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Death Is a Lonely Business

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Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s. Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who be Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s. Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend (away studying in Mexico), the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary effort--until strange things begin happening around him. Starting with a series of peculiar phone calls, the writer then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. But as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents"--some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events, and in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.

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Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s. Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who be Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s. Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend (away studying in Mexico), the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary effort--until strange things begin happening around him. Starting with a series of peculiar phone calls, the writer then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. But as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents"--some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events, and in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.

30 review for Death Is a Lonely Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Death is a Lonely Business is Ray Bradbury’s addition to the noir mystery genre. Told with all the requisite intrigue and catchy simile and metaphor, Bradbury nevertheless cannot be mistaken as anyone but himself. Like an actor who is cast in an odd role, Bradbury remains the sentimental, kooky writer, and that is a part of this novel’s charm. Set in an aging and decrepit Venice California in 1949, the unnamed protagonist is an overweight, clumsy, near sighted writer who bears a great resemblanc Death is a Lonely Business is Ray Bradbury’s addition to the noir mystery genre. Told with all the requisite intrigue and catchy simile and metaphor, Bradbury nevertheless cannot be mistaken as anyone but himself. Like an actor who is cast in an odd role, Bradbury remains the sentimental, kooky writer, and that is a part of this novel’s charm. Set in an aging and decrepit Venice California in 1949, the unnamed protagonist is an overweight, clumsy, near sighted writer who bears a great resemblance to Ray. All the more fun is the frequent allusions to stories he has published that are unmistakably actual Bradbury creations. Like many of this works, Bradbury fills this with a funhouse cornucopia of colorful characters. It is a little too slow getting started, but the ending is well worth it. Like so many of Bradbury’s works, most of the enjoyment in reading is simply his mastery of language and medium.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    I've read this book twice. It is written in a noire style, but with a feel of the fantastical running through it. The main character is a struggling writer (Bradbury himself) who is trying keep his art flowing but is lonely. His girlfriend is an ocean away and he seems so detached from everyone around him. But then a murder mystery unfolds and the writer must solve it. As the novel moves forward you find that Bradbury has many friends, some existing, some new, the relationships brought about thr I've read this book twice. It is written in a noire style, but with a feel of the fantastical running through it. The main character is a struggling writer (Bradbury himself) who is trying keep his art flowing but is lonely. His girlfriend is an ocean away and he seems so detached from everyone around him. But then a murder mystery unfolds and the writer must solve it. As the novel moves forward you find that Bradbury has many friends, some existing, some new, the relationships brought about through the events in the novel. He also loves each one's uniqueness. The weirder they are the more they are loved because they are themselves. The old, the discarded, the friendless are especially dear to him. They mystery is just the method for us to learn about Bradbury's heart.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    Writerly, well-written, and about writing. Also about murder, loneliness, social change, urban decay, old movies, and poetry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    El

    I love Ray Bradbury. I love his books, I love his short stories, I love how his cover picture has been the same one (the one of him holding his cat) for as long as I can remember, and I love that people always ask if he's still alive or not. The man is a mystery to me, and some of his books and stories touch me in ways that other books and stories have not. (No, that's not meant to be dirty. For once.) Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are the two Most-Important-Bradbury-Books-to I love Ray Bradbury. I love his books, I love his short stories, I love how his cover picture has been the same one (the one of him holding his cat) for as long as I can remember, and I love that people always ask if he's still alive or not. The man is a mystery to me, and some of his books and stories touch me in ways that other books and stories have not. (No, that's not meant to be dirty. For once.) Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are the two Most-Important-Bradbury-Books-to-Me. I read them at the right age, they made an impression, they will always be near and dear to me. Most of his short stories are fantastic as well, but since you're not asking, the story that has stayed with me the most over the years is All Summer in a Day, the title of which I can never remember and I usually have to ask my brother. (This time I did an Interwebz search and found it. Yay me!) What those books and that story have in common are their sense of the fantastic. That's what I love about Bradbury - they're coming-of-age stories and Bradbury writes children better than most adult writers can, and then he throws in some crazy unimaginable stuff and the whole story goes supernova. Death Is a Lonely Business isn't quite like that. This is different than his usual writing - this is his attempt at a noir, his homage to Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. Bradbury uses himself in the story as a younger man. It all seems like something I would probably dig a lot. Unfortunately it didn't quite work for me. I don't blame Bradbury for this; my head is totally elsewhere. But maybe this isn't the genre for Bradbury. The fact that I don't believe (but could be wrong) he did any other books like this indicates maybe he felt the same way. Still, considering I will read anything Bradbury put on paper, this wasn't a complete disappointment. I think I'll just be sticking with his more fantastical stories in the future.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Bogdanov

