RE: RARA-AVIS: Someone who doesn't like Pelecanos

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 06 Jul 2004

Jim wrote:

"I don't think Hammett is more politically oriented or more concerned with implicit criticism of the status quo than Chandler."

I agree with you, Jim. And your theory that Hammett's later public politics was retroactively applied to his earlier writing sounds very plausible to me. Even The Glass Key, which had a fair amount about politics, was far more about friendship and loyalty (come to think of it, wasn't that also what Hammett's refusal to testify about who was or ever had been also about that).

In many ways, I think of Chandler as more political than Hammett. At least I can think of more examples off the top of my head. Many of his stories revolve around differences of class and there are many stories involving the institutionalized corruption of Bay City. However, I think you're right that both were, first and foremost, about telling a good story. And that's why they remain relevant.


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