Ed Clive
Created by Leigh Brackett (1915-1978)

"She was wearing a white raincoat with the hood thrown back. There were raindrops caught in her soft black hair, but the drops in her thick lashes never came out of a Los Angeles sky. Her arms went around him, tight. He kissed her. 'Hello, tramp.' "

EDMOND CLIVE's your classic, wounded-romantic Chandleresque private eye. Wearing his world-weary heart on his sleeve, with a soft spot for the underdog, Ed stalks the same mean streets of Los Angeles as Marlowe, although he seems to be doing a bit better than ol' Phil, at least financially. He has a partner and a secretary, and even a headline or two, after he cracks a case in San Francisco. He can quote Shakespeare, and take a beating.

Ed's one and only appearance was in Leigh Brackett's very first novel, the quietly evocative No Good From a Corpse (1944) was "so Chandleresque in style and approach it might have been written by Chandler himself," according to Bill Pronzini, in Hardboiled. The book so impressed film director Howard Hawks that he hired Brackett (without ever meeting her) to co-write the screenplay of the adaptation of Chandler's The Big Sleep with William Faulkner and Jules Furthman. Imagine Hawks' surprise when he discovered Leigh was a woman!

Brackett went on to work on several more projects for Hawks,as well as other directors, and adapted another Chandler Marlowe novel, The Long Goodbye, for Robert Altman in 1973. Brackett also co-wrote the screenplay for the second (and best, IMHO) Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back. As well as her her film work, Brackett enjoyed success in several genres: westerns (she won a 1963 Spur Award for Best Western Novel for Follow the Free Wind), science fiction (Brackett is best known for her numerous sci-fi novels and short stories) and, of course, the crime genre. Pronzini considers Brackett "one of the top hardboiled writers of all time."

File Brackett alongside Howard Browne (Paul Pine) and Delores Hitchens (Jim Sader) as one of the relatively few contemporary disciples of Chandler who managed to write stories that can stand proudly alongside those of the master himself.

UNDER OATH

  • "If all you know about Leigh Brackett is that she wrote the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back (which is dedicated to her memory), then this beautiful volume from the press of publishing wizard Dennis McMillan will come as a grand surprise. Between elegant bookend tributes by Ray Bradbury (an early friend) and Michael Connelly (a more recent pupil), McMillan has collected Brackett's only full-length crime novel -- the piquant quote above comes from the first page -- plus a short novel, a couple of novellas and several short stories. Singly and together, they prove that Brackett was the queen of noir -- perhaps even the king."
    -- Dick Adler,
    CrimeWatch

NOVEL

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Original cover scan courtesy of Facsimile Dust Jackets.


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