RARA-AVIS: RE: Hammett review

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane@emazing.com)
Date: 07 Sep 2001

Bill [ abc@wt.net] wrote:

<< You can't trust me, either, Mario.

Here's how the review (by Terry Teachout) begins: "Some mystery lovers perfer Raymond Chandler, others Dashiell Hammett. For the benighted latter,
. . ." You can't exactly expect an even-handed review after that beginning.

Who is the managing editor of the Book Review these days? Is the Review's seeming anti-mystery stance a top-down opinion or just that of its reviewers?

And perhaps "anti-mystery stance" is a bit too general. After all, the Review has a crime & mystery section. But maybe what I mean is a stance that leans against the obviously hard-boiled. Sure, Chandler is hard-boiled, but his prose is obviously a bit more literary than Hammett's pared-down prose
(which isn't unliterary at all). But crime novels that aim more for the popular/mainstream market -- I include Connelly's work here -- often more obviously follows the Chandler school than the Hammett school. I think the Review aims more for the imagined NY mainstream than for whatever else may exist in the crime field.


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