    Влюбен съм в Бредбъри още от дете. "Марсиански хроники" и "451 по Фаренхайт" са книгите, заради които обикнах фантастиката. Чел съм практически всичко негово и смятам, че е един от най-поетичните писатели. Винаги е пишел различно и нестандартно от останалите. Няма да забравя и потреса си от първия сблъсък с нефантастичните му романи. Бях седми клас, когато започнах да чета "Вино от глухарчета" и докъм стотната страница чаках кога ще започне фантастиката. Сега това ми е настолна книга. "Смъртта е за Влюбен съм в Бредбъри още от дете. "Марсиански хроники" и "451 по Фаренхайт" са книгите, заради които обикнах фантастиката. Чел съм практически всичко негово и смятам, че е един от най-поетичните писатели. Винаги е пишел различно и нестандартно от останалите. Няма да забравя и потреса си от първия сблъсък с нефантастичните му романи. Бях седми клас, когато започнах да чета "Вино от глухарчета" и докъм стотната страница чаках кога ще започне фантастиката. Сега това ми е настолна книга. "Смъртта е занимание самотно" четох за първи път още студент. Нито бях писател, нито бях самотен и гледах на книгата като един интересен експеримент. Препрочитал съм я много пъти, сегашния прочит ме хвана в един по-специален момент и мисля, че започнах да разбирам какво пише в книгата (освен за тежкия и несигурен живот на писателите). Прочетете тази книга, стилът на Бредбъри е неповторим. И "Вие от Самотниците ли сте?"

  6. 4 out of 5

    Данило Судин

    Перша річ, яку треба тримати в голові, коли читаєш цей роман, - це не нуар, а дуже тонкий стьоб з нуару. Місце дії - 100% нуарівське, атмосфера - недотягує, персонажі - радше пародія на нуарівських персонажів, а от мотив злочинця - 100% Бредбері (як в 451° за Фаренгейтом, а саме, що робить людей людьми, я б сказав, хоча важко передати одним реченням чи словом дух і настрій творів Бредбері). Щодо пародій, то тут є детектив, який фанат класичної літератури (вільно цитує Шекспіра та Достоєвського), Перша річ, яку треба тримати в голові, коли читаєш цей роман, - це не нуар, а дуже тонкий стьоб з нуару. Місце дії - 100% нуарівське, атмосфера - недотягує, персонажі - радше пародія на нуарівських персонажів, а от мотив злочинця - 100% Бредбері (як в 451° за Фаренгейтом, а саме, що робить людей людьми, я б сказав, хоча важко передати одним реченням чи словом дух і настрій творів Бредбері). Щодо пародій, то тут є детектив, який фанат класичної літератури (вільно цитує Шекспіра та Достоєвського), пише роман. Єдине, що нагадує нуарівських детективів - пиво п'є, але вдома - в чудовому садку. Чим не пародія? Є тут і фем-фаталь, але ій за 60 років, і вона 1,5 м зросту, а також повненька. Чому фем-фаталь? Так їі презентує Бредбері - і перед очима постає образ нуарівської фатальної красуні. А потім Бредбері додає деталей її вигляду - і фем-фаталь зникає. І головний герой - не п'є, вірно любить свою кохану / наречену, пише романи. І такою грою Бредбері наче насміхається над всім жанром. Тобто це нуар, де всі персонажі вкрай милі і симпатичні. Або не викликають огиди. Жодної депресивності нуару. Але якщо не очікувати нуару, то роман - цікавий детектив, який є квазінуаром чи пародійним нуаром. Тому читатиму наступні частини!

