#1 – Everything is written in the current tense, and I mean everything, even the things that shouldn’t be. The past is related as if it was today and the future simply doesn’t exist. The passage of time is a paragraph break when, ‘a couple of weeks/months later’, the future becomes today.
#2 – There are no contractions; no it’s or I’ll’s or don’ts, won’t’s or shan’t’s. But conversely there is lots of very formal speech mixed with colourful slang. The pages are awash with dames, ever lovin’ wives, John Roscoes, citizens, merchants and snatch, all drinking needled beer, squawking, causing disturbances and being most dishonourable. The result, formally accepted in literary circles as ‘Runyonese’ is rather like listening to Dell Trotter in reverse, only he’s American. Or to put it another way, if you have never seen ‘Only Fools and Horses’, the effect is not unlike listening to my Sikh friend talking to her hubby on the phone. The conversation bounces along in Punjabi until she happens across a word with no direct translation or simply forgets that she is not speaking English. So you hear, Punjabi, Punjabi, Punjabi, Thursday, Punjabi, Punjabi, Punjabi, Punjabi, Punjabi, just pick her up, OK, Bye. The first time you hear it seems odd, so odd it’s hard to resist listening in.