Re: RARA-AVIS: Professionals and Amateurs

Date: 02 Feb 2000

In a message dated 2/2/00 7:02:02 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< one of the things I
 really like about HB is that it usually involves a pro, who's involved in
 the crime for professional reasons. The presentation of the profession may
 be fantastic (i.e. Mike Hammer or Satan Hall), but the professional status
 gives the character a convincing reason for being involved. >>

Actually, I tend to like the amateurs. The pro's tend to be doing what they're doing by rote. Series characters (which PI's and police detectives tend to be) seldom get themselves killed, or even seem to be affected by what happens. A civilian who becomes interested for personal reasons (because someone they care about is killed or just their own obsessive curiosity about what's happening) tend to be more interesting and less cozy. The world they discover is stranger to them. They make mistakes and, like the antagonist, end up weaving a tangled web of their own. Take the Wrong Man premise Hitchcock was so fascinated by as an example...

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