Re: RARA-AVIS: The Monthly Dumping/The First P.I.

Juri Nummelin (
Tue, 9 Nov 1999 18:19:28 +0200 (EET)

On Mon, 8 Nov 1999, Kevin Burton Smith wrote:

> Most of the "grievous" crimes they've been charged with had already
> been committed years earlier by male writers, anyway. Lectures on
> morality? Try Chandler. PC asides on politicial and moral issues?
> Try John D. Macdonald. Over-the-top political rants? Try Mickey
> Spillane. Rambling about the environment and flowers? Try Ross
> Macdonald. Details of their personal lives and relationships? Try Ed
> McBain or Robert Martin or Thomas Dewey (the Pete Schoefiled series)
> or Bart Spicer. Or Robert Parker, for that matter. Too many recurring
> characters? Try Joe Gores' DKA Files or The Rockford Files. "Women's"
> issues? Max Allan Collins actually predated most of the female
> writers, with his abortion, children and pornography storylines in
> his Ms. Tree stories.

I surely didn't mean that HB writers shouldn't debate these questions at all, but I wish they didn't do it so forcedly - they just try too hard. Chandler and Ross Macdonald (I'm not a very big fan of the other MacDonald) have so much skill that they could easily make their points in the limits of the plot and they didn't have to write it down in dialogue or, what's worse, in monologue. It seems that crime fiction
(and science fiction in some extent) is the only genre in which any serious commentary must be pointed out clumsily in dialogue and monologue.

Maybe there's only Dashiell Hammett who could make these things out without heavy pointing with a finger. And James Ellroy, whose characters don't really care about making a point in speech.

And this all discussion got started about a PI's clothes?


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