Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death Is A Lonely Business” as Want to Read:
Death Is A Lonely Business
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death Is A Lonely Business (Crumley Mysteries #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,022 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews

Ray Bradbury, the undisputed Dean of American storytelling, dips his accomplished pen into the cryptic inkwell of noir and creates a stylish and slightly fantastical tale of mayhem and murder set among the shadows and the murky canals of Venice, California, in the early 1950s.

Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who be

Mass Market Paperback, 216 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by Bantam (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Death Is A Lonely Business, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Death Is A Lonely Business

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 05, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death is a Lonely Business is Ray Bradbury’s addition to the noir mystery genre.

Told with all the requisite intrigue and catchy simile and metaphor, Bradbury nevertheless cannot be mistaken as anyone but himself. Like an actor who is cast in an odd role, Bradbury remains the sentimental, kooky writer, and that is a part of this novel’s charm.

Set in an aging and decrepit Venice California in 1949, the unnamed protagonist is an overweight, clumsy, near sighted writer who bears a great resemblanc
I love Ray Bradbury. I love his books, I love his short stories, I love how his cover picture has been the same one (the one of him holding his cat) for as long as I can remember, and I love that people always ask if he's still alive or not. The man is a mystery to me, and some of his books and stories touch me in ways that other books and stories have not. (No, that's not meant to be dirty. For once.)

Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are the two Most-Important-Bradbury-Books-to
Mar 16, 2008 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book twice. It is written in a noire style, but with a feel of the fantastical running through it. The main character is a struggling writer (Bradbury himself) who is trying keep his art flowing but is lonely. His girlfriend is an ocean away and he seems so detached from everyone around him. But then a murder mystery unfolds and the writer must solve it. As the novel moves forward you find that Bradbury has many friends, some existing, some new, the relationships brought about thr ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not Bradbury's all time best, this is a nice change of pace. Written relatively recently-- 1999-- the book is a postmodern mystery with a young version of the writer himself cast in the role of the detective. The killer is particularly creepy, an unseen presence waiting outside the homes of the failures and the alone, and waiting for a chance to end their lives without ever doing more than gently touching them. Old women scared to death, drunks turned over in bathtubs, blind men tripped on ...more
Ivan Bogdanov
Mar 29, 2015 Ivan Bogdanov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Влюбен съм в Бредбъри още от дете. "Марсиански хроники" и "451 по Фаренхайт" са книгите, заради които обикнах фантастиката. Чел съм практически всичко негово и смятам, че е един от най-поетичните писатели.
Винаги е пишел различно и нестандартно от останалите.
Няма да забравя и потреса си от първия сблъсък с нефантастичните му романи. Бях седми клас, когато започнах да чета "Вино от глухарчета" и докъм стотната страница чаках кога ще започне фантастиката. Сега това ми е настолна книга.
"Смъртта е за
May 30, 2016 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
A great mystery from the master wordsmith. A noir thriller that plays out like a classic black and white movie while being a bit surreal at times and uniquely clever. A very Goodread.
Jan 07, 2010 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Writerly, well-written, and about writing. Also about murder, loneliness, social change, urban decay, old movies, and poetry.
Definire questo romanzo (solo) un giallo non gli rende giustizia.
Bradbury crea un affresco di personaggi così vividi e sfaccettati che sembrano essere raggiungibili semplicemente allungando la mano. E al contempo tutto è evanescente: la stessa Venice del titolo, luogo nebbioso pieno di tram sferraglianti ed edifici decadenti, che racchiude una storia che potrebbe essere ambientata negli anni '50 come negli anni '80. Il "caso" di per sé è semplice; ciò che afferra lo spettatore - e i personaggi
Aug 25, 2009 X rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dark mystery/detective story (kind of) in typical Bradbury style. Marvelous writing and good, memorable characters.

What I learned: Not to read this book while home alone on a stormy night with family away in the LA area of California. At least I wasn't listening to Tosca.
Apr 02, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death Is a Lonely Business
Ray Bradbury
278 pages, read it in paperback.

Ooh la la, a Noir set in 1949 Venice, California. Yes please.

