RARA-AVIS: Kaminsky and Chandler

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Mar 2004

WARNING: Spoilers for Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY and Kaminsky's VENGEANCE follow.

I read Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY here recently, and followed it with Kaminsky's VENGEANCE. It was not until I had completely finished VENGEANCE that I realized the many similarities between the two books.

Both protagonists were former employees of a district attorney. Both protagonists have little or no social life. Both live in low-rent apartments. Neither have had much work in the last month. Althought certainly not unusal to the genre, both protagonists are also first on the scene of multiple murders.

The protagonists both take on two tasks. The first task is for little or no money and involves finding a woman who is also being sought by a dangerous exconvict. The second task is for a rich client and a beautiful rich woman in this case ends up murdering the exconvict in the (at first) seemingly unconnected first task. Both murders involve unloading a handgun into the con at short range.

Both protagonists run into high-end criminals who threaten the protagonists but end up aiding them and also respecting them. Both books end with a woman in the protagonist's life who they met during the cases and who helped them.

If I was to roll Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP into the mix
(spoiler coming up for that now, too), I could mention similarities to VENGEANCE in a client who's daughter is responsible for a murder which the protagonist keeps from the police.

I have no point in all this. I just thought the similarities interesting. I'm surely not calling it plot-stealing. Books in the genre share many conventions. If anything, it might lend credence to Jim's Marlowe paradigm.

Speaking of Jim and Marlowe, I'm looking forward to the Chandler class coming up at B&N. I've got the novels done now. I'll have to read some short stories.


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