Sunday, February 26, 2017
2/26/1922 The Presence of Jack Ritchie
Another great Ritchie character was Cardula, a private eye who happens to be a vampire.
He also invented (or at least perfected) a subgenre I call the Unknown Narrator, where the reader knows nothing about the main character except what other people say about him, which turns out to be dramatically wrong. One example is "The Absence of Emily," which won him an Edgar.
But Ritchie;s biggest success may have been "The Green Heart," which begins "We had been married three months and I rather thought it was time to get rid of my wife." This tale of a would-be homicidal husband was made into the movie A New Leaf, and later into a Broadway play.
Ritchie's curse was that he was a master of the short when audiences demanded long. As Donald E. Westlake said, he was, "a miniaturist in the age of elephantiasis."