RARA-AVIS: It's a Shame About Ray

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 27 Feb 2001

Kent wrote:

>'IMHO, the works of Gardner and Cain are primarily remembered because of TV
>and the movies, respectively. I would go as far to say as most non-mystery
>buffs know Perry Mason, "Double Indemnity" and "Postman" but cannot name
>their creators. Chandler is a different proposition. He is remembered
>because of his written words, not because the film version of the "The Big
>Sleep" and forgettable versions of his other novels. The "The Big Sleep" is
>remembered because of Bogart and Bacall.
>I think this is what the reviewer could have meant.

That makes sense. And, in fact, the success of the film version of THE BIG SLEEP has less to do with Chandler than with the play between Bogie and Bacall, Hawks' direction, and the script by Leigh Brackett, Faulkner and the other guy.

At least with THE MALTESE FALCON, chances are, if you loved the movie, you'll love the book. I don't think that's necessarily the case for THE BIG SLEEP. MURDER, MY SWEET and FAREWELL, MY LOVELY are far more representative of Chandler, I think, but they hardly packed the commercial wallop of TBS. Then again, what do we care about anyone who doesn't like Chandler in book form?

And Dave's point about those books not being in print in Australia is intriguing. Gardner I could understand being hard to find, or even out of print, but Cain? Yikes! Are the bookstores there filled mostly with Australian and British editions?

(Just a few notes...despite their assurances, being listed by Amazon doesn't necessarily mean a book is actually available. And my guess is the Gardner books that are in print are all Perry Masons, and are marketed as such....a case of the character being better known than the author. And that particular character is probably best known because of the TV shows, not the books.)


Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.thrillingdetective.com
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