The SFFaudio Podcast #696 – READALONG: The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #695 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Trent Reynolds talk about The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, paperback or hardcover?, it’s better if it is a paperback, not by Westlake, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block, while burgling, on the run, five pages before the end, what the mystery was and how all things came to be, a subgenre between Westlake and Block, little excerpts, a real book, Block introduced Jesse to Westlake, from reading a series, self-flagellation, a movie the very next year, a Frazetta cover, a pretty bad movie, an episode of The Monkees, sets in relief author choices, the jacket that goes missing, heroin, literal cash, a million dollars, a typical Hollywood move, a cargo ship filled with cash, massive stakes inflation, our hero is a murderer, grave-digging was one thing, a functionary of the institution, an apparatchik of the organization, he’s redeemed, he gets out, he goes to California, he abandons his month, tell us more about your mafia connections, heat of the moment self-defense vs. deliberate planned murder, Gravito, all fun mafia stuff, over his shoulder for the entire book, comedic, tightrope walk, a Westlakeian attitude, how he can get himself out of this lifestyle he’s in, Westlake’s view of the world is very funny, human absurdity, a caper, the big send off, definitely fun, as a person living in the world, reconcile, a lot of books like this, most of the [Richard] Stark books, Paul felt bad for him, framed for something he didn’t do, go get the world, we should have trouble, 20 years after The Sopranos, a very old book, kids have turned to glue, white slavery, prostitution, running girls, subverting the religion, the roads are bad, a Protestant a Catholic funeral, if it was a less naturally gifted writer, less absurd it would be more disturbing, heightened reality, the laws of physics still work in this place, he rolls out of a moving car, a missed opportunity, Westlake adaptations to film, The Stepfather (1987), The Grifters (1990), Jim Thompson, the novel medium, one little sequence, when he wakes up in the bed with the widow, dream sequence, a frame-shift, kneeling, this guy is really old, a young vigorous guy, the fish-eye, so talented, looking in a mirror, those details mark out Westlake, great language, this guy’s a killer, future comic novels, mildly funny, more sympathetic, robbing an orphanage, a conscious move, dead serious, the desperate circumstances, keystone cops, intrusive music in bad movies in the 1960s, CW shows, music over conversation, ruinous, a detective story, phone calls, inherent in the absurdity of the situation, in real life, a phone tag conversation, it’s one of those days, like candy, Westlake’s thoughts on society are all over the page, a few years ago, all the potholes are marked, New York City, all of these things feed into reflections, how city management could be done, corruption at the airport, hashmarks up and down his uniform, the yellow brick novel, Dancing Aztecs, what it all means, the title is kind of misleading, Weekend At Bernie’s, Weekend At Bernie’s II, every decision is bad, they make the jack brown in the movie, low rez, brown for shitty, a red herring, the title, we never see the body, somebody moved it at some point, Al Engel, Aloysius, Mr. Kan, a lot of widows (fake and real), The Busie Body, a 1709 play, Susanna Centlivre, the venice carnival, gigolo, all these people wanting to get with each other, everybody is in everybody’s bedroom, kinda similar, a French farce, I’m busy, nosing into other people’s business, an older meaning, nosy Parker, 17th century meaning, sexually active, she’s a busy body, a kissing book, Gentleman Prefer Blondes [subtitled: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady by Anita Loos], a new release on LibriVox, Marilyn Monroe, a musical, a flapper prostitute’s POV, super funny, a blank book, a funny cutesy attitude, super-naive, inference work, she’s a busybody, a lot of gentleman callers, one sex scene, this woman who keeps showing up, the list of suspects, who framed him?, he didn’t play fair, you don’t feel cheated though, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), I recognize you, dinner, very small payoffs, low stakes, the threat of California, Dolly, Brody who’s a body we never see, a light confection, a nephew novel, Somebody Owes Me Money, The Organization, yeaah, pushing towards, a replacement for government, it used to be there was always big hits all the time, now that things are organized, a warlord, turned into a bureaucracy, things settle down, the origins of government, before the progressive era in the United States, the mafia providing social welfare, why Sicily is important, when the cops won’t give satisfaction, the competition, the government has a monopoly on violence, coercion, threats, asking, and paying, a second government, Engle, he’s not a murderer he’s just a soldier, Secret Service, doing his duty, they are crime books, twisted, Callahan, bribed, lots of cops are on the take, Serpico and all these other stories, paying attention to tiny details, reading the paper and seeing how things actually work, we don’t need to know his service history, a very subtle