|Submitted by Archren |
(Mar 24, 2006)
I sometimes think that Ray Bradbury is not, in fact, a multi-genre writer. That through his entire career, he has only written in one genre a genre to be named “Bradbury.” I feel that way because no matter which genre he chooses to write in (are there any that he hasn’t?) his inimitable style is always dominant.
In “Let’s All Kill Constance,” this style is applied to a murder mystery set in 1960 in Hollywood. An older actress named Constance receives an old phone book, many names are crossed out, even some of people who are still alive. Then she disappears and bodies turn up. The unnamed narrator (who is possibly Bradbury himself) must find out what’s going on.
That’s the simple part. The special Ray Bradbury touch is that while the overall plot structure is purely genre murder mystery, all the dialog and all the scene setting is pure Bradbury. The people all talk like they’re slightly (or more than slightly) unhinged, and the scene descriptions are pure poetry (and as such, don’t always make the most sense).
Now, here’s a bit of heresy. I prefer Bradbury’s work in the short form. I loved “Illustrated Man” and “The Martian Chronicles,” but even at a brief 210 pages, I found it a bit wearing to read the dialog of all these crazy people. But that’s just me. If you’ve ever been curious to see what Bradbury might do to a standard mystery to make it completely his own, you should read this.