Re: RARA-AVIS: Still on Daly

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 24 May 2001

On Wed, 23 May 2001, George Upper wrote:

> Here I definitely have to disagree. Daly as part of
> the canon?

The canon of the history of the hardboiled private eye literature. It's acknowledged everywhere that he wrote the first hardboiled private eye story.

> Daly's
> about as far out of it as you can be.

No, he isn't. His precedents and many of his contemporaries are far more out of it. What I meant with canon was the canon of the hardboiled literature itself. I didn't mean the canon of Dostoyevsky and Marcel Proust. There are different canons and Daly sure is there in the hardboiled one. Not as a liked and respected writer, but as an inventor. And that's the view I'd like to oppose.

As for the canons, I think the most important reason for Daly having made it up in the canon is the fact that he published in Black Mask and Dime Detective. Had he published in Speed-Fire Detective or Feds or any other not-so-well-known pulp magazine, we wouldn't know he existed. And that's why he gets all the fame, because he wrote for the canonical pulp magazines. (In fact, by the way, there were at least a dozen of boxing pulp magazines.)

> He is NOT regarded as the first PI writer. He is
> regarded as the first HB PI writer, and generally as
> the first HB writer.

That's what I was talking about. If I forgot to mention the word
"hardboiled", that was a mistake. I tried to point out that there were hardboiled private eye type figures before Daly came in.


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