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James Crumley, 68. Sought Justice Beyond Law.

09/20/2008  by Arlo Haskell  1 Comment

Photo by Lee Nye

Letter from James Crumley to Les Standiford, 1987. (click for full-size image)

The New York Times is reporting the death of critically acclaimed crime novelist James Crumley. He was 68.

We had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Crumley in 1988, for Whodunit?, our Seminar devoted to the art and tradition of mystery literature. In a correspondence between Crumley and Les Standiford, our program chair that year, Crumley explained his preference for detectives who are "more rebel than hero:"
    They should put their hearts and minds on the line to find whatever limited justice can be found in an injust world, should oppose greed, the sorriest of evils, and ignorance, and should prefer forgiveness over revenge. We don’t need heroes stalking mean streets, but human beings, imperfect as they might be, seeking a justice beyond law."

The letter reproduced here, typed on Hellgate Productions stationery, shows a lighthearted, funny, and gracious Jim Crumley. He will be missed.


One Response

  1. Dan Wilson says:

    I wrote my master thesis (University of Florida, 1992)on James Crumley (and James Fenimore Cooper), and Mr. Crumley was kind enough to chat with me on the phone during that process. He was a brilliant writer, and I was happy to see him mentioned in James Lee Burke’s (even more brilliant) latest novel, Light of the World. Burke also mentions Lee Nye’s photographs in the novel.

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