Re: RARA-AVIS: intro/Dortmunder/Block

Date: 13 Aug 2001

Re Mark's question below:

> [*When the Sacred Ginmill Closes*]
> was, in my opinion,FANTASTIC, but
> the ending has a feeling that, if I didn't know
> better
> I would have guessed Block was bringing the Scudder
> books to a close. Does anyone know if Block had that
> in mind when he wrote 'Sacred' or is it just my
> impression?

The book immediately preceding *Ginmill*, *Eight Million Ways to Die*, ends with Scudder finally coming to terms with his alcoholism and entering recovery at an AA meeting. Block said at the time that he felt there was nowhere else for the series to go after that point.

However, he'd promised a Scudder short story to Bob Randisi for the first PWA anthology, *The Eyes Have It*. He got around the problem of writing about
"Scudder-in-12-Steps" by setting it prior to the events in *Eight Million*. That piece, "By the Dawn's Early Light," was possibly the best private eye short story of the last two decades (no one can say *I'm* afraid of using superlatives). It went on to win both an Edgar and a Shamus. Block was pleased enough at the reception that he decided to expand "Early Light" into a novel which eventually became *Ginmill*. I personally feel that the short story version was superior to the book-length version, but it's excellent in either medium.

Anyway, having written *Ginmill*, Block became comfortable enough with the character once more to try post-*Eight Million* novels and stories, and that's how the subsequent Scudder entries, with Matt in recovery but still working as an unlicensed (and eventually as a licensed) PI, came to be written, despite the fact that Block seemed to be bringing things to a close.


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