Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler doesn't shoot

From: David Moran (
Date: 12 Mar 2004

[Note: This bounced to me because of its size and an HTML attachment. I reformatted it for easier reading and cleaned out the Windows control characters, but may have introduced a few incorrect periods or dashes. -- The Listowner]

Interesting, Marc, your end comments about Chandler's modernist search for a "new authority." Something I had never considered before, not in connection with Chandler at least. I did once write a paper, though, attacking Sara Paretsky's supposed feminism as a knee-jerk Leftist rebellion against figures of power, all power, and not really having anything to do with the empowerment or emancipation of women. I will, however, have to go sit in a corner and meditate on Chandler and authority for a while and see what rolls off the conveyor belt of my brain. I always consider the genre somewhat left-leaning in that respect, but I often forget the extent to which the genre was molded and shaped by Chandler.

Although I am largely a lurker here, only apparently leaping into existence to disagree with Marc about Chandler, and don't have the time to post as often as I'd like to this excellent list, I figured that since the door has been opened letting in quasi-academic work, that I might post some Chandler meditations of my own, specifically on "The Simple Art of Murder," which, I admit and apologize, really has little to do with the topic at hand, i.e. "Blackmailers Don't Shoot," but since Marc mentioned SAOM and Chandler's complimenting of Hammett, which, to my ears, always sounds more sour than celebratory, I thought I'd weigh in on C. once more.

You will, I hope, forgive me for not taking the time to trim this post down to a more acceptable reading length. I wrote this so long ago I can scarcely look at it, much less edit it.



         There's a scene in Billy Wilder's film of James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, in which the protagonist, an insurance salesman, is asked by a potential customer (and future murder co-conspirator) about the rates and benefits of his competitor's insurance plan. The salesman answers the question with cocky truthfulness, admitting that his competitor has some fine insurance plans as well. To explain this bit of counterintuitive salesmanship he says, "I never knock the other guy's product."

        Double Indemnity was just seeing theatrical release as Chandler was writing "The Simple Art of Murder." He might have remembered that line in the movie, because he wrote the screenplay.
"The Simple Art of Murder" reads like eighteen pages of "knocking the other guy," and it gives his comments an air of condescension and contempt that almost overwhelms several excellent points that he makes.

        It's difficult to be even-handed while writing literary polemics. By their very nature they tend to be negative, particularly when written by novelists of some repute. Like most statements of purpose by fiction writers, this one is shamelessly self-aggrandizing and almost uniformly negative. Derision always sells better than praise, but it is hard not to be suspicious of critics who have a vested commercial interest in the abandonment of certain literary forms in favor of their own. Don't buy those writers' novels, the critic seems to silently cajole. Buy mine.

        It is a cynical sentiment worthy of Chandler himself, but to a degree that was his literary trademark. Still, it's hard to know how seriously to take Chandler's arguments and bald, blanket statements about mystery literature. After publishing the essay, Chandler wrote to a friend: "You must not take a polemic piece of writing like my own article from the Atlantic too literally. I could have written a piece of propaganda in favor of the English detective story just as easily"
(Gardiner 52).

        Or, if he meant his comments, whether he considered them significant or just a random burst of bile. To a different friend, he wrote: "['The Simple Art of Murder'] was simply a general expression of contempt for what is known as significant writing" (49), and he had been known to call his own readers "intellectually adolescent at best" (51).

        Sincerely or not, Chandler's apologia contends that mystery fiction as a whole appears artistically handicapped because of a publishing industry that insures an average "straight" novel will not see publication, while an average detective story will. Speaking from personal experience (I have worked with books for ten years), I can testify that average novels, and even those well below average, are published often. They appear every season with the relentlessness of a force of nature. I seriously doubt it was any different in Chandler's day.

        Chandler is on to something here, but this sentiment of his is more accurately rendered in what is now known as Sturgeon's Law, coined in 1958 by sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon, an engaging novelist in his own right. Although he is defending the genre of science fiction, not detective fiction, the principle is the same:
"Sure, ninety percent of science fiction is crud. That's because ninety percent of everything is crud."

        In any form or genre, everywhere you look, mediocrity is the norm. However, that does not take one whit away from the triumphs of a genre. As Chandler says, when Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon, he demonstrated that the form was capable of anything. Hammett showed that any barriers between genre fiction and capital "L" Literature were purely imaginary.

