RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Spenser

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 16 Dec 2000

Does having a relationship really detour the work from being hard-boiled though? Hell, if a woman can be hard-boiled (not saying she can or can't ... the jury is still out on that one) then a relationship should work ... but, like any part of the background it shouldn't From what I'm reading so far it just shows that Parker failed at integrating it in such a manner to make it work in his writing.

Women tend to have two roles in the genre: they are either the fem fatale who directly or indirectly influence or assist a character or characters in doing their dastardly deeds or they symbolize what the PI is trying to protect in society. The innocent victims who can't protect themselves as well or who just need someone to cover their back while they reload. Chandler tends to get shit from the femnazis, but his female characters tend to be very strong women whether they are on the good side or the bad.

Match Marlowe up with a policeman's daughter, policewoman, or an experienced criminal lawyer (prosecution, not defense) and I don't see why it couldn't work ... as long as the story remains focused on the investigation and the romance part is just part of the flow. Course it kills the promiscuity of the PI somewhat to shackle him with a ball and chain, but hell ... what's he fightin' for anyway? The problem comes as it does in the works that are written by women and feature women protagonists is keeping the character female and not just a man in a dress or a chick with a dick. One of the factors that will never change in the genre is its base in realism.

Anthony Dauer

Hard-boiled Noir
-----Original Message----- From: William Denton Sent: Friday, December 15, 2000 5:29 PM
On a related note, in the Fleming/Chandler discussion, Chandler says he's got his hero in a bit of a pickle because he's going to get married. Fleming asks if that means he's going to have to kill off the wife (which Fleming had already done by then to his hero's wife). Chandler said no, no, he couldn't do that. If he'd kept on writing, Linda (is it Linda?) would have been an important, continuing character.
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