Classic Lines

In honor of my friend Richard S. Prather, here are some of my favorite lines from his Shell Scott novels:

“He lay there with his face on the cement, in his own
blood and wastes. Lesson for would be killers: Either don’t miss with your
first shot, or else eat light, go to the john, take an enema, and be ready to
die neat.” Kill Him Twice

“She had short mouse-brown hair, rather nice full lips
and gray eyes. But they weren’t pretty eyes. Not dawn gray, slate gray or even
muddy gray. They were sort of Dorian gray.” Always’s Leave’em Dying.

“This was one lovely who looked as if she could be
grateful to excess. And some excesses I’m excessively fond of,” Darling, It’s Death

“Lita was a gal so female that she made most other
females seem male,” Take a Murder, Darling

“It was a woman, a doll, a sensational tomato who
looked as if she’d just turned twenty one, but had obviously signaled for the
turn a long time ago. She was tall, and lovely all over, maybe five-seven, and
she wore a V-necked white blouse as if she were the gal who’d invented cleavage
just for fun. I gawked, and she smiled with plump, red lips, beautiful lips
that undoubtedly had said yes much more often than no…” Always Leave’em Dying

“It was one of those rare, completely smog-free days
when you can see Los Angeles from Los Angeles. Often you
can’t find City Hall unless you are in it, but this was one of those mornings
when you spring out of bed nearly overwhelmed by oxygen,”Always Leave’em Dying

“I think they lease Rodeo Drive by the carat rather than
front foot,” Kill Him Twice

“I have looked upon death and destruction, blood and
split brainboxes and disemboweled oxen. But I have seldom looked upon anything
less appetizing than Aggie fluttering her bald lips at me,” Gat Heat

“When an unidentified corpse lands in the morgue, the
real person is long gone to somewhere or other, and all that’s left for the
police and private eyes and others to draw conclusions from is the garbage left
behind, the worm food, the soil conditioner. The gift is gone, so we study the
package, eye the wrappings…” Take a Murder, Darling

2 thoughts on “Classic Lines”

  1. The narrative hook from Take A Murder, Darling is a perennial favorite of mine:
    “She had a seventy-eight inch bust, forty-six inch waist and seventy-two inch hips–measurements that were exactly right, I thought, for her height of eleven feet, four inches.”
    So long, Dick.
    And thanks for always being there.


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