Monday, February 8, 2021

The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block

Forty-five years ago, master craftsman Lawrence Block kicked off his long-running series of novels featuring Matthew Scudder with The Sins of the Fathers.

The compact book starts with hard drinking, former cop turned unlicensed investigator, Scudder in a bar and meeting with the father of a murder victim.

A young woman was slashed to death in her Greenwich Village apartment. The man she lived with was found moments later out on the street, covered in blood and shouting obscenities. The guy was arrested and taken to the city detention center called the Tombs where he committed suicide. Case closed, as far as the police were concerned.

But the father, who had lost touch with the girl when she dropped out of college, pays Scudder to find out what his daughter’s life had been like in the past few years. The newspapers called her a prostitute.

Scudder learns the girl had been a prostitute, the man she lived with could not have killed her and the case was not resolved.

Block’s prose is tight and his dialogue natural. This lean book provides readers with everything they need to know about the girl, the father, the suspects, and about Scudder, including why he quit the force.

The Sins of the Fathers, with its blunt descriptions of sex and death is still hot read today.

There are 11 novels in the Scudder series, which you can see at Lawrence Block’s website. Over the years, I’ve read a bunch of them, but not in order. Now, I plan to work my way through the books.

1 comment:

  1. I bought another copy of this last year as I want to start the series again from the beginning. I got waylaid around 5 or 6 books in.