Re: RARA-AVIS: Race Williams and the KKK

From: George Upper (
Date: 23 May 2001

--- Mark Sullivan <> wrote:
> I'm curious, what were those precedents and how much
> was built on them
> and how much was original?

Well, some of these have already been discussed, or at least mentioned. As far as non-fiction precedents go, I think the HB PI is a by-product of prohibition, gangsterism, corruption (particularly police and government corruption), and post-war disillusionment. To say that this list is an oversimplification is, I hope, unnecessary--in fact, such a statement would be an oversimplification in its own right.

As to literary precendents, I think it's a long list. Certainly the western, particularly the action western. (Many early HB writers wrote in this genre, as well). The classic or armchair detective story, as well as the sort of grown-up boy detective Nick Carter stories certainly contributed. There was also a fair amount of what I call "tough fiction" published just after WWI--I think of it as marketed to the returning jaded soldiers, but that's purely speculation on my part. These include a lot of boxing stories (there was at least one pulp dedicated only to boxing stories, if you can believe that) and other "manly" interests.

Daly himself wrote several stories which predate the Terry Mack story but include several of the same essential elements--resolving issues by gunpoint being a major one, as is a sort of quasi-antagonistic, almost adolescent portrayal of women--can't live with
'em, can't live without 'em, sort of. One of my major interests is the process by which Daly created the first HB PI character--I see much of his earlier stuff as almost protypical.


===== George C. Upper III UNC-Greensboro
(336) 393-0013 The city don't know that the city is getting... a show with everything but Yul Brynner

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