  7. 5 out of 5

    X

    A dark mystery/detective story (kind of) in typical Bradbury style. Marvelous writing and good, memorable characters. What I learned: Not to read this book while home alone on a stormy night with family away in the LA area of California. At least I wasn't listening to Tosca.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marysya

    Ух, як моторошно! Хочете чогось справді нуарного - похмурого, туманного, зі скреготом та свистом вітру у дощову ніч, коли хтось стоїть вночі під вашими дверима і чекає..? Тоді сміливо беріться за цей роман. Тут усе просякнуте занепадом (як самого містечка, так і його жителів), самотністю, поразкою і забуттям...Непроглядна темрява, мряка і хлюпіт хвиль. Обов*язково прочитаю наступні книги цієї серії. Мені лише не сподобалось оформлення укр.видання від вид. Богдан- з яскрово-рожевим гламурним написо Ух, як моторошно! Хочете чогось справді нуарного - похмурого, туманного, зі скреготом та свистом вітру у дощову ніч, коли хтось стоїть вночі під вашими дверима і чекає..? Тоді сміливо беріться за цей роман. Тут усе просякнуте занепадом (як самого містечка, так і його жителів), самотністю, поразкою і забуттям...Непроглядна темрява, мряка і хлюпіт хвиль. Обов*язково прочитаю наступні книги цієї серії. Мені лише не сподобалось оформлення укр.видання від вид. Богдан- з яскрово-рожевим гламурним написом та корінцем... і це до нуарного детективу???

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bert

    The type of book only Ray Bradbury could've come up with. A bit of a noir murder-mystery.. With supernatural undercurrents, some Bradbury weirdness (and brilliant writing), actually it reminded me a bit of Big Lebowski, and the setting of 1940's California kinda made me think it was a little nod to his early struggling pulp writer days, cos that's what the narrator is. A brilliant, neglected novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    A great mystery from the master wordsmith. A noir thriller that plays out like a classic black and white movie while being a bit surreal at times and uniquely clever. A very Goodread.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lala Məmmədova

    Nuar detektiv. Bredberidən fərqli janrlarda çox oxumuşam. Burada elə oxuduqca adamı qara basır. Detektiv sevərlər bəyənər bəlkə. Mən müəllifin yüngül, baharlı, güllü çiçəkli yazılarını daha çox sevirəm. Kitab oxuduğum saytda Venesiya trilogiyasının ilk hissəsi kimi təqdim edilib. Maraqlıdır ki, trilogiya bəzi mənbələrdə ölüm adı altında,digərlərində baş qəhrəmanın soyadı ilə keçir.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    While not Bradbury's all time best, this is a nice change of pace. Written relatively recently-- 1999-- the book is a postmodern mystery with a young version of the writer himself cast in the role of the detective. The killer is particularly creepy, an unseen presence waiting outside the homes of lonely failures, waiting for a chance to end their lives without ever doing more than gently touching them. Old women scared to death, drunks turned over in bathtubs, blind men tripped on staircases... While not Bradbury's all time best, this is a nice change of pace. Written relatively recently-- 1999-- the book is a postmodern mystery with a young version of the writer himself cast in the role of the detective. The killer is particularly creepy, an unseen presence waiting outside the homes of lonely failures, waiting for a chance to end their lives without ever doing more than gently touching them. Old women scared to death, drunks turned over in bathtubs, blind men tripped on staircases... and an old man drowned in a lion's cage. The climax didn't quite satisfy, but it's a good read. There are a lot of references to Bradbury's science fiction stories. You can see the ostensible roots of "The Veldt" here, of fragments from Something Wicked this Way Comes, and "The Foghorn," which looms larger than life throughout the story. As a Bradbury fan, those moments of recognition added a fun element to the book. For more on comics, humanity, morality and the world check out The Stupid Philosopher, aka a place where I put my words.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Guy Cheston

    Every Bradbury novel out there is worth your time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bookmarked

