Friday, 11 March 2011

Found Pages #1

Welcome to a new feature for the Philistine blog. The concept: random extracts from public domain texts. Our first entry is taken from Chapter 7 of the intriguingly titled The Mouse in the Mountain by Norbert Davis - a hard-boiled detective novel from 1943.

The full text can be read or downloaded here.

Chapter 7

DOAN CAME OUT ON THE AVENIDA REVOLUCION, and it seemed to him now that the street was appropriately named. It looked as though it had just gone through a revolution or one had gone through it.

Broken tile lay in windrows, and a stovepipe, canted over a wall, leered like a warped cannon. A house across the way had lost its front wall, and its owners capered around inside like zany actors in a movie set. They were making enough noise for a massacre, but none of them seemed to be injured.

Right in front of Doan a little boy sat in the center of the street with his eyes shut and his fists clenched and his mouth wide open. He was howling mightily, and no one paid him the slightest attention.

Doan walked over to him. "Hey, shorty. Where are you hurt?"

The little boy turned off his howl and opened his eyes cautiously. He looked Doan over and then saw Carstairs. His mouth made a round O of admiration. He looked back at Doan and smiled winningly. He had three front teeth missing.

"Gimme dime."

Doan gave him a dime. The little boy tested it with a couple of his remaining teeth.

"Denk goo," he said.

He put the dime carefully in the pocket of his ragged shirt, shut his eyes and opened his mouth. He started to yell exactly where he had left off.


  1. Sounds like a fairly normal day in the classroom... It reminds me of my first job, as a barman in a pub full of bric-a-brac; the landlord bought dozens of old penguin classics, just to add to the 'feel'. In the quiet hours I would leaf through Chandler novels. Do you think there are any 'soft boiled' detectives?

  2. Good question. I'm not sure what "hard-boiled" actually means. I prefer my detective fiction over-easy...

    I used to go to a pub where there was an interesting range of Rupert the Bear books. Rather odd.