Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 5-6.


Burke, James Lee.  A Morning for Flamingoes.  Boston: Little, Brown, 1990.

In James Lee Burke’s novels featuring Dave Robicheaux, the Louisiana setting is a character as vividly drawn as the protagonist himself. The bayou country is, at once, a lush paradise and the dismal swamp. The plantation architecture harks back to an ante-bellum splendor or stands as a rotting, peeling monument to the South’s “lost cause.” The natives embody an anachronistic gentility or a folk simplicity. Thrown into the mix are the extensive petrochemical facilities and the almost ungovernable slums that are the most conspicuous evidence of the increasingly industrial and increasingly urban “New South.” The fusion of these elements makes for an often volatile and violent environment in which a hardboiled romantic like Dave Robicheaux can operate with fewer constraints than he might find in other milieus.

Especially in the first few novels in the series, Robicheaux’s life…

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