RARA-AVIS: Ellin, Bloch & others

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 28 Apr 2000

Many of my favorites suddenly have hit the comment line.

Stanley Ellin is one of the forgotten masters of the mystery. He was a true craftsman. Most acclaimed for his short work (deservedly), his novels are well worth searching out. This includes his one mainstream novel. I hope one day he is recognized again as a master. He was also a very nice man as I learned as a newcomer to the mystery world twenty years ago. The truely great ones (Fred Dannay is another) were always warm and down to earth and so very approachable by the newcomer.

I never met Robert Bloch but first read him more than 40 years ago. He wrote a lot of crap but at a penny a word that will happen. While I love the movie Psycho, I believe the novel was a great one. I try not to compare between the two different media. But looking beyond the flash and innovative technique of the movie, I have to say here was a depth to the novel that the movie missed. Movies usually do miss that depth. The Hitchcock movie deserves all its praise but it would not exist without the original creation of Robert Bloch.

As for James M. Cain, I have always felt a kinship with him. I even enjoy his weaker work. But I never paid much attention to his view of lumping him in with hardboiled writers and his hatred of that label or the low opinion than Chandler had of him. Both are understandable. Neither increase or decrease my enoyment of his work. I have thought. however, that given Cain's view of the genre field that it must have galled him to be reduced in the 1950s to selling his stories to Manhunt, a magazine devoted to the category in which he did not want to be included. It must have pained him even more to have some of his stories rejected by that magazine,

Richard Moore

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