Re: RARA-AVIS: Sidekicks

From: Schooley (
Date: 19 Nov 2001

Teri Stock wrote:

> Isn't one of the differences between hard-boiled and other mystery that
> hard-boiled recognizes the legal system as at least flawed and usually
> corrupt and ineffectual? Therefore, in hard-boiled tails justice cannot
> always be accomplished by simply turning the bad guys over to the
> authorities. How to achieve justice and the fine line between revenge and
> justice are often and legitimately explored, sometimes via the use of a
> sidekick or other third party, sometimes by the protag's willingness to work
> outside of or even contrary to the law.

We've talked about defining hardboil and noir before and appropriately enough, I don't recall any resolution. I'd say you're going in the right direction, but not far enough.

In my mind, noir fiction, whatever the style, recognizes that justice awaits each of us. Impatient writers who believe justice can be achieved within their lifetime, whatever stylistic flourishes or devices they borrow from noir, are working outside the genre.


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