RARA-AVIS: The Parker/Dortmunder Connection

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Oct 2001

Re Mario's Comment below:

> Somebody wondered whether the Dortmunder
> books
> share something with the Parker books. I have been
> rereading (and completing) this series, so I would
> say that
> in it, Westlake exercises a wholly different set of
> muscles. These are the American equivalent of P.G.
> Wodehouse. Characters like Tiny Bulcher, Murch and
> Murch's
> Mom live in some sort of timeless fantasy land.

Although Westlake does indeed use a "different set of muscles" as Mario puts it, there is a connection.

The first Dortmunder book, THE HOT ROCK, was originally planned as a Parker book, but as Westlake put it, "The book kept trying to be funny." Since the one thing a Parker novel CAN'T be is funny, he substituted another character, just as smart, just as professionally dedicated, but not nearly as ruthless, and certainly not nearly as lucky.

The result, come to think of it, is very much as though a Parker novel was written by P.G. Wodehouse.


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