Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bury Me Deep by Harold Q. Masur

I bought this paperback because of the cover in 1984. Otto Penzler was the man behind the Quill Classic series. This is a reprint of the 1947 Scott Jordan adventure, the first of twelve. Scott Jordan is cut from the same cloth as Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. Connoisseurs of pulp fiction will love this one. Masur’s florid prose is every bit as enticing as the retro cover. “She was a leggy, bosomy number, flamboyantly constructed, with bright jonquil-yellow hair and a pearly skin that contrasted startlingly against the black underthings.” The plot nearly spirals out of control in the second chapter, but somehow (and skillfully) Masur brings it all together so that in the end it all makes sense. Bury Me Deep is tad wordy at times, overwrought, but undeniably fun. The often implausible and convoluted plot is redeemed by Masur’s clipped, hard-boiled prose. The dialogue is realistic and filled with enough 1940s attitude to make it a good piece for scholarly study. Remarkably, this is the only Scott Jordan adventure that I’ve read. Pulling this one off my bookcase reminds me that the golden age of pulps had many stars, and many of them are forgotten. But I have a feeling that over time we’ll see more of Masur’s books reprinted. Let’s hope this happens soon because Masur is worth a look.

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