Re: RARA-AVIS: Memento

From: George Upper (
Date: 21 Aug 2001

--- Juri Nummelin <> wrote:
> On Mon, 20 Aug 2001, JIM DOHERTY wrote:
> > > But is there a private eye in there [Memento]?
> > The amnesiac hero is a PI (or at least an ex-PI).
> > Specifically an insurance investigator.
> Do they count as PI's?
> Juri

I would argue that they don't, unless specifically licensed as private investigators. One of the things that differentiates the PI work from other mystery/crime pieces is that license, in my opinion. I've recently argued here that professionalism is a key to the genre, as well (professionalism as versus amateurism, I mean), and a license is part of that.

Of course, as with any argument along these lines, there's going to be some genre-bending or line-crossing. Matt Scudder, for example, has only had a license for the past novel or two, but his book covers regularly refer to him as a private eye and I'd be unenthusiastic about arguing the point.

G. rightwing populist, with good points too

===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal

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