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A few days back, talking about James Garner’s Marlowe, I talked about how I grew up on (among many other things) The Rockford Files. And I said I share the belief hard-boiled fiction can help a lot, when you are a kid in your early teens,and need role models – especially a certain kind of hard-boiled. Hammett rather than Spillane, for instance.

So, in my lunch breaks, I’ve been re-watching the first season of The Rockford Files, because I wanted to see whether the series was really as good and fun and all that, and in general my memories were validated.
Yes, there’s a car chase in every episode (what was this obsession with cars in 1970s America?), but the mysteries are fun, there’s an incredible supporting cast and a roster of guest stars, and James Garner is very good at doing his thing.

There are details that as a kid I did not notice – like, in the first season, it looks like California has almost no people of color in its population. But later episodes set that straight. I also learned that in French the series was called “200 Dollars plus expenses”. Ah, the French!

And as I was watching The Rockford Files, this morning, I got a message.
No, not on my answerphone, on a chat…

Can you write hard-boiled mysteries?

I stopped the video and stared into Jim Rockford’s eyes.

Well, of course I can write hard-boiled mysteries, I replied.

Can you do a first chapter and a full outline on spec?

And so, it looks like we’re in business again.
Or could be soon.

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