take, the insurance angle didn’t come up until the end, the fake widow, this was just honest insurance fraud, Double Indemnity, Black Widow (1987), Debra Winger and Theresa Russell, the eraser, marrying her way to riches, the great personality, neo noir, she disappears from the bathroom, he’s a great card player, the book’s greatest weakness, the funeral parlor employee, suspicious as hell, in a more mature Westlake book, the reader expects a cutesy flirty relationship, the resume sticker, the romantic love interest was behind it all, too obvious, they’re going to hook up later, the restaurant that used to be a barn, wagonwheels on the wall, workmanlike, great scenes, the explanations, Dortmunder books, long for the content, like a ping pong ball bouncing around New York, he wasn’t really steering his ship, a lair, a manipulator, thin, The Producers, a blueprint for Dortumnder, driven by circumstances, Westlake calls the tune and the characters dance the jig, recurring motifs, government is incompetent and/or corrupt, Cops And Robbers, two cops decide to supplement their income, playing both sides, moral judgement, he’s a criminal!, profiting off of death and misery, making a mockery of religion and subverting good order, good gags out of the prostitution angle, the heroine character, she gets away with it, leaving the life of prostitution when she got married, run away, one of the best tricks in the novel, a lifestyle that’s somewhat voluntary, sexual rewarding, she writes a nice note, he’s a thinker, he isn’t just punching a clock here, Humans, a fireman at Chernobyl, what does it all mean, the early days of the web, please enter, “I believe my subject is bewilderment, but I could be wrong?”, isn’t it weird we live this way that we do?, this mob world is normal, aren’t you surprised?, a bizarre situation, there’s something wrong with the world, get back in the good books, be chairman himself!, get back to normal, a pretty happy ending, an exhausted guy gets out of the thing that exhausts him, the organization put him through the ringer, pursing the widow instead of Dolly, she’s got the money, get away to Hawaii, escape the system, parallel motivations, his face was disfigured, his head was burned off, does Engel have an angle, just a name, the Brody/body, what’s his angle?, sometimes Rose is a man, this Rose person, comedic, laughing out loud, almost productive in death as he was in life, 5 books since 2008, a manuscript for a Henry Winkler production, Call Me A Cab, Redbook, eBay, $1550, $79, Redbook is the woman’s magazine, Bluebook was a men’s magazine, Yellowbook, Australian Woman’s Weekly, in Westlake’s writing career, a break from Parker, Campus Lovers, Campus Lovers, The Man With The Getaway Face, you can imagine this book ending today (as a series), change the ending and give me one a year, like a shark, emotionless vs. driven by revenge, standalones, Castle In The Air, John Scalzi comes to mind, feature not bug, what does that do for the author?, flex some other muscles, designed not to be a series, the characters are exhausted, gone off with the widow, they’ve got the money, it’s the principal, smart, 6’1, his hair colour, he’s heterosexual, he has a mom, Grofield, full time actor, part time heister, this was a character that could work, a person to see the world through, he’s not like Parker, he’s not a turncoat, a lens through which they see the world, answering the phone: California, Westlakeian humour, subtle fun, maybe’s he’s going to be a milkman, Richard Pryor, charisma, Soylent Green (1973), it’s whats for dinner, standard in American crime fiction, all the institutions are corrupt from top to bottom, chess, locked room mysteries, the social aspects, Dashiell Hammett, everyone is dirty, notable, talking to booksellers, filed under mystery, Agatha Christie style, Mysterious press, these are crime books, classifying, where to put Two Much, to get it in the bookstore section, put a dragon on the cover it’s fantasy, put a gun on the cover: mystery, a spaceship = science fiction, a heaving bosom -> romance, always slotted in as a mystery writer, much more about crime, slices of life of people in the crime industry, quotidian, a bank job, always in the background, the reality, this is business, why are you so weird, thinking weird thoughts that come across as not weird, what his philosophy is or are, the robustness of the descriptions of things, what we call in fantasy “worldbuiklding”, the geography of New York, fabulous, mixing drinks, how much scotch does this guy drink?, it was the sixties and he was on the run, God Save The Mark, Oliver Wyman rage quit twitter, an excuse, The Spy In The Elevator, it would be crime not to do it, on the heels of it, 3 or 4 a year in early years, They Also Serve, Tomorrow’s Crimes, the Starship Hopeful series, Call Him Nemesis, a pulp hero kind of deal, this is a holdup, it was in IF.

Highbridge Audio - The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

The Busy Body (1967)

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 1 of 3

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 2 of 3

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 3 of 3

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Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

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