RARA-AVIS: Re: Women who are men

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Jul 2006


Re your comments below:

"Now I say Hammer is "allegedly" a great detective because Spillane tells us he's a great detective. However Hammer usually solves the case only AFTER all the possible suspects are dead and only the killer remains. So in fact that makes Hammer a lousy detective."

Actually, in terms of plot structure, what interesting about the Hammer books is that they're all "fair-play" whodunits. Wrapped up in Spillane's ultra-hard-boiled noir universe, to be sure, but fair play whodunits, nonetheless.

And it isn't until Hammer settles down enough, and stops to gather his thought and actually examine the clues that he FIGURES OUT, doesn't just stumble upon but FIGURES OUT, who the bad guy is.

I'm not suggesting here that Spillane can weave as intriguing a puzzle as John Dickson Carr or Ellery Queen. In fact, the puzzle element is usually the weakest element in a Hammer novel. But it's there, and Hammer is, at one level, playing at, and succeeding at, the same game as Hercule Poirot or Lord Peter.

When he stops and actually thinks, he really IS a pretty decent detective.

"True the man/woman is the killer and in Spillane's world deserves to be blown away, but Hammer takes extra pleasure in the act because the man/woman had the gall to try and seduce him."


But, as I remeber the sequence from VENGEANCE IS MINE, Hammer didn't actually KNOW Juno was a man until after he'd shot him.

And it was in self-defense, not because Juno was trying to seduce him.

I won't argue that Hammer is a poster boy for raised consciousness, but shooting someone who's trying to kill you, no matter how he's dressed, isn't homophobia.

And Hammer's enjoyment of killing ALWAYS comes from the fact that he's dealing out deserved punishment to killers, not from homophobia.


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