Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett pulp novel

From: Greg Swan (
Date: 04 Feb 2000

Yes, this sounds just right. I was thinking newspapers because of the dry, factual wording and a certain feeling of exactness. But newspaper articles are very much written with an audience in mind. Case reports would just be observational records where the main thrust is to record observed activity and leave nothing out that might later be important.

That also helps me understand something else that was nagging at me: Hammett's focus was largely external. X said this. Y did that. Hammett doesn't take us inside the characters. If we're interested in the internal life of the characters, it's up to us to infer that from Hammett's observations. Fair enough. But, that's where noir and hardboiled tales like Bloch's first few tough Scudders part company with Hammett. There, the focus is on the internal.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I always look forward to your knowledgeable postings. You help fill the gap left by Mario's hopefully temporary departure.

Greg Swan

----- Original Message ----- From: "Bob Toomey" <>
> He was a private detective. His lean style, considerably more direct
> than most of the newspaper or pulp writing of the day, probably comes
> out of the case reports he wrote for the Pinkerton agency.

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