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

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 28 Feb 2001

On Tue, 27 Feb 2001, Kent Westmoreland wrote:

> Juri wrote:
> The writers Cain influenced might in the end
> provide more interesting body of work than those who followed Chandler's
> work.
> This statement is almost unanswerable because it is one of the most
> uninformed statements I have ever heard/read. I can't imagine any American
> mystery writer of the latter half of the 20th century that wasn't influenced
> by Chandler. Even if they haven't read him, they've been influenced by
> writers who were influenced by him. Even writers like Julie Smith, who work
> appears to have nothing in common with Chandler admits to this.

What I meant was simply that the writers like Robert Parker, Stephen Greenleaf, Walter Mosley and others (should I also name some paperback writers like Frank Kane and Richard Prather?) haven't been able to renew the genre to the same extent that writers like Goodis, Willeford, Harry Whittington, Charles Williams, Lionel White and others have done. The private eye genre lacks intensity and personal intimity that fills the works of those other writers. The private eye genre is too easy.

This is what I meant. Everyone's been influenced by Chandler (of course I know that!), but not everyone writes like Chandler and that's just good. Not all the writers who follow in Chandler's footsteps are bad (Howard Browne for example must be one of the best), but I find many of them very tiresome indeed.


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