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A collection of Matthew Scudder short stories with an introduction by Brian Koppelman and an afterword by Block about the stories. Contents: Growing up with Matt Scudder / by Brian Koppelman -- Out the window -- A candle for the bag lady -- By the dawn's early light -- Batman's helpers -- The merciful angel of death -- The night and the music -- Looking for David -- Let's get lost A collection of Matthew Scudder short stories with an introduction by Brian Koppelman and an afterword by Block about the stories. Contents: Growing up with Matt Scudder / by Brian Koppelman -- Out the window -- A candle for the bag lady -- By the dawn's early light -- Batman's helpers -- The merciful angel of death -- The night and the music -- Looking for David -- Let's get lost -- A moment of wrong thinking -- Mick Ballou looks at the blank screen -- One last night at Grogan's.


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A collection of Matthew Scudder short stories with an introduction by Brian Koppelman and an afterword by Block about the stories. Contents: Growing up with Matt Scudder / by Brian Koppelman -- Out the window -- A candle for the bag lady -- By the dawn's early light -- Batman's helpers -- The merciful angel of death -- The night and the music -- Looking for David -- Let's get lost A collection of Matthew Scudder short stories with an introduction by Brian Koppelman and an afterword by Block about the stories. Contents: Growing up with Matt Scudder / by Brian Koppelman -- Out the window -- A candle for the bag lady -- By the dawn's early light -- Batman's helpers -- The merciful angel of death -- The night and the music -- Looking for David -- Let's get lost -- A moment of wrong thinking -- Mick Ballou looks at the blank screen -- One last night at Grogan's.

30 review for The Night and the Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    For the first time ever, all the short stories featuring Matthew Scudder are collected between two covers. Matthew Scudder has been my favorite detective for a few years now and I'm always ready for more of his stories. The Night and the Music is all I could hope for and more. From the touching intro by Brian Koppelman to Lawrence Block's notes at the end, I was once again entranced. The stories presented are from various points in Matthew Scudder's career. It could easily serve as either a jumpin For the first time ever, all the short stories featuring Matthew Scudder are collected between two covers. Matthew Scudder has been my favorite detective for a few years now and I'm always ready for more of his stories. The Night and the Music is all I could hope for and more. From the touching intro by Brian Koppelman to Lawrence Block's notes at the end, I was once again entranced. The stories presented are from various points in Matthew Scudder's career. It could easily serve as either a jumping on point for new readers or a nice summation of the series. You've got Matt solving staged suicides, setups, and mysterious deaths. There are stories of Matt during his seldom talked about days on the police force and even one of his jobs with Reliable, rounding up bootleg Batman merchandise. The later stories are my favorite. As Matt enters the later years of his life, he spends more time thinking about the old days. He and Elaine run into someone he arrested years before while vacationing in Italy. Mick Ballou and Matt talk about death and Mick asks Matt to be his best man. The final story in the collection threatened to yank silent tears from my manly ducts. Mick has closed Grogan's and he, Matt, Elaine, and Kristin gather for one last night of stories. As Mick and Matt reminisced about the earlier times in that fabled bar, I remembered experiencing the same moments with them in the early books. If Lawrence Block never writes another Matthew Scudder book, One Last Night at Grogan's would be a beautiful way to end the series. I can't recommend the Matthew Scudder series enough and The Night and The Music is no exception!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    This, the last Matt Scudder book to be issued, published in 2013, is a rather motley affair. A Drop of the Hard Stuff (2011) has the honor of being--at least so far--the last substantial entry in the Scudder Series. The Night of the Music is instead, a collection of odds and ends: eleven short pieces written over the course of thirty-four years, from “Out the Window” (1977) to “One Last Night at Grogan’s,” which was written especially for inclusion here. The first two tales are novelettes Block p This, the last Matt Scudder book to be issued, published in 2013, is a rather motley affair. A Drop of the Hard Stuff (2011) has the honor of being--at least so far--the last substantial entry in the Scudder Series. The Night of the Music is instead, a collection of odds and ends: eleven short pieces written over the course of thirty-four years, from “Out the Window” (1977) to “One Last Night at Grogan’s,” which was written especially for inclusion here. The first two tales are novelettes Block published between the first three Scudder paperback originals and the first full-length, hardbound novel, A Stab in The Dark: in “Out the Window,” Scudder shows that the suicide of a waitress is actually a murder, and in “A Candle for the Bag Lady,” Scudder, remembered in the will of a bag lady, feels compelled to bring her murderer to justice. The rest of the pieces here are either short stories or mere sketches. “By the Dawn’s Early Light,” will be of particular interest to die-hard Scudder devotees, for this account of Tommy Tillary, his murdered wife, and his girlfriend Caroline was later re-worked and included as a subplot in The Sacred Ginmill Closes, a book many consider to be Block’s finest. The other pieces are all entertaining, but vary in length and weight. Perhaps the best are “Batman’s Helpers” in which Scudder accepts an uncharacteristic odd job (one he vows never to do again) confiscating counterfeit Batman merchandise from immigrant street vendors, and “The Merciful Angel of Death,” a thoughtful treatment of the AIDS epidemic, assisted suicide, and mercy killing. My favorites, however, since I’m a big Mick Ballou fan, are the two last stories in the book: “Mick Ballou Looks at the Blank Screen,” in which the murderous Irishman gives his opinion of the notorious conclusion of The Sopranos, and “One Last Night at Grogan’s,” in which Scudder and Ballou and their wives hold a wake for Ballou’s old Hell’s Kitchen saloon. Any old Scudder fans who missed this book the first time around should read it. Those of you who are still reading the novels, though, should wait until you have read at least the first fourteen books in the series. Only if you do so will you appreciate what “One Last Night at Grogan’s” is all about.