RARA-AVIS: boy/girl/boy/girl & Marlowe

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 27 Aug 2001

Carrie wrote:

"My local used book store does shelve male and female crime writers separately - which bugs the heck out of me, but what can you do?"

Mark Sullivan wrote:
>I find this highly amusing (and ridiculous). Just out of curiosity, >where
>do they shelve JA Jance (her JP Beaumont books under male, her >Joanna
>Brady under female?), Jack Early (early editions under male, >later
>editions under female after the covers started noting Sandra >Scoppetone
>writing as . . .?), SJ Rozan (in both, depending upon which >of her
>characters is narrating?),

All good questions - I have no idea. I have some sympathy, because the books aren't shelved alphabetically but rather in groups (A-D, E-J, etc) and it does give you fewer books to go through; it's also USUALLY more straightforward than if they were shelved by cozy/hard-boiled/regional etc - cause as we know it's very easy to argue about those distinctions. I still find it kinda lame though, and unless I'm after something specific, I have to look twice as long to figure out if it's there!

Re: Marlowe - I realize it was Spade being referenced as the amoral one, but I actually find Marlowe's "morality" to be a turnoff, since it's closer to
"moralistic" than moral. He's such a white knight that though I love Chandler's style, I sometimes wish Marlowe would shut the hell up. I realize a lot of this is a change in values - not crazy about his reactions to gays and women and sex in general (now, I haven't read all the books, but women are always throwing themselves at Phil but I can't recall that he ever actually gets any or even seems to really WANT any; I actually find this less appealing than the James Bond anything-in-a-skirt attitude of a lot of PIs). Anyway, I'd rather have Marlowe on the case than Spade, but for all his devilishness, I actually like Spade more, if only for the give and take with Effie.

"Is that what you do for a living?" she asked. "Find folks?"
"Sometimes," I said. "Other times I just look."
-James Crumley, "The Last Good Kiss"

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