Novelist and short story writer James Crumley died this past Tuesday. He was a terrific writer, some books stronger than others of course, but all fresh and thorny and energetic. I have a soft spot for his work because my wife and I first read him in Mexico, on our first visit to the late Capitán Lafitte, a low-key seaside resort on the Mayan Riviera run by some of the kindest and most simpatico people we’ve ever known. It was our first year, our first anniversary, and we’d fallen into the habit of reading to each other before going to sleep. That year in Mexico it was Crumley’s The Mexican Tree Duck, a hardboiled mystery with a tough-guy buddy story at the core. Every year for the next few we went to Capitán Lafitte and read a new Crumley book together. We often said that if C. W. Sughrue, Crumley’s private eye hero, were ever to retire to Mexico, it would be somewhere in or around Lafitte, where he would be able to clear his restless mind at last. Now Capitán Lafitte is gone (although replaced southward down the beach by its little brother, Petit Lafitte), and Crumley is gone. But Sughrue’s still around and will be for a long while. Thanks, Jim.