RARA-AVIS: peter robinson/gits

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 13 Jun 2002

>is peter robinson hardboiled? i've been looking at some
>of his books at amazon. he's got one called _cold is the
>grave_. in spite of the description, which made it sound
>pretty hardcore and dark, involving pornography and drugs,
>i still got a "cozy" feeling from it.
>thanks, miker

There is absolutely nothing cozy about Robinson, and if you want to make a cozy/hardboiled dichotomy - ie, put every mystery in the universe into one of or the other, he's hard-boiled. The first half of "Cold is the Grave," particularly, seems heavily indebted to American HB fiction. However, I tend to make a category for a school of British psychological suspense/police procedurals (Robinson actually lives in Canada but he was born in Britain and his series novels at least are set there) that is not in the least cozy but doesn't really come out of HB or noir either. Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine is the most prominent practitioner, and I'd tend to put
*most* Robinson there (though "Cold is the Grave" is so modeled along the lines of HB that it's arguably an exception), along with Minette Walters, Stephen Booth, and some Val McDermid (Kate Branigan is hard-boiled, in my mind, but "A Place of Execution" isn't). The books are usually in third person, the language and the protagonists are not particularly colloquial or tough -in fact the protagonist cop is often more educated or cosmopolitan than his/her colleagues - and the world-view is distinguishable from noir. This doesn't mean they're cozies by any stretch. And, by the way, "Cold is the Grave" is an excellent book, although it's worth reading at least the previous entry in the series ("In a Dry Season") for a few important plot and character points.

"Git" is an example of British slang that I think is terrific and have tried to work into conversation but only get funny looks (I've been saying it with a hard "g", like "get", rather than soft like "jit," this is right isn't it?) I have concluded, unfortunately, that you can only pull off most British slang if you have a British accent (although some words, like
"wanker" and "prat" and "shag" have a certain amount of portability, if only because they sound exactly like what they mean). If there's one thing British English has on the American version, it's profanity. To swear convincingly, we're pretty much stuck with variations on the F-word, and Brits still do that one better too.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Jun 2002 EDT