I found this at a local book store in downtown Issaquah. I don't remember the name of the place but there are always books piled on the floor in boxes and if I am lucky I get the owner. The owner is helpful and nice, as well as his daughter. His wife and son on the other hand are usually less than helpful. Nonetheless here I was perusing the wares scattered across t
Mel Bossa
Sep 22, 2015 Mel Bossa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0008-fiction
What a sweet, nostalgic, eccentric read this was. The more Bradbury I read, the more I love him. First and foremost, his sense of humor is so unique and divine, and second, there is no other author in that genre who writes women the way Bradbury does. God, how I love Constance Rattigan in this book. Bradbury always has a very strong female character in his stories and the girls stand on their own as full fledged people.
The narrator in this particular story is basically a dream to read: he's qui
Jan 17, 2015 Joan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I had to reread Fahrenheit 451 to help my granddaughter write a paper, and I enjoyed it again; so I decided to try this newer Bradbury. Knowing that science fiction, horror, and supernatural are my very least favorite literature genres, I still gave it a shot. I gave up on it after about 4 chapters. All fluff - no substance. There seemed to be no plotline - just a lot of well-written scary language. I couldn't help comparing it to a sermon I heard the day before I tried reading the book. The pre ...more
Pedro Varanda
Livro policial verdadeiramente negro, muitíssimo bem escrito que nos prende do inicio ao fim. Passado na Califórnia dos anos 40, é riquíssimo nas imagens que constrói na nossa mente. E tem um titulo que me conquistou de imediato e levou à leitura deste livro: morrer é mesmo um acto solitário.
Guy Cheston
Every Bradbury novel out there is worth your time.
Nov 01, 2008 Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ray Bradbury is a skilled author. One of his best talents is stringing an engaging story, which twists just when you think you're about to be satisfied with a great conclusion into an even better one! This story lives up to that trend. Like much of Ray Bradbury's work it is marked by weirdness and wonder; a little more weird and it's pure fantasy, a little less and it's autobiography. Bradbury's mix makes for an fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable read!
Kiana Cook
Jul 26, 2015 Kiana Cook rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ray Bradbury fans
I know some people worship Ray Bradbury, but I’m neither here nor there with him. Although I loved Fahrenheit 451 and enjoyed Dandelion Wine, I wouldn’t call him one of my favorites. I’m also not a huge fan of the mystery genre, which is probably why this book doesn’t stick with me in the way his other books have.

But for the mystery lovers, Death is a Lonely Business will be a treat. It’s very well-written, the plot steadily builds to the thrilling showdown, and the story keeps the readers gu
Jun 24, 2011 Williwaw rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I decided that I'm in the mood for a hard-boiled detective story. And I haven't read a Bradbury novel in a long, long time. Supposedly, the main character is based on some of Bradbury's own experiences while he was rising through the ranks of pulp fiction writers in the 1940's.

Update: I'm about 60 pages from the end, and I must admit, I'm having trouble getting through this book. Bradbury has populated his book with characters who are interesting, if not borderline preposterous. The same goes fo
Mark Oppenlander
I found it a little unsettling that at the moment of Ray Bradbury's death, this particular book was sitting by my bedside. Of all of his books to have on hand, why this one? I found it even more disconcerting to realize that this mystery novel is partially autobiographical. The unnamed narrator is a 20-something writer living in Venice Beach, California during the late 1940's. How strange a coincidence is that?

As for the book itself, the plot is straightforward: The starving-artist writer uncove
Jul 25, 2012 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished up Death Is a Lonely Business--Ray Bradbury's 1985 non-SF novel. Set in 1949, this novel evokes the atmosphere of the time as well as giving a tribute to hard-boiled detective novels. But, I tell you, if Hammett and Chandler had written like Bradbury I would be a hard-boiled fan instead of hooked on British Golden Age. Well, maybe. He uses their style, but twists it to display his own particular Bradburian flair. His descriptions echo the hard-boiled era but the exaggerations sound so m ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bradbury strikes a perfect blend of surreal and fantasy with more than just a bit of hard-boiled noir in this, the first of his Crumley Mysteries.

The story is unique. Bradbury's observations are, as always, entertaining. In his description of the scenes, Bradbury makes you feel the grit and oily decay. The cast of characters is colorful.

This one hit spot on!

Andy Valentine
I would have given this 5/5 if only the motives were more clear and the ending was more logical. I found the characters very likeable and the descriptions - quite imaginative, but the whole time I felt like the story lacked deaph and credibility. However, it still was an interesting read, so if you like spooky mysteries, you should definitely give it a shot.
Iliqna Hubenova
Aug 11, 2015 Iliqna Hubenova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Навремето, а пък и днес, Венеция е пълна със затулени места, където хората излагат запродан последните износети частици от душите си с надеждата, че никой няма да ги купи."
"Die kleine Stadt Venice, California, hatte zu jener Zeit vieles, was sie zum idealen Ort für Leute machte, die gern traurig sind."

Welch ein wunderbarer erster Satz!

"Death is a Lonely Business" ("Der Tod ist ein einsames Geschäft") ist ein Kriminalroman voll Nostalgie. Eine Geschichte von Einsamkeit und Verzweiflung. Für Leser, die gern traurig sind.

Das Schäbige und der Verfall sind in sprachliche Virtuosität und Eleganz gekleidet.
Eine Reminiszenz an die Filme der Schwarzen Serie des Hollywoods
Denise Barney
Jul 19, 2015 Denise Barney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First a disclaimer: I have been a fan of Ray Bradbury's writing since I read "Dandelion Wine" my sophomore year in high school. I'm always on the lookout for a story or novel of his I haven't read.

"Death is a Lonely Business" is set in Venice, California, some time in the late-1940's to early-1950's. The Red Line trolley still runs between the beach towns and Los Angeles. The roller coaster and carnival games on the pier are being shut down, including the movie theater. The canals are slimy and
David Cranmer
Apr 11, 2015 David Cranmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
A motley bunch of older residents—“everyone is old in Venice, California”—populates this deteriorating, bleak world, and each lonely character seems a little more desperate than the next: a former silent movie star, a canaries-for-sale lady, an obese ex-opera-singer, and so on. Each, like our writer, remembers longingly the Venice of a bygone era, and here’s my one and only knock against the book: the worshipping for this lost Shangri-La goes on and on and on. Bradbury sold me on its past beauty ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to choose one thing about Bradbury's writing that I admire the most, it would have to be the way he manifests an ethereal quality beneath his words. In so doing, he is able to create a particular level of mysticism that makes the story read as if it's nothing more than a dream. This is the reason why I fell in love with Bradbury's tales, and it's why his stories will always have a home on my bookshelves.

Death is a Lonely Business indeed shared this quality along with its bretheren, but
Мартин Касабов
Не,не,не, много харесах "Вино от глухарчета", но това детективско фентъзи ми дойде в повече. Бредбъри е all over the place както се вика. Целият сюжет е разпокъсан, хаотичен и нестабилен през цялото време. Общо взето не знаеш какво четеш и какво по дяволите се опитва да направи авторът. Едва я дочетох. До колкото разбирам "Гробище за лунатици" е продължение, така че ще го пропусна. Ще се пробвам с марсианските хроники, па барем те ми се усладят.
Jun 22, 2015 Milena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Череп на корицата? Купувам книгата! Рей Бредбъри? Казах ли вече, че купувам книгата? :) Шегата настрана, от издателство „Ciela“ пак са създали впечатляваща корица, адмирации за което. Все по-убедено започвам да пропагандирам, че и при книгите има любов от пръв поглед…

Тридесет години по-рано, или точно една година преди да се появя на този свят, Бредбъри публикува за първи път своя роман „Смъртта е занимание самотно“. Историята отвежда читателя във Венеция, щата Калифорния. Градче, обвито в мъгла
Matteo Pellegrini
Jan 22, 2014 Matteo Pellegrini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastico

L’anziano Gustav von Aschenbach (nel romanzo uno scrittore, mentre nel film è un compositore), dopo una vita totalmente dedicata alla creazione metodica, faticosa e fruttuosa della sua arte, sente nel suo animo l’impetuoso desiderio, il feroce bisogno di viaggiare, avere nuove esperienze, provare cambiamenti.
Si reca quindi a Venezia e tra gli ospiti dell’albergo, la sua attenzione cade su una famiglia polacca, di cui fa parte un bellissimo adolescente, Tadzio.
È appena scoppiata un’epidemia di co

Feb 12, 2015 suk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Actor's Guide To Murder (A Jarrod Jarvis Mystery #1)
  • The Red Magician
  • Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3)
  • Chicago Lightning (Nathan Heller Short Stories, Volume 3)
  • The Ferguson Affair
  • The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury
  • The Assignation
  • Cuentos por teléfono
  • Elfen Lied, Vol. 5 (Elfen Lied, #5)
  • Father of Frankenstein
  • Beyond The Fall Of Night
  • Dead Time (Marti MacAlister, #1)
  • Eva
  • The Investigation
  • The Celts: A History
  • The Wolfman
  • Der Inquisitor
  • Rod Serling's Twilight Zone
American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He bec ...more
More about Ray Bradbury...

Other Books in the Series

Crumley Mysteries (3 books)
  • A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities (Crumley Mysteries, #2)
  • Let's All Kill Constance

Share This Book

“Melt all the guns, I thought, break the knives, burn the guillotines-and the malicious will still write letters that kill.” 22 likes
“A day without writing was a little death.” 19 likes
More quotes…