        Chandler is, however, right on the money about the pervasive, unabashed snobbery of the mainstream critical establishment. It is as true now as it was then. The tacitly endorsed idea was, and is, that genre fiction of any sort has an inherent artistic inferiority to what Chandler called "significant writing." Book reviewers, when they deign to approach genre fiction at all, feel comfortable mocking it in a tone that would mark them as ignorant fools if they applied it to the industry's newest high-literary superstars, say, for example, a David Foster Wallace or a Jonathan Safran Foer or a T.C. Boyle. Reviewers take it as self-evident that some kinds of writing are worthy of being taken seriously and some are not. As J.A. Cuddon points out, "P.D. James is thought fit to chair the panel of judges for the Booker Prize, but it remains inconceivable that one of her own crime novels could win it" (194).

        Most modern literary "classics" are lauded by the critics precisely because they lack the suspense, tight plotting, clear writing and popular appeal that would suggest even a superficial resemblance to genre fiction. Critics hold up writers' very unreadability as proof of their literary merit. Readers of today's book pages are made to feel like uncultured halfwits for not enjoying the latest literary sensation, no matter how fatuous the content or how impenetrable the style.

        There is nothing in the puerile "philosophical" detective novels of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, to take one example, that isn't appallingly inferior to even the weakest novel James Ellroy has written in the last twenty-five years (which, for my money, would be Brown's Requiem), yet mainstream critics have praised Auster to the rafters--he's "our preeminent novelist of ideas" according to Kirkus Reviews (Myers 67)--while virtually ignoring James Ellroy until the release of the movie L.A. Confidential. And it's still tough to imagine Ellroy winning a Pulitzer or a National Book Award, or even a National Book Critics Circle Award for that matter.

        Mainstream critics begin with the assumption that genre fiction cannot be great literature, unless it is ironic, and therefore anything that is clearly NOT genre fiction must of course be great literature. For better or worse, critics will always look down upon home-grown American art forms while they are still contemporary, whether it's hip hop music or John Wayne westerns or comic books or American popular song a la Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby.

        Chandler is not without his own snobbishness, however, just the same as the mainstream critics. This spoiled English schoolboy, this product of private tutors in France and Germany, sneers at the concept of "significant writing," at the idea that certain popular styles and conventions subtract artistic weight from a work of literature, but his real problem is just that he disagrees with the accepted notions of what significant writing is.

        Specifically, it seems, he finds snobbish any idea of
"significant writing" that does not include Raymond Chandler. Other than that, his problems with the tone of literary criticism in America seem slight. As eager as mainstream book reviewers were to dismiss his own kind of writing, he was all too happy to join them in dismissing the arguably more popular form of the English detective novel.

        He attacks the genre for recycling the same old tricks, deploying the same "careful grouping of suspects" and, in short, for having become an ossified art form. He does not have the foresight or humility to predict the same thing happening to his own style. What was great literature when Chandler first wrote it has throughout the years steadily acquired the aroma of mothballs from writers who shamelessly copied him (Ross MacDonald), and from writers whose chief contribution to the literature is to replace Philip Marlowe with their own particular marginalized subset of the human race, be it women
(e.g. Sara Paretsky), blacks (e.g. Walter Mosley) or lesbian kung-fu experts (e.g. Niccola Griffith). While entertaining on the surface, such continuous re- and re-re-envisioning of older classics and their tropes can only come to diminishing returns, as it continues to recycle the same old tricks, deploy the same profusion of scuzzy suspects, &c.

        Chandler was already on the verge of his own ossification by the time "The Simple Art of Murder" appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1944. After that, he wrote the screenplay for The Blue Dahlia (not nearly as bad as the critics claimed); he got fired from the adaptation of his own novel The Lady in the Lake (an interesting but ultimately failed experiment); he began a screenplay for Elisabeth Saxnay Holding's The Innocent Mrs Duff (never produced); he wrote a screenplay for Playback (also never produced); in 1949 he wrote the mediocre novel The Little Sister; in 1950 he published two short-story collections (aside from "The Simple Art of Murder" essay, nothing in the two books had been written later than 1939); he got sacked by Alfred Hitchcock from scribe duties on Strangers on a Train; in 1953 he wrote the quite good but arguably recycled novel The Long Goodbye; and in 1958 he wrote the inarguably awful Playback.

        In between, he did some anonymous script doctoring on the forgotten And Now Tomorrow and The Unseen, and he wrote several stray essays for The Atlantic Monthly, mostly dealing with his experiences of Hollywood, mostly written in the tone, as J.G. Ballard splendidly put it, "that arises from feeling sorry for oneself while making large amounts of money" (Ballard 3).