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    This was a good year for fans of Lawrence Block’s detective Matthew Scudder. First we got a new novel with A Drop of the Hard Stuff and then this collection of short stories. In Matt’s long history he’s gone from alcoholic ex-cop dealing with the guilt of accidently killing a child while breaking up a robbery to his eventual sobriety all while acting as an unlicensed private detective who follows his own sometimes odd brand of justice instead of a law book. These stories cover all the phases of This was a good year for fans of Lawrence Block’s detective Matthew Scudder. First we got a new novel with A Drop of the Hard Stuff and then this collection of short stories. In Matt’s long history he’s gone from alcoholic ex-cop dealing with the guilt of accidently killing a child while breaking up a robbery to his eventual sobriety all while acting as an unlicensed private detective who follows his own sometimes odd brand of justice instead of a law book. These stories cover all the phases of Matt’s life and showcase his complex nature. In one story, Matt becomes enraged at the sleazy boyfriend of a dead woman for stealing her possessions and goes out of his way to screw with him even though he knows he’s not guilty of killing her, yet he’ll also sit down and have a nice lunch with a man he once sent to prison for murder. Matt spent his career identifying various shades of gray in other people and himself and still managed to hang onto his moral compass and a basic sense of decency. Summing up the stories: Out the Window - Matt’s still drinking and looks into the apparent suicide of a waitress who worked at his favorite gin joint. Candle For the Bag Lady - Another one where Matt is still boozing. A neighborhood bag lady was stabbed to death and Matt is surprised to learn that the woman had money and left him a tidy little sum for no reason he can think of. Feeling an obligation he doesn‘t really understand, Matt starts looking into the murder and his investigation gets the neighborhood talking and turns the woman into a minor folk hero with surprising consequences. By the Dawn’s Early Light - No AA for Matt yet. His drinking buddy Tommy’s wife is murdered and he hires Matt to help solidify the evidence against the two burglars accused of the crime. This is the story that inspired Block to continue the series after he thought it may have reached a conclusion and it’s the basis for the novel When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. Batman’s Helpers - Holy crossover! Matt Scudder teams up with Batman. Sort of. Matt works a freelance gig for a big agency trying to get bootleg Batman merchandise off the New York streets. Merciful Angel of Death - The administrator of an AIDs hospice fears that a mysterious woman has been killing the patients and asks Matt to investigate. The Night & The Music - Matt and Elaine hit New York's after hours clubs to hear some jazz. This is just a very short story with no crime at all, but I got to hear Lawrence Block read this one years ago at a signing for Hope to Die so it’s one of my favorites in the book. Looking for David - While on vacation in Europe, Matt bumps into a man he had once sent to prison for murdering his male lover. Surprisingly, the man invites Matt to lunch and tells him exactly why he committed the crime. Let’s Get Lost - Another flashback story when Matt was still a cop, and he provides some odd advice to players at a poker game who have a murdered man on their hands. A Moment of Wrong Thinking - Yet another flashback to his police days where Matt tells Elaine of how his partner handled a case of apparent suicide. Mick Ballou Looks At the Blank Screen - Matt’s best friend Mick wants to talk about the Soprano’s finale and share some news. One Last Night at Grogans - Written especially for this collection, Mick has sold the saloon where he and Matt spent so many long nights talking, and the two of them and their spouses spend one last evening in the bar. Hard not to think that this may be Block having Matt take one last bow at the close of the series, but if this is the end, then it was a perfect way to say goodbye.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder has been one of the most enduring and certainly one of the best-written protagonists in the history of crime fiction. Beginning with The Sins of the Fathers in 1976, Block has written seventeeen novels featuring Scudder, the recovering alcoholic who is also a cop-turned-unlicensed and then (finally) licensed New York P.I. Over the years, Block also wrote a number of short stories featuring Scudder, which appeared in a variety of different places and some of which Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder has been one of the most enduring and certainly one of the best-written protagonists in the history of crime fiction. Beginning with The Sins of the Fathers in 1976, Block has written seventeeen novels featuring Scudder, the recovering alcoholic who is also a cop-turned-unlicensed and then (finally) licensed New York P.I. Over the years, Block also wrote a number of short stories featuring Scudder, which appeared in a variety of different places and some of which won awards for short fiction. Now, the author has gathered these stories together in The Night and The Music and has added an introduction by screenwriter Brian Koppelman. He has also added a new story, written especially for this collection, titled "One Last Night at Grogan's," an elegiac piece in which Matt, his wife, Elaine, Mick Ballou and