Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Brown Meggs : Saturday Games, 1974

The author does not say anything to anyone: Brown Meggs. It would appear the name of someone, but no, it is the original name. Megg Brown wrote only that damn little. In fact hehadanother jobworking: he knew well, seems very well, classical music and opera, and was a successful executive at Capitol Records, a famous American record label. One day he made the shot of his life: he managed to win the rights for the marketing of Beatles records in the USA. However he had written a novel, "Saturday Games", this, translated in Italy with the title "Games on Saturday."
We say it right away, so let there be any criticism: it's not a masterpiece, but not far off, or it is. In short, we are dealing with an exceptional work: a few times I found myself before a first film, extraordinary: Gaston Leroux, Philip MacDonald, Ellery Queen. This is another case.
Truly remarkable novel, more thriller yellow, with a spiral structure, and more stories that intertwine with each other and from the way they enter and as they relax in synergy determine the pace, which is initially weak, and it must be because the story is then beginning his narrative, but then becomes increasingly fibrillating.
The novel begins with these two who wake up, each in his own house, naked and sweaty: one is a scientist, the other a cop, but both do not remember anything of what they did the night before. They were both drunk, it said. The police officer must meet with a psychologist, her friend (lover, best), with which food delicious lunches every Saturday and after the succulent lunch, repass .. the Kama Sutra. He would continue to have a report made ​​lunches, love, travel and lots of sex, but she wants to get married while he is attracted. The beauty is that the policeman, Sergeant Anson Frères, the next step to lieutenant, according to all his classmates, the fact that he had lived a long time with his mother, was buckled a reputation as effeminate and coconut mother, while she was quite the opposite, a satyr.
The fact is that on the Saturday, when he would to spend the afternoon with a psychologist to practice sexual positions, and while the other, the scientist, along with two of his colleagues and their boss (part of a team scientists working in a space project) plays tennis like all the Saturday morning , someone call the police because someone is trying to hit with the bow and the arrows a deer, who, wounded, went to hide in the woods. The fact is that, when they begin the research, find the other: in a pink trash bag, a woman looks at the sky, eyes open, fixed. The face is beautiful but it shows already some thirty years, the hair is wet and matted with blood, the body is completely naked, was killed by at least six hours, breaking through the skull with a blunt blow. From here begins the story. And the rhythm picks up.
Each time the gap was on the tennis court where the four play. It soon becomes clear that the deal is, and that at least knew that the slain: it was actually one of the three from which her ​​husband was about to divorce. The others try to remember, and between a ball and another exchange of impressions: Vinnie, and Neil Howard. Not with their leader Baron, but only among themselves. Why talk about what happened the night before, and he must not know. In short, something happened that connected or not connected to the death of the girl, must not become aware of their leader. He, the cuckolded husband, suspects that one of the other three is the current lover of his wife, a woman who has sex with the same frequency as an actress in a porn film in which the piles are interchangeable. In short we have: three scientists who have done something that has to do with the death of the girl, the husband of this was going to divorce her for infidelity of the woman manifests, a policeman whose sport is to have sex with a psychologist, a doctor legal rather than put the full stops, opens up other disquieting prospects. Meanwhile the investigation continues.
Meggs1.jpgAnd among the volees, the loops of four straight and on the tennis court, small fragments of a shocking truth to be inserted in their place, and while Neil and Howard slowly remember what they did with Emjay, the woman who simply has an industrial quantity of sex with anyone she likes, a cleaning lady who is tidying up in the neighborhood of the most beautiful villa with pool, discovers a blood-stained carpet and parquet, underwear in the bathroom , while the guy who takes care of the pool, discovers blood stains, a pool of vomit and other amenities. In short .. it's easy to connect the place with the death of the wife of the scientist. Meanwhile, the investigation becomes tight, increasingly tight, and when the pace is hot and new details emerge, it is always the game of tennis that brings attention to the four suspects, their errors at the net, strange for four types hard courts even if they do once a week, and their long game is intertwined with the uncertain relationship based on sex of the officer and psychologist, on investigations of Anson and Yee (another policeman, China), on those of Yee Martinez (another policeman again). Truth that speaks of bottles of gin, a lot of marijuana smoke, a party of four people, three men and a woman in a villa with swimming pool, three men and a woman naked, marijuana, alcohol and lots of sex: all three are responsible? Or just one? Or are they innocent? It was a sexual murder? Or a tragic fate?
It all comes down to an extraordinary final where the killer is the least suspected . And I must say, thing that always I remark when I speak of novels which I consider extraordinary, Brown leads the reader by the nose (including myself and I am not used to be brought him by the nose) before putting the clues, which of course does not reveal the scope but in the end, and only at the end of the last pages, reveals the shocking truth. The novel is linked in some way with the proceedings, later used by Paul Halter, in his masterpiece, Le brouillard rouge,another novelin which the bloodis the master.
A  classic mystery, normally, has very little blood, because the victim's death should not impress the reader. Besides, despite a detective novel should build a prince of an offense and the offense is the crime, it is hardly ever truculent, almost never the author depicts the blood, and if it does only accennadovi. But here is different aspects of death and the feast that precedes all of their own, even revolting. Yet even this is a classic yellow, which moves but with modern rhythms.
All that blood made ​​me think of another novel uin which the blood is a sort of leitmotif: Le brouillard rouge, by Paul Halter. If we have the two as well as in blood, a sort of commonality in the fact that the blood is at the beginning and end of the novel, and that the two crimes hide a clear sexual drive, aggression. But here the similarities end: Halter's novel, blood, painted on the walls, linking the end of the beginning, like Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino, in a clear, while in the novel by Brown Meggs it is hidden, it only understands at the end. Furthermore, whereas in the crime is premeditated Halter (the Ripper kills his victim, choosing among many) in the novel, death is only the consequence of resistance to a request set, for asexual assault which the victimwas notsubjected threateningto report himto the police. There are revolting details in this mystery, classic repeat: vomiting, traces of semen, blood, much blood, much to the shoes get dirty. And here there's really a lot of blood. .. But only the same person. And there's plenty of sex, and scenes are very intense, but .. there isn't a shred of vulgarity or of terms and hard shots. Instead there is a lot of sophistication and ingeniousness. And also culinary and artistic reflections.
Everything found in a novel in the midst of so many in the bulk, and paid very little
Oh, I forgot one thing is not a minor: in 1975, Saturday Games was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for his first novel.
Not a small thing.
But one thing  I don’t  understand: why other publishers in recent times have not been aware of this excellent novel and have not repeated. Instead, the depressing thing is that too often we read things, which frankly no one would feel the need.
 Pietro De Palma

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