It's curious (ironic, too, in the context of this discussion)
that Ross Macdonald progressively resembled Hammett rather
than Chandler. In fact, his Chandlerism faded in a few years.
By the time of The Goodbye Look, say, he was writing in full
Hammett style (differences in temperament aside, of course).
I can easily imagine Hammett writing something similar had he
been alive and active in the late sixties.
Chandler probably disliked Macdonald because he came to fame
while Chandler was struggling --and the imitation in those
early books is too striking to ignore. Yet Macdonald's
strength, which is Hammett's, was not the creation of
unforgettable scenes but the creation of an organic story of
I have been reading a lot of Hammett's stories; I would not
now say that the Op is totally cynical. He is an ordinary
guy, with fairly normal standards of decency. The world he
lives in is ugly, and he never argues with it. Instead, he
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