Mick's new wife sit around a table in Mick's Hell's Kitchen saloon for one last night of stories before the building is transferred to its new owners. Those readers who have loved this series for so long will treasure these stories, some of which Block incorporated into the Scudder novels, and many of which have not been readily available for some time. One can't help but dread that, in collecting these stories and in writing the last one, Block might be drawing the final curtain on Matt Scudder. Intellectually, one understands that no doubt sooner rather than later, his run will have to come to an end. But those of us who have grown up with Matthew Scudder and who have waited, often very impatiently, for the next Scudder book can only hope that the moment has not come yet. "One Last Night at Grogan's" would certainly be a fitting end to Matthew Scudder's career, but none of Block's legion of fans is ready to face that awful moment yet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    The Night & The Music holds eleven Scudder short stories that cover a wide spectrum of his literary life. The first few tales take place while Matt was still sucking down bourbon and coffee while the latter bring us up to his marriage with Elaine as well as his friendship with Irish gangster Mick Ballou. There’s a lot of great stuff in here, particularly a story that involves Scudder investigating the suspects of a robbery/murder titled By Dawn’s Early Light. It draws a lot of parallels to A The Night & The Music holds eleven Scudder short stories that cover a wide spectrum of his literary life. The first few tales take place while Matt was still sucking down bourbon and coffee while the latter bring us up to his marriage with Elaine as well as his friendship with Irish gangster Mick Ballou. There’s a lot of great stuff in here, particularly a story that involves Scudder investigating the suspects of a robbery/murder titled By Dawn’s Early Light. It draws a lot of parallels to A Long Line of Dead Men, one of my personal favorites in the Scudder saga. I found it pretty jarring to go back to Scudder’s beginnings. It goes to show just how much the character had grown over time. I’ve grown accustomed to Matt and Elaine living together as well as TJ popping up on occasion - both of which are elements missing from the first half of the book. Matt was just treading water in those early years, unsure of who or what he was supposed to be. Seeing him seemingly drift through life was like watching another person. It goes without saying that “One Last Night at Grogan’s” is an important story that every fan of Block’s signature detective should seek out. While Block has on more than one occasion believed he was finished with Scudder, this one definitely gives you that feeling he’s content to put the series to bed. The release of The Night & The Music is kind of like a best-selling musician releasing a compilation of their b-sides; those extra tracks that you wouldn’t find on a greatest hits album. That’s not to say they’re of lesser quality, they’re more for fans you would consider “completists”. After all, it’s nice to get all those “songs” in one easy-to-find “album”.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    Lawrence Block gives us a single volume that collects all of the short stories written over the past 30 years about his alcoholic PI Matthew Scudder, along with one new story that serves as a fitting curtain call for the series. Every one of these bad boys is a winner and goes down like a fine shot of whiskey. But if you enjoy a drunk that lasts, then the novels are the bourbon-laced coffee for you. Whether drinking or not drinking one day at a time, whether brooding about mortality or shooting Lawrence Block gives us a single volume that collects all of the short stories written over the past 30 years about his alcoholic PI Matthew Scudder, along with one new story that serves as a fitting curtain call for the series. Every one of these bad boys is a winner and goes down like a fine shot of whiskey. But if you enjoy a drunk that lasts, then the novels are the bourbon-laced coffee for you. Whether drinking or not drinking one day at a time, whether brooding about mortality or shooting the shit with his friends, whether giving people passes for being nothing better than human or administering his own creative and often brutally punk-rock form of justice, the Matthew Scudder novels are all well-written, nuanced mysteries that rank among the highest of the genre. Sharing the same esteemed heights as the works of Raymond Chandler and James Crumley, Block takes the conventions of the private eye novel and crafts endearing works of existentially thrilling and morally compelling literature. ‘Nuff said. Now here’s my own personal ranking of every novel in the series: 1.When the Sacred Ginmill Closes 2. Everybody Dies 3. A Dance at the Slaughterhouse 4. Eight Million Ways to Die 5. A Long Line of Dead Men 6. A Walk Among the Tombstones 7. A Ticket to the Boneyard 8. Out on the Cutting Edge 9. Sins of the Father 10. A Drop of the Hard Stuff 11. Even the Wicked 12. A Time to Murder and Create 13. In the Midst of Death 14. The Devil Knows Your Dead 15. A Stab in the Dark 16. Hope to Die 17. All the Flowers are Dying

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    In these stories Matt Scudder looks back to his days as a patrolman and then a detective with the NYPD. If you never read a book in the Matt Scudder series this would be a good place to start and get a glimpse into his turbulent life. Block writes so well with this protagonist Matt a straight cut guy that has gathered many long time fans over the years. I found the short stories enjoyable and the mark of a crafted writer is apparent with stories that are light, enjoyable and easy to read through In these stories Matt Scudder looks back to his days as a patrolman and then a detective with the NYPD. If you never read a book in the Matt Scudder series this would be a good place to start and get a glimpse into his turbulent life. Block writes so well with this protagonist Matt a straight cut guy that has gathered many long time fans over the years. I found the short stories enjoyable