recent days the ABC EMPORIUM has received collection of novels by Charteris, Cheney and Chase. Recommended by authoritative guide-books to pulp fiction are two particular CHASE novels - from 1950 FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF and from 1966 YOU HAVE YOURSELF A DEAL.
This triumvirate of pulpmeisters made inroads over the decades into film. Chase’s notorious
NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH was filmed in 1971 by Robert Aldrich. EVE was filmed by Joseph Losey in 1962, with Jeanne Moreau and Stanley Baker. THE SAINT was filmed in 1997 the less said the better about that fiasco.

I just finished re-reading the two "classic" Chase books and his declaration that he always tried to pen a novel that respected the wishes of his wide readership for a ‘good read’ is fulfilled by both FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF and YOU HAVE YOURSELF A DEAL.


Born in June of 1938 U.S.crime novelist Lawrence Block has published more than 50 books since 1961. At any given time Block - who has won 4 "Shamus" awards from The Private Eye Writers of America, and 5 "Edgar" awards from The Mystery Writers of America - has juggled at least hree and sometimes four fiction ‘series’ at one and the same time with continuing characters such as "Evan Tanner" "Chip Harrison" "Paul Kavanagh" "Bernie Rhodenbarr" and his most popular creation "Matt Scudder".

The 15th Scudder novel HOPE TO DIE {2001} is currently in paperback. The 10th in this erstwhile series A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is to be filmed in January 2003 with Harrison Ford as "Matt Scudder" produced by Danny de Vito's Jersey Films and directed by Joe Carnahan whose first feature film NARC was produced by Tom Cruise. Scudder is a recovering alcoholic ex-cop turned ‘unofficial’ NYC private-eye whose partner is a professional call-girl.

In 1998 the prolific Mr.Block ,who has seldom failed to write a first-rate novel whatever the precise crime/mystery sub-genre – Tanner is a spy, Rhodenbarr a thief, Scudder a self-employed snoop and vigilante – introduced his most beguiling character John Paul Keller a ‘troubleshooter’ / ’expediter’ in HIT MAN, ten short stories concerned with the wise witty and wonderful misadventures of a miscreant J.P. ’Just Plain’ Keller a professional assassin and charming sociopathic monster. HIT MAN is also to be filmed in 2003 starring Jeff Bridges.

In 1967 Block’s early novel – he was 32 at the time – DEADLY HONEYMOON was filmed by British director Nicolas Roeg and thereby lies a tale.
Roeg was removed as director on this his first Hollywood film because the method he devised for killing off a Mafia Don was offensive to the M-G-M producers of this rape/revenge melodrama. In 1988 Roeg told me in person that the executives said they ‘couldn’t swallow’ the Mafioso death scene which involved him choking on a meal of fish…Block would adore such a tale…..

A huge selection of most of Lawrence Block’s 50 plus output is available at
THE ABC BOOK & COMIC EMPORIUM at 1234 Granville Street at the north end of the Granville Bridge - Vancouver BC
Tel: 604 682 3019
Come along to ABC Book Emporium and find your favourite books. They do not seem to be on-line.

© Alex Grant 2002

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