Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Simple Art of Murder?

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 17 Jul 2006


You got the full story, as I myself red at least 3 different versions of that essay, with one of them radically different. On the other hand, in Chandler's letters one can find traces of RC announcing he refuses to open the collection of stories with his essay and that he will write a new introduction. I had no time to sort out my own notes and books about it, but your answer completes the subject.

On the other hand, I'll be grateful if you could send the article by Miranda Hickman to my address, at: Thanks in advance.


Michael Sharp
> Dear Miker,
> Chandler pub'd "Simple Art of Murder" first in 1944 (in the _Atlantic
> Monthly_) and then, in revised form, in 1946, in ... crap, I'll look it
> up: OK, he revised it for Howard Haycraft's anthology _The Art of the
> Mystery Story_, 1946.
> Things get confusing after that. In 1952 Houghton Mifflin pub's a
> collection of Chandler stories entitled _The Simple Art of Murder_,
> which Chandler decided should NOT have the 1946 version as a preface.
> Instead, he put it at the end and wrote a NEW introduction. This NEW
> intro subsequently gets pub'd in Saturday Rev of Lit and elsewhere as
> "The Simple Art of Murder" -- making things very very muddled, as there
> are now two (three, if you count the 1944 version) essays by that name
> floating around under the name "Simple Art of Murder."
> For a very enlightening and cogent discussion of all the problems
> regarding this essay, there is a great article by Miranda Hickman
> (2003) -- she maintains (convincingly) that Chandler rewrote his
> original "Simple Art" between '44 and '46 in response to a rather
> truculent letter-to-the-editor from one Mr. Anthony Boucher. I have the
> Hickman article in pdf format if you want it.
> Best,
> Michael Sharp


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