and the mark of a crafted writer is apparent with stories that are light, enjoyable and easy to read through. The first story Out of The Window has a nice little case of veritgo, well it seems Matt has a case of height fears like me, that old palpitations and dizziness you get when heights are in the picture. He needs to solve a case of a jumper a local dame he knows on the simplest terms, who was a waitress in a cafe he frequents. Suicide or murder? The second story A Candle for The Bag Lady involves a local lady nicknamed the bag lady. She gets murdered and Matt finds himself on her will which is a strange occurrence. He digs deeper to find out that maybe she was acting pre-emptively, in needing of his services. Anyway he can't let this one go, he must find the bag ladies killer. Some locals thought she was one that didn't count and just a ghost in the community but her death proved she was a legacy, a character that made a Mark in peoples lives. Batman's Helpers a story back when he and some patrolmen had to clean the streets of illegal merchandise. All the Batman shirts and goodies that were copyrighted and had not permission to be made was being taking out of circulation. Fold up your tables and quit shop. In The Night and The Music, also the title of the collection, you wil find Matt and his wife reminiscing. Back in the days he used to local the Jazz bar all-night drinking. This time round they went to the Opera and revisited the Jazz bar where he did not drink alcohol. The short story form has I hope been revived with the arrival of ebook technology. Matt Scudder Debuts in The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder #1) by Lawrence Block For a video of Lawrence Block on The late late show and a video where he was interviewed by Barbara Peters visit my webpage more2read.com They are some really funny interviews on The Late Show and Craig Ferguson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Why Do We Read Romance Novels and Crime Fiction: “The Night and the Music” by Lawrence Block "I learned to like the music because I heard so much of it there, and because you could just about taste the alcohol in every flatted fifth. Nowadays I go for the music, and what I hear in the blue notes is not so much the booze as all the feelings the drink used to mask.”   In the short-story “The Night and the Music” from the collection “The Nig If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Why Do We Read Romance Novels and Crime Fiction: “The Night and the Music” by Lawrence Block "I learned to like the music because I heard so much of it there, and because you could just about taste the alcohol in every flatted fifth. Nowadays I go for the music, and what I hear in the blue notes is not so much the booze as all the feelings the drink used to mask.”   In the short-story “The Night and the Music” from the collection “The Night and the Music”   Is that a fact only women read romance novels? I don't buy it. The same way I don’t buy only men read Crime Fiction. If safely exploring the brutal and violent world and the disproportionate threat women apparently face is the motive, perusing academic journals and scientific studies, even TV documentaries, makes more sense than reading stories and literature that feature brutal violence. Is it possible that one of the reasons women (and men for that matter) like reading about human violence and brutality is that it fascinates and even in certain instances titillates? Romance novels sell millions of copies - despite even its fans deriding the atrocious writing. Are the novel's largely female readership using the books as an indirect tool to make sense of (some) women's tendencies to be submissive sexually and willingly degraded by a dominant male? I don't think so. I even conducted a pool on my woman friends, and it’s a “fact”.   If you're into what-turns-men-and-women-on-fictionwise, read on. If your sensibilities lie elsewhere, don't bother.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    My first Block experience turned out better than I expected. I"m often suspicious of genre writers who crank out "at-the-top-of-his-form" bestsellers, assuming most are probably formulaic hack jobs. I checked out audio hoping for diverting entertainment while running errands and cooking meals. Got that and then some. Scudder carries the usual conventions of PI -- world-weary ex-cop, recovering alcoholic -- without becoming a walking cliche. I appreciated his dogged approach but lowkey demeanor. My first Block experience turned out better than I expected. I"m often suspicious of genre writers who crank out "at-the-top-of-his-form" bestsellers, assuming most are probably formulaic hack jobs. I checked out audio hoping for diverting entertainment while running errands and cooking meals. Got that and then some. Scudder carries the usual conventions of PI -- world-weary ex-cop, recovering alcoholic -- without becoming a walking cliche. I appreciated his dogged approach but lowkey demeanor. He doesn't huff and puff and blow people down or away, but he makes it clear he's not going away either. Nice range of approaches and topics in 11 stories, from the classic whodunnit to quietly reflective pieces on larger issues like AIDS in "Merciful Angel of Death," which included one of more moving death scenes I've come across in this genre or any genre. "Looking for David" was only dud, with former killer telling his life story to Scudder years later. Got so bored I skipped ahead to next story. A spare, subtle but impressive literary quality to some stories. Block does a good job narrating his stories, though a few times it was hard to keep track of which character was talking. Biggest compliment I can give is that it makes me want to go back and read / listen to some of the Scudder novels. 3.5 stars. ps In last two tracks, Block explains how he came to write these stories, which cover many years, and puts them context of all his work. Most interesting peek at a writer's working process over arc of a career.