Robert P. Fitton
If I were filming my novel Framed that story would assuredly be in black and white, a film noir. There is a contained pessimism in this genre.
Two films come to mind. One from the classic Film Noir era and another from a more contemporary period, but just a cynical and laced with a cold hearted reckless abandonment. I’m talking about Double Indemnity, story by James Caine and screen play by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler. The second movie is Body Heat. Written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
Framed contains elements of both films.
Let’s just start with the name of the lead character-Gordon Butts. How damned frustrating is it to view somebody in reality or fiction who is oblivious to life. It’s as if the humanity were removed and the animal instinct prevails. Butts isn’t the only character in the book who’s lost his humanity. They’re all soulless.
Butts is ambitious in his sleazy little corner of the universe. He’s like the guy constantly buying lottery tickets hoping to cash in on the big one- and thinking he’s clever enough to do just that.
Butts sees an opening in a plumbing supply company, owned by an indifferent paper cutout of a man, Walter Thornton. And just as a bonus the lustful Butts has his eyes set on Thornton’s wife, the alluring sex kitten Connie Thornton. Butt’s so called best friend Tom Cowls guides him along. Cowls like Walter Thornton is an empty soul. So are the supporting players.
Soulless human beings are the essence of hell. All the old sayings apply here. You reap what you sow, you live by the sword you die by the sword….
What makes this novel so fascinating is that most of us never walk the plank into a Film Noir world. Like fighting in a war most people experience the combat and death vicariously. There is one redeeming fundamental if you ride the roller coaster with Gordon Butts. You can get off that ride whenever you want.
The chief investigator on the case Maureen Garrity is the only person who knows the difference between right and wrong-especially when it comes to murder.
Letting Butts off the hook in this book would be unforgiveable. And I assure the reader or the listener that reckless behavior demands eternal justice. Mr. Gordon Butts should have had the poem The Spider and the fly by Mary Howitt on his summer reading list.
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.