Re: RARA-AVIS: Not "just the facts, Ma'am?

M-T (
Sat, 08 May 1999 23:15:17 -0800 [Gault writes]
"...Without official status, with no big stick to wave, the private
operative can work only on the the reaction of the people he
Only in their reaction can he hope to find revelation."

Mark Blumental:

<<How true was this in the pre 1960 writing of P.Is, and has the genre
changed since?>>

Speaking his mind is typical of Gault; he was more subtle at introducing
his opinions than, say, John D. MacDonald, but he did introduce them. By
the way, I agree with the opinion quoted. I don't think a P.I. could
work mainly by coercion, then or now. He would soon be dead or out of
business. Gault, like Ross Macdonald and Thomas B. Dewey, had his
private eye Callahan work by talking to people and waiting for them to
get themselves into trouble rather than by showing guns. It's a more
realistic approach. On the other hand, Gault's other P.I., Joe Puma, was
more of a brute and a less principled man, which was appropriate for the
cases he dealt with.


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