Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: That Ever-popular Macdonald Conspiracy Theory

Mark Sullivan (
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 19:49:03 -0500 (EST) Kevin wrote, about Ross MacDonald:

"And in the long run, he's remained a strong influence on the hardboiled
genre, like it or not.

"Certainly you can see traces of Archer's compassion (or bleeding heart
weenie-ness, depending on your point of view) in the work of Robert
Parker, Robert Crais, Michael Collins, Bill Pronzini, Sue Grafton,
Joseph Hansen, Jonathan Valin and Stephen Greenleaf, among countless
others. Someone must have actually read the books, and not just a few
newspaper pieces."

I think MacDonald was even more influential in his mutli-generational
plotlines, how a long ago crime can loom until it finally has unforeseen
effects years, even decades, later. Several of the above have used this
pattern, along with Michael Z. Lewin and Sara Paretsky.

Plus MacDonald perfected the depressed, gloomy atmosphere. What is
Crumley's The Wrong Case but an extra depressing Archer book, right down
to the quoting of Archer for the book's epigram about not sleeping with
a woman whose problems are worse than your own (without giving credit to
Nelson Algren, as MacDonald does when Archer says, "A wise man in
Chicago once said, . . . " I think it was in The Chill, but I'm not
sure; the Algren quote is from A Walk on the Wild Side)?


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