Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Once more into the breech...

From: William Denton (
Date: 29 Aug 2000

On 29 August 2000, Kevin Burton Smith wrote:

: Besides your say-so, why exactly is Kinsey Millhone not hard-boiled?

Well, I can't defend my position, really, because I haven't read a Sue Grafton book in over 10 years. I found them incredibly boring and I've long forgotten them. But they never struck me as hardboiled.

: If any trace of empathy, compassion or humanity renders a character
: non-hard-boiled, all we're left with is sociopaths like Hammer, Burke,
: Race Williams and Ellroy's damaged little boys.

But if every private investigator (or reporter or claims adjuster) is called hardboiled just because life isn't all peaches and cream and he or she has a drink every now and then, we're left with nothing but a mess.

This hardboiled women writers question comes up a fair bit and never gets resolved. We'll all have to make do with our own opinions, I suppose, and see if any writers who are recommended make us adjust. I haven't read any Dorothy B. Hughes yet, but I think that's where I'll start looking, then Marcia Muller.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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