    Es ist vorbei!!! Endlich. Aus meiner Sicht nur etwas für ganz große Bradbury Fans.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    With this book, Ray Bradbury not only returned to writing full-length fiction after a long absence, but returned to the roots of his writing after an even longer absence. Here we have a tale of mystery that, at least at first glance, might have appeared in the detective pulps of the Thirties, but in a style of writing seasoned by decades of honing storytelling skills, a fully developed poetic style, and an unabashed love of the English language. The narrator is a stand-in for the young Ray Bradbu With this book, Ray Bradbury not only returned to writing full-length fiction after a long absence, but returned to the roots of his writing after an even longer absence. Here we have a tale of mystery that, at least at first glance, might have appeared in the detective pulps of the Thirties, but in a style of writing seasoned by decades of honing storytelling skills, a fully developed poetic style, and an unabashed love of the English language. The narrator is a stand-in for the young Ray Bradbury, furiously writing his tales of mystery, mayhem and fantasy, not yet “discovered” by the readers of the time, and dwelling amidst the creeping corruption of Venice (California) with characters as eccentric as any he ever inserted into his tales of dark dwarves, lurking shadows and shy Martians. He discovers an old man, murdered, down in one of the canals filled with the remains of a circus long gone bust. Finding the body was enough of a shock to his mind, but it was made worse by finding it after hearing an unseen man sitting behind him on a trolley whisper, “Death is a lonely business.” Was it the murderer? Was it Death himself? Tenuously allied with a police detective, the narrator searches for the answer to the mystery. In doing so, he crosses paths with the bizarre inhabitants of the odd little community, among whom are a barber who would rather play Scott Joplin tunes than give bad haircuts, a canary lady who might live forever, a cinema owner who refuses to show films with soundtracks, and a fat lady who loves opera. They are all possible suspects and possible victims. And then there is the Unknowable, the Unnamable, the dark presence that stands outside a house in the dead of night, leaving behind only damp weeds and the scent of dead things. At times, Bradbury revels so much in his characters and in the telling of the tale that the tale itself seems to slip to the background. In those moments, we are fully absorbed into Bradbury’s world, a realm of mystery and darkness, of characterization and beguiling words. But Bradbury the Storyteller always returns to rescue us from that world, to put us back on the track of a killer. An extremely enjoyable book for those who love moody and atmospheric mysteries peopled with unique characters, and rewarding for those who can truly appreciate Bradbury’s love affair with the English language.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Finished up Death Is a Lonely Business--Ray Bradbury's 1985 non-SF novel. Set in 1949, this novel evokes the atmosphere of the time as well as giving a tribute to hard-boiled detective novels. But, I tell you, if Hammett and Chandler had written like Bradbury I would be a hard-boiled fan instead of hooked on British Golden Age. Well, maybe. He uses their style, but twists it to display his own particular Bradburian flair. His descriptions echo the hard-boiled era but the exaggerations sound so m Finished up Death Is a Lonely Business--Ray Bradbury's 1985 non-SF novel. Set in 1949, this novel evokes the atmosphere of the time as well as giving a tribute to hard-boiled detective novels. But, I tell you, if Hammett and Chandler had written like Bradbury I would be a hard-boiled fan instead of hooked on British Golden Age. Well, maybe. He uses their style, but twists it to display his own particular Bradburian flair. His descriptions echo the hard-boiled era but the exaggerations sound so much more believable flowing from his pen..."No sooner had I hit the back seat than the limousine swerved in one boa-constrictor glide away from the curb." and "I waited a full minute for something to happen. When it did not, I slid out of the back of the limousine, like a shoplifter, guilty for no reason and wondering whether to escape." I love Bradbury. I love his way with words, and turns of phrases, and characters, and setting, and mood. The man can write. In this one, he had me from the fourth paragraph when our narrator/protagonist meets up with Death's friend on an old red trolley. Death is visiting the citizens of Venice, California and the protagonist finds himself in game of hide and seek that seems to be leaving all his friends and acquaintances at the mercy of the stalking shadow. He aligns himself with detective Elmo Crumley, who isn't quite sure if his young friend is quite sane. Whispery breathing on stairways? Dripping visitors beneath his window who leave behind seaweed? Shadows that follow but disappear like the morning mist? The plot line is a bit shaky...disappearing in the mist at times like the shadowy character of Death's friend, but his descriptions are solid and the clues are there if the reader is quick enough to spot them. His characters are real and you feel the unnamed hero's frustration and fear as he tries to figure out who is next on Death's list and unmask the killer before he claims all his victims. This review was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting any portion. Thanks.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Williwaw

