Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Settings—Getting into the Mood. And, “Daylight Noir" by Cathrerine Corman—a Review

Daylight Noir I’m one of those people who has a really tough time writing settings if I’m not looking at the setting I’m writing.

This is why I acted like an insane tourist in Memphis and took hundreds of pictures of…everything. Who knows what might be needed for a future book? I believe I frightened the good people of the Peabody hotel.

I’m also a fan of snapping pics of abandoned houses, old barns, and decrepit rural downtowns. They tell a story. And may host a few ghosts.

Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler's Imagined City by Catherine Corman was a full of Los Angeles locales that told stories. And that likely had a ghost or two wandering around.

Corman, in the book’s introduction, explains that Chandler created a world in Los Angeles that’s full of falsehoods:

Only Marlowe is thoroughly genuine. He is incorruptible, searching for the truth in a city of well-guarded secrets…his solitude is writ large on the surrounding environment.

I first discovered the book on Lesa’s Book Critiques blog. To me, it’s Daynight Noir--Bullocks Wilshire a great tool for capturing a mood. The author of the book has cleverly included quotes from Raymond Chandler’s novels on each page. The black and white photos, the sharp angles of the buildings and the shadows they create are very evocative…to me it lends a lonely, deserted feel to each picture.

There’s also a certain seediness to some of the locations, which I enjoyed:one photo showed a set of cement stairs leading to an old door with a cracked-paint threshold. You can easily imagine some dark characters holed up inside.

Even my small-town settings aren’t all cheer and light. As Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple pointed out, evil can reside anywhere---even in villages. Keeping a book like this on my shelf can help me create an ominous mood.

Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler's Imagined City by Catherine Corman. Charta, ©2009. ISBN 9788881587247 (paperback), 128p.