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The Two O'Clock Boy
Mark Hill
Three Men In The Dark
Jerome K. Jerome, Robert Barr, Barry Pain, Hugh Lamb
Progress: 221/311 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 495 pages.

For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway

yeah it's amazing I love it I will be devouring more Hemingway now that I know how great his writing can be, all that, you're up to speed--but that's not what I wanna talk about. there's a weird reason I've wanted to read this book ever since I was about 14 years old. and it has nothing to do with literary greatness or must-read classics gnawing at the brain, pushy high school teachers who won't shut up about Hemingway..no no. here we go:


when I decided there had to be life beyond Agatha Christie, I got into Ed McBain. things went well, and one of the first Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels I read--maybe the second one--was Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man. this was the Deaf Man's third appearance in an 87th Precinct book, but that didn't detract from the fun, it just means I was reading this recurring villain's appearances out of order. and I found out that the Deaf Man always uses an alias that somehow is a clue that the Deaf Man is behind whatever is going on. in Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man, for example, he used the name Mr. Taubman. but the book did recap the other aliases he had used, in two earlier appearances. the first Ed McBain novel featuring this arch-criminal is The Heckler, where I learned that the Deaf Man was using the name L. Sordo. this being his first appearance--complete with taunting the police by using the name L. Sordo as a sign-off--the cops spent time hunting for an actual L. Sordo. it was only later they realized that L. Sordo meant something like "deaf one", or something like that, in Spanish. someone clicked to the fact that El Sordo was a character in For Whom The Bell Tolls, and the cops of the 87th knew they were being duped as they had also found out their suspect wore a hearing aid. being led by the nose in a complex scheme that seems beyond the average criminal? check if any names that have cropped up mean "deaf" or "deaf man" in various languages. the best Deaf Man appearance is in the great book Fuzz, where we have "Mort Orrechio"(the film version of Fuzz drops that, and incorporates L. Sordo, interestingly enough--perhaps because as far as his aliases go, it's the only one with a literary connection that gives people a clue to figure out if they have read Hemingway).


another Deaf Man alias later on is "Dennis Dove"; apparently "den dove" is a deaf reference in...Swedish? I can't remember. anyway, this is why I had to read this particular Hemingway first--not the obvious short one about an old man and the sea, which would be the safer choice--and have nursed but neglected this longing for over 30 years! recent fictions set in Spain, and in some cases featuring the Spanish Civil War as a backdrop, have pushed me to do what seemed a bit of a chore when I was in my teens and more inclined to keep reading Mysteries and Science Fiction. but I knew that one day I would read For Whom The Bell Tolls, so I could meet El Sordo (so far he's elusive; he didn't show up when he was supposed to). L. Sordo has finally brought me to El Sordo!