Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Introduction

Date: 13 Oct 2004


Re your message below:

> I am one of the newcomers to the list. My name is
> Susan Evans Shaw and I am a reader of noir and
> hard-boiled but not a writer of either form. My
> thing is non-fiction with a particular interest in
> matters historical. I trust that won't get me thrown
> off the list before I start.

Welcome aboard. This is a great group. Disagreements can get warm, but never hot, and never disrespectful. If you like a free exchange of frank opinion and hard-fought debate with no animosity, this is the place.
> Where's the joy in trashing Dorothy Sayers and
> cosies? They may not be to everyone's taste, but
> they have a right to existence. How many of you
> hardboilers cut your writerly teeth on Agatha
> Christie? As for Sayers, her style is definitely
> dated, but they are well-written and researched and
> more digestable than modern efforts by Martha Grimes
> and Elizabeth George. What does Russell James have
> to say about Sayers and cosies?

Russel James may trash cozies in general and D.L. Sayers in particular, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the prevailing opinion here.

I think the joy in trashing them stems from Raymond Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder," which was as much a debunking of traditional mysteries as it was a spirited defense of the literary worth of hard-boiled mysteries. Since then, rightly or wrongly, there's been a perceived tension between the two types.

My own opinion (and since it is MY opinion, there'll be plenty here who dispute it) is that traditional mysteries (a term I prefer to "cozy" which I find dismissive) are fine for people who like them, and plenty are well-written.

I have to admit that Agatha Christie's particular charm has always escaped me, but nobody stays that popular that long without having something on the ball, even if I can't quite discern it. Oddly, I find I rather like her dramas and dramatic adaptations of her prose, while not liking the novels and stories themselves all that much.

As for Dorothy L. Sayers, I've read all the Lord Peter books and enjoyed them all. Like you, I think the writing and characterization is quite good the plotting not quite up the the writing and characters
(though GAUDY NIGHT has a very well worked out plot).

If I could only take Dashiell Hammett or Dorothy L. Sayers with me to that proverbial desert island, though, Hammett would win hands down.


_______________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Make a clean sweep of pop-up ads. Yahoo! Companion Toolbar. Now with Pop-Up Blocker. Get it for free!

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Oct 2004 EDT