How do you like your crime fiction? Convulated IE Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep (I watched this movie again and I still am at somewhat of a loss? or easy on the brain yet still rousing IE James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window?
THE BIG SLEEP may be the all-time movie most in need of a remake. The Bogart-Bacall version is okay--Bogart's great as Marlowe--but the pornography angle to the story and the ambivalent ending couldn't get past the Hayes Office. The Robert Mitchum remake, set in London, is horrible. Someone could do a hell of a movie on THE BIG SLEEP as a period picture, keeping the original plot lines.
(I almost forgot, THE LONG GOOD-BYE needs a remake even more than TBS. Altman's abortion with Elloitt Gould did no one a service.)
Sorry, I'm ignoring your question, aren't I? I like my crime fiction with a heavy dose of realism, with writing that can make me believe what I'm reading is real. There should be some humor, but if it's going to be a comedy, it had better be damned funny, and the humor shouldn't feel inappropriate.
You're right about the Mitchum version. If only someone could make a move as true to the book as that, but as good as the Bogart version. You're also right about having to update it. leaving it in period would seem coy at this point. No reason it couldn't work, though. There are still things rich people would rather keep secret about their daughters.
Serious (I am not a fan of the "humorous" murder mystery, realistic (in setting & characterization) , cerebral (psychological suspense is more to my taste than "action," well-written, suspenseful. Suspense is what keeps this reader turning pages. I like a surprise or twist at the end---even if I can sort of guess what's coming, because that's quite satisfying in its own way) but I don't mind being kept guessing right up until the end.
Almost every mystery I've ever read that was made into a film was better as a book. Which isn't to say I don't enjoy a good suspense movie--it's just that the books are nearly always better . Right now I am reading some of Henning Mankell's Wallander mysteries, and although the TV series was OK---but the books are, to me, far more gripping. And yes, the plots can be complex, but because there's so much more detail, they are easier to follow than the film versions.
I'll eat my cake and have it too. Thank you very much. I like to sample everything from the buffet.
While my all-time favorite writer is Ross MacDonald, sometimes you want to read something a little less epic, a little less convoluted and soemthing that you don't have to draw a diagram to keep up with.
On the other side of things, I like the Parker novels. Parker is a single-minded character and you know exactly what you are going to get. Straight-forward. No nonsense. No angst. No inner conflict.
I also like my crime fiction with a light snack...like a steak or something.
I think you meant that Spenser ( sp ?) is the single-minded character; Parker was the author.
Spenser would have liked the steak too. Interesting how much talk of food there is in mystery fiction. Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta liked to relax after a day in the morgue by whipping up pasta or grilled pizza. She even has a cookbook!
I suppose that's a thread unto itself---mystery detectives and food. :) And they like their drink too.
Maybe a brings a bit of much-needed relief even to the grittiest novel. Or the author is getting hungry and "sublimating" by feeding his characters!