RARA-AVIS: blown away - the results.

From: Mark Blumenthal ( blumenidiot@21stcentury.net)
Date: 04 Jan 2000

There were 52 lists and one wishy washy abstention. Nicole Leclerc, who is recovering from recent lung surgery, emailed hers directly to me. Some people named more than five authors. Several prefaced their lists with something like, 'assuming the big three are a given' and listed five more authors. Others just gave more than five. Unless there was a clear break after the fifth name I decided to accept more than the five names rather than arbitrarily chopping off a list at the required number. Having had the experience of running rotisserie baseball leagues since 1989, I know you can't please everyone. I apologize to those who agonized at leaving off a favorite author to keep their list at only five names.

I know a couple of list members proposed our making a list of greatest hard boiled writers of the century last year and nothing came of it. Maybe I phrased my request to make it seem fun as opposed to the work of deciding who were the greatest. I expected a few replies to my post, not over 50. (Bill, How many Rara Avians are there?) I guess this has to serve, per force, as a definitive list of our favorites, if not of our idea of the best. We certainly did not prefer the most recent in the field as many popular best of the century lists seem to do. Most of the top ten authors are not living, and majority of of Rara Avians probably weren't alive when Chandler's last novel, Playback, was published in 1958.

I think the leaders are pretty much who we'd expect, but I was mildly surprised that Robert Parker was virtually ignored. If this survey had been taken as recently as the mid eighties I think he would have been in the top five. I know he would have been one of my picks then.

And now the results:

1. Chandler - 28 2. Hammett - 24 3. Ellroy - 15 4. Thompson - 14 5. MacDonald, Ross- 13 6. Crumley - 11 7. Westlake/Stark - 10 8. Willeford - 10 9. Cain, James - 9 10. Connely, Mike - 7 11. Goodis - 5 11. Leonard - 5 11. Pelecanos - 5 14. Crais - 4 14. Himes - 4 14. Barre - 3 16. Block - 3 16. Hamilton, Donald - 3 16. MacDonald, John D - 3 16. Moseley - 3 16. Pronzini - 3 16. Raymond - 3 16. Thomas, Ross - 3 24. Anderson, Kent - 2 24. Bowen - 2 24. Browne/John Evans - 2 24. Burke - 2 24. Davis, Norbert - 2 24. Gorman - 2 24. Greenleaf - 2 24. Harvey, John - 2 24. Hunter, Stephen - 2 24. Lehane - 2 24. McBain, Ed - 2 25. Parker, Robert - 2

36 - 79 w one mention:

Abshire, Richard Albert, Neil Brackett, Leigh Brown, Carter Collins, Max Alan Collins, Michael Constantine, KC Dorsey, Tim Farrigno, Robert Gores, Joseph Hall, James Hamilton, Laurell Hamilton, Steve Hansen, Joseph Harris, Timothy Haywood, Gar Anthony Healy, Jeremiah Hiaasen, Carl Highsmith, Patricia Hughes, Dorothy Lansdale, Joseph Latimer, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Lewis, Ted Marlowe, Dan Martin, Danny McCoy, Horace Miller, Wade Montalban, Manuel Vasquez Nunn, Ken Phillips, Gary Raabe, Peter Rankin, Ian Shannon, John Sjowall & Wahloo Spillane, Mickey Thornburg, Newton Wainright, John Wambaugh, Joseph Whittington, Harry Willard, Fred Williams, Charles Winslow, Don Woodrell, Daniel


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