Collection edited by Andrew Blossom, Brian Castleberry and Tom De Haven.
“In The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Henry Miller tosses off a hard-bitten assessment of the City on the James: ‘I would rather die in Richmond somehow,’ he writes, ‘though God knows Richmond has little enough to offer.’ As editors, we like the dying part, and might point out that in its long history, Richmond, Virginia has offered up many of the disparate elements crucial to meaty noir. The city was born amid deception, conspiracy, and violence . . .
“These days, Richmond is a city of winter balls and garden parties on soft summer evenings, a city of private clubs where white-haired old gentlemen, with their martinis or mint juleps in hand, still genuflect in front of portraits of Robert E. Lee. It’s also a city of brutal crime scenes and drug corners and okay-everybody-go-on-home-there’s-nothing-more-to-see. It’s a city of world-class ad agencies and law firms, a city of the FFV (First Families of Virginia) and a city of immigrants–from India, Vietnam, and Africa to Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. It’s a city of finicky manners (you mustn’t ever sneeze publicly in Richmond) and old-time neighborliness, and it’s a city where you think twice about giving somebody the finger if they cut you off on the Powhite Parkway (thats pronounced Pow-hite, not Po-white, thank you very much) because you might get your head blown off by the shotgun on the rack . . .”