        Taken on its own, this latter period of his artistic career--which lasts quite a bit longer than his fertile, pre-1944 career--does not seem to indicate literary greatness in any respect. Luckily for Chandler, his reputation is not derived from novels like Playback. One common criticism of Cervantes is that his literary fame rests solely on Don Quixote. But if you've written that, what else do you need to write? If Chandler fulfills his manifesto only retroactively, before 1944, before calcifying into self-parody, it can at least be said that for a time in his career he wrote as no one else in America was writing, and he wrote well.

        While he largely refrains from naming names in "The Simple Art of Murder," Chandler does take aim at a few specific novels. He displays a niggling attitude towards improbability and factual error in a genre fraught with both. "Conan Doyle made mistakes which completely invalidated some of his stories." Do mistakes really invalidate a story? Chandler's plodding diagram of the flaws that presumably invalidate A.A. Milne's The Red House Mystery proceeds with all the petty literalness of a high school term paper. This is the sort of forest-for-the-trees criticism that believes Ben Hur to be artistically compromised because Charlton Heston's wristwatch is visible in a few scenes.

        Chandler also ridicules E.C. Bentley's charming novel, Trent's Last Case, in which "you have to accept the premise that a giant of international finance will plot his own death so as to hang his secretary."

        This is, I admit, a little hard to swallow, and Bentley did attempt to dispel the aura of absurdity such a set-up necessarily has. Towards the end of the novel, one character cites the "Campden Case," in which John Perry accused his mother and brother of murdering a man. There was no body and no real evidence, but the fact that Perry was claiming to have assisted in the murder lent weight to his accusation. Who would put his own neck in the noose just to hang someone else? His mother and brother denied the accusations. The judge believed John, and on the strength of his confession, all three were hanged. Two years later, the "victim" returned from abroad to Campden, unharmed and unaware that he had been murdered (Bentley 158-159).

        Even to my credulous ears, it sounds almost too fantastical to be true. Yet, I have looked it up in the Newgate Calendar, that classic compendium of the most celebrated and grotesque criminal cases of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, referred to by Dickens, Defoe, Thackeray and numerous others (Cuddon 545). It's there. It happened.

        Apparently, even this bit of classic true-crime reportage wasn't enough to satisfy Chandler. In his personal letters, he later said that if this central conceit of Trent's Last Case was logical or realistic, "then logic and realism have no meaning" (Gardiner 67).

        Yet, again, it's hard to tell if Chandler is being thoughtful or merely contentious. In his own novel, The Lady in the Lake, published one year before "The Simple Art of Murder," Chandler wrote a scene in which Marlowe defends the plausibility of just such a situation:

        Patton shook his head. He didn't like it. Neither did I. He said slowly: "As to your other notion, it's just plain crazy. Killing yourself and fixing things so as somebody else would get accused of murdering you don't fit in with my simple ideas of human nature at all."
        "Then your ideas of human nature are too simple," I said. "Because it has been done" (81).

        Chandler misses the point of Trent's Last Case, that Bentley, while in some sense writing a traditional English detective story, is also himself mocking the clich鳬 the farcically contrived situations and mandarin deductive logic of these same stories. Chandler was hardly the first writer to jump on this bandwagon, or bandwagons like it. There was nothing new about this anti-criticism criticism, particularly in America where an allergy to pretentiousness is both the treasure of our national sensibility and the bane of our cultural existence. Even before Trent--which was written three decades before
"The Simple Art of Murder"--the more implausible conventions of the English detective novel were an open joke among writers. Forty-one years before Chandler felt it necessary to point out the nudity of the emperor, Bram Stoker was writing: "Such things are all very well in books where your amateur detectives, who know everything before it's done, can fit them into theories; but in Scotland Yard…the men aren't all idiots either" (72).

        As with Chandler, E.C. Bentley's opinion of the English detective novel manifests itself in his fiction. In Trent, his sleuth arrives at a dazzling conclusion that is as brilliant as it is incorrect. Bentley's amateur detective puts forth a theory, and it fits all the facts, but it is just plain wrong. This is a very real occurrence in the world of investigation, but something Chandler never had the modernist courage to do with his own hero, who, in the end, is as blandly infallible as any concoction of Agatha Christie's or Dorothy Sayers's.

