Dark PassageBy: Goodis, David (male)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co. (221)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 259: PS3513 .O499 D37 1948
Contributor: E. Griffin, W. Prout
GeneralEra: 1940s Author as on Cover: David Goodis Geographic Locale: San Francisco, California Date of Publication: 1946 | Original Date: 1946 Setting: urban; little tension in the story -- it seems almost melodramatic. Motives: jealousy (involves an adulterous affair), murder
Vincent Parry has been wrongfully convicted of his wife Gert's murder, which he believes was an accidental death. Unwilling to serve a life sentence in San Quentin for a crime he did not commit, Parry escapes. He is helped by Irene Janney, a woman determined to champion him for reasons of her own; George Fellsinger, Parry's only friend, and a shady plastic surgeon willing to alter faces for cash. As Parry tries to make his way to a new identity and a new life in South America, Fellsinger is murdered in circumstances which are similar to Gert's death. The police hunt for Parry intensifies, and Parry realizes that he's been framed for murder a second time by his wife's killer. His predicament is further complicated by the man in the Studebaker following him, and by Irene's relationships with people in his past. Realizing he must catch the killer to save himself, Parry plans a trap of his own.
Vincent Parry aka Allen Linnell, adult male, 31 years old, thin, blonde hair, clerk in an investment security house until his conviction
Arbogast adult male, short, dresses like a farmer, skinny, shabby, petty crook
Madge Rapf adult female, late 20s/early 30s, petite, rather plain, dresses in orange, apparently a housewife
Gert Parry adult female, thin, apparently a housewife
George Fellsinger adult male, balding, slight build, clerk in an investment security house
Irene Janney adult female, blonde, petite, dresses in gray and violet, independently wealthy, artist
Bob Rapf adult male, tall, good-looking, works in an investment security house
Walter Coley adult male, late 50s/early 60s, gray hair, distinguished, plastic surgeon
blunt objects (an ashtray and a trumpet), gun
Level of Violence
three violent incidents are described in detail: a fist fight, a struggle over a gun, and a graphic daydream involving bludgeoning. The two murders are not described explicitly, but the condition of the second bludgeoning victim is described in detail.
most of the characters seem to be involved in heterosexual adultery, but the book contains no explicit sexual content.
traditional for the time period in which the novel was written; emphasis is placed on the role of men as breadwinners.
not a significant factor
there is some drinking and a great deal of smoking. The characters drink socially but not excessively. Parry's fondness for gin is mentioned in a negative context.
uniformed cops, prison guards, and a detective are mentioned specifically. As Parry is on the run from the law, law enforcement officials in general take the role of antagonists.
California - San Francisco/ Murder
given that Parry is hunted by the law and stalked by a killer, he looks at every person an situation as dangerous and potentially deadly, giving the novel a pervasive sense of paranoia.
Dark Passage, Warner Bros., 1947