the big sleep - chapter 1

I decided to read the first chapter of "the big sleep" today. I'm not committing to read it everyday as some days I'll probably want to read something else, but this is a great book to help in my own murder mystery/detective story. I already like the detectives hard-boiled nature and voice.

Two passages from this first chapter caught my attention:

"Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn't have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the three and not getting anywhere."

I can't believe the detail he put into a single stained glass panel. The author really made this description interesting and funny to read. I like that.

"She came over near me and smiled with her mouth and she had little sharp predatory teeth, as white as fresh orange pith and as shiny as porcelain."

I had to look up what orange pith was to confirm my suspicion. It is in fact white, but what an interesting simile. I also love the image of a smile of predatory teeth. Obviously the author didn't want us to think this girl was a saint.

Stay tuned for more "Identifying Good Writing"