Re: RARA-AVIS: Richard Stark Month

From: William Denton (
Date: 03 Nov 2000

On 3 November 2000, wrote:

: In earlier discussions, there was much talk of Parker's
: professionalism. It's not just professionalism. It's competence
: (since there are incompetent professionals).

This is something I've found I really like in books. Parker's an absolute pro and utterly competent. Spade and the Op were in the know and knew who was who and how everything worked. Matt Helm gets an assignment and carries it out with a minimum of fuss or error. A lot of hardboiled characters are very competent professionals, and even amateurs who get mixed up in something keep all their wits about them. They move quickly and decisively, don't waste motion, and when they need help they know just who to ask. They don't sit down with their best friend, the stained glass artist, and have a coffee while they mull over the options.

I don't think I have any need to feel competent myself by predicting plot developments, in fact I'd rather be surprised and see how the lead character handles something I can't imagine myself getting into (which includes most everything Parker, Helm and the rest do). Maybe it adds to the escapism, but mostly it's that I don't like reading about idiots. I admire professionalism, even in criminals (to a limit).


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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