Re: RARA-AVIS: Connelly and chronology

From: Bill Bowers (
Date: 26 Feb 2001

>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 00:18:17 -0500 (EST)
>From: William Denton <>
>Subject: RARA-AVIS: Connelly and chronology

>[...] Connelly also said that after the book tour he was
>going to take some time (he already has his next book written) and reread
>all of Ross Macdonald's books in order. That's a big job.
>His plan about rereading Macdonald twigged me to something I'd forgotten:
>a plan to try rereading all of Hammett's work in chronological order.
>With NIGHTMARE TOWN and all the other books and collections I don't think
>I'm missing too much of his fiction, and I thought going through it all
>but this time in the order it was written could be fun. Has anyone ever
>tried this? Now that so many writers work in series, this is a pretty
>standard way to go, but it's different when tackling a writer who wrote a
>lot before paperbacks took over.

Actually, as one who "came late" to mystery-dom, and after having devoured Hammett & Chandler in whatever order I could locate them, _that_ is precisely the manner in which (after a couple of years of 'obtaining' them) I read Ross Macdonald's canon. It is an interesting way to immerse one's self in an author's world, whether that world is presented as a 'series', or not.

It is my preferred way to approach someone who has been favorably compared to others I've read, but some times Takes A While. ...sometimes it takes a while to complete the 'run' (i.e., finding a couple of the earlier
"Nameless" novels, at prices I can afford), and sometimes it takes a while to get to them: I occasionally look at my completed collection of 87th Precinct books -- but 50+ books are rather intimidating!

Far and away the most interesting result of these proclivities was when I read Block's Matthew Scudder series straight thru, in a two month period, a couple of years ago. Now I'm not in any way a critic -- I'm one who unabashedly admits to reading genre (skiffy; mystery) fiction primarily for sheer escapism (although I'm sure that some could Read Something Into the fact that my immersion in hard-boiled mysteries became pronounced after a messy divorce!) -- but in close to 50 years of Reading, I've never encountered a more sustained ... and _logical_ example of character-development over a twenty-year span in Real Time, in any series. I was Impressed.

Of course, I do think Block blew it when he had Scudder actually move in with that woman, neat as she may be.

This has absolutely nothing -- I repeat: nothing! -- to do with the fact that MyLife tanked after making a similar "move"....

[In the meantime, I wait ... with semi-patience ... for the VA to get around to 'harvesting' my cataracts. So I can get back to reading something other than computer screens...]

Bill Bowers  |  <>
"The stars descended upon me like an elevator in a shaft."
                           ---Ross Macdonald, Trouble Follows Me, 1946

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