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How the Dead Live (Factory Series #3)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  307 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
“A sulphurous mixture of ferocious violence and high-fl own philosophy.”—Prospect

The third novel in the acclaimed Factory crime series sees Derek Raymond’s nameless detective leave London for a remote village, where he’s meant to be investigating the disappearance of a local doctor’s wife.

A fitting successor to classic noir writers such as Jim Thompson and David Goodis, wi
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Serpent's Tail (first published January 1st 1986)
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Nov 11, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
"Life is made of slowly composed horrors."

The third entry in The Factory Series is Derek Raymond trying his hand at something slightly different and if not failing, then not quite matching his previous success. This one reads like a Hercules Poirot mystery but with the little Belgian grown weary of modern decay, beaten down by a lifetime of loss, pain and horror and developing a hardboiled attitude towards life.

The unnamed Sergeant is sent to investigate The Case of The Missing Mardy in a small
Anthony Vacca
Jun 12, 2015 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it
Raymond's mouthpiece for his disgust with Thatcher-era London, the Unnamed Detective, is plucked out of his usual environs and is sicked on a small, country village where the wife of an elderly, aristocratic doctor has gone missing. Lucky for the Unnamed Detective - whose favorite activities are career suicide and pissing people off - even bucolic, sleepy hamlets are ripe with moral decay and grotesques who feed off of flesh and money. It only takes the UD a brief visit with the skeletal Dr. ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Still rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mandatory Reading
This the third novel in the Factory Series featuring the Unnamed Detective Sergeant.

He is dispatched to a remote village in Wiltshire by the “voice”, the Deputy Commander who assigns the Unnamed Detective Sergeant his cases by telephone.

A prominent local woman has disappeared or at least no one has seen her in over six months.
The local police inspector has taken a spectacular disinterest in this missing persons case but a Chief Constable from the region has reported it to Serious Crimes in Londo
Mar 30, 2016 Nigeyb rated it liked it
This is the third book in Derek Raymond's Factory series.

The Factory novels, nominal police procedurals are narrated by an unnamed protagonist, a sergeant at London's Metropolitan Police Department of Unexplained Deaths, also known as A14. A14 handles the lowlife murders, and which are in stark contrast to the headline-grabbing homicides handled by the prestigious Serious Crimes Division, better known as Scotland Yard.

In How the Dead Live the unnamed Sergeant is sent out of London to investigat
Alex Sarll
The third case for the nameless* detective sergeant from the Unexplained Deaths division of the Factory, and for me the strongest yet. He's out of London this time, in a ghastly little anytown, but his methods remain the same: prowl around being an obnoxious prick in the hope that this will rattle loose the truth. But not an indiscriminate prick - the sergeant will happily deck a colleague, but he'll always do what he can for those he perceives as victims, even when by the letter of the law ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Between 3 and 4 stars. Terrific dialogue, memorable setting...weird set-up, macabre, which I'm fine with but a strong strain of sentimentality/romanticism marred it for me. Otherwise, quite good. Raymond's worth reading, this is just his second for me so far. His maverick investigator is a lot of fun to hang around, if unabashedly macho in a way detectives rarely are these days...they usually hold it in check and/or work a melancholic streak.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Dec 13, 2013 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
This third novel in the Factory Series has the unnamed sergeant from A14, the Department of Unexplained Deaths, leaving the grimy streets of London for the moral cesspool that is village England, 1986. After six months, a missing persons case sounds more and more like murder, hence the involvement of A14. Mrs. Mardry, the French wife of a fading aristocrat and a woman who once entertained the locals with singing concerts, has gone been missing. She had been ill, had taken to wearing a veil in ...more
Jul 06, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it
Read it again two years later, and liked it better.

He describes the neighborhoods west of London. "Blocks of semi-abandoned streets made dead ends of effort where people who had tried o start something — anything — had been crushed by the dull, triumphant logic of the state."

"The wife's a poor little woman — dead red hair, no bust, the kind of woman no one ever wants to sin with and who dreams of murder."

At the gambling club: "She took two new packs from under the table and slit the seals with
Tiffany Reisz
Jan 15, 2014 Tiffany Reisz rated it really liked it
Dark, weird, gritty, moving. Your typical Derek Raymond noir.

So many great hard-boiled detective moments in this book. My favorite is...

