RE: RARA-AVIS: Raymond, Leonard, and Crews

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 16 Aug 2002

miker (that's me!) said:
: I finished Derek Raymond's HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN
: at the end of last week. It was good. At first I
: moaned a bit about the artsy Hammett artifice of making
: the detective anonymous, but Raymond did a better job
: of it than Hammett.

William Denton said: Better how?

*********** In RED HARVEST I was painfully aware that Hammett was going out of his way to not name the Con Op. Being so obvious made it contrived. There were just too many spots where his name should have come up.

Derek Raymond did it smoothly. His writing did not seem strained by the artifice of keeping the detective nameless.

To be honest, I don't think this is because of any lack of skill on Hammett's side. More than anything, its just the way the plot falls. Raymond's detective is in a position of authority, and has a badge to prove it. Also, a lot of the people he talks to is on a first-time, only-time basis. His name simply doesn't have to come up. The Con Op, on the other hand, strolls into a strange town with absolutely no official authority, bad- mouths the police and everybody else, and almost never has his name demanded of him. The Con Op also revisits people who he has become acquainted with, and would be likely to use his name. That's a stretch and it's bla- tantly obvious.


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