    I decided that I'm in the mood for a hard-boiled detective story. And I haven't read a Bradbury novel in a long, long time. Supposedly, the main character is based on some of Bradbury's own experiences while he was rising through the ranks of pulp fiction writers in the 1940's. Update: I'm about 60 pages from the end, and I must admit, I'm having trouble getting through this book. Bradbury has populated his book with characters who are interesting, if not borderline preposterous. The same goes fo I decided that I'm in the mood for a hard-boiled detective story. And I haven't read a Bradbury novel in a long, long time. Supposedly, the main character is based on some of Bradbury's own experiences while he was rising through the ranks of pulp fiction writers in the 1940's. Update: I'm about 60 pages from the end, and I must admit, I'm having trouble getting through this book. Bradbury has populated his book with characters who are interesting, if not borderline preposterous. The same goes for the dialog. A little too colorful to be believable. I was hoping that this would have more the character of hard-boiled fiction (a la Hammett or Chandler). The great thing about those writers and their ilk is that they could write in a terse, matter-of-fact, muscular style. Their characters had feelings, sure, but they avoided expressing them. So when the expression came out, it was all the more poignant. Bradbury violates the rules of hard-boiled fiction by reveling, if not blubbering, in emotional expression. I'm not saying that this book is lacking in interest, but I am saying that maybe Bradbury tried too hard to make it work on too many different levels. What he ends up with is rich, but slow-moving. Nothing much happens, but we sure meet a lot of different characters who effusively express themselves about a whole lot of nothing. Overall, a disappointing read. It has none of the magic that I found in The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, etc.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debbi

    Definire questo romanzo (solo) un giallo non gli rende giustizia. Bradbury crea un affresco di personaggi così vividi e sfaccettati che sembrano essere raggiungibili semplicemente allungando la mano. E al contempo tutto è evanescente: la stessa Venice del titolo, luogo nebbioso pieno di tram sferraglianti ed edifici decadenti, che racchiude una storia che potrebbe essere ambientata negli anni '50 come negli anni '80. Il "caso" di per sé è semplice; ciò che afferra lo spettatore - e i personaggi Definire questo romanzo (solo) un giallo non gli rende giustizia. Bradbury crea un affresco di personaggi così vividi e sfaccettati che sembrano essere raggiungibili semplicemente allungando la mano. E al contempo tutto è evanescente: la stessa Venice del titolo, luogo nebbioso pieno di tram sferraglianti ed edifici decadenti, che racchiude una storia che potrebbe essere ambientata negli anni '50 come negli anni '80. Il "caso" di per sé è semplice; ciò che afferra lo spettatore - e i personaggi - è l'atmosfera lugubre e carica di mistero della spiaggia californiana in disfacimento, affacciata su un oceano che sembra sempre in procinto di rigurgitare qualcosa di magnifico e terribile. Ray Bradbury plasma le parole creando una prosa estremamente poetica, donando ai suoi protagonisti lo spazio per crescere, svilupparsi, e conquistare il lettore, anche mentre i moli di legno e le vite degli abitanti di Venice vengono demolite e affondate. Un romanzo di atmosfera, che scorre fluido come una corrente e appassiona come il cinema d'antan.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    I had to reread Fahrenheit 451 to help my granddaughter write a paper, and I enjoyed it again; so I decided to try this newer Bradbury. Knowing that science fiction, horror, and supernatural are my very least favorite literature genres, I still gave it a shot. I gave up on it after about 4 chapters. All fluff - no substance. There seemed to be no plotline - just a lot of well-written scary language. I couldn't help comparing it to a sermon I heard the day before I tried reading the book. The pre I had to reread Fahrenheit 451 to help my granddaughter write a paper, and I enjoyed it again; so I decided to try this newer Bradbury. Knowing that science fiction, horror, and supernatural are my very least favorite literature genres, I still gave it a shot. I gave up on it after about 4 chapters. All fluff - no substance. There seemed to be no plotline - just a lot of well-written scary language. I couldn't help comparing it to a sermon I heard the day before I tried reading the book. The preacher in question wanted to convey some important lessons, but one had to struggle to stay interested to pick the great truths from the boring presentation. Bradbury was right the opposite, but somehow the same,in this book. The language was enthralling, but one had to work too hard to find an actual story hidden inside the exaggerated prose.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Misha Kuzemski

