Archive for Lemmy Caution

Peter Cheyney: This Man is Dangerous

Posted in Peter Cheyney with tags , , , , on June 21, 2010 by gustravis

Like I said the last time I wrote about Cheyney, he created a character named Lemmy Caution.  As Cheyney so often writes, this guy is “nobody’s business” and I don’t mean maybe.  I won’t stuff this up with a bunch of crap.   This Man is Dangerous is a hell of a book.

I’ll let it do its own talking:

“It was a hot night–one of them nights when every time you try to breathe you wonder where you’re gonna get the air from.”

“I learn that I can still be caught on a bad market, because this jane has got a vest-pocket automatic in her handbag and she shoots through the bottom of it.  She gets me… My wrist drops, an’ before you could say sap the four guys at the table are on top of me.  They give me the works.  By the time this bunch have done with me I’m feeling like a communist demonstration in New York when the coppers are bad-tempered.  What those guys do to me is nobody’s business.”

Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution

“… There would be durn little crime if it wasn’t for women like Connie… I once read in some magazine that crime costs the American people four million dollars a year, an’ I reckon if somebody had dipped Constance in a bucket of cold water five minutes after she was born that maybe the U.S. taxpayers would have saved one million, which shows you that I think this dame is pretty good.”

“I’ll raise every hoodlum in New York an’ I’ll go after that yellow thug an’ I’ll shoot seventeen different kinds of hell outa him, that is if I don’t decide to burn him alive or something.”

Peter Cheyney


Peter Cheyney: Dark Interlude

Posted in Peter Cheyney with tags , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by gustravis

An Introduction to Mr. Cheyney

British crime writer.  Creator of two bad-asses: Amercan G-man Lemmy Caution, to be played by Eddie Constantine many times (most reputably in Jean-Luc’s sci-fi/crime masterpiece Alphaville), and Slim Callaghan, a detective who gets to the end of his case some roundabout way.

Cheney writes like Hammett with short, terse sentences.  His men blow lots of smoke rings; they drink fingers of scotch every page.  The women are tough, but only as tough as they can stand till the men push them too far.

He also wrote a series of spy novels called the “Dark” series.  Dark Interlude is the first I’ve read of these and it’s soaked in Nazi blood.

The story follows O’Mara, a top Brit spy.  He’s been ordered to destroy himself.  Why?  So that the leftover Nazis from the war will pick at him at his weakest, and when they come out of the shadows, Quayle (leader of the Second Bureau) will have them where he wants them.

We pick up with O’Mara, drunk, greasy, working as some shit mechanic in some small French town.  Enter beautiful woman Tanga De Sarieux, another spy, as brave as the men who surround her.  Enter Ernest Guelvada, he likes to use his knife, he also likes to play dangerous game with women.  Enter Rozanski, the mysterious Nazi who knows he is the last of a dying breed and wants to take all the Brits and Frenchmen he can to hell with him.

Cheyney navigates the seaside, the abandoned cottages, behind churches in the night where bodies fall one after the other.

Here is a piece of dialogue from the book:

O’Mara looked at her.  He said, with a touch of the old bravura: “I am O’Mara.  I can do anything.”
She said: “Precisely.  Might I not suggest, with all humility, that I am de Sarieux?”  She raised her head proudly.  “I, too, can do anything.
O’Mara said: “That’s as maybe, but you’re still a woman.”

More about Cheyney later.