Thursday, September 12, 2013

I got an idea

I'm this-close to finishing the latest mystery and, as usual, instead of slamming to the finish line, I'm finding things to distract me. My latest shiny toy involves the idea for a new story. It all started with my favorite movie, The Big Sleep.

I wrote about it on my own blog and several people told me they'd never seen the movie. Please don't tell me you've never seen the movie. It is an essential member of the noir movie club, a movie that every mystery lover must see. Honestly, if you haven't seen this movie, I'm taking away your Mystery Lovers License. If there is such a thing.

First of all, look at this trailer.

I mean, they reference the book, AND the author, before they start mentioning the stars. Okay, so the movie veers a little from the book, but as an author, wouldn't you just die if Denzel Washington or (picture your favorite star) pulled your book off the shelves, showed it to the screen and told everyone in the theater what a fine author you were and how happy he was to star in the movie adaptation?

Yeah, I could point my boots skyward after that, too.

So, go watch the movie, then come back. It's probably on Netflix, or Amazon Prime to watch on your Fire. It's from 1946, so it's probably free. I'll wait...

*humming Jeopardy song*

Now that you're back, let's talk about the plot. It's so convoluted, I barely know where to begin. Phillip Marlowe, a P.I. who is never referred to by his first name by anyone, is hired by a wealthy old man to pay off someone who is blackmailing his youngest daughter, Carmen. Immediately, everyone around Marlowe, including Carmen's older sister Vivian, starts trying to find out if he's being paid to find Sean Regan. Sean is the old man's former bodyguard and has gone missing.

With me so far? Good, because the plot goes a million directions from there. By the time it's all over, there are five murders, six if you count Sean Regan, whose body is never found. Carmen's been sent to rehab and Marlowe ends up with Vivian.

I happen to love this movie, despite the plot holes, because the dialogue is insanely smart and I'm a sucker for Los Angeles in the rain. And, apart from the body count and Carmen's little stint at Betty Ford, it has a happy ending.

I got to thinking about Sean Regan. He was a bodyguard for General Sternwood and used to be a mercenary for the Irish Republican Army. He's already missing when the movie starts, and the implication is that the villain (Eddie Mars) had him murdered and dumped somewhere because he was messing around with Mrs. Mars. (BTW, I'd have loved for Mrs. Mars to have a first name like Venus, but alas, she's Mona. Mona Mars. Meh.)

What if... Sean wasn't dead? What if he was a smart mercenary/bodyguard who evaded Eddie Mars and had to re-invent himself to escape detection?

If I thought I would be the least bit good at historical mysteries, I'd write this story. It's set in the Forties, so I'd have to do actual research. I may bite the bullet and try it eventually. In the meantime, I'd love to open the door to your imagination.

Whatever happened to Sean Regan?


  1. You always amuse me and send me off looking for things! Best wishes with your new stories!

  2. Gayle, I love the way your mind works!

  3. I have a friend who LOVES noir. Gonna make sure he gets over to this post. Look for a comment from Robert.

    I wonder… what would be a contemporary noir?


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