Re: RARA-AVIS: Block/Scudder

William Denton (
Tue, 21 Jul 1998 22:34:30 -0400 (EDT) On Tue, 21 Jul 1998, Mark Sullivan wrote:

: You seem to be jumping around in reading the Scudders.

I am. I read _Eight Million Ways to Die_ (#5) first, then three of
the ones after he's sober, in chronological order. (This skipped
_When the Sacred Ginmill Closes_ (#6), but at the time I didn't know
how highly regarded this is.) Lately I read the latest one, and now
I'm going back to the start so I can fill in all the gaps. I was
hoping to find them used, but I could only find the more recent titles
used and had to buy the older ones new, at the usual current
outrageous prices.

: I was just wondering if you were also finding a big contrast between
: the books before and after 8 Million?

What I've noticed most of all is that Scudder's a jerk. I knew he'd
be boozing, but he's been nasty to harmless witnesses and - speaking
of fingers - broke all the fingers on a mugger's hand. This scene had
me cringing. I don't mind reading about shootings or stabbings, but I
can imagine what having my finger bent back is like, and it gives me
the shivers.

I'm just nearing the end of #1, but I think I can see how he'll
progress over the next few books. It does seem like the same Scudder,
but one who drinks himself to sleep, steals uppers and downers from
medicine cabinets, and one who doesn't think a lot. Later, when he's
cleaned up, he's more reflective. Same guy, very different life.

It's nice to see all this happen to a character. Usually, as we've
all seen, a detective can solve mysteries for book after book, year
after year, and never change. Block - and here's the ObWilleford,
because he does this with Hoke, as people have pointed out - has
Scudder change a lot. I like that.


William Denton | Toronto, Canada | | Caveat lector.
            "Let's keep the party polite."

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