    Я вперше читав щось настільки незвичне і неподібне до раніше читаного. Жеманіфік, короче. Манера - найс, персонажі - даблнайс, розв‘язка - прозріння.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Ray Bradbury's delicious, sentimental prose is expended well here in the service of a noirish mystery. Man can he write.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Raya

    Страхотна!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Death Is a Lonely Business Ray Bradbury 278 pages, read it in paperback. Ooh la la, a Noir set in 1949 Venice, California. Yes please. I found this at a local book store in downtown Issaquah. I don't remember the name of the place but there are always books piled on the floor in boxes and if I am lucky I get the owner. The owner is helpful and nice, as well as his daughter. His wife and son on the other hand are usually less than helpful. Nonetheless here I was perusing the wares scattered across t Death Is a Lonely Business Ray Bradbury 278 pages, read it in paperback. Ooh la la, a Noir set in 1949 Venice, California. Yes please. I found this at a local book store in downtown Issaquah. I don't remember the name of the place but there are always books piled on the floor in boxes and if I am lucky I get the owner. The owner is helpful and nice, as well as his daughter. His wife and son on the other hand are usually less than helpful. Nonetheless here I was perusing the wares scattered across the floor when I came upon this, my first Ray Bradbury book. While I should have probably started on his classic title 'Fahrenheit 451' I chose to dive into this instead. I was excited to find out that Bradbury is still alive and kicking at the age of 91. The story itself follows a young writer whose name is never given as he attempts to find a killer in Venice. The character seems a lot like Bradbury, as I pour over his Wiki article. Some have even hypothesized that it is a loose interpretation of himself. Along the way we meet plenty of eccentric people who help as they can or are simply wrapped up in the mystery, or are even potential victims of the killer. One thing that all of the victims have in common is that they are crumbling just as the Venice pier and that all of the deaths are presumed accidents. Along the way the main character enlists the help of a detective who helps steer the story along and also provides some entertaining wit to the story. The interactions between the detective and the character being some of my favorite passages in this novel. It closed nicely and I was happy with the read. I was a rather big fan of the style. It is however a piece that takes place in 1949 and most of the music, and cultural references date to the 20's and 30's. It wasn’t so distracting that it took away from the story, I am just not as well versed as I probably should be about that time period. Either way, a quick fun read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mel Bossa

    What a sweet, nostalgic, eccentric read this was. The more Bradbury I read, the more I love him. First and foremost, his sense of humor is so unique and divine, and second, there is no other author in that genre who writes women the way Bradbury does. God, how I love Constance Rattigan in this book. Bradbury always has a very strong female character in his stories and the girls stand on their own as full fledged people. The narrator in this particular story is basically a dream to read: he's qui What a sweet, nostalgic, eccentric read this was. The more Bradbury I read, the more I love him. First and foremost, his sense of humor is so unique and divine, and second, there is no other author in that genre who writes women the way Bradbury does. God, how I love Constance Rattigan in this book. Bradbury always has a very strong female character in his stories and the girls stand on their own as full fledged people. The narrator in this particular story is basically a dream to read: he's quiet, funny, sensitive, melodramatic, awkward, and curious. Set in Venice in 1949 as the Pier is being destroyed, Bradbury tells the story of a dying era through a straightforward sort of whodunit intrigue. The characters are all bigger than life, and I cared about them all very much--especially Henry, the Blind man. Tarot reading shrinks, retired Silver Screen Goddesses who pose as their own chauffeur and maids, queer actors whose seventy-year-old body won't age, 380 pound Opera Divas who live off mayonnaise, barbers who play the piano as badly as they cut hair, and a detective who doesn't trust anything but his typewriter...And of course, always, Death. But in this case, Death smells like armpits.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Esme

