I've read this book three or four times now, and I still like it, and I still have no idea what the title means. Matthew Scudder is still a morally ambiguous character, but he's still compelling, and the tale is not only a darn good one, well told, but in fact it's considerably better than its predecessor, The Sins of the Fathers. Block keeps us guessing, and while it's still gritty the sex and violence aren't the point.
The premise is nifty. An acquaintance of Scudder's named Spinner gives him an envelope to hold. So long as Scudder hears from Spinner once a week, he's to leave the envelope alone. If Spinner gets murdered, Scudder is to open the envelope and do what he thinks best. So happens, Spinner is murdered (no surprise), and when Scudder opens the envelope he discovers that the guy has been blackmailing three different people. It's almost certain that one of them had him killed. Which one? Spinner wants the guilty one taken care of, but the other two should go free.
I like it. It works.Posted by Will Duquette at January 29, 2003 08:23 PM
The title is from The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot which is itself a reference to something else possibly Ecclesiastes from the Bible. Sadly this is one of the few things I remeber from high school english.