Miss Scott is now ninety-one. At the library she first caught my attention because she was talking quietly, distinctively, with the librarian. I didn’t recognize her the first time I saw her, it was only later that I made the connection between this gorgeously poised, very erudite, older woman and “Dead Reckoning.”
I have noir fiction on my mind right now because someone (actually, three wonderful gentlemen who read my novel) got me hooked on Raymond Chandler. Can you believe I’d never read any classic noir fiction? In a way I’m glad I waited because Chandler, Hammett, and Cain write so precisely, so evocatively, with such wry sardonic twists it’s been like Christmas around here, book-wise. I’m loving every luscious passage, especially ones like this:
“…There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.”
This picture was taken the year I was born and is a view of the Beverly Hills City Hall where the library is housed. Construction was completed in 1932 and the architects were William J. Gage and Harry G. Koerner. In 1982 the Civic Center underwent a major renovation, and I have to say, for lack of a better word, the library is amazing.