Elmore Leonard Reads From 'Mr. Paradise'

Novelist Elmore Leonard without another reading from him reads an excerpt from his 58th novel, Mr. Paradise. The scene depicts a visit Detroit homicide detective Jackie Michaels makes to the home Anthony Paradiso, an 84-year-old retired criminal attorney (aka "Mr. Paradise) who has died. Michaels speaks with Mr. Paradise's houseman, Lloyd. He initially read the excerpt on Weekend Edition Sunday in 2004. Leonard died Tuesday at the age of 87.

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We're going to hear one last excerpt from one of those 50 cent paperbacks, courtesy of the man himself. In 2004, Elmore Leonard appeared on NPR's WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, and he read from his novel "Mr. Paradise." We could tell you a little something about the story but, true to form, the dialogue is the story.

ELMORE LEONARD: (Reading) Lloyd, wearing a starched white dress shirt hanging out of his pants, opened the front door and stood facing Jackie Michaels in her winter coat, her patterned red scarf, her hair combed out, no dreads this morning, Jackie looking at peace.

(Reading) Now what you want?

(Reading) Her gaze came up from the square of cardboard taped over the broken pane of glass to Lloyd. You ever gonna get that fixed?

(Reading) I had to find out who's paying for it, Lloyd said. He stared at Jackie another few moments. I don't have to let you in, do I?

(Reading) It's still considered a crime scene, Jackie said. I can come in if I want, but I'm leaving it up to you.

(Reading) You have a different tone of voice this morning, Lloyd said. Come on in and let's see if it works on me.

(Reading) Lloyd smiled at her showing gold in his teeth. You know how old I am, you been through my jacket a few times, haven't you? You wondering, could this 71-year-old geezer play any part in this? I bet you think you know all about me, my scores, the falls I took.

(Reading) I'll tell you something, Lloyd said. I was only 60, you'd have smelled my lust before we're through the dining room.

(Reading) Jackie said, takes a little longer now?

CORNISH: Reading from his novel, "Mr. Paradise," that's Elmore Dutch Leonard. He died today at the age of 87.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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