Who’s Your Mentor?

Joel D CanfieldI was born precisely 9 months after Raymond Chandler died.

Perhaps there was only room for one of us at a time.

Perhaps that’s a stretch.

His books are what made me want to write. It took me ages to get a bunch of business books under my belt and develop the courage to try mysteries.
Raymond Chandler
I am particularly proud of my latest effort, A Long, Hard Look. It has been compared to Chandler, though once again, modesty (fear?) forces me to wonder if it’s a stretch.

I call what I write “Chandleresque cozies.”

For those who like cozy mysteries (think Agatha Christie) but find they’re sometimes a bit bland, Chandleresque cozies stretch the cozy mystery concept, yet retain the good manners you expect.

For those who love Chandler and similar mysteries, but who’d like less sordid detail thank you very much, Chandleresque cozies are convoluted as all get-out with satisfying emotional crunch, but maintain their dignity.

There is romance, but no sex scenes. Conflict, but no gore. No profanity, not even the mildest. Some of these things may be alluded to, but in a way which we think even the most delicate sensibilities won’t find offensive.

The stories, though, touch on darker themes. Betrayal. Our own gut-wrenching fears. Family. (Yes, family. You’ll see.) Depression.

Touch, though, not dwell. The people in my Chandleresque cozies feel real because they share the same shadows we all suffer. They’re uplifting because they shine lights, letting us see why the darkness doesn’t have to win.

Who does your writing want to be when it grows up?

13 thoughts on “Who’s Your Mentor?

  1. You’re making me very curious to read his books! And I just found out I can borrow most of them via our Library’s e-books programme.

    Chandler’s stories sound like a grown-up version of the Hardy Boys. Lots of danger and threats, but never a fatality. (Those poor kids got bashed on the head in every book but it did them no harm.) Your Phil, in ALHL, could have learned some techniques from them, as they ALWAYS found a way to subdue the bad guys in the end and got full credit as heroes.

    By the way, you asked if we’d like to hear more of Phil. I was waiting to read the ending before I offered comment. As you left it, yes, I’d like to read another of Phil’s adventures and even see him connect with Darcy again. Maybe they’ll meet in the library someday?

    I’ve been through a totally down time. Why bother? Poems or prose, who cares what I write? Quit my writing group & LI groups. I’m perking up now. This morning I got out my juvenile mystery story; I want to trim away all the fat, then get a second opinion.

    1. Ooh; not precisely the right description of Chandler. He invented the noir genre. Some of his stuff is very dark, and there are always folks who don’t survive to the end of the book.

      For a lighter style, check out Dick Francis, who wrote 42 or 43 mysteries after he retired from being a steeplechase jockey. Or Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series.

      Or this guy named Joel D Canfield, who’s starting to turn out a few books.

      Oddly, Tom and I have both been off lately. Fortunately we each have a solidly grounded woman to keep us from floating away. Glad to hear you’re getting back to your writing.

      1. Guess I should read a few of Chandler’s books before I comment.

        Here’s wishing you much success in staying on the ground and penning even more mysteries. (I have a noir scenario for you if you ever need a new a plot — one that happened among my kin. Very dark & sad. Seems life gives a lot of those.)

        I need to break down and order something from Amazon one of these days so I can leave ratings on interesting books like yours.

        1. If you’d like two very different but quite representative books to read, start with “The Big Sleep” which is where Chandler himself started, and then read “The Long Goodbye” which is my personal favorite. Periods of greater darkness than some of his books, but ultimately, a brighter ending.

  2. I read ALL of Sir Arthur Conan Dolye’s Sherlock Holmes novels. 90% of Agatha Christie and a bunch of Clive Cussler adventure books.

    Then Dan Brown came along. I didn’t read The Da Vinci Code, because it felt like he was ‘selling the Christ down the river’ but later on i realized he didn’t…it was Leonardo Da Vinci who was playing jokes on the Catholic church by placing all those hidden symbols in the art work.

    Later on Dan Brown cleaned up his act and wrote: Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol and Inferno. Dan Brown ‘cleaned up’ his novels for more mass appeal to an almost almost Disney-like result. Those are AWESOME books…must read people who like serious adventure, history books.

    I am fascinated by his use of hidden symbols and how he weaves a story in between. Being that I have studied the Bible for at least 35 years, a lot of his information was already familiar to me.

    There was a very old book I read 30 years ago titled The Two Babylons, by Alexander hyssop. I think Dan Brown took a lot of ideas from that book to create his stories.

    My new book (in production) will follow that pattern of his. It’s about hidden knowledge from the ancients and what they knew.

    1. No idea his later books were so different. I’ll have to check ’em out.

      Hislop. Alexander Hislop. Deep piece of research, that.

      I used to own two copies of the complete Sherlock, so one was never far away.

  3. The more I think about it…Joel looks a lot like Chandler. Look at the picture… he has two eyes just like him….and one nose…incredible!!

  4. A word of caution though. Just because I may like some of the works of a certain author does not mean that I agree with ‘everything’ he or she writes. Like anything else, someone may find something offensive from the above mentioned authors, as I have too. There are some works of Dan Brown, Agatha Christie etc that may contain things I would not endorse.

    Having said that…there are some redeeming qualities in some of their works worthy of emulating or used as a mentoring quality that have helped me create my own stories.

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