"You want to solve a crime, Granville? Why don't you go arrest your tailor?"
THOMAS KYD is a Los Angeles P.I. of "high principles and low assets" who appeared in two very good private eye novels in the seventies.
When we first meet him, in the aptly titled Kyd for Hire (1978), he's a haunted Vietnam vet and young widower, a fallen liberal, and a guy just trying to hold on, summing it all up in a fashion that may seem familiar to anyone who's ever read Chandler's The Long Goodbye:
At one point, Harris, who never made any secret of his ambitions to follow in Chandler's footsteps, was being bandied about in the same breath as contemporaries like Greenleaf and Estleman. And damn if he didn't show plenty of promise.His second novel, Goodnight and Good-bye (1979), is especially recommended.
But he seems to have gotten lost somewhere down the line, and instead went into film. He also wrote novelizations of films such as Steelyard Blues , American Gigalo and Heat Wave. The latter's of particular interest, because it's a pretty decent P.I. story itself, although it doesn't really have a P.I. in it. The original screenplay was by Herschel Weingrod, who became a screenwriting collaborator with Harris.
Their joint efforts have produced Cheaper To Keep Her, a P.I. flick starring Mac Davis as Bill Dekker; Trading Places, the 1983 Eddie Murphy-Dan Ackrod comedy; Pure Luck, a 1991 American remake starring Martin Short and Danny Glover of a French screwball farce that starred Gerard Depardieu as a Parisian P.I., and Street of Dreams, a 1988 TV movie based on the two Kyd novels, starring Ben Masters as the battered gumshoe.
On his own, Harris has also written the screenplays Space Jam (1996), Kindergarten Cop (1990), My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), Twins (1988) and Brewster's Millions (1985).
And then, amazingly, in 2004, twenrty-five years after Goodnight and Goodbye, Thomas Kyd made his return in Unfaithful Servant. He's now a recovering alcoholic, but he's still the same old Kyd.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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