One day last month I missed the bus home by about 30 seconds on a bitterly cold day. I was hungry and freezing and the next bus wouldn’t come for another half hour. Poor, poor pitiful me.
I went across the street to the public library. It’s nothing like the fabulous Allen County facility, but they try to keep up with new fiction. They have a “browsing” collection, which seems to consist of one copy of sought-after new releases, with the rest put in the reserve queue. I walked right up to the browsing shelf, and there it was: A gleaming, virginal copy of Elmore Leonard’s new one, “Mr. Paradise,” only days after it arrived at Borders. Can a day turn lucky on the fortunate acquisition of a mystery novel? When it’s Elmore Leonard? Yes.
So I snatched it up, and it did not disappoint. I’ve kept it the whole term of the lending period, if only to reread his great dialogue scenes, hoping some of the magic will rub off on my own misbegotten efforts. Of course, I have selected some favorites; his best work is literary jazz.
Then yesterday I heard the master Himself on NPR, and he read a passage. My favorite one!