Unnamed Detective: "Don't worry. I know what I'm doing."
Superior Officer: "Yes, but the trouble with you, is that no one else does."
Luca Lesi
May 20, 2015 Luca Lesi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«Quello che si fa da giovani,» mi stava dicendo prendendomi per il gomito, «non si disfa da vecchi, come mi dicevano i miei nonni.»
Raymond Derek è davvero un grande scrittore, Come vivono i morti un altro splendido romanzo noir della serie Factory e il sergente senza nome uno dei più bei personaggi del genere hard boiled.
Un romanzo amaro e meraviglioso, che eccede, con le sue dolenti pagine sul tema della vecchiaia e della morte.
A Thornhill, poco fuori Londra, c’è una grande villa in decadenza.
Joaquin Lowe
Feb 24, 2015 Joaquin Lowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Derek Raymond was a hard-boiled noir writer like no other. But that's odd praise for anyone who's read his work, because if there is a fault, or an error, or a naivety in his writing, it's that he wears his influences so blatantly on his sleeve. He quotes from poems and songs; his characters soliloquize about love and death as though they weren't petty criminals and policemen, but love torn protagonists out of a Shakespearean play. The thing about Raymond, is that his prose are a little comical, ...more
May 08, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing
HOW THE DEAD LIVE. (1986). Derek Raymond. *****.
If you haven’t read any of Raymond’s noir novels from the 1970s and 1980s, you will find that he is well worth the investment of your time. This novel is one of the novels in his “Factory” series. The factory is his term for Police Headquarters at Scotland Yard. Each of these novels is a stand-alone episode, although there are recurring characters. The hero in each is a nameless detective. In this case, he is sent from London to a small town, Thorn
May 27, 2011 Stas rated it liked it
I picked this up, read a few chapters, was completely hooked, and realized that I should read the first two in the series. I have now, and I am already sad that after this one, there is only one more left in the series.
It's weird that the intro is by Will Self, who also wrote a book called How the Dead Live.
A lot of people feel that Raymond has a tendency to slip into melodrama. I know what they mean, but don't actually mind it. Crime is melodrama.

Writing a few days later now. Just finished i
Bridget Weller
Jan 13, 2010 Bridget Weller rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
The cover said things like 'British noir'. Whatever-the-hell that is. The forard by Will Self was refreshingly honest in admitting he hadn't read it until asked to write a forward to it,but make it clear he has agreed to do so because he rated Raymond.

I love a nice bit of noir hard-bitten cop action, and I was initially quite satisfied with the traditional Cop Who Is Horrid to Everyone In Pursuit of the Truth. Next thing I know, I am swerving into a 2-page treatise on the nature of povery and ou
Dead John Williams
Jul 06, 2015 Dead John Williams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favs, reviewed
How the Dead Live (Factory 3) Having read I Was Dora Suarez, I wanted to read a bit more featuring the unnamed detective. This had the same gritty, gory fabric of that book with a different story over the top.Interesting to read a modern novel with no mobile phones and when the word computer is used you can almost taste the newness of it. A good look at life in England circa 1986.The detective is once again nameless but more of his past is revealed and a deep dark story it is. In fact at times ...more
Dom Evans
Sep 12, 2016 Dom Evans rated it it was amazing
Just finishing this book and delaying it, it's that good.
Guy Salvidge
Oct 28, 2013 Guy Salvidge rated it liked it
I'm a bit torn on this one and perhaps on this author in general. How The Dead Live is a black book indeed, and it only gets blacker as it progresses. That isn't the problem. I thought that the central situation, regarding a man called Mardy who has unwittingly killed his wife and then fallen victim to blackmailers, was superb. Mandy's house is a gothic ruin straight out of Poe, and really this material would be better suited to a horror story than a detective one. My problem is with Raymond's ...more
Cullen Gallagher
Jun 19, 2008 Cullen Gallagher rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of David Goodis
Shelves: mystery
Among the most despondent books I've ever read, and I absolutely loved every word of it! Like David Goodis before him, Derek Raymond's pen drips with an anxious sweat: moral certainty has disappeared, institutions have no interest in the public good, corruption is rampant, and the nameless detective is the only one who questions why crimes are committed. And not the lurid crimes of typical pulp novels, but the rarely mentioned horrors of small towns that are whispered behind closed doors, so ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it
How the Dead Live by Derek Raymond
This is another one of Serpents Tails re-prints
of Derek Raymonds books and is one of his
Factory series of books about the nameless
detective Sarge from A14 Unexplained deaths.
the main twist in this one is that he is after
the murderers without actually having a corpse
for most of the book that is set in Thornhill a
small town run by a corrupt group of folks
looking to run the whole place for there own
gain. a great read and the wonderful use of
slang and narr
Mike Gabor
Aug 29, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british-mystery
The third book in the Factory Series. The nameless Ds is sent to a small village in the English countryside to investigate the dissappearence of a local doctor's wife. The case takes on sinister overtones almost immediately as the DS discovers that the local police force has been very lax about looking into this matter. The DS methodically investigates and finds that quite a lot of the locals are involved and sets out to bring them to justice.

