RARA-AVIS: Marlowe and Spade and the ladies

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 31 Aug 2001

Kerry wrote:
>Marlowe and Spade didn't trust this type [various negative stereotypes]
>of woman, and were blind to the existence of any other type.

Hmm, I'm not sure of this when it comes to Spade. His relationship with Effie Perine was one of my favorite parts of Falcon (and the main thing that I think failed to translate from the book to the screen - referring to the Huston film, which I adore). Yeah, Spade treats Mrs. Archer and Brigid like crap, but Brigid doesn't get any worse than she deserves, and Sam never pretends to be a "knight" re: Mrs. A. Fair or not, Spade gets away with more in my mind because he's set up as an essentially amoral character from the beginning. I'll freely admit that I'm not totally immune to "jerk appeal," that being one of the reasons I like HB guys :).

Jim Doherty mentioned Anne Riordan, jogging my memory on the "Nancy Drew" character. I found this character to be annoying, a fairly lame and uninteresting attempt at a "good girl" character. I can't defend the opinion any more than that because it's been years since I read "farewell," I'm just remembering my visceral reaction to her.

Elvis Cole is the closest I can think of to a contemporary "knight"; (and Spenser I suppose to the extent that Spenser is contemporary). Since Parker essentially started out "doing" Chandler, and Crais started out "doing" Parker, there's no real surprise here. Myron Bolitar is perhaps meant to be in the "not himself mean" tradition, but in contemporary terms this translates to "sensitive" (which in my mind translates to "wuss," but that could just be me). I find his virtue a little suspect anyway in that he hangs out with Win - but it's already been well established on a number of other lists that I just don't get Coben at all, so I won't drag that horse out and beat it :).


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