Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

It’s Always Four O’Clock / Iron Man
W R Burnett


Two mainstream novels from 1956 and 1930 this noted crime fiction writer. The first is the story of a failed jazz musician, the second the story of a boxer laid low by his manipulative wife.

It’s Always Four O’Clock: When Stan first meets Royal Mauch, he isn’t impressed. He’s digging the scene at the Treble Clef and Royal, this thin little guy two seats down, is so boiled he can’t get his cigarette up to his mouth. But they start talking music, and Stan introduces him to Walt and Berte. And before you know it, with Royal’s unique arrangements, they have a jazz combo. But Royal is no ordinary jazz pianist – this guy plays from somewhere out there. Stan and Walt have a hard enough time just keeping up with him, and Berte – well, she’s so in love with Walt, she’s just happy to be the singer. And, man, some nights, they really soar! But it can’t last. Because Berte is a woman with a mission, and Royal is a man with a past. (This book, when published first, was under the pseudonym of James Updyke.)

Iron Man: Coke Mason is a tough fighter. He’s got a great left hook, and he can take the punishment. His manager George Regan knows all his strengths and weaknesses – hell, they’ve known each other since they were kids – and uses them to his advantage to get Coke fired up before every fight. Coke is headed for the top. But he’s got one weakness that Regan can’t use: Coke’s love for Rose, his manipulative wife. Rose has Coke twisted around her finger so tight, Coke can’t see straight. But that doesn’t bother Coke. Whatever Rose wants is okay with him. Until suave hustler Paul Lewis enters the scene, with a proposition of his own.

Paperback, 298pp
Stark House Press, 2016 (1956, 1930)
ISBN 9781933586243


WILLIAM WILEY [“W R”] BURNETT (1899-1982) was an American novelist and screenwriter. He is best known for the crime novel Little Caesar, the film adaptation of which is considered the first of the classic American gangster movies.