01 September 2021

Pop Quiz


I've been (mentally) collecting books of a certain type and I am going to share the results with you here.  These are all well-known novels in our field, and they have one important characteristic in common.  Can you spot it? 

I will put the answer in the comments later...

J.J. Connolly. Layer Cake.


Len Deighton. The Ipcress File.






Daphne DuMaurier. Rebecca.






Dashiell Hammett. The Dain Curse.






Geoffrey Household. Rogue Male.

Bill Pronzini. Hoodwink.


  1. As I know that Rebecca does not show up, does this have something to do with characters whose names or identities we do not learn? As with Pronzini's "Nameless Detective?" I'm guessing because I have not read the others (I started "The Dain Curse" a while back but have not finished it yet!)

  2. The narrator is unnamed in each of them?

  3. I would like to thank the Academy and all its members...

  4. You could have gone with RED HARVEST as well, for that matter, Rob. Although that might have given it clean away! And congratulations to Early Bird Eve!

  5. Brian, if Eve hadn't been so fast I would have offered the following clue: That in five out of six cases I could have chosen a different book by the same author. As far as I know DuMaurier did not write another book with an anonymous narrator. I thought about including James Sallis' DRIVE because the protagonist (not narrator) is simply Driver, but I decided that was a sort of name.

  6. By the way, Jeff, another hobby of mine is looking for folksongs in which the title character never appears. One example is the old British ballad "The House Carpenter."

    1. Oh, my! Sounds like "Waiting for Godot." There's a spooky book by Steve Berman called "Vintage" where the narrator is not mentioned by name.

  7. Good quiz, Rob. I was scratching my head when my eye fell upon Jeff's first sentence and I knew immediately then. Of course the Continental Op series was famous for never naming the protagonist (called Hamilton Nash in at least one movie).

    It's not just mystery fiction: the Bizet operetta/suite L'Arl├ęsienne (The Girl from Arles, kind of a soundtrack) is named for a girl who never appears in it.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>