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Death Is A Lonely Business (Crumley Mysteries #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,402 ratings  ·  142 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)
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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
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
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
Mel Bossa
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
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
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.
Writerly, well-written, and about writing. Also about murder, loneliness, social change, urban decay, old movies, and poetry.
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
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
Bev Hankins
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
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!

"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
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.
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!
Matteo Pellegrini

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

Dave Morris
A magic realist whodunit in which the young Bradbury is himself the protagonist. Only, being Bradbury, it's never as simple as that. The murderer seems to be more existential than physical, the familiar landscape of LA suddenly far more fantastical than Mordor. The one flaw is that Bradbury, as a writer who notoriously disdained plotting, allows an important character to slip out of the story while two others, introduced later and in whom we are consequently less invested, become more prominent ...more
Andy Madajski
I usually really enjoy Ray Bradbury, so I was a little disappointed with this novel. I’m not sure why this didn’t catch my fancy. It’s got beautiful writing - Bradbury has such a way with words. It’s got interesting characters - an old man with the face of an old man and the body of a hot young man, a fat lady who sings opera, a hard-boiled police officer who discovers the gift of writing. It’s got supernatural. It’s got darkness. It’s got all of the things that I love about Bradbury except the ...more
A sweet detective tale by a "sci-fi" author. Don't you dare pigeonhole this man into one, or even two genres, because he will blow you out of the water. Every. Single. Time.
If you are a diehard Bradbury fan, you will recognize not only his signature nods to other great authors and artists, but the narrator also references a multitude of Bradbury characters/stories as his own, hinting at an autobiography or memoir.
Even if you don't get the references, this is a good, solid story that is rife wit
It's funny, but thinking back to this more than a quarter-century after I read it, I remember two things: First, that I wasn't in love with the ultimate solution to the "mystery" in the novel. And second, that the opening paragraphs were brilliant and so Bradburyesque as to verge on—but not cross over into—parody. From memory, then, something along the lines of: "Venice in the thirties was a wonderful place to live if you liked being sad." Something like that, anyway, has stuck in the craw of my ...more
I love Bradbury, and he does his wonderful characters and descriptions in this book, much as in Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is one of my favorite stories.

However, in the years that have passed between the latter (published in 1962) and this book (1985, I'm not sure what happened. This book is mainly a mystery rather than supernatural or science fiction--so while the story certainly held my attention and the characters touched my heart, I missed the mystical conflict of Mr. Dark with W
Lisa H.
Sometimes Bradbury's writing is lyrical; sometimes it's just precious. (And sometimes it's just the wrong word, Ray, unless you're writing nonsense poetry.) Once I got into the flow of it, however, I was less bothered by his style and enjoyed the story a great deal.

The unnamed narrator is a young writer living in Venice, California, in the late 1940s, at the point when the old Venice Pier's amusements were being closed in preparation for the pier's demolition. (I'm not sure how much of the sett
I was never very impressed by Bradbury, having red Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine, but I decided to give him another chance. However, after reading half of this book I came to the conclusion that Bradbury is definitely not for me.
Death is a lonely business starts interesting. An old man is found dead in a submerged cage by a young writer (possibly the author himself). Everybody assumes it was an accident and he just drowned, but our young hero doesn't think that and very soon starts the inves
A struggling writer of science fiction stories is living in Venice, California, missing his girlfriend, and tracking down a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances due to foul play. This is partly a novel of struggling, more a murder mystery, and even more a dream-like exploration of the purpose of life.

The mood and ambiance is enchanting, the characters are compelling, complex, and mysterious. The prose draws you into to the kind of spell that only Ray Bradbury can weave. As one might gu
Lora Grigorova
Death is a Lonely Business:

If I hadn’t seen the author’s name on Death is a Lonely Business‘s front cover, I would have never guessed it was Ray Bradbury. That Ray Bradbury, who wrote the denunciative critique Fahrenheit 451. The same Bradbury, who shared his childhood memories in the amazingly nostalgic Dandelion Wine. No, this genius of 20th century literature cannot possibly write such a mediocre collection of words. I wouldn’t call it a novel; it does

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 bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying

I am a reader who doesn't need a lot of action in a book. I consider myself character driven in my reading yet I enjoyed Bradbury's "Death is a Lonely Business". It was slow to get into, yet by the end I really wanted to know what happens. He created quite good caracters even though their voices were not distinct, it was all the narrator's voice speaking and he was a real name dropper.It was a bit showoffish but the storyline let us excuse the narrator as he was young and a little childish and s ...more
Miss Diana
This book is creepy and mysterious with a bit of off-beat humor thrown in here and there. The characters are colorful and quirky and easy to like. With references to vintage movies and music, and with the slow yet inevitable social changes taking place in 1950’s Venice, CA, this book depicts a noir atmosphere and reads as though it is actually some grim comic. It delves into themes of loneliness versus hope and themes of change versus stagnation. It is worth the read, and Bradbury’s beautiful im ...more
Stephanie Ricker
I stayed up into the wee hours to finish Death Is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury, which is first in the first in a set of three semi-autobiographical mysteries. I didn’t realize this at first and was pleasantly surprised to meet several characters from A Graveyard for Lunatics, the second book in the set. Both novels are more fragmented and surreal than the usual Bradbury—but then, I suppose memory often is fragmented and surreal, and Bradbury was drawing heavily on memories of his own life f ...more
An interesting mystery story that could have only been written by Bradbury. In it, a young writer gets wrapped up in a series of murders. He befriends a local detective and apiring writer who he bounces his ideas off of and goes to when he needs help.

Along the way, he meets a few odd characters and enlists the help of a few from his past as he travels down the road to discovering the murderer and moving on with his life.

As usual, Bradbury writes chapters that resemble short stories that bounce a
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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
Fahrenheit 451 The Martian Chronicles Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2) The Illustrated Man Dandelion Wine (Green Town, #1)

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“Melt all the guns, I thought, break the knives, burn the guillotines-and the malicious will still write letters that kill.” 21 likes
“A day without writing was a little death.” 17 likes
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