Re: RARA-AVIS: Howdy New Chum & Marlowe/Mallory

Date: 30 Mar 2002


Re your comment below:

> Hello Eric, welcome to the list. As a point of
> interest, did you know
> that Mallory was the original name for Raymond
> Chandler's Marlowe
> character? I can't remember why he decided to make
> it Marlowe instead
> but I do know that the Marlowe name itself has
> confused people who have
> been told that the name is meant to have
> connotations of chivalry.

Strictly speaking, the "Mallory" character isn't the
"original" version of Marlowe.

Mallory, Chandler's first series character, appears in two short stories, "Blackmailers Can't Shoot"
(Chandler's first published work) and "Smart-Aleck Kill." Although similar to Marlowe, the background and style were different. Unlike Marlowe, who was a former DA's investigator whose business had always been located in LA, Mallory operated out of Chicago. Exactly what his background was prior to becoming a Windy City PI is hazy. He arrives in LA for
"Blackmailers" and stays on for one more case in
"Kill," then disappears from the Chandler corpus
(years later, "Smart-Aleck Kill" would be reprinted in THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER with the character's name changed to "John Dalmas"). Another major difference between Mallory and Marlowe is that the Marlowe stories are told in the first person, while the Mallory stories are both told in the third person.

After abandoning Mallory, Chandler developed a similar PI hero who was anonymous in his first few appearances but who Chandler eventually dubbed "Carmady." Carmady is Marlowe in every respect but name. He's a former DA's man turned LA private eye who tells his stories in the first person. Every Carmady story was either reprinted as a Marlowe short story in THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER or combined with other stories to be ultimately expanded into a Marlowe novel.

After Joseph Shaw left BLACK MASK, Chandler was persuaded to change flags and submit exclusively to DIME DETECTIVE. He was asked to develop a completely new series character. Developing a new series character amounted to changing Carmady's name to "John Dalmas" (a name Chandler would resurrect when he reprinted the Mallory story "Smart-Aleck Kill"). Dalmas is, except for his name, identical to the earlier Carmady and the later Marlowe, and, as with the Carmady series, all the Dalmas stories were either combined with other work and expanded into Marlowe novels (what Chandler called "cannibalizing") or reprinted as Marlowe short stories in SIMPLE/MURDER.

Having changed the character's name for the move from BLACK MASK to DIME DETECTIVE, Chandler apparently decided it was a good idea to change the name again once the character moved from pulps to hard cover books.


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