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Really excellent collection of Matt Scudder stories. My favorite, I think, was the one in which Scudder is approached by a lawyer who gives him a check for twelve-hundred dollars, the bequest of a bag lady Scudder didn't know, who had been murdered several weeks before. In his inimitable way, Matt seeks out why he and others might have been given the money and while he has really little to do actively with discovering who committed the murder, he is the instrument of its solution. Very bleak. The Really excellent collection of Matt Scudder stories. My favorite, I think, was the one in which Scudder is approached by a lawyer who gives him a check for twelve-hundred dollars, the bequest of a bag lady Scudder didn't know, who had been murdered several weeks before. In his inimitable way, Matt seeks out why he and others might have been given the money and while he has really little to do actively with discovering who committed the murder, he is the instrument of its solution. Very bleak. The stories portray different periods of Scudder's career and evolution as a human being. Some have suggested that the last story may be the last in the Scudder series. I would hope not, for Block's genius is quite apparent in this collection

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Almost 4 stars, but I didn't care for the reader - Block himself. His voice just doesn't work for me, although it isn't bad. The stories are great overall. I like them far more than the books. Block dives right in & makes a good point in his low-keyed way. I think that was why I liked Hit Man so much, too. The afterword was wonderful. On to listen to part 2 - a separate library audio book download, but actually just a continuation of this one, so I won't confuse things by creating a second b Almost 4 stars, but I didn't care for the reader - Block himself. His voice just doesn't work for me, although it isn't bad. The stories are great overall. I like them far more than the books. Block dives right in & makes a good point in his low-keyed way. I think that was why I liked Hit Man so much, too. The afterword was wonderful. On to listen to part 2 - a separate library audio book download, but actually just a continuation of this one, so I won't confuse things by creating a second book here. The afterword was identical.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Bird

    Last week I sat down to watch the movie A Walk Among The Tombstones with my wife and my dad. My wife didn’t manage to stay long – the level of violence that is suggested is high and so her early departure didn’t surprise me. My dad fell asleep for a while, but that’s got nothing to do with the quality of the film. I managed to stay for the duration and enjoyed my time with Liam Neeson et al. Overall, I’d say that it’s a pretty solid film. Neeson does a great job as Scudder and if you like action Last week I sat down to watch the movie A Walk Among The Tombstones with my wife and my dad. My wife didn’t manage to stay long – the level of violence that is suggested is high and so her early departure didn’t surprise me. My dad fell asleep for a while, but that’s got nothing to do with the quality of the film. I managed to stay for the duration and enjoyed my time with Liam Neeson et al. Overall, I’d say that it’s a pretty solid film. Neeson does a great job as Scudder and if you like action and detectives, this should work for you. Above all, I was reminded of how good a book Tombstones is. The Scudder series is really excellent and it wasn’t really a surprise to me that the film didn’t quite do the plotline justice. During my holiday, I read a Scudder that was new to me called The Night And The Music. This one, a little like the film above, is something of a tangent from the main body of novels. It’s a collection of stories about the detective where he retells incidents from his past. They’re told in a fairly gentle style, as if been told over a drink in a bar somewhere after hours. It’s almost conversational and that works very well in terms of grabbing the attention. What you don’t really get is the meaty plot or the tension of a novel. In place of that, however, is a collection of rather playful and almost old-fashioned mysteries. My own favourite was entitled The Merciful Angel Of Death. Scudder is hired by a nursing home to investigate a mystery visitor who has a knack of being the final companion of many of the dying. What I think this piece illustrates, apart from the high level of writing, is the general dexterity of Lawrence Block’s mind. He finds interesting plotlines in the strangest places. Other pieces involve the collection of counterfeit clothing from around the vendors of New York, a suicide and the murder of an old and very generous bag-lady. For fans of Scudder, this is a really nice accompanying piece to have. It may not carry quite the weight of the novels, but it adds another dimension to the man. To those who haven’t been there yet, try these on for size. I reckon you’ll really enjoy them and if you do, I’d suggest diving right in with The Sins Of The Fathers (US) (you’ll thank me later, you really will).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elly Wendy

    4* I am delighted to have found another brilliant, very skillful storyteller who has created an engaging character and a series I hope to get into. Since I have nearly run out of audiobooks from my library, I am surprised it took this long to come across one by Lawrence Block. This book is short fiction and gives a good picture of Scudder in various stages of life. The pieces also give a rather startling view of New York police over time, which I think reflect changes occurring more broadly in l 4* I am delighted to have found another brilliant, very skillful storyteller who has created an engaging character and a series I hope to get into. Since I have nearly run out of audiobooks from my library, I am surprised it took this long to come across one by Lawrence Block. This book is short fiction and gives a good picture of Scudder in various stages of life. The pieces also give a rather startling view of New York police over time, which I think reflect changes occurring more broadly in law enforcement over those years. At the end, the author, who also did a fine job of the narration, gives us some information about the various pieces. I enjoyed this as much as the stories. I’m desperately hoping that my library will increase its collection as I’d gladly sink myself into more in this series in particular, and in any event will be seeking more from this author. Good one!