        Trent's Last Case contains ideas and devices that were picked up by modernist writers, mostly on the rainier side of the Atlantic, e.g. Virginia Woolf and Ford Madox Ford. After reading Bentley's novel, you are left with a sense of the true strangeness and illogic of real life, of the intricate fabric of misunderstandings that forms our narrative reality, that is not entirely fathomable by deductive reasoning alone. The antepenultimate sentence of Trent--"I could have borne everything but that last revelation of the impotence of human reason"--sounds as if it could have come straight from The Good Soldier, Ford's masterpiece of emotional mystification.

        This is an idea courted by much detective fiction, including that of Chandler, but seldom pursued. It is certainly a plot twist that has just as much or more claim to "logic and realism" than most of Chandler's own twists.

        Still, the realism--or supposed lack thereof--of the English detective novel bothered Chandler a great deal. He condemned the entire genre as being "artificial to the point of burlesque," an interesting choice of words because he himself had been known to say that about his own fiction, which was itself quite stylized and often quite over the top. "Why is it that Americans…do not see the strong element of burlesque in my kind of writing?" (Gardiner 53)

        He criticizes old-fashioned detective writing as being contrived, and removed from reality. He also derides the genre's more ludicrous trappings ("hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare and tropical fish"). What he does not do, in between his hectoring jibes, is stop to think that these things might be the genre's principal charm. Tastewise, when you get down to brass tacks, I do prefer Chandler's work to that of the other mystery writers he cites in his essay. Yet the fiction of these other writers is not without its pleasures, and not without its own artistry. Conversely, Chandler's fiction is not without its own unreality, its own implausibility.

        I think most emergency-room physicians would concur that if anyone took the number of knock-out blows to the head that Philip Marlowe takes in Chandler's stories, he'd be punchier than Muhammad Ali on a Tilt-a-Whirl. In a letter to his agent, Chandler once outlined what he felt was the basic unreality of all mystery fiction, including his own:

"The mystery writer's material is melodrama, which is an exaggeration of violence and fear beyond what one normally experiences in life. The means he uses are realistic in the sense that such things happen to people like these and in places like these; but this realism is superficial; the potential of emotion is overcharged, the compression of time and event is a violation of probability, and although such things happen, they do not happen so fast and in such a tight frame of logic to so closely knit a group of people" (Gardiner 53-54).

        There are plenty of detective story writers to whom this does not apply (James Lee Burke and, again, the iconoclastic James Ellroy leap to mind). And to say, essentially, that "all mystery fiction is melodrama" is a more contemptuous dismissal--even of his own work!--than even the most snobbish New York Times book reviewer could come up with.

        In truth, the most glaring unreality inherent in private-eye fiction stems from the presence of the private eye in the first place. Hammett's Continental Op had at least a background in the social realities of the day and in Hammett's own history with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Chandler's Marlowe, on the other hand, exists in a vacuum of realism, which Chandler himself acknowledged: "The private eye is admittedly an exaggeration--a fantasy" (Gardiner 60).

        Robert Aldrich's nihilistic, genre-busting movie adaptation of Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly turns on this difference between the popular fantasy of the private eye and the less glamorous reality: in the translation from novel to screen, the character of Mike Hammer becomes cruder, sleazier, more ignoble, more sadistic. He is no symbol of anarchic justice, but a self-absorbed, bottom-feeding brute who chases and manipulates divorce cases for a living. He is, in the words of one character, a "bedroom dick." In many of Chandler's novels and stories, Philip Marlowe makes it a point to tell people that he doesn't do divorce cases, since that is what everyone's first thought when they hear the word "detective," because that is indeed what real detectives do.

        As with all great writers, Chandler's realism is of his own making. Although Chandler was perceived to be the avatar of a particular vision of a chaotic and unstable urban landscape, his fiction speaks of nothing but a highly ordered and mannered universe in which crime and violence always happen for reasons (which is usually true) and, moreover, always happen for good reasons (which is usually not). Rare is the crime that occurs outside a greater scheme or conspiracy. Morally, Chandler's universe is cynical and fatalistic. It's a universe in which cops are not always good, and in fact very seldom are; crooks, conversely, are always bad. The world is populated by mean, venal, greedy, callous, stupid, weak people, and that, Chandler wants us to know, is how it is. Absent from his work is any real sense of modernist moral ambiguity, that people can be both good and bad at the same time. Or neither.

        The occurrences in Chandler's universe operate along very strict lines of narrative balance. His ideas about writerly craft and form--which are quite old-fashioned and not modernist at all--come before his ideas about realism.

