Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #33 - Noir

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 22 Feb 2003

Jim wrote:

"Which brings me to another facet of the hard-boiled mystery I've often suggested. Hard-boiled is largely (though not exclusively) the province of the professional, both on the detecting and on the criminal side. In the "traditional," both the detective and the criminal are both more likely to be amateurs. Though, now that I've written it, I'm damned if I know what the hell it has to do with this discussion."

Perhaps it takes it back into matters of class. In order to have the spare time to solve murders, the amateurs must be of the leisure class. However, the pros are not even going to get involved unless they are paid. They are doing a job. This requires more practicality on the part of the detectives. It makes them working stiffs, easier to identify with for most, particularly American, readers, and gives them a real (at least real within the confines of the genre) reason for becoming involved with a corpse. Even though it is a cliche for PIs to finish the job, even after being fired, they would not be on the job in thte first place if they had not been hired. In addition, the professionalism makes it more believable that the detectives would have the skills and knowledge needed to solve crimes.


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