Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: Review of Chandler Papers

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 27 Feb 2001

On Tue, 27 Feb 2001, Dick Lochte wrote:

> I find it odd that readers (on this list especially) get bent out of shape
> by Peter Temple's comment about Gardner and Cain being forgotten but have
> not taken issue with his statement that "Hammett's equipment was
> second-rate. His prose was only slightly less wooden than that of most
> pulp-magazine writers, and there is something naive about his world view."

You're right. Hammett might have been a bit clumsy at times and some of his plots are dated now, but his prose is as clear as a fountain lake
(if this metaphor fits the subject). I just reread (in the translation) Peter Haining's "Pulp Frictions", a merely mediocre anthology, in which Hammett's (or Peter Collinson's actually) "Arson Plus" shines as a gem.

> And Cain, though currently out of vogue, made a large
> enough contribution to the genre (paving the way for Thompson, Goodis,
> Willeford, Woodrell, etc.) for him to be remembered by most mystery readers
> and, one hopes, every mystery writer.

You're right also on this. The writers Cain influenced might in the end provide more interesting body of work than those who followed Chandler's work.


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