Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Marlowe Paradigm

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 06 Dec 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>

> Even today, the vast majority of PI writers,
> characters like Dick Francis's Sid Halley
> notwithstanding, ARE American, which was my point.
> And a surprisingly large number of non-American
> writers who wrote PI stories, such as James Hadley
> Chase, Peter Cheney, and Peter Chambers (not to be
> confused with the PI character of the same name) used
> American characters and settings precisely because the
> PI story was so closely identified with the US.
> Certainly this has changed to a degree in recent
> years, but the hard-boiled private eye character is
> still widely regarded as an American, just as the
> trafditional "cozy" amateur is still widely regarded
> as a Briton, despite the large influx of American
> writers and characters in recent years.

I don't disagree with the above. However, I suspect that if Chandler had never existed James Hadley Chase would still have used the same US settings. JHC himself cited his influences as William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and James Cain. None of them, despite being American, renowned PI writers. But, then, neither was JHC. Incidentally, Chandler hated Chase's writing almost as much as he hated Cain's.

On another topic: how many novels must a character appear in to qualify as a series character? Just two, or do serial killer rules apply?


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