        And even Chandler's vision of a jaundiced Los Angeles is fairly tame when viewed side-by-side with the actual Los Angeles of the day, which in retrospect seems to more truthfully resemble one of James Ellroy's phantasmagorical nightmares. Published in 1949, the year of the publication of Chandler's next-to-last novel The Little Sister, was J. Paul de River's The Sexual Criminal, a compendium of case studies gathered from the 1930s and 1940s during de River's tenure as director of the LAPD's Sex Offense Bureau.

        The cases that make up the book were not obscure secrets of law enforcement, they were, by the author's own admission, front page news all over the city (de River 399). With chapter headings such as
"The Sadist Pedophile," "Lust Murder" and "Necrophilia," one imagines that even the basest grotesqueries Chandler could invent simply paled in comparison to the front pages of the Daily Mirror and Evening Herald and Express being hawked at busy Los Angeles intersections.

        So really, there isn't a single one-size-fits-all realism for literature. It's hard to say if Raymond Chandler thought his was the only true realism, the one true narrative logic, or if he was just being Raymond Chandler: a cranky, unfair, tetchy sentimentalist. If Chandler really did believe it, he had a pretty narrow perspective on the vastness, the immense scope of English literature.

        Good fiction builds its own internal logic, or abides by the logic of a set of common conventions or genre rules. There can be no one yardstick for "realistic" for all literature. It's all relative. One could quite easily point to Woolf's The Waves or Faulkner's As I Lay Dying--even Joyce's Finnegan's Wake--as being more palpably real than even the most plain-spoken, clue-studded, plot-driven pulp mystery story. Or vice versa. If a piece of fiction accurately and truthfully communicates a situation or an emotion, if it reaches the reader on its own terms--whatever tactics it adopts to do this--then it is real.

        Chandler himself acknowledged as much in some personal notes written five years after "The Simple Art of Murder":

"Plausibility is largely a matter of style--a matter of effect, not of fact, and one writer will succeed with a pattern which in the hands of a lesser artist would just seem foolish--The mystery story must take into account the cultural stage of its readers; things that were acceptable in Sherlock Holmes are not acceptable in Sayers or Christie" (Gardiner 63).

        But in "The Simple Art of Murder," one gets the idea that somewhere in his slender readings and his provincial musings on literature, Raymond Chandler had not yet grasped this point. For if detective fiction's value as literature rests chiefly on the airtightness of its plots, then it is indeed as unliterary as some critics contend. Logic as a means can fall within the terrain of literature. Logic as an end is the domain of philosophical proofs.

        For a supposedly major American writer, Chandler doesn't seem to have been much of a reader. Before writing "The Simple Art of Murder," he wrote to his editor at the Atlantic Monthly to voice his misgivings about writing such a polemic: "I tried to do a rough draft of such an article, only to discover I hadn't read enough detective stories to be able to indulge in the usual casual display of erudition" (Gardiner 49).

        His personal letters create the impression of a man who isn't so much in love with literature as stuck in an unhappy marriage with it. Almost all of the authors and books he mentions to friends as having merit--a rare occurrence--seem, in retrospect, quite pedestrian, and his guesses for their posterity are wrong on almost every occasion.

        Most if not all of the books mentioned admiringly in "The Simple Art of Murder" have long ago vanished from the publishing landscape: Percival Wilde's Inquest, Kenneth Fearing's The Dagger of the Mind, Donald Henderson's Mr. Bowling Buys a Newspaper, and Richard Sale's Lazarus No. 7 are all long out of print, and Raymond Postgate's Verdict of Twelve is recently so. Not that that's necessarily damning--almost none of Fredric Brown's work is currently in print, and he wrote some incredible books--but the fact that I couldn't track down even one of those books struck me as inauspicious.

        These books, presumably, all contain plots not invalidated by

        It's not as if Chandler's plots were always so iron clad. Confirming a popular Hollywood anecdote I had always thought apocryphal, Chandler once wrote to a friend: "I remember several years ago when Howard Hawks was making The Big Sleep, the movie, he and Bogart got into an argument as to whether one of the characters was murdered or committed suicide. They sent me a wire asking me, and dammit I didn't know either" (Gardiner 221).

