In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes was first published in 1947 but as you can see it has been reprinted by Penguin. From the cover the book was obviously made into a film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. If I ever saw it it must have been back in the year dot.

Dix Steele had been in the American Air Force during World War 2, he was based in England but civilian life is difficult for him, he has serious mental problems, can’t stand any sort of noise and has been living off the hand-outs from a wealthy uncle. But now he has moved to Los Angeles and is staying in the apartment of Mel Terriss an old wartime acquaintance. Dix is supposedly writing a book and Terriss has moved to Rio for a while, leaving Dix with the use of everything of his, including his car and clothes!

Unknown to Dix another old wartime friend is living in the neighbourhood and when he bumps into Brub Nicolais Dix is surprised to discover that he is a detective. Brub is under quite a lot of stress as it seems there’s a serial killer operating in the area!

I really liked this one, particularly as the plot took a few unexpected turns – for me anyway.

I imagined all of the characters as being quite a bit younger than the people who were cast in the film. Much as I love Bogart he wouldn’t have been my choice to play Dix, he would have been too old, but that was common in Hollywood at that time, the male actors seemed to have much longer careers than the women and so were given parts that they were about 15 years too old for – or maybe the guys just looked older in those days!