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    For us long standing Matthew Scudder fans, this is a superb treat. Very few mystery writers can weave a story as well as Block, and these stories are like finding some long forgotten gems stashed at the bottom of the trunk in the attic, even though the last story was written specifically for this collection. A bit of nostalgia, and a bit of the creature make this time well spent with old friends.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    A quite satisfying set of stories about Matthew Scudder. They serve as both a companion to the novels and a good introduction for those unfamiliar with them. For me, it was the latter. In reading, I stopped long enough to order the first two novels. Eleven stories, not all of them crime. Some nice character pieces among them, one written especially for this collection. Worth a look.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Well that's me read all 17 Scudder books and this short story collection. Not that into short stories so this wasn't my favourite but still essential reading as part of what was one of my favourite series ever. Just wish there were more of them...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    I need to find time for a re-reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ensiform

    Eleven Matt Scudder stories, previously uncollected until now. This book has the distinction of being the only e-book not in the public domain that I have ever purchased, despite having owned a Nook for years. Now, keep in mind that everything Scudder-related is at least in some way interesting to me (at this point in my association with Scudder and his extended circle, it’s like going through a photo album with a cool elderly uncle as he reminisces, including the same familiar turns of phrase t Eleven Matt Scudder stories, previously uncollected until now. This book has the distinction of being the only e-book not in the public domain that I have ever purchased, despite having owned a Nook for years. Now, keep in mind that everything Scudder-related is at least in some way interesting to me (at this point in my association with Scudder and his extended circle, it’s like going through a photo album with a cool elderly uncle as he reminisces, including the same familiar turns of phrase that have been used before). While a couple of these stories are throwaways, most attain that perfect air of world-weary castaway-turned-bemused-husband that marks the later novels. “Out the Window.” The longest story and the closest thing to a typical mystery story: a locked door suicide that Matt suspects is murder. Excellent. “A Candle For the Bag Lady.” A bag lady is killed brutally and leaves money to Scudder, who is naturally driven to find out why, and who did it. A tour of the seedy side of Scudder’s world, and very touching. “By the Dawn’s Early Light.” Matt is hired to find information that will help a man accused of killing his wife, only to find he’s a pawn in someone’s game. Scudder’s brand of rough justice ensues. Quite clever plotting. “Batman’s Helpers.” A look at what makes Scudder tick, morally. This story is deeper than it appear to be, with a rather incisive dialogue on what makes right. “The Merciful Angel Of Death.” Matt is asked to find out what connection a woman has to dying AIDS patients. This one is a bit hard to swallow, and doesn’t showcase Matt’s strengths. Probably the weakest in the collection. “The Night And the Music.” Scudder being domestic. Sweet, but frothy. “Looking For David.” Vacationing in Italy, Matt bumps into a murderer who finally tells him why he killed his lover. Spooky and clever, though I guessed it before Matt, who seems rather dull in this story. “Let’s Get Lost.” In his early days on the force, Matt does a favor for call girl Elaine by investigating the suspicious death of a card player. Block leads the readers back and forth with this one; it’s also soaked in Scudder’s bittersweet nostalgia. Possibly the best of the bunch. “A Moment Of Wrong Thinking.” A flashback to Matt’s early days working with Detective Mafferty, who taught Matt to suspect everyone and take money when it’s offered. A simple suicide case turns out to be… possibly more. “Mick Ballou Looks At the Blank Screen.” An unnecessary throwaway. “One Last At Grogan’s.” Not exactly a thrilling tale, but damn touching (Grogan’s is closing, Mick having settled down to domesticity and old age), and it’s always fun when original Hard Man, Mick Ballou, is on the page.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    The Night and the Music is a selection of short stories and episodes of Matthew Scudder stories that never made it into the books. Lawrence Block is a longtime favorite of mine and I absolutely enjoyed the stories when I finished this collection. The first section of the book covers episodes when Scudder is still drinking. I found it hard to go back to this earlier Matthew Scudder. I also find the short story form challenging and less satisfying much of the time, so it was a bit of a bumpy intro The Night and the Music is a selection of short stories and episodes of Matthew Scudder stories that never made it into the books. Lawrence Block is a longtime favorite of mine and I absolutely enjoyed the stories when I finished this collection. The first section of the book covers episodes when Scudder is still drinking. I found it hard to go back to this earlier Matthew Scudder. I also find the short story form challenging and less satisfying much of the time, so it was a bit of a bumpy intro to this book. But the balance of the book positively sings and I had a fine time settling back into Scudder's life and times. I recommend this read to any fan of Lawrence Block, and especially to any Matt Scudder fans. But I think he's wrong about the ending of The Sopranos. Do read it for yourself and decide.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Agathafrye

