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The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin

The Eighth Circle (1960)

by Stanley Ellin

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853141,824 (3.58)3



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Showing 2 of 2
Another private eye story, but with a refreshing twist -- this one is quite successful. No sleazy office with a bottle of drugstore rye in the drawer for him! Engaged to clear the name of a policeman suspected of corruption, the protagonist (just as in Room to Swing, but with a difference) learns as much about himself as he does about the mystery. Ellin was a master crime writer and this is an excellent book. It's also enjoyable for its portrait of NYC in the fifties.The private eye subgenre is not my favorite, but I enjoyed this one -- Stanley Ellin really was a master craftsman. I enjoyed having a private eye who wasn't operating out of a seedy third-floor back office, but instead had a prospering agency with
many employees. The plot was twisty enough for any reasonable person (I was surprised, anyway) and the flavor of the setting, New York in the
1950s, was well-conveyed, even to the point of having Dylan Thomas make a cameo appearance under a thinly-disguised alias. Even the minor
characters were exceptionally well-drawn. This book certainly was deserving of the honor. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
I only heard about Stanley Ellin when I read the 100 Best Crime & Mystery Books and he had 2 listed. This is not one of them, but I am very impressed with the depth of Ellin's writing and his characters. They constantly surprised me with insights into their own lives and motives. And this could be considered just a mystery novel, but what a novel! Without giving much of the plot away, Murray Kirk is an investigator who runs his own agency, one which he inherited from the former owner by being a good employee and in sympathy with him. All the earmarks of a film noir type of story are there, but it is told with the psychological insight that keeps the reader interested. I wish I had more of Stanley Ellin's books, but I will keep an eye out for them, they are worth reading. ( )
2 vote jotoyo | Nov 29, 2011 |
Showing 2 of 2
Murray Kirk has worked his way to the top of a New York firm of private investigators, and found on the way that the life of a P.I. has little in common with the sleazy and sometimes violent depictions portrayed in films and on television. It seems that his is mostly a desk job, with others employed to do the leg work, but even then it rarely amounts to more than the routine checking of records. In the private investigation business it is information which matters - finding it, collating it, holding it and protecting it, and risks are to be mitigated rather than embraced. It is the filing cabinet rather than the gun which underpins success. Continued
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