When Thief Meets Thief

One of the weirdest writers in history was Harry Stephen Keeler.

His sentences were as eccentric as his plots. Viz:

"I know how to get to the inside of a chilled-steel receptacle with no more noise than a cockroach, drunk after emerging from an uncorked gin-bottle in a garbage can, would make as he sneaked back to Mrs. C., waiting up to biff him on the beezer for leaving her to mind the youngsters while he went skyhooting. "

That gem comes from When Thief Meets Thief.

You may read the first chapter here.

Or listen to it below.

Or buy the book here.


For subsequent chapters, visit here.
     Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 28, 2013
     Category: Literature | Stupid Criminals | Outsider Art | 1930s

I'd say that my buying that book would be as rare as an asteroid flaming over the neither regions of Mother Russia but as that has recently happened it wouldn't be a good analogy so I'd have to go with something else like catching an elephant fart in a butterfly net on the back side of the moon while whistling Dixie and as the elephant and I would have to be in space suits and no one has built one for elephants yet it would be a better fit.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/28/13 at 11:47 AM
Expat--you are the true heir to Keeler!
Posted by Paul on 02/28/13 at 12:04 PM
Navy trained!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/28/13 at 12:05 PM
I prefer the Bulwer-Lytton school of literature, myself. Long winded, syntactically tortuous and grammatically convoluted.

Keller sounds like he was an inspiration for Beat Generation.
Posted by KDP on 02/28/13 at 12:25 PM
Looked interesting. Went out and downloaded an epub that was not easy to find. Hopefully the Mrs enjoys it. I don't read or e-read books.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 02/28/13 at 04:36 PM
Keeler once wrote a mystery novel in which the killer wasn't even introduced until the last sentence of a 450-page book. It was about--as much as any Keeler book can be "about" anything--a man who's found strangled dead in the middle of his lawn, with no footprints besides his own. His last words: "The Babe from Hell!" Naturally, the police suspect the Flying Strangler Baby, a deranged midget who hovers his helicopter over people and hangs from a rope and strangles them wid his iddy-biddy handsies...while dressed as a baby. Damn you, Flying Strangler Baby! But FSB didn't do it. No, it seems that the guy was actually killed by--Napoleon! Nappy was the guy's unknown distant ancestor, and passed on the [made-up] gene that kills you with symptoms that look like strangling and cause you to hallucinate. About babies. One assumes that the FSB remained at large, because the Tri-City area is just lousy with midgets in diapers that own helicopters.
Posted by Bill the Splut on 02/28/13 at 06:56 PM
Just in case you think I made that up.
Posted by Bill the Splut on 02/28/13 at 07:16 PM
In my experience, books are more interesting when they make sense. I also find it irritating that this guy has been published when my friend Michele, who is very talented, can't get professionally published.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/28/13 at 08:07 PM
I think I am going to appropriate the phrase "biff him on the beezer" for my personal use. LOVE it!
Posted by ScoutC on 02/28/13 at 09:58 PM
Bill, don't forget where you are. I can't speak for the others, but reread the quote by J.B.S. Haldane that is the guiding principle for the group and this website.
Posted by KDP on 03/01/13 at 10:17 AM

I'm aware of the quote. I have no idea as to why you think it applies to my comment.
Posted by Bill the Splut on 03/01/13 at 07:41 PM
@KDP: Me too neither.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/01/13 at 10:53 PM
Oh I get it! We here would not doubt that something was too weird to be true. not only "stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine." Right KDP?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/01/13 at 11:22 PM
Is it possible to delete or change a comment once submitted? I would swear someone named Bill left a message that said something to the effect of "I don't understand why you all come here."
Posted by KDP on 03/04/13 at 12:55 PM
KDP--those WU-vies who can post can also delete comments. I didn't zap that one, unless it had spam attached.
Posted by Paul on 03/04/13 at 01:49 PM
Above are my 2, and only 2, posts exactly as they are. The second is a follow-up link to an extensive Keeler page titled "Just in case you think I made that up." It's still there. If you read that as "I don't understand why you all come here", you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.
Posted by Bill the Splut on 03/04/13 at 03:12 PM
@KDP,Bill the Splut,Paul, We have been getting some comments lately that have nothing to do with the post and are sometimes nonsense. These comments that have a link that is spam are often signed with a common name i.e. Bill. When ever I see them I delete them. Hope this helps!
Posted by Tyrusguy on 03/04/13 at 05:38 PM
Good job zapping the crap Ty!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/04/13 at 08:14 PM
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