Thursday, May 17, 2012


I’ve read several of Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder books over the years, but never The Sins of the Fathers.

The Sins of the Fathers was the first of the Scudder books.

A successful businessman hires Scudder to determine the details surrounding his daughter’s murder. The daughter was a runaway, a New York prostitute. Apparently her roommate killed her.

Her roommate, a seemingly-peaceful gay man, then hanged himself in his jail cell. The police think they have the crime solved.

Matt doesn’t set out to solve the crime. He sets out to do exactly what the man asked him to do--find out about the young woman’s life and death.

The story leads Matt to learn about both roommates and their relationships with their fathers. The issue here is not who killed the woman. That’s clear no more than halfway through the book. The issue is the psychology of it all.

This book is short, quick reading. Scudder has most of the qualities readers came to look for later on. He is an ex-cop. He is adamant when he says he is not a detective. He takes money for doing people favors. He doesn’t want society’s rules to encumber him with licenses and paperwork.

Matt Scudder always has a drink nearby. He tithes his “fees” and lights candles to remember the dead. He already has a close relationship with the “sacred ginmill.”

Matt’s idiosyncrasies are in their infancy in this book. Only later does Matt attend AA meetings and all the rest.

I am a fan of Lawrence Block’s writing. It was good to read this book, the first in a favorite series.  

This book is available in reasonably-priced ebook editions. 


henryct said...

I re-read this about 3 years ago and still found it as enjoyable as ever, in fact, I want to read some more now having read your review particularly "A Drop of the Hard Stuff" which is the only Scudder I haven't read yet.


Joe Barone said...

I like the Scudder books a lot. I plan to read more too. I haven't kept track of them systematically enough to know what I've read and what I haven't. I just read them over the years, mostly as they came out.

George said...

The Scudder books might be Lawrence Block's most underrated series. I especially liked the first few novels published as paperback originals.

Joe Barone said...

I personally liked the Scudder books more than the books about the burglar (was his name Bernie?), though I read most of both.