Meet Candy

>> Wednesday, August 16, 2006

As a part of the on-going first editorial revision of Something Rotten (due at the end of this month!) I've had to create a few new chapters. So far, I've been very happy with each one, and I'm particularly excited about the one I wrote today and the one I have to write tomorrow.

As I've said before, this book is as much an homage to Shakespeare's "Hamlet" as it is to Raymond Chandler, specifically my favorite Chandler book: The Long Goodbye. There are two characters I'm particularly fond of in The Long Goodbye, both of whom are foils of one kind or another for Philip Marlowe. The first is Candy, an ill-tempered yet loyal house servant of the writer Marlowe is hired to protect. The other is a very odd psychiatric ward refugee who likes to dress up like a cowboy and threaten people with his whip and his six-shooters.

One of the editorial suggestions on Something Rotten was to heighten the mystery element throughout, including beefing up the motives each of the suspects has for murder. (If you know the play, you already know who did it, but for those young readers and people like my parents who don't know the play, we figured it shouldn't be too easy.) So one of the things I had to do was take one of the more peripheral characters--my take on the Fortinbras character who threatens to invade Denmark from the start--and make him more of a suspect. To do that, he had to have a man on the inside.

Thus was born Candy, one of the many Mexican servants I already had working for the Prince family. Candy embodies a bit of both the original Candy from The Long Goodbye, and that stange lad with the bullwhip. He's neither one, or he's both, or he's a new character entirely. I can't decide. At the very least he's a nod to that novel. I have a few other allusions in there as well, but usually more of the thematic kind. (For example, I like in The Long Goodbye how Marlowe ends up helping a person he comes to not really like at the end, and I play with that a bit here. Hamlet can be pretty insuffereable at times, after all.)

Oh, and in tomorrow's new chapter, in the great tradition of Raymond Chandler novels, Horatio's gonna get the absolute crap kicked out of him for being too nosy.

Philip Marlowe would be proud.


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