Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: The meaning of hardboiled

From: William Denton (
Date: 11 Jul 2000

On 11 July 2000, Mark Sullivan wrote:

: I was thinking how much it would have helped if they had included a
: line like, "If you like this, you should try this . . ." And that's
: what I get from the debates over classification, the examples and
: groupings of authors, so I can say, Hey, I like these three, but who's
: [blank]? I'll have to try reading [blank].

That's the best kind of guide to have. Bloomsbury has done them for SF, mysteries and a couple of other topics (not available in the US, as far as I know). Short intros to major writers in the field, a few recommended books, and pointers to other similar writers. They also threw in some larger diagrams where they'd take a major book, pick apart its elements, and suggest other titles that shared that theme.

Does anyone have the one they did on mysteries? I think I used to, but no more. Here's what Kenneth McLeish's BLOOMSBURY GOOD READING GUIDE recommends as follow-ons to Hammett: Chandler's THE LADY IN THE LAKE, Cain's NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (sic), Macdonald's THE DROWNING POOL, Peter Coffin's (Latimer's pseudonym) THE SEARCH FOR MY GREAT UNCLE'S HEAD, Andrew Bergman's THE BIG KISS OFF OF 1944 (?), and Mailer's TOUGH GUY'S DON'T DANCE. Chandler leads you to THE MALTESE FALCON, TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, THE DROWNING POOL again, John Milne's SHADOW PLAY (?), NO ORCHIDS which is correctly attributed to James Hadley Chase, and Greg MacDonald's FLETCH.

If anyone wants to take a writer X or book Y and suggest, with reasons, a handful of writers or books to try if you liked X or Y, we could make up a list that would probably be handy for us and newcomers to the field. Heck, we could identify some salient elements of hardboileditude and pick the five books that best represent each aspect.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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