Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett's female characters

From: Philip Benz (
Date: 08 Jan 2000

Bill quotes:
<< "Dinah Brand is surely one of the most diverting characters in contemporary fiction." -- Carl Van Vechten >>

I like the choice of words -- "diverting". She certainly is an odd fish for a femme fatale, with her torn dresses and unique approach to personal hygene. Yet we are forced to bow to her hidden charms by the very evidence of her success. Everybody who's anybody in Poisonville has
*got* to have a piece of that girl, though they don't seem to mind sharing her around much.

I find her to be the closest thing Red Harvest has to a character that rises above the two-dimensional, even if she doesn't rise very far before getting waxed. I have rather ambivalent feelings about the novel itself, feelings that I don't think I can totally ascribe to my having read it over the holidays while stuck in bed with over 40 degrees of fever (that's 104 for you yanks). Is it just me, or did it seem like the Continental Op role was a shoe-in for Bruce Willis? Or do you think he just doesn't do enough shooting?

Cheers, --- Phil Lyc饠Astier, Aubenas, France

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