I'm really impressed with this authors style of writi
Sep 12, 2014 James rated it really liked it
This, the third novel in the Factory Series, and sees Raymond's nameless detective leave London for a remote village called Thornhill, where he's meant to be looking into the disappearance of a local doctor's wife.

Centred on an old country house, this tale has a haunting feel to it and one which the author ties to the 2nd World war and a generation betrayed. And then there is Raymond's prose which at times is almost poetic.

At times however, Raymond gets a little too carried away with himself, h
Jann Barber
Feb 06, 2011 Jann Barber rated it liked it
Derek Raymond is "widely admired as the godfather of the British noir novel." I think someone on Tumblr recommended him, and I had to search the Marina offerings through the Maryland library in order to find a copies of his books.

His protagonist is a nameless police sergeant who is never promoted and likes it that way. He speaks his mind, ruffling feathers everywhere he goes, but he gets the job done.

He is sent to Wiltshire to look into a disappearance that occurred six months ago but was never
Michael Flick
This is the disappointing third book (of 5) in Derek Raymond’s Factory Series. Dialogue which should be snappy veers into the sappy. And silly. Or paragraph after paragraph that no person would say. Ever. The author sneaks in an admission (p. 189): “It sounds banal, the dialogue of bereavement….” It sure does. The ending is ludicrous. This is more gothic than noir. If a book can jump the shark, this one does when the Nameless Detective Sergeant whips out his cock (his word choice) and pisses all ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Tosh rated it really liked it
Derek Raymond is a very strange noir 'London' writer. The four stars is for the dialogue which is great. The plotting is ok, it's like any other workable who done it or what's going to happen in the next page. The one thing I am not crazy about is the ending of the book. It gets kind of sad and gooey in the end. In many ways, he is the most Raymond Chandler writer of all Chandler writers. He has the sentiment and the sense of justice down pat like Chandler - and his writing is very rich and ...more
Nov 16, 2013 Jan rated it liked it
A change of scene in this book, as our nameless detective sergeant heads to the countryside to investigate the disappearance of a doctor's wife. Less violent than the previous two in the series, and more poignant. There are times when the prose is slightly too florid, and times when the story needs to move on but becomes mired in Raymond's extemporising and theosophising, but over all it's a good yarn with a tragic ending.
This is the third in the "Factory" series - a very dark noir collection featuring an unnamed detective who is part avenging angel and part philosopher. His tactics are unorthodox and he delves more into the nature of crime rather than the crime itself. This book took a bit to get going. It was set in a rural area outside of London and thought the themes were captivating there were a few too many "small town" stereotypes". He's written better.
Gregory Frost
Jan 25, 2013 Gregory Frost rated it it was amazing
Comparisons are made to Derek Raymond as a British Raymond Chandler. This is a bit unfair to Raymond. The dialogue snaps the way it did for Chandler, but there's something darker, more visceral and ugly at the core of Raymond's unnamed narrator, and it makes these books into something else--like a detective novel descending into a world painted by Goya.
Jan 19, 2009 Johnny rated it liked it
Good, but not on par with the first two books in the "Factory" series. While the bleak atmosphere and brooding character remain, pulling the detective out of London doesn't play to the strengths of the previous stories. Holds itself together with attitude, but lacks a sense of threat and momentum.
Apr 22, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
A Scotland Yard mystery with a nameless detective sent to the hinterlands to investigate a case of a missing woman. How she disappeared and why no one is talking about is it what has the moody, misanthropic nameless narrator puzzled. Derek Raymond has clearly studied the style of Raymond Chandler, and while the book is very good, even thought provoking, it's not Chandler. But then, what is?
John Benschoter
Jan 01, 2015 John Benschoter rated it liked it
A solid book I the Factory series. More gothic than noir. Raymond's writing clearly improved during his work on this book. His existential ruminating is more interesting than the plot which seemed silly to me, but might be due to the distance between now and when it was written.
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Aka Robin Cook.

Pen name for Robert William Arthur Cook. Born into privilege, Raymond attended Eton before completing his National Service. Raymond moved to France in the 50's before eventually returning to London in the 60's. His first book, 'Crust on its Uppers,' released in 1962 under his real name, was well-received but brought few sales. Moving through Italy he abandoned writing before returni
More about Derek Raymond...

Other Books in the Series

Factory Series (5 books)
  • He Died With His Eyes Open
  • The Devil's Home on Leave
  • I Was Dora Suarez
  • Dead Man Upright (Factory #5)

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“Death is its own best friend, and our dreams know it.” 3 likes
“I studied him and realized that madness is the last defence of the mind when it can't hope to reconcile itself with events; I too was standing between routine and the unknowable.” 1 likes
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