Doing some catch-up on stuff I have contemplated posting:
Early this year I surfed across a fine memoir of James Crumley by a writer pal of his named Ralph Beer — very nice, even includes photos of some of Crumley’s favorite hangouts, such as the Missoula Club.
When I finally got to Missoula I tracked down that dive bar and others (by instinct or sheer luck having dinner the first night in The Depot, much more upscale, but they keep a bar stool empty in Crumley’s memory). The Missoula Club isn’t much, just a little bar and a grill in back for burgers and hotdogs — not much, but still great.
Dennis McMillan once told me about a more sophisticated West Coast bookseller visiting Crumley in Missoula. No doubt for fun, Crumley took him to the Missoula Club — where the sophisticate asked to see their wine list!
Yeah, right. What would have been on it? Budweiser and Moose Drool?
I sent Dennis the URL for the Beer memoir, which he hadn’t seen, and it kicked off this comment:
Ralph Beer wrote one of the most depressing novels I’ve ever read — The Lost Corral (or was it The Last Corral?) — which has one totally incongruous chapter in the middle of it, featuring a thinly-disguised Crumley, Neal McMahon, and Crumley’s dog, Bean, as a small person.
It’s hilarious, and the reader is totally taken aback by it (or so I would assume — I was warned beforehand about the chapter, so I was expecting it). Beer is a very good writer, indeed, from that one novel, but it truly depressed me, I must say, and I can say that about very few books, really.
The novel Dennis is referencing is The Blind Corral, if you want to add it to your extended Crumley collection.