Re: RARA-AVIS: Parker Among the Greats

James Rogers (
Fri, 24 Dec 1999 08:12:17 -0600

At 12:58 AM 12/24/99 -0500, Gerals So wrote:

> While I don't believe Parker reached his full potential, I do
>believe he deserves a spot among the greats, and I'll read him anytime.
>Hammett's and Chandler's writing declined more steeply than Parker's
>over a shorter period of time.

     Wow. I was trying to refrain from putting down Parker -this time - since I enjoy it too much to really feel good about it (Catholic guilt). But I won't play the sap for you.
      I honestly think that even if one rates Parker pretty high he is not even working in the same area as Hammett or Chandler. Hammett's last book, while not hardboiled, is a good, slick and commercial piece that deserved it's success. In this respect, I would compare it to the first Spencer books. But _Maltese Falcon_ and _Glass Key_ are going to eventually be part of the American Lit canon. When Hammett lost the ability to write he could no longer write at all, so I don't see his stuff as so much a decline as I do "sudden death".
     Chandler is less defensible in literary terms but I think that many, perhaps most, die-hard Chandler fans would suggest that in _Little Sister_ and _Long Goodbye_ RC is getting more ambitious, not less. In fact some of my problems with those two books stem, possibly, from the author trying to take the series detective story into places were it doesn't fit comfortably at all. _Playback_ isn't very good, but the author is a very ill guy at that point.

                   Merry Christmas to all, even the Spencer and Burke fans.



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