Re: RARA-AVIS: Final List (4/01) - Hardboiled 100

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 02 Apr 2002

This wasn't easy. I didn't realize how many books containing of these characters I had read Removing characters I as unfamiliar with was simple, as was removing characters I didn't think belonged. Getting down to forty wasn't too bad, but then I had to remove some I thought were worthy. I had to leave out a lot of my favorites As some others have written, if I chose tomorrow the a lot of the twenty might be different.

I tried to include supporting as well as main characters and at least one from the 20's as through 2000.

Grofield - Donald Westlake is one of my favorite authors. Grofield is the link between his comic characters and his more serious ones. Grofield is is a supporting character as well as main one. Artie Wu & Quincy Durant. I like Ross Thomas and caper novels. I think these two are his best. Brigid O'Shaughnessy - Maybe the model for all femme fatales in hard boiled. Elvis Cole - Started off very much Spenser but has developed past that. Hawk- I actually would have liked to put the early Hawk if I could. He may not have been the first, but I think he was the most influential of the
'psycho sidekicks' Hoke Mosely - A real person. What other hard boiled character had concerns like his teeth or taking care of his daughters? Jack Liffey - Rarely able to control his life let alone the environment, he's an uncertain character in an uncertain world. Jack Wild - I probably would have forgotten to nominate him if miker hadn't mentioned him. He also appears in Devil To Pay under another name. His life is clearly is a fictionalized autobiography of someone who managed to climb out of the depths of poverty to become an author. Jane Whitfield. A well drawn half Native American who helps people to disappear. Cuddy - He has remained a grieving middle class Irish widower who is a caring private eye. Lew Archer - Maybe not as tough as Spade, but he's tough enough. I recommended reading him to a child psychologist I know. Matt Helm - A better realized secret agent than James Bond without the glamor. Michael Schaefer - Another Perry character. He had no name in the first book, the Edgar Award winning Butcher Boy. He is a tougher hitman than Keller. Neil Fargo - SF private eye who Jim Doherty described as Gores' Sam Spade. Nick Stefanos - Fully realized part time PI and bartender who is knowingly is drinking himself to death. Parker the ultimate thief Philip Marlowe - The father of many of the popular PIs of today such as Spenser and Elvis Cole Continental Op - The father of the rest. Tres Navarre- A PI/martial expert who moved back to his home, San Antonio. He provides a twist on the established PI traditions.
  Wyatt - An Australian, more human version of Richad Stark's Parker.

1 - 3. Alan Grofield (Parker & Grofield series, Richard Stark)
 2 -11. Artie Wu & Quincy Durant (series, Ross Thomas) 3 - 28. Brigid O'Shaughnessy (THE MALTESE FALCON, Dashiell Hammett) 4 - 82. Elvis Cole (series, Robert Crais 5 - 112. Hawk (Spenser series, Robert Parker) 6 - 113. Hoke Moseley (series, Charles Willeford) 7 - 121. Jack Liffey (series, John Shannon) 8 - 124. Jack Wild (GARDEN OF SAND AND TATTOO, Earl Thompson) 9 - 128. Jane Whitfield (series, Tom Perry) 10 - 138. John Francis Cuddy (Cuddy series, Jeremiah Healy) 11 - 152. Lew Archer (series, Ross Macdonald)
 12 - 170. Matt Helm (series, Donald Hamilton)
 13 - 179. Michael Schaefer (SLEEPING DOGS and THE BUTCHER BOY, Thomas Perrry)
 14 - 197. Neil Fargo (Interface + short stories, Joe Gores)
 15 - 202. Nick Stefanos (series, George Pelecanos)
 16 - 205. Parker (series, Richard Stark)
 17 - 212. Philip Marlowe (series, Raymond Chandler)
 18 - 253. The Continental Op (series, Dashiell Hammett) 19 - 262. Tres Navarre (series, Rick Riordan) 20 - 272. Wyatt (series, Garry Disher)


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