RARA-AVIS: That Eighties Show

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 07 Apr 2003

>Next up I'll be reading one of Bill Pronzini's Nameless Detective books.
>Walker and Nameless must rank high when considering hardboiled 1980s

Yep, for sure. The eighties is when I really became interested in private eye fiction, and it was certainly an exciting time for the genre, particularly the series P.I. There were so many great series launched in the seventies that were really hitting their stride about then. Pronzini, Parker, Block, Hansen and the like had already demonstrated there were new ways to use the genre, and in their wake
(and perhaps at least partly inspired by them, or at least by Parker's commercial success) a whole bunch of new voices (Grafton, Paretsky, Mosley, Burke, et al) entered the genre in the early eighties. In retrospect, I can see that when the slew of non-pale males and other fresh voices began to pop up all over the genre, it was not so much a big shake-up as a logical progression to what had been going on in the seventies (and arguably, the sixties as well).

Of course, some of the other older writers (and older fans whose sole qualification for a P.I. was seemingly whether they could imagine Bogart playing them in a film or not) began to resent the success of Parker and some of these other uppity newcomers who were tinkering with the form. But the genre would probably be a quaint museum piece by now, appreciated only by collector geeks, or relegated to the men's action racks (over there by the skin mags), if it hadn't seen such a vigorous renewal and growth spurt in the late seventies/early eighties.


Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.thrillingdetective.com Five years on... -- # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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