RE: RARA-AVIS: Women Writing Pulps?

Enrique Bird (
Tue, 6 Apr 1999 18:00:22 -0400 Friends,

Craig Rice was a fun, as opposed to serious, hard-boiled writer for the most
part. Her Malone books are fun to read, and the collection of his short
stories (whose name I do not recall) is very good. Some are serious in
nature and perhaps among the best of "soft-hard" bolied ss. The one
collected in many places, His Heart Could Break has a truly noirish ending
and is an all-time personal favorite crime ss.

The collaboration with Stuart Palmer, titled The People vs. Withers and
Malone is another fun collection, joining Rice's hardboiled John J. Malone
with Palmer's cozy Hildergade Withers. It is thought to have been mostly
written by Palmer.

Enrique Bird

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Swan []
> Sent: Sunday, April 04, 1999 12:55 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Women Writing Pulps?
> Bill Hagen wrote:
> > My short history of the pulps (Dime Detectives) doesn't mention her; the
> > 1946 anthology, The Art of the Mystery Story, ed. by Howard Haycraft,
> and,
> > later, Julian Symons characterized her as writing "crime comedy." But
> I'd
> > be the first to admit that these are not extensive sources.
> >
> > So far, then, she and Leigh Brackett are on my list to check.
> A few more thoughts. It may be difficult to decide whether to dismiss her
> work as neither noir nor harboiled. Mario would probably term the stuff
> I've read and liked "medium-boiled."
> While crime comedy is also probably a fitting label for some of her work,
> I
> think it misses a point. Craig Rice was apparently a deeply troubled
> woman
> who tried to make her pain go away through drink. She reportedly was
> good-natured and possessed a brilliant sense-of-humor, perhaps another way
> to hide her inner suffering. Reportedly, she twice attempted suicide.
> I've
> felt for some years that it's hard for tortured souls like Rice to write a
> breezy novel. The pain, shame and desperation they feel can't help but
> leak
> into the story. It's this subtle, dark undertone that made Rice's work
> interesting for me to read. Her darkness isn't as easy to spot as, say,
> David Goodis'. But, I think it's there.
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