    Another satisfying set of stories about my favorite modern noir character Matthew Scudder. This collection has several stories that delve into the complexities of the relationship between Matthew and his wife Elaine, an art collector, jazz lover, and former prostitute. I've always enjoyed their relationship, so these stories were particularly satisfying for me. Lawrence Block, I heart you. PS- this was the first ebook I've ever read. It really changes the reading experience in a way, but I think Another satisfying set of stories about my favorite modern noir character Matthew Scudder. This collection has several stories that delve into the complexities of the relationship between Matthew and his wife Elaine, an art collector, jazz lover, and former prostitute. I've always enjoyed their relationship, so these stories were particularly satisfying for me. Lawrence Block, I heart you. PS- this was the first ebook I've ever read. It really changes the reading experience in a way, but I think I like it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    T.E. Grau

    A collection of Matthew Scudder short stories, which show the breadth of Block's masterful plots, the play of his dialogue, and the personal journey of my favorite Private Eye, from his earlier drinking days to those gone dry. A must for anyone who wants a Lawrence Block primer, and you should as Block is - for my money - history's best Noir writer, and one of the finest authors to ever put ink to paper in any genre.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    wonderful short stores about matt scudded.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Short stories aren't always my thing...but being able to revisit Matthew Scudder is something I couldn't pass by. As always, good stories, strong writing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    I like the Scudder series and this one's up to par. Well performed by the author.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    The Seductions of Lawrence Block Lawrence Block's The Night and the Music has a kind of finality to it that his many readers will be sorry about. Not a finality suggesting that he's about to hang up his pen, but that it might be closing time for his most famous creation, Matt Scudder. Scudder is an ex-cop who gave up the Job when he accidentally shot a young girl while in pursuit of a felon. Since then he's lived on the edge of police-work by helping people out - sometimes people he knows; often The Seductions of Lawrence Block Lawrence Block's The Night and the Music has a kind of finality to it that his many readers will be sorry about. Not a finality suggesting that he's about to hang up his pen, but that it might be closing time for his most famous creation, Matt Scudder. Scudder is an ex-cop who gave up the Job when he accidentally shot a young girl while in pursuit of a felon. Since then he's lived on the edge of police-work by helping people out - sometimes people he knows; often those who know about him. He doesn't take a fee, but he does like his expenses to be covered. As he isn't a cop - and not even a licensed detective - he doesn't have the authority of the law behind him, so he has to grease a few palms or buy a few drinks. Or even 'buy a policeman a hat' - which appears to be slang for giving a cop 25 dollars in order to get some official info. Unlike previous Scudder books, this is a collection of short stories. Some of them stand alone and appear to have been written a good while ago. Others are linked, or have links forced upon them when Block writes something that joins the dots. Block is one of the easiest writers to read that you'll ever have the good fortune to come across. He doesn't seem to write prose so much as invite you to listen to him (or Matt Scudder) talk. You're engaged in a conversation. And while admittedly you can't talk back, you don't mind because Matt's voice is so calm, rational and entertaining that you wouldn't want to interrupt the flow anyway. In this passage Matt is examining the spot where a young girl he knows had apparently leaped to her death: After a while I walked over to her building and stood on the pavement in front of it. The florist’s truck had moved on and I examined the street where she’d landed. There was, as Vinnie had assured me, no trace of what had happened. I tilted my head back and looked up, wondering what window she might have fallen from, and then I looked down at the pavement and then up again, and a sudden rush of vertigo made my head spin. In the course of all this I managed to attract the attention of the building’s doorman and he came out to the curb anxious to talk about the former tenant. He was a black man about my age and he looked as proud of his uniform as the guy in the Marine Corps recruiting poster. It was a good-looking uniform, shades of brown, epaulets, gleaming brass buttons. There are several clever tricks in this straightforward passage. First, he begins by saying 'After a while'. He's not specific - he doesn't say 'At two o'clock' or even 'ten minutes later'. What the vagueness of 'after a while' achieves is to suggest that actually he's not on any timetable or agenda - he's an ordinary guy with an interest in the deceased girl, but his actions here are unmotivated. The next notable moment is when he looks up and down quickly and suffers an instant of vertigo. Who hasn't done that? But Block remembers it and puts it into the actions of this ordinary guy - he's a human being like us, with physical responses to his actions. He's not some kind of super-sleuth who is all brain and no body. Next he explains 'In the course of all this ... ' The phrasing here points out the comic nature of what he's doing, because he 'managed to attract the attention' of the doorman. Again, his actions aren't deliberate - he hasn't gone over to ask questions or grill the doorman about what happened. Everything comes to him, he doesn't go searching it out. So Matt is still almost the bystander - interested, but not involved. Finally, Block gets in some artful description. He doesn't just describe the doorman's uniform. More subtly, he says the man 'looked as proud of his uniform as the guy in the Marine Corps