Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

The Black Dahlia

It’s gladdening to see they’re making a movie of The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. It’s the best noir novel I’ve ever read—and I’ve read oodles of them, many in French. Even a book set in a ramp-and-bypass town like Los Angeles becomes darker and crackling when written in a grotto-and-bistro French more guttural than liquid. The typical sparse writing style of noir novels makes for easy translation and French’s various argots map very well to American cop-speak and thug cant. Plus, it’s noir. Duh.

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Grant Barrett