Terrible Too much alcohol and pretentious descriptions The characters are utterly unbelievable and the plot gothic If you like Block s Scudder or Lowry s Volcano you d like this.For myself, it ll be a long while before I ll try Latimer again. I didn t like this very much The two previous Bill Crane mysteries I read were OK 3 stars but this one seems to accentuate the things I didn t like in the other stories The writing seems padded, as if Latimer was getting paid by the word and wanted to include as many as possible The wisecracking banter between Crane and O Malley feel flat most of the time The excessive use of alcohol didn t give the humorous titillation that you got from Nick Nora over imbibing The plot was complicated I didn t like this very much The two previous Bill Crane mysteries I read were OK 3 stars but this one seems to accentuate the things I didn t like in the other stories The writing seems padded, as if Latimer was getting paid by the word and wanted to include as many as possible The wisecracking banter between Crane and O Malley feel flat most of the time The excessive use of alcohol didn t give the humorous titillation that you got from Nick Nora over imbibing The plot was complicated and developed too slowly through the first 3 4 of the book although it did pick up a little at the end The writing was overly descriptive and I started to get tired of hearing the details about the furniture, the closthes especially the women s and even the food they ate Chandler could do this well but Latimer is obviously no Chandler The characters weren t that interesting including the exotic Imago Crane and O Malley were even less interesting that in entries 2 and 3 Crane dawdles along without accomplishing much and then makes great leaps of intuition at the end to wrap up the mystery I was tempted several times to just give up and move on to a Craig Rice or Day Keene novel I have waiting on my Kindle The Essex estate was a perfect setting too nice to clutter up with a corpse But over it brooded an air of terror that even the Florida sunshine couldn t clear away Overall, one of Latimer s best a highly soused, comedic romp through Key Largo as Crane and Doc Williams team up onceto get madly drunk and only kind of solve the mystery of a kidnapped girl and the 50,000 ransom note This is definitely the bridge between Latimer s screwball mysteries epitomized by The Lady in the Morgue and the amoral and decadent existentialism of Solomon s Vineyard Here is a highly evocative passage that captures William Crane s detachedness from the case, somethi Overall, one of Latimer s best a highly soused, comedic romp through Key Largo as Crane and Doc Williams team up onceto get madly drunk and only kind of solve the mystery of a kidnapped girl and the 50,000 ransom note This is definitely the bridge between Latimer s screwball mysteries epitomized by The Lady in the Morgue and the amoral and decadent existentialism of Solomon s Vineyard Here is a highly evocative passage that captures William Crane s detachedness from the case, something completely atypical for detectives of the time He thought about Camelia Essex It was a hell of a note, but what could you do If you were too smart the kidnaper sic would become frightened and kill the girl It didn t make much difference to him, as the penalty for kidnaping sic and murder is the same Crane s cynical worldview is perhaps matched only by the characters in Paul Cain s Fast One or any of the stories in his Seven Slayers, particularly Black in which a detective like figure gets involved in a intra gang war and plays both ends against the middle But what distinguishes Latimer is his sense of humor Crane awakens not only to find a corpse in his room, but also that the murderer stole his trousers as well but the desire for an all consuming pleasure achieved primarily through drinking double triple scotches that takes the place of most detective s moral center Whereas Marlowe wants to be chivalrous, Crane wants to get drunk Spade s actions are dictated by a code that says one must avenge his partner s death, while Crane went where the booze was He always preferred to pursue his occupation as a detective in luxurious surroundings among rich, congenial people One of the troubles with crime was its prevalence among criminals, sums up Crane s detective ethics pretty good a bit similar to Murder In The Madhouse unfortunately the murderer was all too obvious shame. The Dead don t care, and neither do I. Jonathan Latimer managed to do something unusual and wonderful he made hard boiled mysteries that were funny Not dry and witty like John Dickson Carr and Hammet in the Thin Man series, but rather bawdy and loopy and sometimes laugh out loud funny Murder In The Madhouse, Solomon s Vineyard, and The Dead Don t Care are three of his best.Latimer s characters occasionally refer to booze as panther spit If you think that s funny, you ll probably like Latimer. Jonathan Latimer is a cut below Hammett, but one of the greatest of the hard boiled writers of the 1930s His detectives would always rather drink and chase women than work, which always seemed a bitrealistic to me than Chandler s Marlowe with his solitary habits Headed for a Hearse is better than Latimer s supposed classic, Solomon s Vineyard, and rivals Paul Cain s A Fast One for sheer punch. The 4th or 5th entry in Jonathan Latimer s alcoholic detective Bill Crane series.This is the 4th Jonathan Latimer novel I ve read and it s every bit as great as the other novels.If you haven t read anything by Jonathan Latimer you re only hurting yourself. AVOID the NoExit Press reprint of THE DEAD DON T CARE Whoever was responsible for publishing this edition removed key scenes, edited out all references to lesbianism, and even changed Crane s sidekick O Malley s name I couldn t believe it I checked the NoExit Press version of HALO FOR SATAN against the original, and there were no changes made.