Re: RARA-AVIS: The Greatest of Them All?

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 08 Jan 2003

At 10:04 AM 1/2/03 -0500, you wrote:
>>The same sort of thing that can be said about Edward Kennedy (that during
>>his 40 years in the U.S. Senate, he's had a greater effect on American
>>society than either of his more famous, but shorter-lived brothers) might
>>well be said of Pronzini:

I just had to address this. Teddy Kennedy proves the point that being prolific or long-lived is not necessarily better than having a short, heavier impact. I'll take either Jack OR Bobby any DAY over place-holder Teddy in the "left a real legacy" department.

As for Pronzini, I haven't read him, but I will now. That said, he'd have to be pretty damned good to weigh more heavily than a guy like either Hammett, Chandler, or MacDonald. Doesn't mean I won't like him. I like Parker tremendously, and don't think he's in the same league as "the Big Three".

Of course, you just can't convince me that being prolific over a long period of time necessarily makes you better than someone who labors for long periods over their work. Speaking as the author of one (as yet unpublished) mystery novel, it's been a labor involving parts of four years, and I think that if anything it has given me a healthier respect for guys like Ross MacDonald (who admittedly wrote 18 variations on the same basic theme and plot, but hey, it's a great story!), Raymond Chandler (who wrote VERY slowly), and Dashiell Hammett (whose output in the late 20s and early 30s is remarkable, especially in light of his failing health).

Just my two cents.

All the Best,


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