RE: RARA-AVIS: words

Tyler, Tom (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 11:04:58 -0400

My favorite hardboiled line comes from Spillane's "I, The Jury." Hammer gut shoots a woman he considered marrying because it turns out she killed his friend. "How, how could you?" she asks. "It was easy," Mike replies.

And then there's the Hammer where his love interest strips naked on the last page and provides Mike with a last-line surprise: "Juno was a man!" Mike shoots her, of course.

Lest Hammer/Spillane be thought unfriendly to females, don't forget his beloved Velma. He worshiped her, became a stew bum after she disappeared, and eight years later pulled himself together in order to machine gun her adbuctors - commies, as I recall. So he wasn't harsh with all females. (Of course, there was the small matter of Velma's being hung nude from a hook for awhile before Mike got there with his machine gun, but her reward for such tribulation was great: being reunited with the palooka of her dreams).

> I guess if we're into doing great hard-boiled lines, that may or may not
> appear in hard-boiled fiction or film, we should include Flannery
> O'Connor's bleak line from "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," wherein the
> killer, after shotgunning a grandmother, says something like, "She'd a
> been
> a good woman if there'd been someone there to shoot her every day of her
> life."
> Now that's a line that sticks to you. And many of O'Connors' stories
> belong somewhere in the noir universe, even if "gothic" was the favorite
> adjective of critics.
> Bill Hagen
> <>

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