Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Long-Legged Fly

It would be tempting to read James Sallis' Long-Legged Fly as a collection of short stories surrounding a main character. If you were to read it as a mystery to be solved, this would be the only way to keep from being completely confounded. Over the span of three decades Lew Griffin, the aforementioned main character, solves four different, unconnected cases. Attempts to connect them will only leave a reader frustrated. Hence, the temptation of short story collection.

But The Long-Legged Fly is most certainly a novel, it just isn't a mystery novel; it's a novel about a man who solves mysteries. Lew Griffin is the link because Lew Griffin is the story. Once we accept that, we are free to enjoy just what a rich and well-developed story Lew Griffin's is.

I enjoyed getting to know Lew Griffin. I'm glad he had mysteries to solve, because it gave him something to do, but I'd have been just as content to read a story about Lew Griffin's failed marriage or Lew Griffin hanging out in a bar. Lew Griffin is, quite simply, one of those great characters. I'm glad to know that he is a character that Sallis revisits and I look forward to getting to know him better.

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