RARA-AVIS: Chandler's pulp series characters

29 Jan 99 16:38:00 -0500 --UNS_gsauns2_3045926314
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Disposition: inline

Most of you probably already know this, but for those who aren't aware
of the gradual development of Marlowe through Chandler's series
characters in the pulp magazines, here's a run-down:

Chandler's first PI character lasted only two stories, "Blackmailers
Don't Shoot" (*Black Mask* 12/33) and "Smart-Aleck Kill" (*BM* 7/34).
Mallory, whose stories were told in the third person, was a Chicago
operative who came to Hollywood for one case, and stayed for one more.
The format (third person) and background (business in Chicago)
differentiated him from Chandler's later series characters.

Carmody made his debut in "Finger Man" (*BM* 10/34), Chandler's third
published story. Carmody was Marlowe virtually fully-developed, an
LA-based PI who told his own stories in the first person. The other
Carmody stories are "Killer in the Rain" (*BM* 1/35), "The Man Who
Liked Dogs" (*BM* 3/36), "Goldfish" (*BM* 6/36), "The Curtain" (*BM*
9/36), and "Try the Girl" (*BM* 1/37).

Two of the Carmody stories, "Finger Man" and "Goldfish" were reprinted
in *TSAM* with the name Marlowe inserted. The others were combined
and expanded (to use Chandler's term, "cannibilized") into Marlowe
novels. Many of the supporting characters who would appear in the
Marlowe novels, DA's Investigator Bernie Ohls and Sheriff's Lt.
"Violets" M'Gee, first appeared in Carmody stories.

Purists will note that the character in "Finger Man" and "Killer in
the Rain" was not called Carmody, but was an anonymous first-person
narrator, like the Continental Op. However, since the character in
"Goldfish," who *is* called Carmody, recalls events from "Finger Man,"
it's reasonable to conclude that the anonymous character in those
first two stories is also Carmody.

Carmody, like Mallory, and also like later PI characters such as
Spenser, Streeter, and Nebraska, had only one name. However, for
reasons I'll go into in another post, he is often erroneously
identified as "Ted Carmody."

When *Dime Detective* tried to woo Chandler (and several other *BM*
writers) away from *BM*, they asked him to create a new series
character sho would appear exclusively in *DD*. Chandler didn't go
that far. He just changed Carmody's name to John Dalmas and began
publishing his stories in a new venue.

Dalmas first appears in "Mandarin's Jade" (*DD* 11/37), and returns in
"Red Wind" (*DD* 1/38), "Bay City Blues" (*DD* 6/38), "The Lady in
the Lake" (*DD* 1/39), and "Trouble Is My Business" (*DD* 8/39). Two
of the Dalmas stories were reprinted as Marlowe stories in *TSAM*.
The rest were, like the uncollected Carmody yarns, "cannibilized" into
Marlowe novels.

By 1939, Chandler published *The Big Sleep*, expanded from "Killer in
the Rain" and "The Curtain" (with, as has been noted earlier, a brief
gambling sequence lifted from "Finger Man"), and the character became

Longish post, I know, but I love to show off my erudition. - Jim

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.vex.net/~buff/rara-avis/.