One of those questions came my way, as in a friend asked me which mystery writer would I prefer to read, Robert Parker or Dick Francis. Honestly, I don't care for either, mostly because I generally don't read mystery novels. Crime fiction is another matter; in the case of classic writers of pulp fiction, the likes of Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich, James Crumley, and more recent artists like Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake, the writer is crisper, snappier, the characterization of heroes, so-called, and the bad guys rich. That is to remark that the psychology, the worldview of the dank environment of criminal enterprise and the ethics therein, are sufficiently complex and twisted. At its best, crime fiction is a condensed form of the Tragedy: flawed heroes and crooks who upset the balance of the universe that contains will inevitably and irrevocably be taken out of commision. Ironic conclusions to one's career are not often a reward. To answer my friend's question, who would I read, I would select Robert Parker, in as much as he attempts to emulate a class act, Raymond Chandler. Dick Francis , I find, is unengaging. I had no interest in the world in which his mysteries took place. The sport of kinds be damned and the murder mysteries that occur within its snooty confines. Parker, though, is no Chandler by far. Even at best, he seems like a beggar wearing clothes he stole from a dead man's closet.