THE NUTMEG POINT DISTRICT MAIL

the Avram Davidson electronic newsletter

Vol. III No. 5
31 January 1999
ISSN 1089-764X

Henry Wessells, Editor.
Cooper Wessells, Honorary Secretary.

All correspondence to:
TEMPORARY CULTURE
Post Office Box 43072, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-0072

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SPECIAL ELEVENTH HOUR BLUE MOON EDITION

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THE INVESTIGATIONS OF AVRAM DAVIDSON
Edited by Grania Davis and Richard A. Lupoff
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999

          The Investigations of Avram Davidson, edited by Grania Davis and Richard A. Lupoff, will be published in February by St. Martin's Press. The stories travel far and wide in time and space, from the antebellum slave-owning South of "The Necessity of His Condition" to 1950s Cyprus in "The Ikon of Elijah"; and from early nineteenth century New York City in "The Importance of Trifles" to the idyllic Central American mountain village in "The Third Sacred Well of the Temple." Richard A. Lupoff notes in his introduction, "Avram Davidson transcended the usual boundaries of categories, and simply told Avram Davidson stories." This is a superb collection of first-rank Avram Davidson stories.
          "Lord of Central Park" is a charming and improbable tale that could only have come from Avram's typewriter, with a richly varied cast of hereditary river pirates, very, very petty criminals, Balkan terrorists, and a genuine ingenue, plus a remittance man who is unique in all of literature. It contains some of Avram's best list poems, from the multitude of titles of the Marquess of Grue and Groole to the contents of shop-windows and ship's cargoes pilfered by the Goodecounce family.
          Grania Davis recalls the composition of "A Quiet Room with a View": "How we laughed when we read the story aloud -- it must have been just before dinner. In 1964, the grim reality of living in a retirement institution seemed very far away." "Mr. Folsom Feels Fine" is sheer delight, a fantasy of prosperous retirement in an exotic land, composed when Avram had already begun to experience the grim reality of life in the V.A. hospital system. While the story introduction to "The Deed of the Deft-Footed Dragon" emphasizes how Avram drew upon his experience in China for the portrait of the hatchet-wielding On Lung, the story is also notable for offering a new interpretation to the events in the Borden household in Fall River, Massachusetts.
          The attractive black, gold and white dust jacket bears a photograph of a foggy city street (possibly London) superimposed over a late 18th century map of lower Manhattan. It carries blurbs from Michael Dirda, Ed Gorman, Joe Gores, Bill Pronzini, Janwillem van de Wetering, and Rand Lee; the photograph of Avram Davidson is the well known one of Avram at his most distinguished, a formal