Posted in Short Stories

S. J. Perelman: Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer (Deal Me In 2017 – Week 41)

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Wonderful Town

By the time I worked back to the Arbogast Building, via the Weehawken ferry and the George Washington Bridge to cover my tracks, all the pieces were in place. Or so I thought up to the point she came out of the wardrobe holding me between the sights of her ice-blue automatic.

Of all the stories on my Deal Me In 2017 list, S. J. Perelman’s “Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer” is the one I was most curious about solely based on the unusual title. It turns out to be nothing as I expected. It’s a noir-style private detective story with a comical twist although I find many noir-style private detective stories funny whether they are meant to be or not.

Private Detective Mike Noonan attempts to find out why his client’s husband’s herring is pink – even though herring is usually pink. I found the story enjoyable probably because it’s short at around 6 pages. It also doesn’t try to be more than what it is. There’s great writing and great humor with some nice give and take between Mike and his client:

“I go for girls named Sigrid with opal eyes,” I said.

“Where’d you learn my name?”

“I haven’t been a private snoop twelve years for nothing, sister.”

“It was nine last time.”

“It seemed like twelve till you came along.”

I read this story when I selected the Three of Hearts for Week 41 of my Deal Me In 2017 short story project. It’s included in my copy of Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker edited by David Remnick. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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