Sammy and the Cheese
A novel by Christopher Moore
Harper Collins, 2018
One more San Francisco crime novel for the pile. Christopher Moore is a parody novelist, his send-ups of various literary tropes are consistently amusing and, at times, hilarious. Set in 1947 San Francisco, “Sammy” is Samuel Tiffin, a hot-headed bartender with a shady past, and “The Cheese” is Stilton, a curvaceous and mysterious blonde who has secrets of her own. The supporting cast of characters includes a douche-bag bar owner, various Chinatown denizens, a racist Irish cop, an Air Force general, the Bohemian Grove, a foul-mouthed nine year-old boy, mysterious men in black (wearing sunglasses, natch), a deadly snake and even a space alien to keep thing interesting. The writing is peppered with 40s idioms, as well as Moore’s gags and wordplay. It is very non PC and gets more and more outrageous as it progresses, even becoming juvenile at times but it is all in fun.
If this premise sounds familiar, I recently reviewed Kelli Stanley’s City of Sharks, a private-eye novel which was set in the same era and used similar lingo (and many of the same locations), albeit in a more ham-fisted fashion. Moore’s book is lighter in tone, its frivolous nature might turn off a serious reader, but if you enjoy Carl Haissen you would probably dig this.