    "Die kleine Stadt Venice, California, hatte zu jener Zeit vieles, was sie zum idealen Ort für Leute machte, die gern traurig sind." Welch ein wunderbarer erster Satz! "Death is a Lonely Business" ("Der Tod ist ein einsames Geschäft") ist ein Kriminalroman voll Nostalgie. Eine Geschichte von Einsamkeit und Verzweiflung. Für Leser, die gern traurig sind. Das Schäbige und der Verfall sind in sprachliche Virtuosität und Eleganz gekleidet. Eine Reminiszenz an die Filme der Schwarzen Serie des Hollywoods "Die kleine Stadt Venice, California, hatte zu jener Zeit vieles, was sie zum idealen Ort für Leute machte, die gern traurig sind." Welch ein wunderbarer erster Satz! "Death is a Lonely Business" ("Der Tod ist ein einsames Geschäft") ist ein Kriminalroman voll Nostalgie. Eine Geschichte von Einsamkeit und Verzweiflung. Für Leser, die gern traurig sind. Das Schäbige und der Verfall sind in sprachliche Virtuosität und Eleganz gekleidet. Eine Reminiszenz an die Filme der Schwarzen Serie des Hollywoods der vierziger und fünfziger Jahre. Eine brilliante, melancholische Hommage an den Roman Noir.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    Ray Bradbury is a skilled author. One of his best talents is stringing an engaging story, which twists just when you think you're about to be satisfied with a great conclusion into an even better one! This story lives up to that trend. Like much of Ray Bradbury's work it is marked by weirdness and wonder; a little more weird and it's pure fantasy, a little less and it's autobiography. Bradbury's mix makes for an fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pedro Varanda

    Livro policial verdadeiramente negro, muitíssimo bem escrito que nos prende do inicio ao fim. Passado na Califórnia dos anos 40, é riquíssimo nas imagens que constrói na nossa mente. E tem um titulo que me conquistou de imediato e levou à leitura deste livro: morrer é mesmo um acto solitário.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    Bettie's Books

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marc Gerstein

    Bradbury is a science fiction author, and an exceptional one at that. Later in life though, he dabbled in mystery fiction, his homage the noir authors he admired. “Death is a Lonely Business” is one of those works, perhaps, I believe, the first. On the good side, Bradbury’s talent for storytelling, and his willingness to push the envelope are very visible here. The cast of characters is unforgettable, the WTF twists in the story are a delight, and his inventive multilayered craftsmanship (a whodu Bradbury is a science fiction author, and an exceptional one at that. Later in life though, he dabbled in mystery fiction, his homage the noir authors he admired. “Death is a Lonely Business” is one of those works, perhaps, I believe, the first. On the good side, Bradbury’s talent for storytelling, and his willingness to push the envelope are very visible here. The cast of characters is unforgettable, the WTF twists in the story are a delight, and his inventive multilayered craftsmanship (a whodunit, layered with bits pf coming of age, bromance, the politics of urban renewal and a dash of almost-meta-fiction) are impressive as is his challenging of an important premise of the crime solver genre; Bradbury’s un-named protagonist, said to represent himself, is all hunch, all intuition; in terms of logic, it seems like he’d have a meltdown if asked to contemplate if-A-then-B etc. (I was going to give this three stars -- see below -- but as I wrote the above, I convinced myself to add a fourth.) The one drawback here, for me, is Bradbury’s effort at the noir style. I get that he admires it. I, too, admire lots of things but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to see me try to do them. (Take my word for it.) I wish Bradbury had considered noir in the same spirit.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Ferenbach

    This is a very strange book. I like Ray Bradbury and have read some of his more Sci-Fi works. I liked the idea that this was a Noir Mystery story At points in the book I was trying to figure out whether the protagonist was meant to be insane, going insane or just occasionally hallucinating. I stuck with it but I can safely say at some points I was just hoping that it reached some sort of conclusion, or it was going to go all sci-fi and it was actually a time travelling robot assassin doing all the This is a very strange book. I like Ray Bradbury and have read some of his more Sci-Fi works. I liked the idea that this was a Noir Mystery story At points in the book I was trying to figure out whether the protagonist was meant to be insane, going insane or just occasionally hallucinating. I stuck with it but I can safely say at some points I was just hoping that it reached some sort of conclusion, or it was going to go all sci-fi and it was actually a time travelling robot assassin doing all the murdering. It does reach a conclusion, but I didn't enjoy this anywhere near as much as his other works and I am not rushing to read the two sequels. Also if you fancy a really brilliant piece of Noir then read the book whose title is literally "Noir" by Christopher Moore - it is fantastic

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