Monday, January 20, 2014

LITTLE SCARLET by William Mosley

This is my fifth read of an Easy Rawlins novel. This story takes place in Los Angeles in August 1965. The Watts riots started on the 11th of August at Avalon and 116th Street (which really isn't in Watts) when Marquette Frye was pulled over by the California Highway Officer Lee W. Minkus for a DUI. Apparently the arrest was going down without any conflict until Rena Price, Fyre mother got involved and things got very out of hand. After five days of "Burn, baby ,burn" where Easy stayed at his home in "West L.A." he returned to his office where on the ground floor Steinman's Shoe Repair has been destroyed.

Where I grew up in Santa Monica West L.A. was centered around Sawtelle Blvd and I used to hang out at a automotive shop there that was ran by a Japanese fellow and he used to race midgets.The district's general boundaries are the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) on the south, and the borders with the neighborhoods of Century City (Century Park West) and Rancho Park on the west. The northern border of the portion of West L.A. that is east of the I-405 is Santa Monica Boulevard (north of which is Westwood). The Los Angeles Times in it decription of the counties neighborhoods has another description. So where West L.A. is may differ between Angelenos.
Mosely uses West L.A. as the location around the May Company on Wilshire.
He goes to the Miller Neurological at La Cienega and Wilshire in West L.A. Here is one description:

Page 12, Detective Suggs drives a Ramber Marlin.
That car was manufactured in 1965 and was a AMC high end sporty model with a fastback roof. "It is my ex." is Suggs reply to Easy in regards to the seat belts installed. Wonder why Suggs isn't driving an LAPD unit. 

Page 40, Bonnie Shay's car is a new pink Rambler.
(somebody must have been a big Romney fan). There is also a sailboat in the driveway that belongs to Jesus. 

Page 55, "Cops chased Marlon Jones up into the White Front Department Store on Central," The exact address before the store was destroyed was 7651 South Central. Its always interesting to run across the old businesses in these detective novels. The first furtinure I ever purchased was at a White Front in the Valley. Later when I lived by Disneyland we shopped at White Front on Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim.

Page 164, Jackson is speaking to Easy, "I know the IBM languages called BAL and COBOL and FORTRAN. I know all the loops and peripheries and the JCL too." FORTRAN was developed by IBM but COBOL was not. It was created by Grace Hopper using an UNIVAC.
BAL is basic assembly and JCL is Job Control. In 1965 the most popular IBM was the 1401 and later in the year the first Model 360 was introduced. The 1401 used SPS (Symbolic Programming System) and RPG (Report Program Generator). Most people have no idea how small the storage was and how large it was physical. The 1401 basic unit had 1,600 memory locations.
 




The first core memory that I worked on had 256 locations and the electronics took up one side of the chassis. It has read amp circuit cards, write amps, and sense amps and lots of colorful wiring.

Easy is searching for "Harold" and Harold has several different last names so he recruits Bonnie to place telephone calls asking for Harold or his mother. "But maybe they're in the valley or down around Santa Monica. Maybe you could call those numbers." Page 236. Later Bonnie has left a message on the tape message that Jackson installed in Easy's office, "I think I have something. I called a J. Ostenberg in Pasadena. A man named Simon Poundstone answered". Both Suggs (page 239) and Mouse drive to the valley to find Harold's mother and her maid. Page 238, "I got J. OSTENBERG's address out of the phone book.

Page 240, "Jocelyn Ostenberg lived in a nice house on Hesby Street off of Muerretta Avenue" Those streets are indeed in the SF Valley not Pasadena and are actually located in Sherman Oaks and the correct spelling of the Avenue only has one "r" not two. So how did Bonnie find the house in the valley when she said it was in Pasadena?

Page 249, Raymond meets Easy and Mouse has a golden Continental. "A brand-new car."


Third new car in the book, must have been a good year for car dealers. In regards to cars of that period the LAPD police patrol unit was a Plymouth Belvedere 4 door. In 1972-1973 the LAPD used a AMC Matador for patrol. 


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