Re: RARA-AVIS: Theme of the month - Los Angeles

Date: 06 Sep 2001

Re Mark's question below:

> I've got a question for those of you who are more
> familiar with older
> PIs. How ubiquitous was California as location in
> the early days of
> PIs? Was it always a preferrred setting of
> hardboiled or does Chander's
> shadow just loom so large it now feels that way?

It was pretty common for pulp-era PI stories to be set in California, but I wouldn't necessarily say more so than now.

The Op worked out of San Francisco, of course, and Carmady (Marlowe's *Black Mask* incarnation) and John Dalmas (Marlowe's *Dime Detective* incarnation) worked out of LA. And there were others, notably Dan Turner who even had his own pulp magazine *Hollywood Detective*. *Black Mask* editor J.T. Shaw was said to have referred to California as "the new Wild West."

On the other hand, Carrol John Daly's Race Williams and Frederic Nebel's Donahue worked out of NYC; Lester Dent's Oscar Sail out of Florida; George Harmon Coxe's
"Flash" Casey (not a PI, but as a crime-solving journalist he's a cousin if not a brother) out of Boston; and Raoul Whitfield's Jo Gar out of Manila in the Phillipines.

I think it just happened that a lot of pulp writers happened to live in California. Writers who lived elsewhere tended to set their stories there.


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