Caitlin's Reviews > Literally Dead

Literally Dead by James Conroy
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Mar 27, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012

Writing a satirical mystery set in the 1930's with a Raymond Chandleresque tone populated with famous figures of time, many of them literary, is a high bar to set for yourself as a writer. Fortunately, this is a bar that James Conroy is able to reach reliably. Entertaining as a mystery, even more entertaining with major figures who may or may not have ever interacted (Carl Sandberg, Ernest Hemingway, Clarence Darrow) is a fun read. It's Chicago Depression Era setting is a huge bonus.

Conroy has written a historical mystery with plenty of laughs and many people to care about. This isn't a book with lots of language to distract, Conroy isn't writing for style, but rather for uncluttered story and for this book the choice really works. Well-imagined with characters to care about, many of them literary figures, this book has plenty to say about Chicago at the time and will make you want to learn more about everyone he includes. Good read!
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