Re: RARA-AVIS: Smart-ass witticisms (was Crais)

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 03 Jul 2000

<<I suppose we have Robert B. Parker to blame for a lot of this, but to me he always managed to do it with a wink and a smile. Crais, at least in the early work, comes at you with an elbow to the gut.>>

If we are going to assign blame, Chandler has to me mentioned first. I think the wisecracking PI should have been left alone after Chandler practically exhausted the concept. Howard Browne did it as well as Chandler, but his novels are much more tightly written so that the snappy comebacks don't play such a prominent role. My problem with wisecracking detectives is suspending disbelief: a detective has to keep a low profile while investigating. Going around being a smartass seems the last thing a PI could get away with.

I think Thomas Dewey was aware of the Chandler danger and therefore made his Mac detective into a quiet and efficient guy, the opposite of a wisecracker. His novels have aged remarkably well.



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