        Chandler also calls foul on old-fashioned detective stories because of their "puppets and cardboard lovers and papier-mache villains and detectives of exquisite and impossible gentility." Very often his own fictional characters could be described in the same way. True to the form of most serial literature, which virtually all of Chandler's writing was, the main character is by far the most memorable, recurring in a continuously recycled cast of ringers as forgettable as they are temporarily well-drawn.

        As for cardboard lovers? The femmes fatale in his own books have a drearily interchangeable existence. You remember the girl's bolero jacket in the story "Red Wind" far longer and far more clearly than you remember the girl. Her individual identity, in the larger scheme of things, is unimportant.

        Mid-essay, Chandler moves on to criticize several writers of loftier reputation, leaving the reading to wonder who, exactly, Chandler considers a great writer other than himself. And you really have to marvel at the breathtaking gall it took for the creator and purveyor of the Marlowe mystique to write: "Sherlock Holmes…is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue."

        He also goes after Dashiell Hammett (of all people), who, in balance, must be reckoned Chandler's superior in everything except alcoholic temperance. Chandler says Hammett had "no deliberate artistic aims" and reductively calls him an "individual picked out to represent a whole movement." In light of these comments, all the praise he heaps on Hammett afterwards seems somewhat back-handed.

        Chandler is certainly right that authors were becoming more conscious of their artifice, but this was hardly limited to detective fiction, or even literature. The hard-boiled literary "movement," if it can be called such, was indicative of a sea-change coming over literature and art as a whole, and with the modernists in particular. It came largely from a tectonic shift in urban social realities, racial and sexual politics, from new popular interest in the disciplines of psychology, sociology and criminology, and from the wedding of mass media to mass killing in the wars of the early 20th century.

        Chandler, on the other hand, seems to rather myopically frame this change as being motivated by writers looking for an opportunity to put Dorothy Sayers in her place.

        The famous show-stopper in "The Simple Art of Murder," the final part describing the ideal traits of the fictional private eye, is uncharacteristically romantic, even maudlin, for a modernist writer, and a modernist crime writer at that. Chandler writes with the stridency of a frustrated sentimentalist:

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid…He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weary phrase, a man of honor."

        This saintly, almost mystical image of the private eye is as formulaic and psychologically simple as anything found in the traditional English novel of detection, or even in the modern Harlequin romance novel for that matter.

        Ultimately, it is probably true that Chandler does live up to the manifesto implicit in "The Simple Art of Murder," but the manifesto itself is somewhat confused and amorphous. While Chandler was a man of his modernist times in terms of prose style--particularly in the area of dialogue and in the mistaking of cynicism for psychological depth--he was thoroughly reactionary in attitude to form and character. His description of the idealized man who is not himself mean lends itself more to comparisons with medieval romances than modernist concerns.

        Had Chandler more of a sense of humor (after all, "flipness is not wit"), Philip Marlowe might have become the Don Quixote of the moderns. Instead he became Dick Powell.

[I've always considered this last sentence a serious misstep on my part; I actually think Powell was a pretty good Marlowe, although I prefer him far more as a straight man, as in Andre de Toth's Pitfall--D.M.]


 Works Cited:

Aldrich, Robert, dir. Kiss Me Deadly. By Mickey Spillane. Perf. Ralph Meeker, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rodgers, Cloris Leechman. 1955.

Ballard, J.G. "The Sweet Smell of Excess: Writers in Hollywood 1915-1951." A User's Guide to the Millennium. 1996. New York: Picador USA.

Bentley, E.C. Trent's Last Case. 1913. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1997.

Chandler, Raymond, adapt. Double Indemnity. By James M. Cain. Dir. Billy Wilder. Perf. Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson. 1944.

Chandler, Raymond. The Lady in the Lake. 1943. New York: Random House-Vintage Books, 1988.

Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder. 1950. New York: Random House- Vintage Books, 1988.

Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. 4th ed. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1998.

de River, J. Paul. The Sexual Criminal. 1949. Chicago: LPC Group / INBOOK, 2000.

Gardiner, Dorothy and Katherine Sorley Walker, eds. Raymond Chandler Speaking. 1962. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Myers, B.R. A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose. Hoboken: Melville House, 2002.

Rayner, J.L. and G.T. Crook. The Newgate Calendar. London: Navarre Society, 1926. 2 Nov. 2003

Stoker, Bram. The Jewel of the Seven Stars. 1903. New York: Caroll
& Graf Publishers, Inc., 1989.

Sturgeon, Theodore. "On Hand…A Book." Venture Science Fiction Mar. 1958. 4 Nov. 2003

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