TEN PERCENT OF LIFE by Hiber Conteris


Email this review


A clever piece of synthesis by Uruguayan writer Conteris--a Raymond Chandler-style (and -era) murder mystery in which both Chandler and his here free-standing hero, Philip Marlowe, have sleuthing and/or deducing roles. A Hollywood agent, Yensid Andress, is found dead, a suicide apparently but then admittedly a murder. Chandler himself, having written a recent essay reviling literary agents, comes under suspicion; as do the agent's personal secretary, ex-wife, and estranged son--but Philip Marlowe is able to pretty quickly discount those false leads. Whoever killed Andress, it seems, must have known that he'd been representing the blacklisted Hollywood writers of the 50's under other names, getting them screenplays; and so a political motive is the largest probability. Neither Marlowe nor Chandler ever really solves the case, but meanwhile Conteris has suave fun using Marlowe and Chandler together and putting into the latter's mouth all sorts of fancy-schmancy disquisitions on the mystery novel, writing in general, and California. The political shading here is a touch garish, especially at the end, but otherwise not as gimmicky as it might sound: a pleasing entertainment.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster