From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 20 Nov 2001

While rereading Benjamin Schutz, I realized just how much contemporary PI novels, from Parker on, have revolved around protecting or saving kids. Several of the early Parker novels deal with kids, finding kidnap victims or keeping them out of the way of adults who might harm them, physically or psychologically. Jerry's Blunt Darts dealt with a kid as have some of his other books. Everything Vachss writes deals with this issue. I could go on to list a bunch more, but I won't.

I'm tying to figure out how new this trend is. Of course, Ross Macdonald addressed it, the inheritance of sins being his major theme, but I'm having trouble thinking of any before him. I mean, there were kidnappings and ransoms, but the kids were just MacGuffins to set the plot in motion. The focus was on the detective or parent while tracking down the criminal, but how often was the kid developed as a character and not just a plot device?

There are many others here who are far more knowledgeable about vintage hardboiled. Is my impression anywhere near accurate?


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