recruiting poster. It was a good-looking uniform ... ' Cleverly, Block the writer tells us something about the doorman at the same time as he's describing what Matt sees - the extensive uniform. This paragraph shows all the casual artistry that an experienced writer can bring to something apparently straightforward. A reader would typically be unaware of the subtle information presented here even while he or she was being seduced into the mystery. So when Matt is hired later by the jumper's sister to investigate the death, it seems we already have one foot in the story and we're not given the typical 'client walks into PI's office' scenario. Block's ability to create interest out of the simplest of subjects is shown in the later stories, too. The eponymous story is hung on the slightest of incidents - Matt and his wife, Elaine, leave an opera and don't want the night to end. So they go to a couple of joints in New York where they can hear jazz: We caught a cab to a new place I’d heard about on the ground floor of a high-rise on Amsterdam in the Nineties. The crowd was salt and pepper, white college kids and black strivers, blonde fashion models and black players. The group was mixed, too; the tenor man and the bass player were white, the pianist and the drummer black. The maître d’ thought he recognized me and put us at a table near the bandstand. They were a few bars into “Satin Doll” when we sat down and they followed it with a tune I recognized but couldn’t name. I think it was a Thelonious Monk composition, but that’s just a guess. I can hardly ever name the tune unless there’s a lyric to it that sticks in my mind. Here again note the self-deprecation in 'The maître d’ thought he recognized me ... ' Block refuses to make Scudder overly pro-active, as would be the case with most first-person narratives: I did this, I did that ... and so forth. He places himself lower in the hierarchy even in his own story. What holds this particular story together is the manner in which Matt and Elaine talk to each other about their past. They share memories and an understanding of the kind of music that they like. Opera is fine, but too sad. In the jazz music they listen to afterwards there are 'blue notes', but 'Nobody dies.' The meanings of the story are as concise and condensed as anything in Chekov or Raymond Carver, while the dialogue is more entertaining than anything in either of those lugubrious writers. Block seems to have reached a level of craft now that he hardly seems to be working at all. I'm sure he'd quite rightly cuff me about the head for saying that, but his 'writing' voice seems perfectly attuned to a conversational tone, so that there's no effort at all required from his readers. Elmore Leonard has the same gift, but throws his voice into a range of different characters, meaning that there's slightly more strain in evidence from time to time. Block is always within his range, even when writing about characters such as the hitman in his series of the same name - the awful acts of a professional assassin are recuperated into the calm, logical thought processes of the stamp collector that he is in his spare time. Block's sanity, calmness and rational approach to the aberrations of human beings create a world in which you too would like to live for a while, just so you could have clever conversations with smart people who know exactly what you mean because you've shared the same experience - you're a human being. The latest news is that there's to be a Matt Scudder film starring Liam Neeson. Well, he's a bit tall and a bit Irish for my view of Scudder, but he has the requisite level of integrity and intelligence. And he looks like he could have been a drunk at one time, as was Scudder. It will be interesting to see whether the calm tone of the Scudder books will be maintained or whether the film will be a CGI gore-fest featuring car-chases and explosions. My money's on the latter, but I wouldn't be disappointed if it were the former. At any rate, maybe the books will pick up in sales and Block will be forced to continue to write more Scudder books. That would definitely be a Good Thing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Neil Pearson

    I really enjoyed this. I've had no prior exposure to Matthew Scudder besides the "walk among the tombstones" film but I really enjoyed this. It was surprisingly effective getting all these snapshots in the character's life without experiencing the moments that cause the changes and I have to admit while there's now a temptation to fill the gaps part of me likes it being unfilled. I was also pleasantly surprised by the variety of stories and while most involved death/murder they aren't all whodunn I really enjoyed this. I've had no prior exposure to Matthew Scudder besides the "walk among the tombstones" film but I really enjoyed this. It was surprisingly effective getting all these snapshots in the character's life without experiencing the moments that cause the changes and I have to admit while there's now a temptation to fill the gaps part of me likes it being unfilled. I was also pleasantly surprised by the variety of stories and while most involved death/murder they aren't all whodunnits. I think my favourite stories were "looking for David" where even though I knew how it was going to end the anticipation of that moment built from the moment it was suggested, and "A moment of wrong thinking" because of all the twists and turns and the ambiguity. There isn't a bad story though and it's fun to see Scudder's shades of grey, yet deeply human look on people, crime and justice.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    Enjoyable. Good plot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Econig

    Oldie but goodie.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is required reading for any Scudder fan...everything from a couple of novellas to very short vignettes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    Didn't know these stories existed, pleasant surprise. Listened to the audio book version read by the author, Block's voice grates at first but you get accustomed to it, highly recommended.

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