Re: RARA-AVIS: Pearl MacGuffins in *TSAM*

Jeff Lander (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 10:58:26 -0800 I noticed the fixation on pearls also. I had two thoughts on the subject.

Chandler seemed to be facinated by the idea that pearls could be faked both
cheaply and well. A good fake is difficult to tell from real by anyone but an
expert. In Pearls, Henry " to know pearls enough to tell them from snowballs."
It made for a good plot device in the form of were they real or not and who knew.
In Goldfish, the question of whether they are real or not last to the end.

Also, I think he seemed to really like the slang for pearls. Notice how often
he has people saying "marbles" or things like "snowballs." Maybe it seemed
more colorful then "ice" or "rocks" for diamonds.


At 09:55 AM 1/30/99 -0500, you wrote:
> What was Chandler's thing about pearls? We know Hammett worked in the
> advertising branch of a diamond company in San Francisco, so diamonds
> made a logical MacGuffin for the first part of *The Dain Curse*. What
> did Chandler find so interesting about pearls?

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at