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The Big Clock (New York Review Books Classics)by Kenneth Fearing
Synopses & Reviews
Engaging in what he assumed to be an inconsequential affair with his boss's beautiful mistress, George Stroud dropped Pauline Delos off a block from her apartment after a secret long weekend together. As he watched her walk towards her building, she is met by a long black limousine, from which Earl Janoth, Stroud's boss and owner of Janoth Enterprises, emerges. The two then disappear into her building. Having seeing Pauline with another man, although unable to recognize him from the shadows and the distance, a jealous Janoth becomes filled with rage, striking Pauline with a brandy decanter and killing her instantly. <BR>Janoth knows that the one witness who saw him enter Pauline's apartment was the mysterious man in the shadows. Needing to quickly track him down and silence him before the cops find out, Janoth turns to his employees at Crimeways magazine, entrusting the job to none other than the publication's editor, George Stroud. Knowing his life would be destroyed if he went to the authorities or if Janoth found out the truth, Stroud creates a whirlwind whodunit to buy himself more time--staging scenarios and concocting clues to throw the other sleuths off track as the big clock ticks on. <BR>"The Big Clock" is a virtuoso performance and one of the masterpieces of American noir.
George Stroud is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, none-too-scrupulous writer for a New York media conglomerate that bears a striking resemblance to Time, Inc. in the heyday of Henry Luce. One day, before heading home to his wife in the suburbs, Stroud has a drink with Pauline, the beautiful girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. Things happen. The next day Stroud escorts Pauline home, leaving her off at the corner just as Janoth returns from a trip. The day after that, Pauline is found murdered in her apartment.
Janoth knows there was one witness to his entry into Paulines apartment on the night of the murder; he knows that man must have been the man Pauline was with before he got back; but he doesnt know who he was. Janoth badly wants to get his hands on that man, and he picks one of his most trusted employees to track him down: George Stroud, who else?
How does a man escape from himself? No book has ever dramatized that question to more perfect effect than The Big Clock, a masterpiece of American noir.
About the Author
KENNETH FEARING (1902-1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Voted wittiest boy and class pessimist in high school, he moved to New York City after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He published several well received volumes of poetry in addition to his novels, including Angel Arms, Dead Reckoning, and Stranger at Coney Island and other poems. The Big Clock was included in The Library of America's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 30s and 40s. The novel has been adapted into two films, The Big Clock (1948) and No Way Out (1987).
NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER is the author of fourteen books: five novels, The Soloist,Veronica,A Trip to the Stars, Franklin Flyer, and the forthcoming The Bestiary; eight books of poetry, most recently Crossing the Equator: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2004; and a nonfiction book, Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir & the American City. He is a Professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.
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