A very lengthy meeting and a hundred miles of driving yesterday and yet another Steering Group [rearranging the chairs on the Titanic] meeting next Thursday so I am a bit shredded at the moment. Many of the characters at these meetings could easily feature in a Jo Nesbo or Andrea Camilleri novel.
I thought I had finished with committee meetings where people [who could sell Talmuds in Teheran] talk for two hours and nothing is decided years ago when I retired. But it was a good interlude to get me thinking again about the next two categories in my Dartmoor Dozen.
I read The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler many years ago but dipping into the book again I think it was ahead of its time  because it seems to me to be more about the characters and society than about the plot. Chandler's writing is masterly as he mixes violence and humour with a subtle touch.
Here he describes the lot of a P.I.:
'Sometimes you get beaten up or shot or tossed into the jailhouse. Once in a while you get dead. Every other month you decide to give it up and find some sensible occupation while you can still walk without shaking your head. Then the door buzzer rings and you open the inner door to the waiting room and there stands a new face with a new problem, a new load of grief, and a small piece of money.'
What clinched this choice for me is Chandler's classification of blondes ending with this passage:
'And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d'Antibes, an Alfa Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shop worn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent -mindedness of an elderly duke saying good night to his butler.'
5] THE POLICE PROCEDURAL:
My choice is The Locked Room by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo and I have written previously about this brilliant book here.
This is a police procedural, a locked room mystery and with the antics of Bulldozer Olsson and his robbery squad almost a comic and crime caper novel all in one.
There was an abundance of both men's fingerprints and traces of Mauritzon's right thumb and forefinger had even been found on one of the jam jars.
"You realize what that means?" Bulldozer Olsson said inquisitorially.
"Yes," said Gunvald Larsson. "That he's circumstantially linked to a jar of whortleberry jam."
[to be continued]