So hard to do right; so easy to do like this:
For an instant, I saw the golden ring on his drumming fingers. A five-pointed star was engraved on the ring that Dr Albert Fowler was no longer wearing when I found his body locked in the upstairs bedroom. Here was the missing piece in the puzzle.
The revelation hit me like an ice-water enema.
And now I suppose I will spend months looking for an opportunity to use this analogy in conversation. Better yet, in an interview. “What would you say, professor, to the results of this experiment? Would you not say they hit your theory like an ice-water enema?”
Or in Parliament: “Would my right honourable friend agree that the results of the latest polls must have hit his party like an ice-water enema?”
The quote comes form an otherwise amusing bit of hokum called Falling Angel by the American thriller writer William Hjortsberg, whose name raises an interesting question. How do Americans pronounce it? I know perfectly well how to pronounce it in Swedish, where the name means “Stag mountain” but I wouldn’t have clue how to say it in English. Jortsburg?
The best modern Chandler pastiche I know is still Loren D Estelman’s Whiskey River, about Detroit in the prohibition. There are frozen lakes there, and assholes, but no frozen assholes.