Nobody’s Perfect (1977) – M. Evans

A Dortmunder Heist

“You got a job, Dortmunder. You got a job, and you didn’t tell me.”

“That’s right,” Dortmunder said. He sipped beer.

“I brought you a lotta jobs,” Kelp said, aggrieved. “And now you got one, and you cut me out?”

Stung from his lethargy, Dortmunder sat up straighter, spilled beer on his thumb, and said, “Oh, yeah, that’s right. You brought me jobs. A kid that kidnaps us.”

“He never did.”

“A bank,” Dortmunder said, “and we lose it in the goddam Atlantic Ocean.”

“We took over two thousand apiece out of that bank,” Kelp pointed out.

Dortmunder gave him a look of disgusted contempt. “Two thousand apiece,” he repeated. “Remind me, was that dollars or pesos?”

Kelp abruptly shifted gears. Switching from antagonism to conciliation, he spread his hands and said, “Aw, come on, Dortmunder. That isn’t fair.”

“I’m not trying to be fair,” Dortmunder told him. “I’m not a referee. I’m a thief, and I’m trying to make a living.”




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4 thoughts on “Nobody’s Perfect (1977) – M. Evans

  1. I have a question about NOBODY’S PERFECT that I’ve never seem addressed or referred to.

    In Chapter 4 of the part called “The Second Chorus” (starting on p. 142 of the first US paperback edition, aka “Third Print” above), Dortmunder and May throw a Christmas party which is attended by many of his associates from the earlier books. One is Alan Greenwood from THE HOT ROCK, about whom it’s revealed that he had a second line of work as an actor, and he’s now successful in Hollywood.

    The thing is, I remember first reading this book in hardcover (checked out of a library), and in that paragraph it was mentioned that his acting name was Alan Grofield — thus making an explicit link with the Richard Stark books, in which Grofield is indeed an actor when he’s not working jobs with people like Parker.

    So, my question: What was the reason for this deletion, do you know? Was it a legal matter? Or did he later decide that it didn’t make sense for them to be the same character? (I would suspect the former, if the trouble was taken to change the text.) I’ve been wondering about this for decades, and it would be nice to know at last. (I just hope my memory didn’t invent the Grofield mention altogether….)

    1. Greenwood actually makes his first appearance in The Hot Rock and changes his last name to Grofield near the end of the book. It’s plausible (though never confirmed, to my knowledge) that Greenwood was originally Grofield since The Hot Rock was originally started as a Parker novel that became too absurd for Parker. Dortmunder was invented to replace Parker and it’s very possible that Greenwood replaced Grofield. As for the name change, it seems more like a literary tip-of-the-hat than anything else. Grofield hates TV and movies but Greenwood became successful in Hollywood. Also, the Dortmunder novel, Jimmy the Kid, establishes the Parker novels as fictions within the Dortmunder universe. There are crossovers with novels written by Joe Gores in both series but, again, more of a literary inside joke than the fleshing out of a specific universe. Don was more interested in telling stories than creating universes but he also enjoyed the occasional wink-wink. I think that’s probably the extent of any link between Greenwood and Grofield.


      1. Thank you for the reply. I definitely agree with all you said. My puzzlement remains, though, about the removal of the name Grofield from the paperback edition of Nobody’s Perfect (I’ve since been informed that it returned in later editions, like the current Kindle version).

        1. I just looked at that chapter in the first hardcover edition (1977) and there’s no mention of Grofield. Also no Grofield in the Fawcett paperback (1977) nor the Mysterious Press paperback (1994 reissue). I haven’t looked at the Kindle edition but the only mention of Greenwood as Grofield that I can recall is from The Hot Rock.

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