Re: RARA-AVIS: Themes of the Months

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 15 Mar 2001

Bill D wrote:

"I was thinking that next month we could try talking about work and the work ethic in hardboiled fiction. . . . If anyone has any good titles on this theme, let me know, and I'll list them."

Speaking of titles, per se, the word "business" seems to be in a number
-- Trouble Is My Business by Chandler, My Business Is Murder by Henry Kane, Murder Is My Business by Brett Halliday and later the killer-for-hire anthology by Spillane and Max Collins. It's a clear signifier that you're not dealing with an amateur detective here, which is one of the markers of hardboiled, that the people have a professional reason to deal with crime, as a detective, private or police, a reporter, crime photographer, criminal or killer.

In addition, in many recent noirs I have read the trouble starts, and often plays out, in a work setting -- Jason Starr's Cold Caller (are his others?), Vicki Hendrick's Miami Purity, Terrill Lankford's Shooters, Scott Phillips' Ice Harvest, etc.

"In May I thought we could tackle Dorothy B. Hughes: is she or isn't she?"

Cool, I recently bought a volume which collected her Ride a Pink Horse, In a Lonely Place and The Davidian Report.

"After that I think the collections of letters from Hammett and Chandler will be out in North America and the Commonwealth, so we can look at them."

I renew an earlier suggestion: How about after all of those, Howard Browne?


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